I was supposed to be in Nasugbu, Batangas from September 16-18, 2015 for a retreat with other seniors who are taking AB Journalism in UST. I was halfway done packing for the retreat when I decided, with my parents, to rest at home. Since Monday, I have been getting dizzy, I’ve been sneezing everywhere, and have been blowing my nose off. I also had fever the night before. So, while my blockmates were off to spend time with each other, I was in bed to spend time with…well, my bed. I needed to rest.

As I rested, I was thinking of things that I wanted to do but can’t because I’ll be going to the retreat. Then, I remembered that some of my friends and I were supposed to go to the 36th Manila International Book Fair on the 16th; so, I decided to rest up so that by Friday, if I’m feeling much better, I’ll go to MIBF and buy a few books to read and add to my collection.

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I assessed my budget and researched what books I can buy from the exhibitors. I made a list of what to buy and where to go to just see if there are some cheap books that I can purchase. But I was still hesitant to go. I still had a lot of unread books and adding more would just make my room chaotic. By Thursday, I was already feeling better so I decided to push through with going to the MIBF this year. I had planned what I will do, where I will go, and what books & how many books I will buy…at least I think I did. After scanning Facebook posts of different exhibitors, I finally finalized my plan for the next day and slept.

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I rode the local bus at 10am, ate two bags of peanuts (my stomach grumbled after 15 minutes inside the bus because I forgot to eat), and arrived at the SMX Convention Center at 11:45am. I was supposed to attend a small fun calligraphy workshop in the fair but I woke up very late so instead of arriving at the venue at 10am, I left the house at that time. So, instead of going to the calligraphy event, I decided to just eat lunch at Bonchon, the same place where I ate after going to MIBF last year.

This might mean that it may be an annual tradition to eat here. HAHAHA!

This might mean that it may be an annual tradition to eat here. HAHAHA!

After going to MIBF for around four years already, I decided to start from the very left of the fair. There, I found the Christian Strengthening Ministry (CSM) booth.

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The CSM booth is very interactive, they have games, raffles, and have very interactive hosts. I even got a free pin while I was paying for the books that I got! I remember going here last year to get a signed copy of Miriam Quiambao’s “He’ll Catch You When You Fall,” to give to one of my block mates. I decided to get two more copies: one for a block mate and the other for a good friend. I also bought Rommel Guevara’s “#UsapangWorshipMinistry,” which was a fun book to read!

After that, I stopped by the VIVA PSICOM publishing because I saw a book that looked very interesting for me: “Notary Not Included” by Atty. Erwin Zagala.

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He had a book signing by 5pm but I didn’t want to spend around three or more outrageous hours in the middle of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) where the traffic is so bad during that time that vehicles move around one feet a minute (Yeah, I’m exaggerating but that’s how it feels, man. You do not want an armpit in front of your face…or do you?) So, I’ll get it signed when I have the chance in the future.

After roaming around Fullybooked and National Book Store, I went ahead to the Christian Literature Crusade (CLC) to supposedly buy 2-3 books.

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But since I was very conscious with my budget (I think I really wasn’t), I decided to find David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons’ “Unchristian” (which was only a hundred bucks!!!!!). As I was looking at other books, I saw Roy B. Zuck’s “The Speaker’s Quote Book,” which was filled with quotes and illustrations that I can use for future references, either if God gives me the wisdom to speak to a crowd, or as I write entries in my blog.

I went to Instituto-Cervantes Manila and got a free diagnostic exam to check if I was still knowledgeable with my basic Spanish, then went next door to Goethe-Institut Philippinen to find information about their German courses and their library. I also got a free baller and bookmarks, plus I got a fan for playing their game: find the two non-German brands. Unfortunately, I chose Adidas instead of IKEA for the Swedish brand, but I got Nestle, a Swiss brand, correct. So, I don’t know what prize I could’ve won if I got both correctly. (*cries*) But still, I love that booth. (#Freeloader HAHAHA!)

I was walking towards OMF Literature while checking if my budget would be enough if I would buy an OMF Inspiration box, a box filled with books and other surprises for a reasonable price (I’ll let you research how much it cost), or just new selections. I saw a picture of a woman opening her Inspiration box in their Facebook page so I was intrigued and interested. I really had planned to buy around seven books in OMF but I was still checking if I would really be able to read them all; I haven’t even finished reading a few new books at home (#BookloverProblems; #FirstWorldProblems) so I was still calculating numbers in my head as I slowly walk into their booth.

As I entered OMF Literature, I saw the books that I wanted to buy on display. At the left side, facing the booth, there was a storytelling event ongoing. I immediately got Joy Tan-chi Mendoza’s “When A Good God Allows Rape,” and Harold J. Sala’s “Why Wait? But Why Not Wait?” I was looking at different books over and over. I even checked the “up to 80%” pile (which had awesome books, by the way) and got a copy of Joshua Harris’ “Stop Dating The Church.” After looking at more books and as I keep calculating numbers in my head, I decided to buy Darlene Sala’s “More Precious Than Diamonds,” for a block mate.

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I was thinking if I should buy the Inspiration box or not, so I just decided to pay for these four books. When I got to the cashier, I made the decision to buy an Inspiration box after all. I got the one at the counter. One of them even told me, “Sir, sabihan niyo po kami kung anong laman, ah?” (Sir, please tell us what’s inside, okay?) I nodded cheerfully. Also, I bought enough books to get me a free Kaibigan privilege card at OMF Lit and got a free notebook!

I was very tired already so I did not stay and wait for the 4pm book signing of Harold Sala and his wife, Darlene. I decided to leave the fair, get take-out at Jollibee, and went straight home at around 2:30pm. After arriving home, I got my scissors and opened the Inspiration box that I bought.


As I opened the box, a CD popped out. It was an album with the name: “Disciple: Horseshoes & Handgrenades.” Then, as I continued to open the box entirely, I was surprised to find eight books inside (that’s a lot for me if I were to buy books, but since the books were on sale…) where one of the books inside was a children’s book: “Sandosenang Sapatos (A Dozen Pairs of Shoes)” by Luis P. Gatmaitan, M.D., and even a softbound copy of the Holy Bible in New King James Version (NKJV)! The OMF Inspiration box also had “Making Marriage Work” by Dr. Harold J. Sala, “Fourth Dawn” by Bodie and Brock Thoene, “Faith in the Corridors of Power” by Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano, “Fresh Air” by Chris Hodges, Ronald Molmisa’s “Lovestruck: Sexy Edition,” and “The One Year Signature Series: Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard” in it! (So blessed, I can’t contain it! – yeah, I’m bursting out into song lyrics.)


I shared what I bought not to brag, but for everyone to know that buying books can be a great investment, especially if you wait for book fairs and book sales! If you see a great new book, you can either choose to buy it immediately or you can wait for events like these. As a book lover, IT IS VERY TEMPTING TO BUY AT LEAST ONE BOOK IN A BOOKSTORE. You might even doubt if I can read all of these, well this is the fun part: I only have to read around a dozen more books out of all the books (It’s around 18 if I’m not mistaken) that I bought. I’ll also be making a book review about Joy Mendoza’s book by the end of October. (So, stay tuned for that!)

Most of you might have also observed that I mostly bought Christian books. This is because I want to indulge myself in different authors and see their responses and views on certain topics on Christianity. And yes, I love learning more things about my faith. I actually want to learn more about defending the faith as well. That’s why, I’m so thrilled that I got a printed Bible (I like YouVersion, but print is still different from digital) so that I can easily highlight and read it without “scrolling” or checking the “settings to get the right font.” (Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!)

So, will I go back to MIBF next year? It depends if my work/studies/time lets me. But if I were to choose, I’d go back there, not just for the freebies (yes, I said just. I love the freebies), nor the book signings, but because of the love for books and the love for reading…but seriously, who would reject a freebie?



About a week ago, an idea suddenly popped from my head: to start a family devotion. A few years ago, I saw a picture of a friend of mine doing devotions with their family and I thought that idea was a great one. But for some reason, I never really took the initiative to ask my parents if they were willing to have a family devotion once a week. But suddenly, just last week after I met up with my parents somewhere along Commonwealth Avenue, the idea came back to me, as if God was telling me to go for it and ask my folks about it. Without hesitating, I asked my mom if she’s interested, and agreed to have one, as well as my dad.

We decided to have our weekly devotion every Sunday night because it’s the only time within the week where we’re not too busy thinking about work or school, and at the same time, it is also a great time for us to bond and catch up as a family. We decided to start today, 6 September 2015. And because I thought of starting one, they asked me if I can start the devotion. I agreed to do it; my only problem was what should I share to them?

First, I found a message from our home church, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF), which was preached two years ago. I wanted to show to them why discipleship begins at home but as I dived into the message, I realized that it was not a great first devotion to start with because it only tackles the role and responsibility of a father, not the entire family. So I decided to keep it for future reference and to use it maybe when God wants me to use it as a devotion.

After a day or two, I found a copy of a booklet we bought years ago from CCF, entitled: “Christ-Centered Family Devotions.”(You can download it online by clicking HERE) So I took the booklet and reviewed its contents. I decided to use the material as the series for our weekly devotions. So as I prayed and reviewed for our devotions, I created a slideshow to make it look pleasing and interesting. I ran through my devotions and so as I finalized everything, after dinner, I went down with my laptop and with the booklet.

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My message was about God’s fear – how it is not for us to be frightened nor for us to feel threatened, but God’s fear can be considered as reverence, wherein love and respect would match its definition. Then as I started with a prayer and run through the questions, they gave insights on what do we mean by fear, and is it good or bad to name a few.

Then things got awkward for me when they started asking questions about my relationship with them in the past, if I feared them in a way I fear God or did I fear them the way I fear people who might want to take my life away. I was a bit shocked and did not know how to transition back to the topic so as I explained what my perceptions were when I was young, the more questions became personal. I was telling myself that “Maybe this wasn’t a good idea,” and “Why did I pick this booklet? I could’ve picked any other devotions from the internet,” but then I realized that as I share more about what my insights were with them, it looked like an open forum, wherein unanswered questions dare to be answered. And for me, that experience made me more open with my parents.

You see, having an intimate relationship with someone means that you trust him or her your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and explanations wherein he or she knows that everything is personal and that he or she will treasure your answers. I know that many parents want to help and know their child more often, especially if they’re at their teen years wherein everything might be confusing and scary (I’m not just talking about puberty, kids) and that’s why they ask you questions like “How was your day?” and “How are you?” It’s because they want to be intimate with you, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I like it when people share personal things with me because I know that they trust me and they want to hear my opinion about certain topics or issues. Same with our parents, they want you to trust them that whatever you say (or in some cases, we can use the word “reveal”) to them, they will try to help you in understanding you better, and maybe even finding a solution to your problem if they can.

After the devotion, I felt happy and thanked God for this idea that He gave me. I know that He let me find the booklet, not for me to “lecture” my parents, but for us to be open with one another. Next week, my father’s going to lead the devotion, while my mom will lead after a fortnight. I am very blessed to have a wonderful family wherein we can trust each other and be open and intimate with each other.

Yes, discipleship does begin at home and it makes the family closer and stronger than ever. Please continue to pray for our devotions; pray that we may have consistency and accuracy when it comes to sharing God’s Word through the booklet!

I can’t wait for next week’s devotion!