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What To Do During MIBF 2009 & Graphika Manila 2009

There’s something about the SM Mall of Asia that has many big conventions going there.  I wonder if it’s because it’s more affordable to have them there.

I don’t go there very often, but The Manila International Book Fair 2008  and Graphika Manila 2008 were events I wanted to catch.  But what was the big deal for each of these events this year and what should you remember to do for next year?

The Manila International Book Fair was held at the SMEX.  It held several talks focused on writing this year, which unfortunately I didn’t get to attend.  But I did my rounds, and as usual found books selling for exorbitant prices at particular dealers (usually the ones you wouldn’t be familiar with.)  For instance there was this one book about Japanese street fashion selling for over 3000Php at one exhibitor, while only around 1500Php at Powerbooks (or was it National Bookstore…)

So for MIBF 2009:

tip #1: Don’t buy anything at the MIBF until you scrounge the entire venue or you may just be banging your head for being ripped off.

tip#2: Discover the MIBF’s program of activities prior to when it begins. There’s greater value in networking and learning during the fair’s schedule book launches & talks.

Art books that interest me are largely stocked by Fully Booked.  However it would seem that they didn’t think it necessary to make an appearance at the bookfair again this year.  I still found those “masters” books on digital painting selling in another store for 2500Php to 3000Php, but frankly I’m losing my taste for those luxury items.  For the price of one such book, I was able to buy two books on marketing (with “free” bonus CD and internet material worth so-and-so value!!!) and learn stuff that isn’t easily filtered from Google results.

tip#3: Weigh your budget and your interests.  Balance your library of books accordingly by putting more money on interests that need a little  more shelf space.   Be well-rounded, in other words.

Graphika Manila 2008  was held at Mall of Asia’s Premiere theater. There was a mime at the entrance but carnival theme wasn’t very pronounced beyond that, the print collaterals, an image on their website, and the AVP (audio visual presentation) that ushered the first guest.  Robert Alejandro, Collision Theory’s AJ Dimarucot & Caliph 8, Acid House’s Ivan Despi & Pauline Vicencio, Pixar’s Kristophe Vergne and Tokidoki’s Simone Legno, each divulged their works, how they work, and what possibilities are available. And WeeWillDoodle and Tim Yap made an appearance too.

My photos of the event can be found here.  Includes further commentary.

I’m 30, and it was my first Graphika Manila.  Most of the audience were either still in college or in their early 20s.  If ever Graphika Manila 2009 will be sponsored by the College of Saint Benilde please follow this tip:

tip#1: Sit up front and perhaps near a microphone because there will be fewer irritating bobbysoxers making a fuss around you (especially if the speaker is Simone Legno or some male with similar appeal.)  It helps when you want to hear what the speaker is saying to sit away from gleefully chattering college girls.

From the freshies to the almost uncouth male emcee, I got the impression that the target market for Graphika Manila was for fledgling designers and heavy metal visual artists.   Plus I overheard a conversation wherein a person was saying how expensive the ticket was at 800Php to 1200Php. If the relatively high ticket prices were to screen out the also-ran artists, rabid fanboys & fanboys, it wasn’t enough to solidify the professional experience I expected from the event.

tip#2: If you want to get a professional experience from a Graphika Manila event, make sure you prepare questions and collect contact info.  The Q&A part is the best thing.

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