Event: The Cast Comics at Indieket 2014!

"Cast, the Comics Issue 12"

Cast Comics is back! And they’re bringing a very special cover of the long-awaited twelfth issue of their series to this Saturday’s Indieket!

Why is this a big deal? Because this variant cover won’t be available in bookstores or comic shops. Oh, and because it’s drawn by Harvey Tolibao, a superstar artist who has already done for Marvel titles!

Aside from this rare variant cover of Cast #12, Nautilus Comics will also launch the reprint of Arnold Arre’s Trip to Tagaytay, one of the best graphic novels that became hard to find as the years went on. Well, you don’t have to look any further–just drop by this Saturday at Indieket, at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig!

But don’t limit yourselves to the Nautilus titles when you get there. Bring extra cash. Discover new works and new worlds at this year’s Indieket!

Press Release: First Pop Fiction Festival brings authors and fans together

"1st Pop Fiction Festival"

The following is a press release from Summit Books about their recent event: the first Pop Fiction Festival:

Summit Books, National Book Store, and Market! Market! held a grand gathering that was truly one for the books as the first-ever Pop Fiction Festival conquered the Market! Market Activity Center on February 8, 2014.

It was the first time that the authors of Pop Fiction, Summit Books’ fast-growing online chick lit imprint, gathered in full force to meet with their readers. Present at the Pop Fiction Festival were Bianca Bernardino (SGWannabe), Jade Margarette Pitogo (Girlinlove), Kimberly Joy Villanueva (Ilurvbooks), Leng de Chavez (Shirlengtearjerky), Ariesa Jane Domingo(Beeyotch), Jessamine Verzosa (Peachxvision), Louisse Carreon (Fallenbabybubu), and Jhing Bautista (Kwento Ni Jhingness), who all met with and signed copies of their books for fans.

Celebrity appearances hiked up the fun at the Pop Fiction Festival, with young stars Myrtle Sarrosa and Alexander Diaz doing hosting duties and teen heartthrobs Jerome Ponce and The Perkins Twins serenading the crowd.

The event also served as the book launch of Three Words Eight Letters: If I Say It, Will I Be Yours?, the sequel to Jade Margarette Pitogo’s Three Words, Eight Letters, Say It, and I’m Yours and Pop Fiction’s first sequel offering to date. The lucky festival attendees got their hands on the first copies of the new release, which were sold at the National Book Store booth.

Fans also got to complete their Pop Fiction collections at the event, take home freebies such as exclusive buttons and bookmarks, and have their picture taken with the authors and their life-sized avatar standees—rounding out an unforgettable experience for the readers and writers alike.

For more photos from the Pop Fiction Festival, click here. For updates on Summit Books and Pop Fiction, like on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SummitBooks and http://www.facebook.com/PopFictionBooks, and follow us on Twitter via @SummitMedia_PH for more Summit Books updates.

I really must commend Summit Book’s passion in engaging a new generation of readers. Personally though, I would’ve loved for Summit Books to have also included their own roster of authors (the non-Pop Fiction ones) to introduce these (relatively) new readers to.

Maybe next year?

Event: Princess Lea Book Launch

"Princess Lea Book Launch"

“It feels really good.” That’s how Lea Salonga describes how it feels having a Dream Big Book about her published; especially since her daughter Nicole is a fan of the series of books.

Dream Big Books are a series of biographies written and illustrated for kids. It’s an imprint of Summit Books, and it sets out to inspire the next generation with stories of how older generations became well-known.

At the launch of her own Dream Big Book, Lea says she herself is a fan of the series too, adding that at today’s “age of instant gratification,” it’s a great idea to inform kids that to make it big, and to stay big, one has to do the work, to prepare, and to put in the time.

But how does one condense thirty five years of life into a short illustrated children’s book? You don’t.

Writer Yvette Fernandez admitted that she just wanted to put in the happily ever after. The rest of the book are things that people already know about Lea, collected in a very pleasing package.

As for what happens after happily-ever-after, Lea says she doesn’t see a sequel to the book coming out ever. “‘Wag na!” She laughs, saying that if people wanted to find out what happened (and continues to happen) to her after getting married and having a kid, “it’s easy enough to find out with all the search engines.”

Lea continues that the team just wanted the book to be cute–“for kids to relate to.”

Is that why the book is called Princess Lea?

Actually, no.

“I’m a princess only in the make-believe world,” Lea says. The title, she and writer Yvette Fernandez explains, is a nod to their generation–and one of the movies they really enjoy. Lea adds, “I think the nerds of the world will appreciate the title.”

The book launch for Princess Lea was hosted by Issa Litton, with opening remarks from Lisa Gokongwei-Chen, and a reading by Lea’s daughter, Nicole Chen.

Summit Books also provided us with the following press release;

Long before she was Kim in Miss Saigon, the singing voice of Disney’s Princesses Jasmine and Mulan, and a well-loved judge on The Voice of the Philippines, Maria Lea Carmen Salonga was just a little girl from Manila who dared to dream big.

Dream Big Books proudly launched Princess Lea last November 17, 2013 at the National Book Store Glorietta 1. Princess Lea is a children’s book which shared how Lea Salonga followed her heart to become the greatly admired and highly respected singer and actress she is today.

Written by Yvette Fernandez and illustrated by Nicole Lim, Princess Lea narrates how Lea went from a six-year-old who landed a part in a local production of The King and I to an internationally renowned performer who has starred as Kim in Miss Saigon, Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables, and Mei-Lin in Flower Drum Song; won honors from the US’ Tony Awards and the UK’s Laurence Oliver Awards; and sung for six Philippine presidents, three American presidents, and the Queen of England.

To encourage aspiring young entertainers to reach for their dreams, Princess Lea also lets readers in on common terms in the performing industry and imparts the lessons Lea has learned throughout her journey to becoming a singing superstar.

Dream Big Books is an imprint of Summit Books that inspires children to make a positive change in the world by sharing the life stories of Filipino role models. Among the books in Dream Big Books’ roster are Big John, the riches-to-rags-to-riches tale of John Gokongwei, Jr.; Nanay Coring, the success story of National Book Store owner Socorro Ramos; Ninoy, Cory, and Noynoy, which tells of the deep love for nation of the Aquino family; and Simply Jesse, which recounts the life of former DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Princess Lea is available in bookstores nationwide for only P125. For more on Dream Big Books, visit Summit Books online at http://www.summitmedia.com.ph/books and like on Facebook via http://www.facebook.com/summitbooks

Lea Salonga is marking her 35th year in show business via Playlist, her much awaited comeback to the Philippine concert scene, which will be held on December 6 (Friday) and December 7 (Saturday), 8 in the evening, at the PICC Plenary Hall.

For photos from the book launch, check out the newly made Facebook fan page for Taking a Break!

Press Release: LitFest turns folk, pop!

"Poptastik!"

Hey, y’all! You guys already know about the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon that’s happening this coming November 9, but there’s another book-related event that’s also coming out way this November!

The Ayala Museum has teamed up with the National Book Development Board and the Filipino Heritage Library to bring us POPtastik Pinoy!: a Celebration of Pinoy Pop Culture in Literature, Film, and Komiks! To find out more about the event, check out the press release that the Ayala Foundation had sent out:

Filipino writers will discuss folk and popular literature as shown in komiks, TV, and film as the National Book Development Board (NBDB), Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL), and Ayala Museum hold POPtastik Pinoy! this November.

The event is part of the 4th Philippine International Literary Festival. Titled Text and the City, the LitFest will take place in the major universities in Metro Manila from November 11-14 and culminating at the Ayala Museum on November 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Promotional activities will also be held at the Makati Ayala Malls from November 17 to 24.

The November 15 event is a whole day series of talks which will cover the following topics: “Folklore in Pop Literature (komiks, graphic novels, novels, short stories, and TV);” “Kuwentuhan on Komiks;” and “Writing in Different Genres.” Among the panel discussants and moderators are comic artists Manix Abrera, Noel Pascual, AJ Bernardo, Karen Francisco, and Budjette Tan; novelists Eros Atalia, Luna Sicat Cleto, and Edgar Samar; scriptwriter Suzette Doctolero; fictionists Sarge Lacuesta and Yvette Tan; journalists Ruel de Vera and Kristine Fonacier; and Prof. Patrick Campos.

Celebrated writers Tony Perez and Rolando Tolentino will open the POPtastik Pinoy! program of activities with talks of writing and the city. Korean-American writer Krys Lee will then discuss her short story compilation Drifting House. Lee will be joined by Sarge Lacuesta, Andrea Pasion-Flores, and Kristine Fonacier for a flash fiction writing masterclass, “City Fiction 100,” while other pocket lectures are being held in the Ayala Museum function rooms.

From 5:00 pm, writer and educator Isagani R. Cruz will hold another seminar on “How to write a book” for professional and amateur writers. Garitony Nicolas will also share his experience of publishing his own books with the help of Central Books, the first publisher-on-demand in the Philippines.

The LitFest will stretch to the following week at the Ayala Malls. On November 17, a marathon of GMA films will be held at the New Glorietta Activity Center, along with a mini fair for indie komiks creators and sellers and small or independent publishers. The public can also view GMA 7 telefantasya costumes at Ground Floor Greenbelt 3 from November 18 to 24.

POPtastik Pinoy! is supported by Ayala Malls, GMA Network, Brother Philippines Inc., Intercontinental Hotel, the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), the Korea Copyright Commission (KCC), Fully Booked, and McDonald’s.

Event: The Jason Mraz Concert

"Jason Mraz and the Band"

Last March, I received the best news on my inbox–Jason Mraz was going back to the Philippines! And after a couple of failed attempts at purchasing a ticket over the phone (TicketNet said they weren’t available yet, when their own website and the newsletter Jason Mraz’s team sent out said it should already be), I finally finagled a couple of tickets on the TicketNet website.

It was around 500 pesos more expensive than the advertised price, and it wasn’t the best seat. Good thing this is Jason Mraz. All seats are good seats because he knows how to put on a show. And what a show it was.

Oh yeah– the concert was last night. And it was awesome. A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

Now, I have a pretty bad track record when it comes to Jason Mraz concerts, wherein I’m always coming from somewhere and cutting it close. This is the first time though, I think, that I didn’t even catch the front act. Not that I minded. I’m not a fan of Zendee Rose. No offense, her type of singing just doesn’t jive with me.

Fortunately, I was able to catch the Jason Mraz part of the concert.

Back in 2011, when he was last here, I was a little let down with the whole shebang. But that was coming from his 2006 intimate nights that were simply astounding. I enjoyed the both times I went, but there was something magical about the 2006 concert that the 2011 one didn’t have.

The magic is back though. Last night.

Yesterday is the first time I’ve seen Jason Mraz perform with a band, come to think of it. The first two of his concerts I’ve been to, it’s always just Toca Rivera with him. Awesome duo, but as I said, there was a certain lack of something in the second time.

The band definitely marks last night as an experience that can’t be compared to the first two.

But, really, the best part of it all is that Jason Mraz seems to be enjoying himself more nowadays. And the way he interacts with everyone is amazing. He has chemistry with the whole band, and their joy at performing is palpable–and contagious.

I don’t know about the other parts of the Coliseum, but our area was standing, stomping, clapping and singing along with the band. It was a exhilarating.

The mix of songs favored his most recent album release, but Jason clearly hasn’t forgotten the ones that really made an impact in the Philippines, singing The Remedy, You and I Both, Lucky, Make it Mine, interspersed with his more recent songs. And, of course, he had to have I’m Yours as his finale.

There was a medley somewhere during the concert too. A medley that transitioned organically from one song to the next, thanks to the great performances of the band.

I’m still on a high from last night.

And I can’t wait for the next time he comes back.