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Better At Weddings Than You Blog Tour: Food Inspiration

Mina V. Esguerra is a prolific Filipino romance author and the founder of #romanceclass, a community of Filipino romance authors who publish books independently. I have featured her books and her writing countless times here on my blog, and I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for her latest release: Better At Weddings Than You. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I need to work on a review to share more of my thoughts about it. Aside from romance books, one thing that Mina and I share is our love of food! I noticed that Better At Weddings Than You had references to some restaurants and certain dishes, and I thought it would be a great topic for a guest post. I hope this guest post will make you curious enough to read the book when it comes out, and also to try the food mentioned here! 🙂

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Food Inspiration: As featured in Better At Weddings Than You
by Mina V. Esguerra

My books are not about food, but they may as well be. I write contemporary romance but I also love food… and I keep talking about it. Especially when I’m writing anything set in the Philippines. With Better At Weddings Than You, the premise that the main characters Daphne and Aaron worked in the wedding industry formed the “menu” for this book. Here’s a selection and the real-life counterparts!

  • Christmas Eve dinner (Real thing: Spiral Restaurant at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel)

My favorite part. Picking out desserts! One whole day sa treadmill.

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Daphne and Aaron meet over Christmas Eve dinner at a fancy hotel restaurant by the Manila Bay, and if you’re familiar with the area it’s an easy guess that it might actually be Spiral Restaurant at the Sofitel. If you know me at all, then you’d be sure — I adore the large restaurant, the seafood, salads, meats, and the cheese room.

  • Tea shop meeting (Real things: Rustic Mornings and TWG)

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So the tea shop I describe in an early chapter of the book doesn’t actually exist (that I know of) but it’s based on the many small restaurants popping up in the city. It would have a look similar to Rustic Mornings by Isabelo in Marikina, but with a tea list that would remind you of a page from the menu of TWG. Just a page, because TWG of Singapore’s full menu would be too much for a quaint neighborhood tea place!

  • Caterer Food Tasting scene (Real thing: K by Cunanan)

How do you choose your caterer for your wedding? You taste their food. While planning my own wedding I (seriously) sampled the menus of three caterers, and one of the visits kind of went like the scene in my book. K by Cunanan is one caterer you’d encounter in the industry, and they did our wedding. We loved the food and their reception venue styling.

  • Chicharon salad (Real thing: Chef Sharwin Tee’s Tempura Bacon Salad)

In one scene, Daphne gets to reveal something about herself and I get to describe a decadent salad. Everything I said about the salad is directly from a food memory – of eating my friend Sharwin’s Tempura Bacon Salad at his restaurant. I replaced the bacon with chicharon though. If you can make this salad happen, let me know! I think it works well with a fruit vinaigrette, by the way.

Believe it or not, I had to edit this list so I don’t go on and on. Thank you, Chachic, for giving me the space on your blog! Better At Weddings Than You comes out April 15 and its Amazon link is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKS8Y1T

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Book Description:
Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job.

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

(Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.)

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National Book Store’s #ReadOutLoudChallenge

National Book Store, the most popular bookstore in the Philippines, is hosting a #ReadOutLoudChallenge. They are inviting every reader to post a video on Facebook or Instagram, reading a few lines from their favorite books, using the mentioned hashtag. For every 75 videos posted, they will help build one public school library. The goal is to reach 75,000 videos. This is a pretty big deal since I’ve talked about how public libraries aren’t very common (nor are they well-supplied) so anything that would help promote reading in the country is a good thing. Anyone can join! Just make sure your post is visible to the public. If you do decide to join, please feel free to send me a link. 🙂

National Book Store ReadOutLoudChallenge

My entry is posted on Instagram and linked below. For those of you who are wondering how my name is pronounced or what my voice sounds like, you can check out my video. Good thing I have a friend who knows her way around shooting and editing videos because I wouldn’t have been able to do come up with something this professional looking otherwise. We did it in one take though, so it’s not super polished. It’s probably obvious that I’m sitting in my desk at work, with my mini lomo wall as the background. As always, it feels a little weird seeing myself on video. 😛

@nbsalert's #ReadOutLoudChallenge accepted! I was challenge by @fantaghiro23 to participate - for every 75 videos posted, National Bookstore will help set up a library in a public school, and the goal is to reach 7,500 videos!📚📖 I've mentioned more than once that the Philippines doesn't have good public libraries, so any initiative that helps give children access to books is awesome. I read from one of my favorite @minavesguerra books, Learning to Fall, which has a book blogger heroine.💖 I challenge everyone to do this because more videos means more libraries! But I specifically challenge @dementedchris @alexalovesbooks @bookthingo. . . Special thanks to multimedia expert @karen_mrsg for shooting this video! 🙌 . . . #NationalBookstore #readoutloud #reading #bookblogger #booknerd #bibliophile #IGbooks #bookstagram #bookworm #instabooks #romance #romanceclass #LearningtoFall #MinaVEsguerra

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I know I keep apologizing for not being more active on WordPress lately, but there’s just so much going on in real life that I can’t keep up! Happy to report that I’m still plugged into the book blogosphere through Twitter, Litsy (username: Chachic), and Instagram because I have all of those on my smartphone. Click here, here, here, here, and here, to see some samples of my posts on Litsy, where you’ll be able to see that I’ve learned to utilize scrapbook embellishments in my books pics. So even if I’m not on WordPress a lot, I hope I still get to see all of you in all those other channels. 🙂


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Best of 2016

Happy New Year! 😀 I think we can all agree that 2016 was a difficult year on so many levels. There was so many things happening on an international scale, as well as in the Philippines (which still affects me a great deal even if I’m based in Singapore for work). On a personal front, I resigned from my previous job and started a new one. It hasn’t been smooth sailing and I’ve been struggling with having a sense of belonging. Of course, all of these have affected my reading and blogging life, which is why I haven’t been posting as much as I would want to. I’m still online on a daily basis but it has been easier for me to constantly update the social networks that I have on my phone such as Litsy (username: Chachic), Twitter and Instagram. Going forward, I think this will continue for a while. It’s just so much easier for me to check, update and reply on my phone. My laptop has been acting up and it’s been a pain to open it up and go online. Plus real life stuff happening has made everything harder. The struggle is real!

Anyway, I have a tradition of posting my favorite reads for the previous year whenever the new year rolls around, I’m a few days late but it’s still within the first week of 2017! You can check out my previous posts through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. In no particular order, here are the books that I loved in 2016 (linked to my reviews if I have them):

a-darker-shade-of-magic a-gathering-of-shadows The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms the-broken-kingdoms

a-promise-of-fire magic-binds master-of-crows

Act Like It Summer Skin In the Middle of Somewhere Out of Nowhere

Amulet The Stonekeeper Monstress fresh-romance

It’s safe to say that I read more than I blogged in 2016. 😛 That’s seven speculative fiction titles, four contemporary romance and three graphic novels. It’s funny because the easiest genre for me to get into is contemporary romance but it looks like the books that stand out more for me are fantasy titles. I think my sweet spot is fantasy with a well-written romance. In addition to these, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would know that I’ve been trying to read and promote books written by Filipino authors. I haven’t read that many of them this year but the ones I enjoyed reading have been:

Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Iris After the Incident

That’s 2016 for me. How was yours? What were your favorite reads from the past year? 🙂


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Author Guest Post from Thessa Lim

Hello, bookish friends! Today, I have a guest post from Filipino author Thessa Lim. Both Thessa and I are based in Singapore (and also studied in the same university) but we’ve yet to meet. Hopefully we can do that soon. 🙂 She has recently launched her debut contemporary novel in her Of Heads and Hearts series. I’ve received a review copy of it but because of my huge TBR pile, I have no idea when I’ll be able to read or review it. But because I’m always interested in promoting Filipino authors, I invited her over on the blog to give all of you a better idea of what her life as a writer is like. Please give Thessa a warm welcome!

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All in a Day’s Work
By Thessa Lim

thessa-lim-1

Since I’ve published my first novel, people have been asking me how I find the time to write. At first, it might seem like a writer is able to set a whole day simply and purely for writing. He would just drive to a nice café and write effortlessly as inspiration runs loose in his head. But a lot of writers maintain day jobs and have families to tend. And so here goes my version of a working-mother-slash-writer’s day.

thessa-lim-3The Early Morn Apparition – My day as a writer does not start at eight a.m., with me lounging next to my laptop, having a slice of toasted baguette and a cup of hot cocoa on hand. It starts at three a.m., which is when I usually rouse into some state of consciousness after having put my little boy to sleep five hours back. My husband is out like a light too. Yes! I position my Lenovo Yoga at the foot of the bed, sit on my son’s little blue chair, turn on my book light, and start working. I look pretty much like a White Lady staying by people’s bed at night, but my husband knows better. So if he somewhat awakens while my mouse goes a-clicking, he doesn’t scream. Although it is spent in semi-darkness, this is my writer’s me time. It’s like gold.

thessa-lim-2The Lunch Hour Rush – I grab my tablet, hurry out of the office, and head to the nearest café. While silently condemning the customer before me in the queue for taking time with his order, I check that my favorite spot is free. I then quickly chope it. Later, I settle down at the table and take a bite out of a cheap eat from the menu. Didn’t I just have this the other day? I scan the food list again for more scrumptious offerings. I see the prices. This’ll do. Nomnomnomnom.

thessa-lim-5The Final Fix at EOD – I step onto the station’s platform. Two trains going in opposite directions whizz by. I glance at the clock. Fifteen minutes before I definitely have to head home—this window is good enough. I sit on a bench. After ten trains have come and gone, I’ve either edited half of a chapter or added in a couple of paragraphs. I then squeeze into a train with the rest of the throng and continue tapping on my device’s screen, like a freaking nerd who won’t give it a rest, balancing the gadget so that I could work on it without hitting other people.

I reach home, where my husband and son would be — my two other great joys.

My days are hectic, tiring. And while I look forward to more leisurely days, I’m grateful that I’m inspired, able to write, and able to publish.

This is my writer’s daily grind. What’s yours like? 🙂

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Thessa is the author of the book Of Heads and Hearts in the Metro, a new adult fiction for women set in modern-day Philippines. The book, which revolves around the struggles and triumphs of four Filipinas and which is the first installment in the Of Heads and Hearts series, reveals the life-saving element of friendship and the intricate dynamics within it. To know more, visit her website at http://www.thessalim.com or like her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ThessaLimOfficial.

thessa-lim-4


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#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy – Week 2 Round Up

Second week of posting about Filipino books! I’m glad I was able to keep this up for another week. Week 1 round up can be found here. All posts are from Instagram. Again, I hope this will encourage other readers to become interested in featuring or reading Filipino books… there’s still more than half a month for everyone to join #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy.

Day 8:

"I looked at his plate. The chocolate cake crumbs looked so forlorn, scattered and stark on the white porcelain. If it were me eating, I'd scrape the plate clean. I wouldn't want food to feel the way I was feeling now: forlorn and undesirable." – Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera . . . Really enjoyed reading this Filipino YA novel, which is also available internationally through Amazon. Included in this shot are Gryphon Tea's Pearl of the Orient and Martin's Marvelous cookies. . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #ChocoChipHips #AgayLlanera #romanceclass #youngadult #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #bookandtea #tea #teatime #teacup #cookies #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 9:

Happy Birthday, Singapore! For today's #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post, I had to choose a book that has (loose) ties to SG. @minavesguerra's Welcome to Envy Park has a main character who worked in SG for several years before moving back to Manila. I have gifted this book to most of my girlfriends who have worked in SG. . . . I chose to take this pic in front of the historic Fullerton Hotel because it's one of my favorite structures in SG, the old central post office that got converted into a hotel. Also, this shot can be called buwis Kindle at smartphone shot. Medyo katakot malaglag sa river. . . . #WelcometoEnvyPark #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #Kindle #ebook #TheFullertonHotel #SingaporeRiver #ExploreSingapore #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 10:

 

Day 11:

"When I first developed a love for this kind of storytelling, cameras were much larger. Today I was wrapping my palm around a digital video camera so small that I kept it on a chain around my neck so it wouldn't accidentally get knocked out of my hand by a gentle breeze." – Falling Hard by @minavesguerra . . . I don't have a video cam so I had to make do with my (barely used) point and shoot. Falling Hard was previously published as The Harder We Fall and is a fun new adult romance between a film major and a rugby player. . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #FallingHard #TheHarderWeFall #MinaVEsguerra #AddisonHill #newadult #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #Kindle #ebook #camera #Canon #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 12:

"She liked air. The very idea of it. Of something ever present, always needed, but virtually invisible. Now, one could LIKE something, on a philosophical level, that much, without having to put herself through an evinronmental science degree, do internships, move to New York City to take a job as an air quality consultant, but that was Lindsay Kresta. Admittedly she took things too far sometimes." 🌬🌬🌬 – Fallen Again by @minavesguerra . . . I forgot to do a #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post yesterday so I have two for today! "Air" is a little difficult to take a pic of so I went with this shot. . . . #FallenAgain #NeverJustFriends #MinaVEsguerra #AddisonHill #newadult #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #Kindle #ebook #air #trees #window #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 13:

You know you're a book nerd when you bring three paperbacks to brunch, not because you're reading them but because you want to take a nice pic for #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy. I'm probably not the only one who does that, right? 😅📚💐 Thanks to my good friend @dementedchris for copies of these Visprint pretties. I've only read Cover Story Girl but definitely planning to read the other two! . . . #SavetheCake #StellaTorres #VintageLove #AgayLlanera #CoverStoryGirl #ChrisMariano #Visprint #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #paperbacks #TWGcafe #TWGtea #cafehoppingSG #IonOrchard #flowers #bouquet #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 14:

The book that started it all! I was introduced to @minavesguerra's writing through Fairy Tale Fail. I bought it based on a rec by @storiestotell, read it in one sitting and kept recommending it to all my friends after.💖📖 I remember my kabarkada @chuchayed read it on my Kindle while we were hanging out in Starbucks one time. I could TOTALLY relate to Ellie, more so because I was the same age as she was when I read the book. And Lucas is an awesome hero. Ellie's thing is traveling and planning hypothetical trips so I included bits of stuff from my own travels in this shot. No major trip for me this year though. Sad. 😔 . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #FairyTaleFail #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #Kindle #ebook #travel #passport #postcards #stamps #bookmarks #ChachicsBookNook

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#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy – Week 1 Round Up

It’s been a week since #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy started (find out more about the event here) and I wanted to do a round up of the posts I’ve made on Instagram. I have been posting a pic of a book written by a Filipino author everyday, and so far, I think I’ve done a good job of finding a background or object that goes well with the story. It’s been fun to come up with these shots but I have no idea if I’ll be able to keep up with a post a day. Let’s see how it goes.

I’ve realized that I can embed Instagram posts on WordPress so I’m trying it out now, instead of uploading the pics from my phone like I used to.

Day 1:

Truffle ramen and a Filipino romance set in Japan. Perfect combination, right? While truffle fries are pretty common in SG, this is the first time I've tried truffle ramen and it was delicious. Thanks to @jambitzz for the heads up. August is #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy so I will be reading and posting about books written by Filipino authors during this month. Anyone can join and use the hashtag. If you've been planning to read Filipino books, then now is the perfect time to do so! 💖📖 some titles can even be requested on Overdrive. . . . #BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor #CPSanti #romanceclass #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #romance #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #Kindle #ebook #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotography #reading #KanshokuRamen #truffleramen #ramen #truffle #SGfood #SGeats #SGfoodie #IGSG #foodstagram #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 2:

My second #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post features my most recent read, Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes. This Filipino romance came highly recommended by Courtney Milan. While I didn't love it as much as she did, I found it to be sweet and cute in a really nerdy way. Full review up on my blog (link in my bio). Kaya, the main character in the book, loves matcha lattes. My go-to place for matcha is St. Marc's Cafe. . . . #BeginnersGuideLoveandOtherChemicalReactions #TalkingNerdy #SixdelosReyes #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #Kindle #ebook #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotography #StMarcCafe #matcha #matchalatte #cafehoppingSG #cafe #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 3:

 

Day 4:

 

Day 5:

Today's #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post is @minavesguerra's Wedding Night Stand, a novella set during a wedding just outside Manila. I really enjoyed this and liked the MCs, Andrea and Damon. I was happy with where this book ended, but the couple's story is continued in a longer book called What You Wanted. . . Thanks to my SG BFF @nj_reyes for the assist in this shot. You know you have a true friend when she willingly looks for a bridal shop with you, just for the sake of a bookstagram. . . . #MinaVEsguerra #WeddingNightStand #ChicManila #newadult #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #Kindle #ebook #wedding #bridalgown #fashion #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 6:

Mocha, lemon tart and @minavesguerra's What You Wanted, the book that continues Andrea and Damon's story from Wedding Night Stand. This is probably the foodie-est out of all of Mina's books, and I approve!☕🍽 Check out this snippet about Damon, which was why I chose to take a pic of the book with coffee: "Damon's mealtimes where freakishly long, but he always ended them with coffee… Coffee meant he had digested, exhausted all topics of conversation, and was ready to go do something else." . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #MinaVEsguerra #WhatYouWanted #ChicManila #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #cafehoppingSG #SGfood #SGdesserts #ExploreSingapore #TiongBahruBakery #coffee #mocha #latteart #lemontart #bookandcoffee #ChachicsBookNook

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Day 7:

"We talk about how Paris is a city built for both lovers and loners; about how it can be both familiar and new, how she can feel like home but never get old. We talk about museums and the gardens, the bridges and the streets, and wonder how every corner can be so darn pretty. I love how the conversation is growing. It's full of twists and turns that we have no problem following – and it's been so long since I talked to a man this way, in a coffee shop, while wearing nice clothes. I feel so full, and I know it's not because I had way too many cookies."📚📖🗼 – Loveless. Childlesss. Clueless by @mirenbflores . . . I know the Kindle cover in this shot is a little too light, but it's so difficult to get a clearer pic. Sometimes, it can be frustrating when the book cover on Kindle isn't as nice as it is on a physical copy. Makes bookstagramming more challenging! . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #LovelessChildlessClueless #MirenBFlores #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #bookquote #indie #postcards #Paris #ChachicsBookNook

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These pictures are bigger than what I’m used to posting on the blog, but I like that it’s linked to my original Instagram post. I also couldn’t find a way to center the pics so they’re all on the left.

If you’re interested in featuring or reading Filipino books, there’s still lots of time for you to join #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy. 🙂 I would love for more readers (both Filipino and non-Filipino) to read books written by Filipino authors.


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#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy 2016 – time to read Filipino books!

It’s that time of the year again! Today marks the start of #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy, a campaign that was launched last year and will be celebrated again this year. August is Buwan ng Wika in the Philippines, which is the month dedicated to celebrating the Filipino language. To coincide with this, a campaign is being hosted by Edgar Calabia Samar (Twitter, Facebook), author of the Janus Silang series, to encourage people to read Filipino books. #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy can be roughly translated as “Month of Filipino Authors” or even “Month of Filipino Books”. Anyone can participate by using this hashtag on various social media platforms – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. So if you’ve been meaning to try reading a Filipino book, this is the perfect time to do so!

There’s an overview of the campaign, which you can read over here (it’s written in Filipino). And interestingly, I was briefly mentioned in there:

BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy - Chachic's Book Nook

The caption can be translated to “observe Chachic’s Book Nook’s elaborate preparation for pictures”. Hahaha! I think it’s awesome that I got a shout out. I did a round up of my #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy posts last year, which you can view here. I will mostly be posting on Instagram with links shared on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m planning to do a round up on the blog as well.

BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy2016

Since the title of the campaign is in Filipino, I believe the main goal is to encourage Filipino readers to pick up titles by Filipino authors. But I am also hoping that non-Filipino readers would be interested in picking up Filipino books. There are loads of books by Filipino authors that are written in English. In fact, those are the type of books that I’m planning to read this month. Some of them can even be requested from Overdrive. So come and join the fun. 🙂