My Philippine Book Festival 2024 Experience

Despite my yearly attendance at the MIBF, the Philippine Book Festival 2024 is the first PBF I ever attended. I didn’t really plan on coming since I am on a no-buying-of-books season until I finished reading everything in my unread pile. Plus, that was my birthday week. I was true to my words for the most part this time. I mean, yes, I went, and yes, I bought a couple of books. And for a reason.

Meeting Ron Canimo

I first met Ron Canimo at the MIBF 2023. I had no idea who he was back then—but Kim is one of his avid followers. He was extremely nice to us, entertained all our questions, and even signed the little quote card freebie I had in my hand. I appreciate nice people, so I followed him on social media and found overwhelming emotions in his words. Damn, I was sold!

So when I saw that he was gonna be at the PBF, I just knew that I should go. I bought his books and got them signed, we hugged, and I was just standing there while answering his questions with a single or maybe a couple of words because I was too stunned to speak. Glad I had a picture with him, though, and a decent one, too.

Dr. Joselito Delos Reyes was in the house too

Years of social media interaction do not guarantee that the other party will ever remember, given the chance to meet them in person. But this was not so the case when we dropped by the UST Press booth. Doc Joey was all smiles when we approached him and even joked that we couldn’t do a photo op with him since we weren’t buying anything (Kim, Lalaine, and I had his books at home btw). What took me by surprise was the fact that he knew me! And he knew that I was a writer too!

“Ito, kilala ko ‘to. Ikaw si Galit, ‘di ba? At alam kong nagsusulat ka din,” were his words.

All hail to the national artist

Ricky Lee was on the main stage that Friday. I kept telling myself that maybe, just maybe, he’d show up on the last day when we were there. I didn’t even think we’d be able to take pictures with him that day. I have all his books and read all of them, too. Oh and yeah, I belong to Batch 14, the last group of people he did his writing workshop with.

“Sir, Batch 14 po ako.”
He looked at me like, he was trying to remember.
“Hindi lang po ako active sa eksena, pero madami po akong natutunan sa workshop n’yo. Thank you po.”
“Nagsusulat ka na?” he asked.
“Yes po. May bago po akong book, Marahuyo. Release po sa May 12.”
“Sige balitaan mo ‘ko, ha?

This. Is. Ricky Lee. The National Artist!

Ate Joy of JMD was also there

Self-publishing is not always a smooth journey, but if you work with the right people, it will be so much easier. Ate Joy has been our go-to printer ever since we (Kim and I) discovered the wonder of publishing independently and she’s one of the awesome people we met in the industry. I was glad we had the time to catch up for a bit in front of the 8 Letters booth.

Book haul turned food trip

I may have not spent that much on books, but I must have spent a lot on food. The food concessionaires were superb, and we had fun hopping from one food stand to the next. We had Mediterranean for lunch, and for snacks, I had coffee with a chocolate chip cookie, and a selection of street foods—chicken balls, fish balls, and siomai. Those tasty giant siomai will be etched in my head forever, I kid you not. There were also tons of fruit juices to choose from, and I had a big gulp of lemon iced tea and another of dragon fruit juice.

The Philippine Book Festival 2024 was held in the World Trade Center. It was a long ride to and fro, and in the middle of this blistering heat, I found solace in the company of fellow writers, good friends, and aisles after aisles of books.