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#GoReadWrite2016 – The Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2016 Comes Alive With Creativity and Storytelling

August 26-28 was a good period for Metro Manila conventions. AsiaPop ComiCON Manila happened at the SMX Convention Center, and History Con 2016 was celebrated at the World Trade Center Manila. Although no sane person would miss any of these, when I heard about the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2016 presented by National Bookstore and Raffles Makati, I knew that it was the place for me. As an avid reader and aspiring writer, I wanted to immerse myself with what’s happening in the world of words.

philippine readers and writers festival

One of the best parts of this festival (which had the hashtag #GoReadWrite2016) was that it was free. IT WAS FREE! All you had to do was show up and register once at the front desk, and you could use the pass during the three-day event. There were talks, panel discussions, and book signings. Sessions started as early as 9:30 and on average, were around 1-2 hours each. It was a fun sight to see as attendees were found either going around the mini-bookstore that National Bookstore set up in the area or listening attentively inside one of the four conference rooms. Summit Books, Adarna House, and Anvil Publishing were just several of the many publications who participated in the events.

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International authors also presented but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend their talks and book signings. However, because of this festival, my love for local publications was awakened, something that remained dormant for a long, long time. I went there not really planning on spending but I ended up buying four books (No regrets! Haha). My mind overflowed with insights from all the authors and creative people who imparted their knowledge to an eager crowd, and I saw that others beside me felt the same.

Here are some of the highlights from the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2016. I’m just sorry I wasn’t able to attend all of them (since different talks happened during the same time)!

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Lisandro Claudio talks about millennials and how to reach out to them through characters found in fiction.

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Pam Pastor advises us to embrace discovery and let people in. Noreen Capili writes about emotions and #hugot, while Mae Paner reminds us that no one can write our own story.

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Merlee Cruz-Jayme speaks about her time in the convent, and gives us good advice such as “question everything” and “be restless.”

philippine readers and writers festival 6 shaira luna

Shaira Luna (photographer), Jade Castro (director), Ito Kish (interior designer), Mark Higgins (painter), and Dan Matutina (graphic designer) talk about how they are able to tell stories through their respective crafts.

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AA Patawaran discusses how to be relevant in a world full of short captions.

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Claude Tayag and Micky Fenix speak about how food and travel writing are intertwined

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Neal Oshima discusses the physicality of books, and how turning a page is already an experience by itself. Rafael Ongpin stresses the importance of a book as the primary source, and Karl Castro believes that in order for your book to be good, it needs to be unique and say what only you can say.

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Agay Llanera, Dawn Lanuza, Kate Evangelista, Bianca Mori, and Chrissie Peria talk about New Adult Fiction and its current state in the Philippines.

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Edgar Calabia Samar talks about how creative envy can help you as a writer. Xi Zuq shares how Alamat ng Ampalaya made a big impact on him. Gigi Constantino’s dream for local children’s books is for them to be more diverse and represent different cultures in the Philippines.

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Ines Bautista-Yao, Quark Henares, Reese Lansangan, Marla Miniano, Chandra Pepino, Roch Lazarte, and Abby Orbeta impart their stories in writing books inspired by personal experiences.

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Ronald Lim emphasizes the need to be authentic in writing about LGBT characters. For Mina Esguerra, there should be a balance between “writing for me” and “writing for us.” Mae Coyiuto reminds us that teenagers don’t need sugarcoating from writers.

Although all the talks were unique and addressed different topics such as publishing, fiction, history, and art, there were three things which were always present in everything that was discussed: storytelling, creativity, and authenticity. Having had the great opportunity to attend more than 10 sessions in total, I received a lot of motivation to create my own content, and tell stories only I am capable of telling. Truly, the Readers and Writers Festival has paved the way for a new generation of Filipino reading and writing enthusiasts excited to give the world a part of themselves. It destroys the notion that all Filipinos rely on “meme universities” to learn something new, and it debunks the belief that in a technological society full of apps and codes, going the creative route is no longer a worthwhile endeavor.

Indeed, new friendships were cultivated and passions were invigorated. Good job, National Bookstore and Raffles Makati! The next Readers and Writers Festival, please come sooner! We need you in our lives.

#GoReadWrite2016 #PhilippineReadersandWritersFestival2016 #NationalBookstore #RafflesMakati

To know more about Jurmane, like his Facebook page Beardict and his blog Beardict.wordpress.com

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