Hello bookworms! It’s that time of the month again where we get to enjoy various events as we go into the 38th Manila International Book Fair. This year, MIBF will be held starting tomorrow, until Sunday (September 17th) at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.
As low as Php 20 (roughly 0.40 USD), you can enter the venue and stay all day! To recall a famous tagline from a local TV commercial, “Hanggang saan aabot ang bente pesos mo?” (“Where will your 20 pesos take you?“). Surely, Manila International Book Fair would be the top answer for fellow bookworms.
I’ve been attending the book fair every year since 2013 and each year I did notice it getting bigger and better. Earlier this year, the MIBF team announced that their floor exhibits will be bigger than ever, occupying two floors with the second floor entirely devoted for Children’s and YA books. Naturally, as a YA reader, I’m very excited to see this upgrade!
And since I’m practically a pro when it comes to MIBF, I’m sharing a few tips for you, especially for first timers, so you can enjoy the fair!
For the last years, I have noticed a drastic change in terms of the fair’s attendees. Three years ago, I attended the fair on the first day so it was a Wednesday. Since it was a workday, there’s fewer people and it’s relaxing to roam around and check the exhibit. Last year, I went on a Thursday, and the floor was surprisingly packed with people. It was still around noon and my friends and I stayed for a while. I’ve seen that the lines were long and some shelves were getting empty ON A THURSDAY! What more if it’s a weekend and people aren’t at work? Let’s see.
Jem and I actually went back Saturday that same week and it was harder to roam around. The checkout lines were very long that the staff held up signs which indicate the last person on the line. The space was really cramped and narrow, it was hard to navigate. Must be why they decided to expand the floor exhibit.
So, it’s better to go in early, and on a weekday so you can avoid the peak hours where people rush in.
Wear comfortable shoes
This is very essential. You’ll be expected to roam around the halls in search for books. Some stalls even have freebies so it’s better to check those out. From my experience, I usually just check out National Bookstore and Fully Booked’s sections but still I end up with my feet hurting after due to the constant walking. Of course, I also check out NBS and Fully Booked at SM MoA so I go back and forth from SMX to the mall. Still, all worth it for the books!
It’s better to bring a friend too! Even though walking can get too tiring, you’ll be enjoying every bit of the fair.
Bring A List of Books You’ll Buy… Or None At All
I did this every year, except last year. I jot down the books that I have the highest priority in buying and it worked well for me. I also have my calculator app open to check if the books are still within my budget. Although, your friend can make you or break you. They can either force you to buy a book, or not to buy one and stay within your budget hahaha! Last year, I really had no intention of buying more than one book, but my friend persuaded me to buy another one (broke me but I didn’t regret buying it).
Tote bags or eco-bags are a must!
Depending on how many books you’ll end up buying, get your tote bags ready. Like what I’ve mentioned earlier, some booths offer freebies, so it’ll be easier to store them in these tote bags. I also recommend to carry a light bag, just bring your essentials (such as phone, wallet, ID, umbrella) with you, so it wouldn’t be a hassle to check them every time you go in and out of the venue. Although, there’s a baggage counter inside the venue, but that would be another line you’ll have to conquer once people starts pouring in.
Cash and Cards
Of course, this is the most important! Don’t forget to bring some extra cash in case you spot a rare book or some merch from booths. There are events happening simultaneously such as fan conventions and book signings so if you’re into them, it’s cool to be ready.
Most bookstore booths have their selection 20% off so you’ll get a big discount and you might break into a shopping spree so it’s good to have your credit cards on hand just in case. Loyalty/Reward cards are essential too, since you might knock an extra 10% off, or earn points from your purchase!
If you’re short on the coins, it’s cool to just check out the book selections. Besides, we do enjoy staring at books, don’t we?
Some exhibitors also offer free printable passes so you can grab them online. I’d recommend National Bookstore and Summit Books’ cute designs. Fully Booked also gives free passes, just ask the customer service staff on duty.
Of course, these tips are just mere guidance. You can choose to follow them or ignore them as you please. There isn’t any perfect way to enjoy the fair, rather than to experience it yourself.
I hope to see you at MIBF this week!