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Archive for the ‘Casual’ Category

This post corresponds to the Friday meme of the Filipino Reader Conference. And I’m proud to say there will be a First (Yes, you read it right) Filipino Reader Conference on September 14 at SM Mall of Asia. And I’m disappointed to confess that I can’t attend the event. (Why does the Philippines have to be an archipelago?) So much for lamenting the continental drift theory, the topic about this meme is: How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines? What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader (e.g. availability of books)? What are positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines (e.g. book prices are lower here than they are abroad)?

Philippines is a nation of nonreaders. Although statistics suggest that we, Filipinos, have high literacy rate, an average student can only pick one or two books in his lifetime unless of course if he or she is forced to do so (English Book Reports?). The problem is not the availability of the books or its prices but the number of Filipinos who view reading as a waste of time. Unlike an avid reader (I’m referring to myself), these people don’t see the beauty of words, how it can transport you from a coffee shop in London to a forest in South America to an inter-galactic war in outerspace. I’m not saying films, documentaries or any other visual medias are not as effective as literature but I’m pointing out that books also exists for entertainment. By reading books, you let your brain do its job: to think. Reading, in most cases, is a two-way process: you take in words, then you imagine, you take in words, then you imagine. Brains, elementary science tells us, uses oxygen and gives it off, when you think. This event conditions your brain just as jogging conditions your heart. Perhaps, I am getting preachy but you get the point. The benefits of reading is endless.

So how does the small number of Filipino book lovers affect my reading experience? There are no book clubs, at least here in Davao. What I read may just come and go with no room for discussion. You may suggest a online book club but, who are we kidding, what’s better than having a live discourse about a book. Giving an idea and having an immediate response. In my case, I rarely spot someone reading a book (except of course in a library).

This frusturation, however, leads to some positive effects. Since there are only few readers, the library books or bookstore books are mostly available to me. (O Yea!) Recently, I just borrowed Suzanne Collin’s Catching Fire. Had there been many reader, I’ll probably get the book until next month or next semester.

They, the other Filipino bloggers, say that Philippines prices its second-hand book for less than the other countries. I guess I have to agree. Last month, I bought “Bridget Jone’s Diary” for only Php 20. (Current exhance rate is $1 = Php 43.) I don’t know about brand-new books. On our school book bazaar, I was eyeing for the “Screenwriting for Dummies” but it was expensive or was it the original price? It costs about Php 1500 or $35.

Regarding the availability of books, I have mostly no problem. Our school library has plenty of books and if there aren’t available, I can go to a bookstore or if that fails, well, there’s internet. However, there is a problem, at least for me. There is no available “e-book reader”. I tried hopping from one mall to the other, from bookstore to another. E-book readers cease to exist. ( I badly craved for a nook.)

Basically there isn’t much fun in social aspect of reading on a Filipino reader. My hopes, however, are still high that someday Filipino readers will grow in number (exponentially).

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The parade kickstarted our universities’ 63rd  Fiesta. The students, including me, gathered at the People’s Park and wore modified costumes. Some chose a “Plant vs Zombies” theme, which was evident from the protruding pea shooters, stars and wall nuts. It got even exciting when a class with an “Avatar” theme arrived. Their whole bodies tainted with dark blue and their faces looked like rambo and not to mention those Navi ears and long single braided hairs. Not for long, a group of students entered the scene wearing a yellow hard hat, jumper and a yellow shirt, a perfect costume for the minions of the film “Despicable Me”. There was even the classic “Alice in Wonderland”, oh how I love the Red Queen. But sadly, our class  didn’t anticipate this kind of costumes. Ours was less exciting. We wore a big calculator, with all those arithmetic buttons. Yes, I know. Please don’t mention it.

After the parade,  we crowded the covered court according to our respective divisions: blue for Business Management, yellow for Accountancy (that’s me!), orange for Engineering and Architecture, violet for the Computer Studies,  green for Natural Science and Mathematics, red for Humanities, white for Nursing, light blue for Philosophy and pink for Social Sciences and Education. We all faced the center platform. We were waiting for the Group Dance Showdown, participated by each division. However, I left the place in bitterness. The CS didn’t win despite their exceptional performance.

But that didn’t disappoint my whole day. On lunch, the school’s student body organization held a boodle fight. Basically, it’s where a large table with food atop and you and the other people compete for food. It was instantaneous. When they signalled for a start run, the table was already surrounded before I even got a glimpse of the food. I almost didn’t get my share but thankfully my foraging skills paid its way. I got a spot and I stayed there defending my rightful place.

I also got a trip on a book fair inside our school library. Several bookstores joined the event. There were good and mostly new books. I was even tempted to buy “Screenwriting for Dummies”. The only bummer was the price. The books were expensive that I have to spend my 3 month savings if I want to buy one. But, of course I did not, my eyes, and my money, are already set for something.

At late afternoon until early evening, there was a fire dance exhibition. There was at least five minutes native drum roll to set up the mood and then four women holding an inflamed baton marched across the field.  It was followed by the same number of men each holding another baton. Both of them whirled their instrument as we gasped for excitement. Each exhibition was more exciting than the other. The performance was so hot that we can feel the heat some 10 meters away. I never wowed as many as this one. Even the circus I attended last summer won’t be a match.

The Fiesta will run for three days. There are many events that happens simultaneously like Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking, Championship Sports Competition, Live Guitar Performance, Ateneos Got Talent, Henna Tattoo, Jazz Up Your Jeans, Film Festival,  Sayawtenista (which is the climax of the fiesta) and many more. Not to mention the existing 20+ booths to entertain the idle students. This is really a break from our studies. The only downside is you can’t attend them all.

Happy Fiesta Everyone!

The official opening of the fiesta

UPDATE: Red Queen! :]

Me and my classmates with the Red Queen

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We have many candidates. Gathering ideas. Outlining. Drafting. Revising. Editing. Submitting. Or simply getting started, particularly the first sentence. As a writer by a hobby, a profession or a virtue, we have different experiences in the torture of writing process. But of all the hardest part about writing, first sentence is ought to be in the first place, at least in my case. It is not the second sentence, the third or the last. It is not the second body paragraph or the concluding paragraph. It will always be the first sentence. The problem is not what we’ll be writing but rather how will we start it.

Image from after-the-party via Deviantart

Before I mislead you, I am not offering any help or ideas on how to get by this condition or dilemma. (But I certainly need one.) When I open my laptop’s lid and plunge into a word processor, I am faced with a blank document for a half an hour and is subject to extension or lesser if I ever get tempted to watch videos. Or worst: I never get to start anything at all. At that moment, there are many things in my mind. Many but none of deemed worthy to be the first sentence. I wrote the first sentence of the first paragraph of this post after my fourth revision, luckily.

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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to buy books. This opportunity is seldom not to mention I had to travel at least 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the nearest bookstore, excluding traffic.  I got interested reading last Christmas and I want to continue reading this summer. In total, I bought 9 books. This is already a big number for me since this is the first time I’m buying books, willingly.

So what is this post all about? Well, I’m going to list the books I got and why I chose them. My reasons are silly but I’m going to show you anyway, for the purpose of a blog post.  Here are they, in no particular order:

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I’m still not finish with my Chapter 2. I feel like there is something missing. Is it normal to feel that and spend countless hours finding what it is? I hope so. I don’t want to labeled as crazy. As the title says, I’m doing great. I have about a thousand words in it. I know it is slow but I like to keep it on my own pace.

I’m not a native English speaker. I just noticed that my verbs and subjects is punching and kicking each other. The tenses are tangled right from the beginning. It’s stupid but sometimes it makes me laugh. This fiasco reminds me to keep and read a grammar book at all times. Even though the English Language is littered with kinds and kinds of rules and exceptions. I hope can get a hold of it.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice day!

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A few days ago or it might be a week ago, I read a book named Water For Elephants by Sarah Gruen. It is basically a love story but the setting is in the circus. Well, it was also in the time of Great Depression. I learned some things both educational and not-so educational. I thought to share it with you.

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After hearing a handful and meaningful comments from other ROWers, I was able to continue in my story. I didn’t write as fast as the previous chapter but I’m really happy on my progress. I was surprise when I started writing ; all of the details seem to fall in place. The comments was so invigorating that not only I started to plan Chapter 2 but also Chapter 3. I also realized that creative writing takes liberty. I may watch out some of the thumb-rules (and grammar of course) but other than there are no constraints to limit my story. It was fun. My mind is plotting ahead of me.

After contemplating on the last few days, I figured I am not productive when I don’t planned ahead. Without goal, I can’t figure out if my progress is good or bad. Thus, I decided to reach 250 words at the end of each day. And by every week I will have a chapter.

Again, Thank You for the community. I will give back the favor to you all.


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