Monday, August 31, 2015

My First Philippine Literary Fest Experience! #PLF2015

It's the Philippines Literary Festival 2015! I attended Day 2 of the PLF and it was such an experience.

Unexpected heavy rains + unnecessary working at 3:00 am led to me to wake up later than I expected last Saturday. So yeah, I missed half of the session I scheduled myself to attend, but I still managed to squeeze it in.

I got my festival pass and started fumbling through the schedule. There was a decent number of books on display. I was initially a bit underwhelmed by the displays as I expected a festive mood, it being a festival and all. But anyway, I quickly realized that the festival's true stars were really the different scheduled sessions throughout the day. 

Books by featured authors Meg Wolitzer and Mathew Quick were in the spotlight.

Armed with the trusty ol' Latte, off I go.

Me and my friend got the chance to squeeze into the Namayan room for the last 30 minutes of the Looking for the Filipino Public Intellectual sesh by The Manila Review. It was a very refreshing discussion on identifying public intellectuals, how to be one, and their importance. How it was the public intellectuals' duty to make their opinions public - there's a reason there's the word "public" to "public intellectual". There was a bit in there where they discussed the importance of the reviewing culture to the Philippines Literature industry - that the Philippines don't really have an active book reviewing culture, and that most of the time, Filipino book reviewers choose to review, talk about books of foreign authors, sometimes totally ignoring the local publishing scene.

To be honest, I was kinda guilty of doing just that. I realized the sheer meaning and contribution that book reviewing does to promote and support our country's local writing community. I think I might try venturing to reviewing local books in the near future -- I just need to find the right book. :)

I was examining the schedule days before the actual event dates and I initially chose to include the Translation: A Creative Act session by Anvil Publishing to my lineup. I was lurking around the book shelves, in front of the Cafe Macaron stand when a lady all dressed in black (black hoody + black pants) with black paint all over her face holding a can of Lysol approached me and invited me to join their session. I said yes, maybe mostly because I was a bit freaked out by her appearance. It was hilarious how I initially thought it was a play and expected that all the members of the panel would be in full costume -- but, they were not. It turned out that the lady was Bebang Siy, author of It's A Mens World, cosplaying as Margo Roth Spiegelman from John Green's Papertowns (which she translated to Tagalog together with her husband, Ronald Verzo). She was really hilarious throughout the session.

They talked about the process of translating a book to Tagalog -- which, now that I think about it, is a really hard job considering all the things that you have to take into account. You have to reread the book over and over, owning the story as if it were your own, mapping the thinking patterns of the characters -- before you can make a decent translation of it. It's not the average word-by-word translation that most of us think it was. It is a long, complex process.They also introduced translating as a viable new career option, which, from the looks of it, was pretty interesting.

Coloring wall from the Hue Can Do It! team.

The last session, Venus Retrograde: A Poetry Reading Session by the Romancing Venus, was definitely the highlight of my day. I remember sitting in that chair, freezing from that all too cold temperature from the airconditioner of Raffles Makati's Ballroom 1. I remember being too excited because this is my first time listening to poetry being performed live -- I've always wanted to go since forever. And I remember thinking that I am in for something special and that I know I would enjoy it even before listening to the actual thing. It was really weird.

Saying that the things I saw right there and then were some of the most heartfelt things I've heard and witnessed in my life was, I guess, an understatement. I can't really explain it, but I was really overwhelmed during the whole thing. It was truly magical. And it was amazing how these ladies can completely put themselves out there in the open -- exposing the rawest part of themselves to people who cared and dared to listen. I've recorded almost everything from that session because I know that these are things that I would want to look back to over and over again in the coming days. And I'm still trying to figure out how to upload everything, and by that time, I guess I'll make a separate post about it.

Random selfie, y'guys! :*

I literally mooned over the girl's room waiting for Roence Santos to come out just to take a picture with her. It was definitely weird but I just can't let the chance pass by since I was really touched, inspired and enlightened by everything that she performed and said in that session. I hope I can encounter her again in the future. *hopeful*

Obligatory shot.

The Philippines Literary Festival 2015.

Crappy OOTD shot, complete with a cup of coffee on hand. :)

I definitely enjoyed the event despite just going to one out of the three days in the scheduled programme. Definitely something worth remembering and gushing about. I hope I could still join next year. 

~ R.

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Thanks for dropping by! I'd love to hear from you -- so don't think twice, just comment below and let's talk! If you're feeling like it, you could also link up and I'll make sure to visit your site if you have one. Much love, ~ R. :)


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