BIBLIOPHILE’S HAVEN. It is in book fairs where we buy books at discounted prices, rub elbow with fellow bibliophiles, and even have the opportunity to meet publishers and authors of our favorite books.
Here are snippets from the 33rd Manila International Book Fair.
AMBETH ‘S GREEN PEN. Our purpose for going to the book fair was to have our books signed by our favorite writer. We have our copies of Looking Back mini-books 5 and 6, special hardbound copy of the Rizal without the Overcoat, A Calendar of Rizaliana, and Talking History signed by popular historian Ambeth Ocampo.
When asked if green is his favorite color since he uses green-ink pen to sign books, he said; Nope. I just followed my father’s example he used Quink Aqua green ink, when I joined the government my office bought these green-ink pens and it became a habit.
NHI. Ambeth once chaired the National Historical Institute. Aside from interesting books about Philippine history and culture, the NHI also have miniature bust of our heroes by artist Toym Imao, son of National Artist Abdul Mari Imao.
ADARNA HOUSE. Story telling never bore children of all ages. Adarna House has that in their booth. Storybooks for children were sold half the price at Adarna, Lampara, and Tahanan booths. These books have colorful illustrations by our local artists. Having them is like owning an artwork.
TRADEWIND BOOKSTORE. Art books are expensive but Ayala Museum had them on sale. They also have mini-versions of Arturo Luz sculpture and limited-edition plates with artworks of Araceli Dans, Vicente Manansala, Federico Alcuaz. Good buys from the Ayala Museum booth were the notebooks and pencil case with printed drawings of 19th century artist Damian Domingo.
We found several books that were long out-of-print available at Tradewind Bookstore. This book store is located in Intramuros, inside Silahis Arts and Artifacts. This is the only store I know that sells ambahan, the traditional poetry written on bamboo in the Surat Mangyan.
VIBAL. Vibal Publishing has reprinted Asuncion Bantug-Lopez’s Lolo Jose. This book was originally published by the Intramuros Administration in 1982 and was made into a charming coffee table book by Vibal. Sought after by collectors of Filipinian are the coffee table books about the life and art of Damian Domingo, Francisco Coching, Botong Francisco, the reprinted Philippine Cartography, and the Bible-looking Noli Me Tangere with rare Juan Luna drawings.
MIRIAM. Like regular book lovers, writers and even law-makers also go to book fairs. We met a few of them. We all know Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the Judge-elect of the International Criminal Court, a popular member of the Philippine Senate, outspoken, and also witty in her pick-up lines.
RICKY LEE AND NENI STA. ROMANA-CRUZ. Those who are familiar with award winning local films know Ricky Lee, the highly acclaimed and multi-awarded scriptwriter and playwrite. His screenplay manual Trip to Quiapo was our official text book in creative writing.
For the first time we met Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz, author of many Filipiniana books, Inquirer columnist, and chair of the National Book Development Board. In our short talk, she reminded me to encourage Joaquin to read books and continue in bringing him to events like book fairs.
EPILOGUE. They say that in this age of digital information and the Internet, books are in the verge of becoming extinct. But with the multitudes of people who were at the 33rd Manila International Book Fair, makes us believe that books and information printed on paper are still popular.