(34th) MIBF: From A First-Timer

New Books
Novels bought: Perfume: Story Of A Murderer by Patrick Suskind, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. These cost me around P1,500 (Total discount around P400).

On the 34th run of the Manila International Book Fair (henceforth mentioned as MIBF), my friends and I braved Metro Manila’s public transportation during the monsoon season–you could only imagine what the daily commuter goes through every single day. Half an hour and unruly heads of hair later, we arrived at the SMX Convention Center or the “holy grail” of books.

As first-timers, we didn’t know what to expect. Upon entering the venue, we were welcomed by a staggering number of people. Imagine flies and maggots circling around on a pile of sh- yeah, using that as an analogy was very distasteful, sorry. If possible, I go the extra mile to avoid crowded areas, and going to MIBF was how my fate was mocking me. Thank you for leading me to a closed, jam-packed area.

What to expect at MIBF:

  • people (bumping into them and the buzzing noises they make when enclosed in an area)
  • books (novels, comics/graphic novels, scholarly, religious, back issues of magazines…)
  • small percentage discounts from big name bookstores (Fully Booked & NBS)
  • food
  • freebies
  • book signings, meet & greet authors
  • As with most crowded places, just to be safe: petty crimes and accidents (So be alert!)

My rants aside, I think the week long event was successful. This year’s MIBF and perhaps the ones before, made bibliophiles buy more bookshelves or clear some space to accommodate their book hauls.

What I liked about the MIBF was the discount, though at a minimum. It seems that the bigger bookstores like Fully Booked and National Bookstore, only gave out 20% off in most, if not all books. Logistics-wise, there was a fully functioning air-conditioning system (Yes!), booth layouts were a little above satisfactory (people flow needs to be improved), a reliable PA system (read: like lost and found except for people ha ha), there was a map, and the place was clean.

Above all, I didn’t hear of any accident during the event…except for mine. The scenario: a signage by the information area. I was preoccupied with blabbering about while fixing some of the contents of my rucksack which I put on top of a table. My rucksack, with still some things left inside had enough weight (plus a little of my force) to topple down a flimsy object, and in this case, the signage behind me. Cut to the scene of my friends’ horrified faces. And just in time, a passerby managed to grab the signage. Unbenknownst to me, while I was fixing my stuff (which is a rare occasion), someone was saving me from a possible injury. Thank you, random citizen! All these unfortunate events were witnessed by one of the organizers which was dealt with accordingly.


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