Misadventures at the 36th Manila International Book Fair

I recently decided to impose a book ban on myself because I’ve been buying a lot of books lately and I’m running out of space. There are books everywhere: on my bed, under my bed, on chairs, in cabinet drawers, tables, etc. I haven’t even read half of the books I’ve hoarded so I figured it was a good time to stop.

August book haul. Damn all those sales lol. This is why I'm now on a book ban! XD #bookwormproblems

A post shared by O. 🇵🇭 (@lambentlights) on

Case in point: my August haul. I clearly have a problem lmao XD

This all seemed like a very good idea at the time….until I remembered the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) happens on September 16-20 this year.

The MIBF is the country’s biggest and longest-running book fair. It’s an annual event that occurs every September at the SM Mall of Asia Convention Center, and all the publishing companies and bookstores have their own stalls and there’s a ton of events and discounts and books, books, and more books. It’s every bookworm’s vision of paradise.

Aaaand of course I chose to impose my book ban this month. Well done, self. Perfect timing. It probably would have been fine if only social media wasn’t filled with pictures of all the glorious books you could find at the fair (I’m looking at you, Fully Booked! *sobs*) at discounted prices. And the workshops I totally want to attend. And all kinds of giveaways going on. My friends have all gone and showed pictures of their book hauls too, of course.

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me right now and every day until the book fair ends

However, I finally gave in and went to the book fair despite repeatedly telling myself I am NOT going to go under any circumstances because I’ll definitely cave in and buy something.

So how did I end up going? I heard National Book Store would be giving out advanced reader copies during MIBF. This morning, I was barely awake when I checked Twitter and saw they were giving away ARCs of The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness to the first 25 people who would come to their booth and give them the secret message. Lol.

My friend Patti works nearby and managed to snag a copy after I shared the tweet in our group chat. Naturally, my friend Rhoda and I are envious people so we decided to sneak out and go to the book fair during lunch time and hope we could get our own copies.

The trip was a disaster. You know how Murphy’s Law always bites you in the ass when you’re desperate for something? We got on the wrong rides because we were way too excited to get there as soon as possible and ended up going on a longer route lmao, there was traffic and we kept getting held up at stoplights. We’d left an hour or two after the announcement, so there was a huge chance all the ARCs were gone….well, you can say there was a lot of internal screaming and freaking out going on while we were headed to the book fair. XD We also managed to make fools of ourselves at the NBS booth because…how exactly does an awkward person approach the staff and mumble an odd phrase? Especially when there are so many people around? There were so many people walking around and a group was signing up for an event at the customer service counter and I felt like freaking out because I didn’t want to say anything in front of all those people. Social anxiety sucks, dude. XDDDD What if all the ARCs were gone? We’d have totes wasted all that time and effort AND looked dumb.

But hey, turns out it was all worth it. \o/

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My first physical ARC! Woo! #achievementunlocked

Turns out we were the 11th and 12th people to claim an ARC so all our worrying and freaking out was for nothing. Haha.

Then it started raining hard when we were headed back, then the sun came up by the time we reached Rhoda’s office. WTF universe XD We were also gone for 3 hours thanks to traffic and rain and our own general awkwardness. Oops.

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I feel it’s important to note that I technically did not break my book ban because I didn’t buy this. And we left right away after grabbing our copies because we had to go back to work so I didn’t get to look around the book fair. The convention center is huge though and there are sooo many stalls and books!! All those Filipino publishers……sob.

The MIBF is still underway! Head over to the book fair at the SM MOA Convention Center while you can! The entrance fee is 20 pesos. Or you can stop by any Fully Booked branch, they’re giving away free tickets 😉

Now I just have to suffer through 2 more days of agony while everyone else mocks me with their pictures and books and experiences….

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Have you ever been on a book ban? Are they really this agonizing? How do people manage to keep away from all the tempting books anyway?? :((( I’d love to hear other people’s experiences! 🙂

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2 comments

  1. CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING YOUR FIRST ARC AND FOR VIOLATING YOUR VERY OWN BOOK BAN. DURING THE MONTH OF BOOK FAIR.XD

    haha sorry i had to type that in all caps because this post really amuses me.XD except for the part that you were gone at work for 3 hours. that seemed suspicious. hmm. hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

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