39th Manila International Book Fair: Celebrating the joy of reading with Thomasian writers

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IN ITS five-day run, the 39th edition of Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) gathered 120,000 visitors from all ages. From Sept. 12 to 17, it became a venue for the exchange of ideas of writers, readers, and publishers.

This year, the book fair expanded to two floors of the SMX Convention Center, compared with just three halls of SM Megamall Megatrade Hall in its previous years.

Aside from different seminars, workshops and book signings, MIBF also hosted events particularly the 12th Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards (CSCBA) and the Gintong Aklat Awards.

Thomasian writers and artists were also featured in the book fair as they engaged in
different events, presenting and discussing their books and illustrations. UST Publishing House (USTPH), which has been present for MIBF’s almost four decades, participated with its booth that showcased titles in special discounted prices.

Research emphasized
Thomasian historian Jose Victor Torres emphasized the importance of research in counteracting fake news during the fourth day of MIBF.

“You dig [and] research. Never accept anything on the Internet as correct. You have to double check your facts,” Journalism alumnus Torres said during the launching of his newest title “El Periodismo Filipino, 1811-1910: The First Century of Philippine Journalism.”

El Periodismo Filipino was written by Spanish scholar Wenceslao Retana and originally
published in 1992. It is a scholarly book that presents a collection of periodicals, bibliographical notes, biographical information and insights in the first century of Philippine journalism.

Torres and Filipino-Spanish historian Jaime Marco translated and annotated El Periodismo
Filipino, published by Vibal Group this year.

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Torres said research would help Filipinos to “have sharp observant eyes” in discerning what is fake news or not.

“Right now, there are so much information that young minds today are having a hard time
differentiating what is true, what is semi-true, what is false, or what could be a total invention,” he said. “In order to counteract it, you have to research.”

Torres said fake news could be checked by factual data.“If that kind of belief causes major changes or difficulties, it has to be addressed by giving data that explains. Show the data that is true, explain carefully [and] try at least to know why he or she believes in that,” he said.

Children’s books
Journalism alumna Iza Maria Reyes stressed that children’s books now tackle social issues.

“I am happy that themes such as gender, broken families, and (homosexuality) are now discussed in children’s books,” Reyes told the Varsitarian during the launching of her children’s book, “Ang Aking Agent Nanay.”

Reyes said the trend helps raise early awareness on social issues in the Filipino youth.

Other launched children’s books discussing social issues were “Ang Kahon ng Pabaon” by Eugene Evasco and “Magic Balikbayan Box” by Liwliwa Malabed, which are about the Philippines diaspora, and “Maliit na ang Palda ni Isay” by Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag which tackles problems on Filipino educational system.

Reyes’s book is about a child’s mother who is working as a call center agent.

It is inspired by the life stories of Reyes’s friends in the business process outsourcing industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in the Philippines.

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40th Manila International Book Fair: Cultivating the love of reading with Thomasian authors

Book signings
On the last day of MIBF, Thomasian and USTPH writers held book signings at the USTPH booth.

Books signed included: Joselito de los Reyes’s “Paubaya” and newest title “Finding
Teo”; Ralph Semino Galán’s “From the Major Arcana,” “Discernments,” and his newest title “Sa Pagitan ng Buhay (At iba pang Pagtutulay)”; Chuckberry Pascual’s “Kumpisal” and his newest book “Ang Tagalabas sa Panitikan”; Vijae Alquisola’s “Sa Mga Pansamantala” and Em Mendez’s “Anagnorisis.”

12th CSCB and Gintong Aklat Awards
Five Thomasian alumni were named finalists in the 12th Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards, a recognition for Filipino authors and publishers promoting “total human development, Gospel values and Filipino culture.

Fr. Fausto Gomez’s “Mercy, Love and Holiness: A Pilgrim’s Notes,” published by USTPH was a finalist in the Spirituality category.

Religious Studies alumnus Jose Mario Maximiano’s “The Church Can Handle the Truth: Mercy Healing of Historical Wounds” was nominated in the Theology category.

Actress Rita Avila, Hotel and Restaurant Management alumna, was nominated in the Children’s category for “Ang Kuwento nina Popi Puti at Mimim Makutim.”

Fine arts alumna Christina Castro-Gelano’s “God is Happening: The Art of Paying Attention to Love” was finalist for the Inspirational category.

Another Fine Arts alumna, Cheri Roberto, was nominated in the Family Life category for “From Mourning to Morning: Your Partner in Grief and Hope.”

In the Gintong Aklat Awards, three USTPH titles were named finalists.

Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta’s “Hush Harbor” was nominated for Literature in English while Vijae Alquisola’s “Sa Mga Pansamantala” and Rody Vera’s “Tatlong Dula: Adaptasyon” were nominated for Literature in Filipino.

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Thomasian author: 'Adults should relate with children’s books'

Graphic literature
At Komikon, the annual confab of graphic literati and artists, freelance book illustrator Francis Martelino, who studied fine arts at UST, urged aspiring comic artists to tackle Filipino life experiences on Sept. 16.

“Filipino content and experiences can be automatically considered as unique,” he said. “That is our culture, and definitely, you don’t have to borrow other experiences or culture when creating comics.”

Martelino said the Filipino artists should use Filipino names for their characters, for instance in comics, instead of borrowing the names of other nation.

Martelino is the creator of the comics series “The Hotdog Prince,” a finalist for the Reader’s
Choice Award in the 4th Komikon, an annual convention of comic book enthusiasts in the country.

Rico Rival said the youth must never stop honing their craft.

“If you’re not devoted to being an artist, you will not be an artist,” he added.

Rival, fine arts alumnus, said being an artist is not just about being inspired but also “having the guts to continuously practice the art.”

“Your generation is lucky because right at your nose, you have the materials that you can use to develop yourselves. You just have to strive and be patient,” Rival said.

Rival worked as an artist for Marvel Comics who illustrated the graphic novel, “Kingdom on the Island of the Apes.” with reports from Karl Ben L. Arlegui

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