What Kind of Day Guest Post: See This Manila

Very happy to have romanceclass author (and foundress) Mina V. Esguerra on the blog today for a guest post about her latest release: What Kind of Day. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet but it’s been generating a lot of buzz on my social media timelines. In the book, the heroine takes people on an alternative tour of Metro Manila and Mina shares some of the real-life spots in the metro that inspired some of the locations in her book. Personally, I love the idea of going on a tour in your own city. I feel like there’s always something new that you can discover even if you’ve lived in the same place your whole life. And based on the places Mina highlighted below, I feel like Naya and I can be good friends. 😛

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See This Manila by Mina V. Esguerra

I absolutely love traveling, and tried to do a lot of it even when my salary was tiny and could barely cover the big things you were supposed to pay for as an adult. A habit I picked up during that time was having to DIY my tours. City tours tend to have a specific kind of traveler in mind. They were hit or miss for me…and often I opted out of them. I don’t know if this is a habit formed from having to save up and stay on budget, but I often go to a city just wanting to experience how people did the things I loved to do. Where do they get their books, what do they create here, and what do they eat?

I had all of that in mind when writing my book What Kind of Day. My female main character Naya is a tour guide, but she won’t bring you to the exact same spots you’d get from a conventional tour of Manila. Half of the book is Naya’s tour from start to finish, and I designed a tour that was fictional, but based on actual things you could see and do in the city in one day.

I wanted to mention a few real-life inspirations for the tour stops, or at least in theory, because I don’t want to spoil anything else in the book for you.

Some real-life suggestions for a trip to an art gallery, a kare-kare lunch, a people-watching walk, that may or may not have influenced the settings in the book!

Pinto Art Museum (technically not in Metro Manila, but a must-see)

If you live in Manila, what do you think should be part of an “alternative” tour of it? What’s your favorite city spot?

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What Kind of DayBook Description:
It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.

It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.

She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.

Reread: Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Fairy Tale Fail was the first ever Mina V. Esguerra book that I read way back in 2010! It’s part of her Chic Manila series, which has several standalone titles that are loosely tied together only in the sense that the books are set in Manila and the main characters from each book know each other in some way. A new edition of this book has been released with a cover featuring theater actors Gio Gahol and Gab Pangilinan, and a short epilogue. Here’s the cover and synopsis:

Fairy Tale Fail 2017

Ellie Manuel is a hopeless romantic, stuck in a cubicle all day. She’s in her twenties and should be having more fun. But instead of doing what she really wants, like traveling wherever her Philippine passport can take her, she’s hung up on the guy who dumped her for not being “ambitious enough.” Someone should tell her that there are other cool guys — who probably even eat at the same office cafeteria! — who would encourage her just to be her fabulous self.

I couldn’t help but reread it when I got my hands on thew edition. I have fond memories of this book and have been recommending it to all my friends, along with the rest of Mina’s books. I’m still waiting for Litsy posts to become embed-able on WordPress so in the meantime, I’ll just copy and paste my Litsy review: I remember when I read this for the first time in 2010, I felt like the story was a slice out of MY real life. Philippine setting (complete with typhoons, bulalo and siomai), Manila corporate work environment. And I was the same age as the characters at that time. Reread it in one sitting today, and it felt like catching up with old friends. The kilig/swoon factor is still there and the new epilogue was a nice bonus.💖

I did notice that the heat level for Fairy Tale Fail was very low. It’s the same for all of Mina’s earlier books. I guess it was just the expectation and trend at that time for Filipino-romance-in-English to have fade to black love scenes. I’m very happy to report that this isn’t the case nowadays. 🙂 I had fun revisiting Ellie and Lucas, more so because I don’t get to reread old favorites as much as I would want to. Now that the rainy season is here, I want to have bulalo (a Filipino type of broth that has meat and marrow) because it was mentioned in one of the pivotal scenes in the book. I think every Filipino romance should mention at least one Filipino dish that would make readers crave for it.

If you’re ever in mood for Filipino romance, Mina V. Esguerra’s books are always a good place to start. 😀