Storm (and Statue) Chasin’

We attended the second of Prof. Ambeth Ocampo’s “History Comes Alive” lectures at the Ayala Museum last week. The topic was Apolinario Mabini, and I definitely learned a lot from the lecture. I seem to have slept through my old history classes, unfortunately, because there were a lot of things that were new to me, like this one:

and this

Anyway, a book always comes with our ticket to the lectures, and this time, we got Prof. Ocampo’s newest volume of the “Looking Back” series of essay collections.

Storm Chasers signed

Aside from a very informative essay on actual historical Pinoy storm chasers and the origins of institutions like the Manila Observatory and PAGASA, the piece that I gravitated to the most was “Tolentino’s Oblation”. Being a graduate of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, this really sparked my interest because, sadly, I know so little about the icon of my alma mater.

Apparently, the model of the statue was not Fernando Poe Sr. and it used to be completely naked until the President of the University back then asked Tolentino to cover its family jewels. I was also surprised to learn that the Oblation standing in front of the admin building is just a replica, and that the original used to be kept in one of the rooms in the upper floors of the Main Library! I spent a lot of time in the reading rooms of the Main Library because I found it more relaxing than the Engineering Library, where everyone always seemed to be frantically studying and studying and studying. Not that I didn’t study in the library, but there seemed to be a lot more nervous energy in Melchor Hall. Plus the Main Lib was where the fiction books were. (Now you know my priorities.) XD

It’s just a bit disappointing that I didn’t even know this when I was still a student. Although, come to think of it, even if I knew about this back then, I would have had to convince some friends to come with me because the sight of the stairs going up beyond the reading room floors used to give me the chills.

I hope to get a chance to see the original Oblation some time.

Next up in the “History Comes Alive” series — Juan Luna: Face-to-Face on August 30.


Add “Storm Chasers” to your Goodreads shelf:

goodreads add

Stephanie and The Girl Who Read

I got to meet the very lovely and bubbly New York Times Bestselling Author slash Hug Machine Stephanie Perkins a couple of weeks ago during the National Book Store-sponsored signing events here in the country.


Like many of the authors who visited before her, Stephanie seemed surprised but very happy to see how many readers and fans she has here. That rock star reception in two cities is definite proof that many people love her books.

What’s so memorable about Stephanie is how she talks to each and every person in line, even if it’s just to ask how they are doing if they are too shy to talk first, or to compliment someone, or to answer a question. And the HUGS! There’s just something about Stephanie that makes you want to hug her. I wasn’t planning to, but after we took a photo, I just had the sudden urge to. I’m not sure how many people she hugged that day in the Manila signing because there were more than 600 people in line. But HUGS for everyone! bighug

She had quite a lengthy and enlightening discussion with NBS’s Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla and Town and Country magazine’s Ms. Yvette Fernandez before the signing, but what remains most significant to me is her advice for writers:

To all of the writers out there, the number one piece of advice I have for you is to learn how to read like a writer. And what I mean is that when you’re reading a book, take it a little bit slower and be a little more conscious and self-aware. When you’re reading something and you have a reaction— it doesn’t matter what the reaction is. If it’s something funny, or makes you swoon, or scares you, or makes you angry, stop and go back and see how the author made that happen. Good books and bad books can be equally effective. When you’re reading and you go, ugh, terrible! Stop and think why and what you’re not enjoying about it.

I always tell my readers who want to be authors that the people I read in school growing up–like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens–they didn’t take writing classes. They learned how to write by reading. I encourage you to keep reading, keep reading, keep reading.

Most writers just tell people to read but not why and how, and Stephanie’s advice explains a lot and is, I think, a great practical advice that I will definitely take to heart. Not that I have a novel in the works…I only wish I did. XD

p.s. Thank you, National Book Store! 🙂

“The 39 Clues: Unstoppable” promo at National Book Store

Attention, all Pinoy Cahills! Enjoy the unstoppable heat of the summer season and collect limited edition The 39 Clues Branch Crest Leather Bookmarks only at National Book Store and Powerbooks! Every single purchase of 2 books of The 39 Clues series entitles you to 1 free bookmark! Promo runs from April 29, 2014 to May 30, 2014. Per DTI-NCR Permit No. 3292 Series of 2014. Click on the poster below for more details.

FINAL - 39 Clues Poster_Unstoppable Promo1 b

For those who are following the series, which branch are you part of? I’m an Ekaterina. 🙂

[Audio] Mitch Albom Book Signing Tour in Manila, Philippines – 2014-02-22

Here is my recording of the Q&A with Mitch Albom and Ms. Xandra Ramos-Padilla of National Book Store during the Mitch Albom Book Signing Tour stop here in Manila last February 22. I know a lot of people who didn’t make it to the event, and some people said that audio wasn’t too good from the far edges of the activity center, so I decided to upload and share this.

Photo courtesy of National Book Store

Photo courtesy of National Book Store

Click the Play button:

Download Links (right-click on link, save file as):


  • Lots of screaming fans! 😉 Mitch is a legit rock star.
  • “Outside of the United States, apparently, the biggest group of readers that I have in the world is right here in the Philippines.”
  • “Tuesdays With Morrie” was rejected by at least 10 publishers before it was finally sold.
  • “I didn’t know what Tala meant when I wrote the name.”
  • Mitch talks about his charity project for typhoon-devastated schools and affected fishermen
  • Mitch impersonates Elvis Presley, live!
  • One of Morrie’s greatest lessons: “Taking just makes me feel more like I’m dying; giving makes me feel like I’m living.”

After my article on Mitch and his visit here is published, I will also share snippets from my actual interview with him. I interviewed him together with 2 other ladies from other local news websites, and a lot of fun and “fluffy” stuff was talked about! 😉 And also, I will give away a signed copy of “The Five People You Meet In Heaven”! Stay tuned.

The Panem Statement: November 23rd

Catching Fire_Poster- FINALsmall

Scholastic Asia, in cooperation with National Book Store, Powerbooks Store & Hunger Games Philippines will be launching Catching Fire Movie Tie-In Edition and Catching Fire: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion on Nov. 23 with The Panem Statement: A Catching Fire Book and Fashion Event.

The event activities include:

– Capitol Costume Contest and Fashion show. (For mechanics and prizes:
– Capitol inspired Fashion exhibit showcasing young designers
– Photo Booth
– Mockinjay tattoo booth
– Raffle
– Catching Fire Film Trailer Screening

This event is FREE for everyone!

*All activities are free and open to everyone. However, only those who will purchase any Hunger Games title at Powerbooks Greenbelt4 on the day of the event, will be entitled to join the raffle. (1 purchase= 1 raffle stub).

Join the contest and raffle as amazing prizes await you! Including official Hunger Games merchandise and prizes from Pioneer Films & The Hunger Games by C-Interactive Digital Entertainment

Hope to see you there!

I’m sad that I’m going to miss this. 😦 But I wish Scholastic and HGP a smooth, worry-free event! Do well, guys! 🙂


Manila International Book Fair: Book giveaway by OPRAP at Booth 447

For those who are attending the Manila International Book Fair, the Overseas Publishers’ Representative Association of the Philippines (OPRAP) is giving away free books if you get a MIBF commemorative photo taken at their photobooth.  (Click the photos to view the promo mechanics and sample layout in full resolution.)

There are a lot of great titles in their book giveaway shelf, so do check them out at Booth #447 when you visit the MIBF. 🙂

Harry Potter 15th Anniversary Cover Launch at the Manila International Book Fair

Come to the 34th Manila International Book Fair on Sunday, September 15th and join Scholastic, National Book Store, and Hogwarts Philippines in celebrating the release of the new editions of the Harry Potter books! The cover art for the 15th anniversary editions were created by Eisner Award-nominated illustrator and author Kazu Kibuishi.


There will be games and prizes and surprises!

And we’ll have cake. (Really.) Join us!

★• ★• ★• ★• ★• ★• ★


Press Release: Here comes the Book Fair!

MIBF_logoThe country’s biggest book event is right around the corner: the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF), which heads back to the SMX Convention Center at the SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City on Sept. 11-15, 2013.

Now on its 34th year, the MIBF still remains the country’s biggest and longest-running book fair. It showcases the largest and most varied collection of literature for leisure and academic reading. Everything you need from fiction bestsellers, to textbooks, to graphic novels, and even educational materials are all under one roof. Moreover, the MIBF is also the go-to venue for this year’s most awaited book launches and signings, dialogues with readers, contests, and other literary events.

After three decades, it has evolved from an event for the publishing industry and the academe to one of the most-awaited exhibitions for all sorts of readers. The MIBF has become a gathering of sorts for bookworms of all ages and walks of life to celebrate the joys of reading and the knowledge each book brings about. It has also been providing a venue for the exchange of ideas amongst players in the publishing and academic industry.

Co-located events at the SMX Convention Center will also capture the interest of book fair visitors. The National Conference on Language and Literature is slated on Sept. 10-12, while Educare, a conference on early childhood education, is slated on Sept. 13-14. The Best of Anime 2013 is also slated on Sept. 14-15.

The MIBF runs from Sept. 11-15 at the SMX Convention Center, Seashell Drive, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. MIBF is organized by Primetrade Asia, Inc. in partnership with Asian Catholic Communicators, Inc., Book Development Association of the Philippines, Philippine Booksellers Association, Inc., and the Overseas Publishers Representatives Organization of the Philippines. For details, call 896-0661 or 896-0682, or e-mail

PR and Guidelines: Melissa de la Cruz, Alyson Noel and Margaret Stohl book signings in National Book Store

National Book Store brings three New York Times bestselling authors—Melissa de la Cruz, Alyson Noel and Margaret Stohl—for book signing events on September 13 at 6 pm in the Activity Center of Ayala Center Cebu, on September 14 at 4 pm in The Podium Atrium and on September 15 at 2 pm in the National Book Store booth at the Manila International Book Fair in the SMX Convention Center.


Filipino-American Melissa de la Cruz is the author of the Blue Blood series, a popular vampire novel which has three million copies in print. Her latest novel Frozen is the first book in the Heart of Dread series, co-authored by her husband Michael Johnston. It narrates Natasha Kestal’s journey out of New Vegas, a city blanketed in ice, to the paradise-like and mythical land called “the Blue,” where the sun shines and where she will not be persecuted even if her darkest secret comes to light.

Alyson Noel is the bestselling author of the Immortals series and its spinoff the Riley Bloom series. Her books have been translated into 37 languages and sold in over 50 countries with over seven million copies in print. She is currently working on her latest series The Soul Seekers, which includes Fated, Echo and Mystic. It tells the story of Daire Santos, who after setting out to harness her powers as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate the worlds between living and dead, is forced to discover if the boy from her dreams is the one she’s meant to be with or is allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

Margaret Stohl is the co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series with Kami Garcia. It was named as Amazon’s #1 Teen Book of 2009, and its movie adaptation was released by Warner Bros. earlier this year. Her latest novel Icons, the first book in a new young adult dystopian series, follows the story of four teens, who use their superpowers to save the world after an alien invasion referred to as “The Day.” Dol, Ro, Tima and Lucas try to piece together the mysteries of their pasts and discover that their uncontrollable emotions may actually be their greatest strengths.

The events are made possible in partnership with Raffles Makati, The Podium and Ayala Center Cebu.

Books by Melissa de la Cruz, Alyson Noel and Margaret Stohl are available in National Book Store, Powerbooks and Bestsellers branches. Shop online at Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for the latest events, promos and contests.

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Meeting Peter Lerangis (with bonus panda bears)

…also sub-titled “In Which I Squee Deep Inside Because I Did Not Freeze Like A Starstruck Fangirl”.

Authors are my rock stars.

Or maybe I’m only saying that because I’ve never met a real rock star or haven’t really fangirled over one. We’ll see. But right now, that is my truth: Authors are my rock stars.

And so whenever I meet one, even those who I’ve already conversed with a lot online (Mina V. Esguerra, Kate Evangelista), I get starstruck. I get nervous before the interview and always forget to ask or say something even when I’ve written all my questions and comments down.

My worst starstruck experience remains to be meeting Neil Gaiman, during which I was shaking the whole time as he signed my book, I shook his hand, and we posed for a photo. It’s a good thing I already wrote my name down on a Post-It and did not have to spell it out for him because I’m pretty sure I would’ve misspelled my own name. And I have no memory of what I said to him or what he said to me. I might have said something weird and unintelligible, so maybe not remembering is a good thing.

I got to interview Peter Lerangis last May 4th. He’s one of my favorite authors in “The 39 Clues” series, and I have a lot of feels for his particular installment, “The Sword Thief”, so I dreaded having another starstruck episode.

I got to the venue later than I should have because of the traffic due to a random rain shower (it happens; it’s more fun in the Philippines!), so my interview was moved to after the signing event. I was a bit panicky throughout the entire program because many of the questions on my list were already asked by either the fans or Ms. Xandra of National Book Store. In the end, I was left with about 4 or 5 questions, which should have added to my starstruck anxiety.

Peter Lerangis with Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla of National Book Store

Peter Lerangis with Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla of National Book Store

When I finally met him, though, I responded very well to his friendly and welcoming demeanor, and he immediately put me at ease. And I think I lost most of my nervousness during the program because he’s just so jolly and witty and hilarious.

Our short chat went well. We got to talk a little more about “Seven Wonders” and ghostwriting. I got my books signed–all 3.25 of his “The 39 Clues”, and “Seven Wonders”. I think my panda sticky tabs (you can see their ears peeking out the side of the book) amused him because he actually wrote a message for them. 😛 I had to reassure him that the reason there were only a couple of pandas in the latter half of the book is because I got caught up in the action, and not because I fell asleep and found it too boring to merit some more pandas.

signed 7 wonders

My copies of The 39 Clues, signed by Peter Lerangis

My copies of The 39 Clues, signed by Peter Lerangis

Because he’s such a chocoholic (like me!), I gave him one of my favorite chocolate bars: Alfie’s Bacon Bar. He was so surprised, and I could only smile because that was my exact same reaction when my friend Leia told me that such a thing exists.

About those pandas…

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