I know I’ve talked about Filipino Book Bloggers here on my blog several times. It’s a site that I created to bring Filipino book bloggers together. Last September 25, we had our first ever meet up! We decided to meet up in Starbucks in Shangrila Mall since it seemed convenient for everyone.
I don’t have an attendance sheet with me so I’m sorry if I forget to mention anyone but I think these were the bloggers who attended – Paolo and Shaps, Kenneth, Jasper, Aldrin and Jansen, Tarie, Honey, Michelle, Gege, Jason, Rezel, Tina, Aaron, Ace, Ariel, Celina and Carljoe Javier stopped by to sign copies of his book, Kobayashi Maru of Love. Thank you all for coming! I think it’s safe to say that the meet up was a success because I wasn’t expecting that many people to attend.
I’m so glad I finally got to meet everyone because I know most of these people through online means and it feels good to put faces behind the names. I’m also happy I got to meet Celina because we exchange messages every day but we’ve only met in person once. Yes, I’m wearing my Queen’s Thief necklace, further proof of my fangirl-ness. Click on any of the pictures to embiggen.
It was funny how the group started with just two tables and then as more people showed up, we kept adding more tables to accommodate everyone. We ended up squished around four small tables. I know the location wasn’t conducive for the kind of discussion that we had because it wasn’t that quiet. Maybe next time, we can go to a restaurant with a function room. I promise I’ll look into it. I just didn’t really expect that we’d have that big of a group.
I’m pretty thankful that there weren’t any awkward silences after the introductions because everyone mostly jumped in and started talking about random things. As expected with big groups, most of us broke off into smaller groups and I’d like to think that we got to know one another a little better with all of the side conversations. The most serious topic that we discussed was something that I’ve tried to bring up in the past two Filipino Friday discussions. I think it all started when Honey wrote her thoughts about the Future of the Book conference. I think it was Paolo who first brought it up during the meet up and then Tarie and Kenneth contributed their thoughts. Basically, we talked about how local publishers see readers as the “imagined public” and they don’t really know that there are a lot of Filipino readers out there, let alone Filipino book bloggers. I think there were some great ideas thrown out. Tarie mentioned that if we want local publishers to pay more attention to us, we should read and review more Filipino books. But we both agreed that most book bloggers already have niche genres and we can’t really force people to read Filipino books if nothing out there interests them. Fortunately for me, there are several Filipino speculative fiction books that I could explore and I know there are still some young adult books out there that I haven’t discovered. In any case, I told everyone that if they do put up reviews of books by Filipino authors, they should send me a link so I can post a roundup during Filipino Fridays.
The meet up started at around 3pm and around dinnertime, there were still a couple of people left so we decided to move to Sango to have Japanese burgers for dinner. After which, we made the rounds in the bookstores in that mall – Powerbooks, National Bookstore and Fully Booked. I don’t know if I should be happy or sad that I wasn’t able to buy anything. But then again, I already bought a signed copy of Kobayashi Maru of Love and I borrowed Paolo’s copy of A Time for Dragons. I had a great time talking about books for most of the day and I think Michelle sums it up quite nicely when she said, “Great to be a Filipino book blogger at this time.”
Jason mentioned that the discussion was pretty serious for a first meet up and that it would’ve been better if we first did a more “getting to know you” type of thing. We could still do that on the next meet up. 🙂 Just let me know when you guys want to have it, I’m thinking we should have another one before the year ends. If a lot of people attend the second meet up, we can break off into smaller groups and then rotate so that all of us will be able to talk to one another.
Pictures from my camera can be found here.
Other accounts of the meet up:
Jason of Taking a Break
Aldrin of The Polysyllabic Spree
Kenneth of Philippine Genre Stories
Michelle of ArtSeblis
Tina of One More Page
Aaron of Guy Gone Geek
Ariel of I am Pinoy Peter Pan
Tarie of Into the Wardrobe