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Money Grows on Trees, The Book Launch

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Two weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me if I would be interested to attend a book launch at Fully Booked in Bonifacio Global City (this afternoon) on April 22nd. I asked what the book title is. “Money Grows on Trees,” he quipped. I hesitated with “Umm… we’ll see.” A week later, he came back to me to ask me again. Being my good friend, I agreed. It turned out, I didn’t regret it.

I made my way up through the escalators of Fully Booked until I reached the fourth floor, then up the stairs to the enclosed roof deck where the book launch was going to happen. There was probably seating for a hundred or more in the main hall, with the foyer set up with a food table, selling of the book and a previous edition entitled, “I Wish They Taught Money in School (So I Can Start My Own Business Right Away)”, a Sun Life Insurance booth, and the registration tables. I saw the word “Bloggers” labeled onto a makeshift place card and walked to it. A nice woman asked me to register. My friend, who I hitched a ride with to Fully Booked, introduced me to one of the authors, Sharon Que, who pointed me to another part of the registration area to get my goody-bag – her two books, a notepad and a bookmark.

When the event was midway, I was surprised that the hundred-plus seating capacity was almost filled up. Wow! This is one of the most attended book launches I’ve ever gone to. The daughter of a Filipino magnate was there; even Alice Dixson was there.

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Sharon Que and Clarissa de la Paz are co-authors of the 104-page book entitled “Money Grows on Trees.” It’s quite different that each author had half of the book written by one, then flip the book upside down and the other author’s writing begins. Their previous book, “I Wish They Taught Money in School” is 148 pages, longer than their second book. During their presentation, they mentioned it took them 90 days to finish their second book. How prepared they were when they started is something I missed hearing.

Clearly, each one gave their reasons for writing the first and second books. They were advocates of vision boards and showed the audience what each of theirs looked like. “Passive income” and “achieve your dreams” were a few of the phrases mentioned. At those instances, I was attentive (I was busy taking a few photos and sharing them in social media – what a digital nut I am; really!), I heard Sharon say she and other business partners bought a building with only ₱60,000 cash on hand.

I fell in line to have both first and second books autographed by Sharon and Clarissa, with a photo op, of course. Mind you, the snacks they prepared for all the attendees were filling – five or six pieces of one-fourth sandwiches, chips, popcorn and juice. Cool!

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Writing both books all boiled down to their advocacy of teaching financial literacy to the public, financial freedom and independency – through their books. They have a website, www.lifestyleupgrade101.com or Lifestyle Upgrade 101, where their books are sold online. The regular retail price of the second book is ₱400.

“Do I have time to read it?” Aww, c’mon. The average reading speed worldwide is 200 wpm (words per minute) and the average number of words per page of a book is 250. Do the math and you can finish a page in 1-minute and 15-seconds. Reading 104 pages non-stop will take you only 130 minutes or two hours and ten minutes. Fine. Round it up to two-and-a-half hours. That’s even lesser time than watching a Star Wars movie, and you don’t get financial literacy from Jedis and the Dark Force.

“Should I fork out ₱400 of my cash?” Four hundred Pesos is like two Grande Frappuccino drinks at Starbucks. I’m sure you can equate it to other consumable items. It’s not much to invest in a personal finance book, right? Buy one now! I’m pretty sure Fully Booked has the book stocked. National Bookstore appears in their website with a testimonial; so, that’s another place to go.

It’s Sunday tomorrow. So, marathon reading, here I come!

P.S. Congratulations to Sharon Que and Clarissa de la Paz for a job well done, not only with the event but by writing books that educate and inspire Filipinos to become financially free to fulfil theirs and their family’s dreams in life. Keep it up!

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Mia Alvar’s Stories of the Filipino Diaspora

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“I wouldn’t have written a short story collection about Filipino immigrants or migrant workers if I felt like there was a surplus of these types of narratives and characters and voices across literary fiction.” –Mia Alvar

Mia Alvar lives in New York City. Her first book, In the Country, a collection of short stories of what it means to live under martial law, in poverty, away from your family. Her Filipino characters travel to Bahrain, New York, to the prison thirty minutes down the road. Their lives change with finer houses, nicer cars, medical degrees. But home is ever present, ingrained in every action they take; for, “how ‘distant’ could the blood running through your veins be?”

In the opening story of In the Country, a young pharmacist returns home to care for his ailing father, smuggling drugs to help ease the pain and discovers an alarming secret about his mother. In ‘Shadow Families’ wealthy Filipina housewives in Bahrain throw parties for the working-class Filipinos because “helping these helpers, who’d traveled even farther, felt like home.” Alvar’s ‘Esmeralda’ explores the immigrant experience during 9/11 and it is exquisite, a story so real and pure that it could break your heart.

In the Country is a joy to read. Mia Alvar’s writing is attentive, compassionate and filled with powerful sense of belonging – a splendid debut. –Al Woodworth

Mia Alvar is a former Writer-in-Residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, she has received support from the Corporation of Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Blue Mountain Center for the Arts and the Sarah Lawrence Seminar for Writers. Mia’s work has been cited for distinction in The Best American Short Stories, twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in One StoryThe Missouri Review, the Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere.

Born in the Philippines and raised in Bahrain and the United States, she graduated from Harvard College and the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

Read more at The Boston Globe | The New York Times | Amazon.com | Miaalvar.com

Photos from miaalvar.com.

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The 35th Manila International Book Fair

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The country’s biggest book event is right around the corner: the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF), which heads back to the SMX Convention Center at the SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City on Sept. 17-21, 2014.

Now on its 35th year, the MIBF still remains the country’s biggest and longest-running book fair. It showcases the largest and most varied collection of literature for leisure and academic reading. Everything you need from fiction bestsellers, to textbooks, to graphic novels, and even educational materials are all under one roof. Moreover, the MIBF is also the go-to venue for this year’s most awaited book launches and signings, dialogues with readers, contests, and other literary events.

After three decades, it has evolved from an event for the publishing industry and the academe to one of the most-awaited exhibitions for all sorts of readers. The MIBF has become a gathering of sorts for bookworms of all ages and walks of life to celebrate the joys of reading and the knowledge each book brings about. It has also been providing a venue for the exchange of ideas amongst players in the publishing and academic industry.

Apart from great reads at affordable prices, the MIBF also showcases special events for readers: storytelling sessions, poetry readings, book signings, book launches, literary awards, quiz bee competitions, interactive education, the annual St. Paul National Bible Quiz and many more activities that enrich the reading experience and contribute to the reading awareness of the Filipino public.

For more information, visit www.manilabookfair.com.

Photo from MIBF Facebook Page.

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Note: This is not a paid article/post.

All Books Imported to Philippines Are Now Tax-free

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Browsing for books

Whether for personal or commercial use, the Department of Finance (DOF) signed Department Order No. 57-2011 detailing the guidelines to this new law of duty- and VAT-free status of books imported into the Philippines, including clearance procedures for customs-related agencies. The law however disallows publication for advertising purposes.

This new law reiterates the UNESCO Florence Agreement which the Philippines signed to waive tarrifs on books and other printed materials used in educational, scientific and cultural intentions.

“Individuals, who import books for personal use whether as accompanied baggage or through couriers or post office, do not need to secure an endorsement from the DOF Revenue Office. However, these importations should be cleared and released through the required declaration of goods under existing regulations,” ABS-CBN News wrote. However, importation of books is limited to twelve for an institution and six for an individual.

For commercial book importers, they must present an endorsement from the Finance Department’s Revenue Office so it can be exempted from duties and taxes. This includes a Certification from the UNESCO Office in the Philippines attesting that the importation/s is/are covered by the Florence Agreement.

Read more at ABS-CBN News

Photo by specialkrb at Flickr.com

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

January 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm

New Comedy Book By Filipino Out About Getting Married

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There is no end to writers that attempt to write comedy. Many comics are funny, but few are hilarious. Ledesma is well, hilarious… What makes him even more hilarious that most writers of comedy is that he finds even things familiar to us funny..from the conventional rituals of getting married to going on a foreign trip to realizing that one is balding. That is the secret of his humor: he makes his fellowmen laugh at themselves.. His ribbing is never not in jest, but where there is comic smoke, there is bound to be tragic truth.

“I Do or I Die”
RJ Ledesma’s Imaginary Guide to Getting Married
by RJ Ledesma

[Click Here] to go to Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Written by Raffy Pekson II

September 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm