Congratulations to the producers and creators of Siglo:Freedom (Nautilus Comics) and Darna (Mango Comics) for each winning a National Book Award for Best Comic Book of 2003! ‘Nuff said.

The National Book Award ceremony was held last Saturday in a makeshift and fragile function room that stood at the far end of the 25th Philippine Bookfair area. I arrived at around 6:30 pm, thirty minutes after the event started, just in time to hear another awardee stressing during her acceptance speech that the award was bestowed upon her “deserving book.” That’s confidence for you.

Since I wasn’t in the function room, only viewing the proceedings through its plastiglass windows, I took some time to wander and chit-chat with Jason on other creative endeavors. The Bookfair was surprisingly and not surprisingly scant of visitors. Surprising because it’s still the Bookfair, and not surprising because the World Trade Center didn’t have the benefit of Megamall’s Saturday crowd.

I did get a couple of books, though. One was Rosario Cruz-Lucero’s collection of fiction Feast and Famine, and the other was the children’s book Ang Parusa ng Duwende, retold by Christine Bellen and illustrated by Elbert Or. I resisted all temptations to get more books from the Bookmark booth, despite Charles’ sincere offer to pay for them all.

Anyhoos, the rains and traffic forced the gang out of the Manila area to dine at Burgoo at the Powerplant Mall. (Poor Jaime had to surrender his license for being misled into a no-U-Turn slot) Then, afterwards, off to Country Waffles – Greenhills for coffee. Music 21 was the logical follow-up to celebrate the win.

To think that I woke up at 4:00 in the afternoon (again, sigh), it was an eventful day.


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