MIBF 39: Crowded and Congested

People, people, people everywhere.

Old and young, toddlers and retirees, students and teachers lined up for hours to enter the MIBF venue on the event’s last day. The guards turned all exits into entrances just to accommodate everyone who forced their way in.

I had to leave our 42nd anniversary celebration in church immediately after a quick lunch to catch my 3:30 PM schedule for “Grace under Pressure” book signing at the CSM booth.

How I got in was magic, made possible by an official MIBF ID. One after the other, I received text messages from friends, who had earlier set a date with me, that they turned around, “Can’t swim in the sea of people!” 

Since it was still too early for my book signing, I dawdled in the Hiyas booth, where I met readers of all kinds and friends.

The air-conditioning was almost non-existent and to go from one place to another, you’d have to walk like a Chinese Amah with bound feet, or you’d crush into someone before, behind, or beside you.  Were it not for the joy I feel when surrounded with books and book lovers, I’d have whined.

I almost didn’t make it to the CSM booth in time because of the crowd. But once there, seeing and chatting with old and new friends, time stopped. The 30-minute schedule whizzed by and I overstayed by another 30. 

It took two hours for my driver to find me and help me with my purchases. A person of lesser mettle (or someone who does not love books as much as those who bore the inconveniences) would have passed up that last day or passed out. 

The unprecedented turnout on MIBF’s last day only meant one thing: more and more people are reading. And that falls under the category, “Wow!"


Vie Velasco said...

We went to MIBF on a Thursday morning. Pwedeng mag ballroom! Though maraming nag fi-field trip, the entire venue was spacious. I vowed never to go there on weekends when we, too, got caught with the
"sea of people". 😊

Grace D. Chong said...

Wise decision to go to the MIBF on weekdays. The last two days--Saturday and Sunday--were impassable and impossible! According to the organizers, this year's crowd is the biggest ever.