Yes, books were aplenty at the MIBF last September 12-16, 2008 but I bought only the titles that fit my budget. Though I only had three titles in my book bag, my best finds at the book fair were friends, old and new.
Here's Andy Arcilla-DeGuzman, an old friend from college. She now has two kids and works as librarian at the Philippine Christian University in Dasmarinas, Cavite. Her kids are Victor (8) and Nicole (7). Andy and I go along way back. It's pretty strange how we would only meet once a year at the book fair. With email and texting technology, I'm challenged to keep in touch with her more frequently. We have a lot of catching up to do.
(L-R)Frauline Oclarit, Ariel Oclarit, Me and Dr. Luis "Tito Dok" Gatmaitan.
The Oclarits were at the MIBF to touch base with friends and professionals in the library industry. Frauline and I met during the 2005 IASL Conference in Hong Kong. Imagine that! She's from Mindanao and I, from Manila but we met in bustling Hong Kong, a Chinese territory. She presented a professional paper at the time while I was the eager participant. This time around, she's helping out hubby Ariel in setting up DREAM Children Project (Democratizing Reading Among Mindanaoan Children) in barangays in South Cotabato. From their stories, four reading centers have been set up already but books are wanting as well as people who could help run sustainable programs for literacy development. I am awaiting email from either of the Oclarits since I am interested to help out in whatever way I can. The thought of going to South Cotabato is dangerously exciting!
I'm with Melody Remorca and daughter Marky. Luis Gatmaitan poses with us and takes a bite of Pilandok's mango. In 1997, Melody and I began telling stories for Museo Pambata and National Bookstore. At the time, NBS still had their famed Kiddie Book Club. Part of their activity was storytelling sessions in several branches. I did storytelling gigs for NBS on weekends and partnered with Melody several times in many a storytelling sessions. A decade after, we're still very much active in the industry that shaped who are.
In spite of these happy encounters, I could not help but think what destiny is trying to tell me. For the past three months now, I've been bumping into old friends and acquaintances; people I knew from my past. I'm tickled by the idea of a bigger plan forming in the cosmos for me to know and discover what is. I know I'n being "speculative" about this, but good finds are hard to find. It's the kind that does not happen every day.