Keeping It ‘ Budget’, Manila International Book Fair Style

manila international book fair entranceWe really thought ourselves pretty clever deciding to visit the Manila International Book Fair on a weekday. You see, regardless of event or occasion, we won’t be caught dead rushing to any place with a rabid weekend payday crowd. Noise, pushing against each other, body odor, the nonsensical yuppie talk…

Anyway, as it turned out, the SMX Convention Center was still packed, overflowing even, with students from all over the city. Not sure if they came to the Book Fair as a class activity or on their own volition but I guess this is a positive sign either way.

First thing to do is go to the Registration counter to get tickets. It only costs P20 per person in exchange for what looks like a movie ticket, which you hand to the doorman.

The moment you get in, you immediately notice who the big kids in the playground are. I didn’t see a floor plan but it’s probably somewhere around there, just not near the entrance I used where it would be so much helpful. Best to plan your visit because it’s so easy to lose track of time when you have piles of really good reads lying around.

We proceeded to the CSM Publishing booth, which is quite easy to find as evidenced by the swarm of people and their armful of paperbacks. With everything at only P100, it didn’t matter if you were familiar with the titles and authors or not, this is probably the only booth where your pocket money would mean something.

A bunch of authors hung around the booth as well. Some of them were famous radio hosts so folks were coming up asking to take photos with Carmen Go-Vargas, Bessie Rios, and Joey Umali — 702 DZAS personalities. It was a pleasant atmosphere even with people squeezing through the area.

manila book fair csm book madnessIn the mountain of P100 books at the CSM booth, I found a slim paperback entitled A Higher Purpose For Your Overseas Job. This one is a good resource for those who are abroad and feel ill-prepared in handling a variety of situations they face.

Over at the OMF Literature booth (megabooth?), they had 30% and 20% discounts, below P100 piles, and freebies. They’re celebrating their 55th anniversary this year so they’re having a blowout. We also spotted Maloi Malibiran-Salumbides at the small stage area talking about her new book. She was just at the CSM Publishing booth a few moments ago. Girlfriend works hard!

manila international book fair 2012Max Lucado, one of our favorites, was an easy choice. It was great to see so many of his titles open for browsing and not vacuum-sealed for a change. I decided to get his devotional book Live Loved, something small, handy, and needed everyday. The cherry on top was it cost P175 only, 30% off the original price.

2012 manila international book fairWe stayed for the CSM Publishing book launch event, which took place till closing at 8pm. I wish I had done some moving around earlier because I saw a booth that sold old Philippine History books at P80 and below. You won’t find those anywhere these days. I couldn’t look through their collection as extensively as I wanted.

We walked away from this visit to the 33rd Manila International Book Fair with four books and a DVD and change enough for a meal at the nearby mall. All of that barely consumed our P1,000 budget!

The Book Fair ends tomorrow, Sunday, the day I expect the full force of the payday weekend will be felt. Fully Booked, which had an underwhelming selection, should make sure to have enough stock of 50 Shades of Grey for all the mommies, yuppies, and metrosexual males to bulk-buy. You have to wonder what would Erica Jong make of all this.