Best Reads for 2013: Zarah Gagatiga

It’s the last day of the year, and before we bid 2013 goodbye, awesome year for books and reading that it is, we wanted to feature the best reads of some of our Filipino ReaderCon 2013 speakers and book industry peeps. In fact, making year-end best books or best reads lists is one of the beloved activities of many of the ReaderCon volunteers and friends. 

ReaderCon 2013 facilitator and 2012 speaker, librarian Zarah Gagatiga, shares her best reads for the year on her blog, School Librarian in Action.

Zarah Gagatiga's Best Reads of 2013

Zarah Gagatiga’s Best Reads of 2013

You can see the book covers above, but head on over to her blog post to read what she loved about them.

If you have a post about your best reads for 2013, do share them in the comments below!

And a Happy New Year to all!

Best Reads for 2013: Mina Esguerra

Hello, fellow Filipino readers! 

It’s the last day of the year, and before we bid 2013 goodbye, awesome year for books and reading that it is, we wanted to feature the best reads of some of our Filipino ReaderCon 2013 speakers. In fact, making year-end best books or best reads lists is one of the beloved activities of many of the ReaderCon volunteers and friends. 

Let’s start one of Filipino ReaderCon 2013’s facilitators, former speakers, and two-time winner of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards in the Chick Lit category, Mina Esguerra!

My 2013 Best Reads
Mina Esguerra's Ten Best Reads for 2013

Mina Esguerra’s Ten Best Reads for 2013

Here are my ten favorite reads of the year. Arranged mostly in the order that I read them:

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Starts off “normal,” until that turn (and you know what I mean if you’ve read it), and just becomes more fun and crazy from that point on. There apparently is a debate about how it ended, but I happen to think that certain people deserve what/who they get.

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This pop hit needs no validation from me. I did connect more though to the parents and how it must have felt for them, so to me this isn’t just a YA romance.

3. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

I’m surprised that I even picked this up, and that I enjoyed it so much. (Baseball? Really?) But yes, it all works.

4. The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers

It starts off as a guilty-pleasure read (girl responds to ad of hot guy wanting to kiss and nothing more), but then pulls a bait-and-switch and before you know it, you’re invested, and also possibly in tears.

5. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

One of the novels first associated with the growing “new adult” category, but also the one that does NOT contain the category’s supposed sex requirement. It is, actually, a sweet and lovely (and mostly clean) story of a girl who’s starting college under strange circumstances, that get even stranger. Readers will solve the mystery long before the main character does, but you actually don’t want to ruin things for her.

6. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

Mysteries just like this are usually part of my yearly reading list, but rarely do I crave for a sequel, or series. I’d follow Cormoran and Robin around for however many books Ms. Rowling can squeeze out.

7. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

A controversial close to a series that I enjoyed. Not saying I agree with it, just that it is what it is. The Divergent series to me has been about catharsis (many things about the “Dauntless” make no sense unless you see it as “we do this so you won’t have to”) and at least in the end one character gets to experience it too.

8. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

A book that just slayed me, even if I knew it would, and tried to prepare myself for it.

9. Asking For Trouble by Tessa Bailey

Tessa Bailey is IMO the queen of the alpha hero romance, and it’s probably because she understands the power relationship there and doesn’t confuse dominance play with cruelty. Asking For Trouble is her latest, and I think her best.

Best of the year:

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Oh dear, I want to squeeze this book to pieces. It is sweet and sensitive, and just gets so many things right if you happen to be a fanfic writer, a writer, in a fandom, or just…human. With feelings. No contest, my best of the year, and have been calling it my best of the year as soon as I finished reading it.

Mina V. Esguerra


Thank you, Mina, for sharing! As for the rest of you, feel free to share your best reads for the year in the comments below!

Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards 2013 Winners


The 3rd Filipino ReaderCon was held last Saturday, December 7, and the winners of the 2nd Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards were announced at the end of the event. In behalf of the FRCA committee, we’d like to thank everyone who participated and helped make this event a success. Thank you also to our judges who spent time to read the books, and to the publishers who generously provided copies of the books to our judges. There were a lot of bumps in the road as usual, but we have learned a lot and we are committed to making the FRCA better in the years to come.

Here are the winners of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards 2013.

Children’s Picture Book

Mga_Saranggola_sa_Tag-ulan_Kites_in_the_Rain__cover.jpgMga Saranggola sa Tag-Ulan (Kites in the Rain) by Eugene Evasco and Bernadette Solina-Wolf (LG&M Corporation)

The children chose Mga Saranggola sa Tag-ulan because they liked the colors, drawings, and the characters trying to fly kites in the rain and using their imagination.

Chick Lit


That Kind of Guy by Mina V. Esguerra (Summit Books)

We picked TKoG because it was funny, lighthearted, and the characters and situations were more relevant/current. It was easy to relate to and (dare we say it) “realistic”, and we think that the Filipino reader would find it most engaging and enjoyable to read.

Novel in English


Woman in a Frame by Raissa Rivera Falgui (Flipside Publishing)

Raissa Rivera Falgui’s Woman in a Frame is a literary masterpiece. It takes all of the best elements of Filipino culture, history, and tradition and fuses them into a cohesive whole, consistently referring to familiar things, places, and events that are distinctly Filipino. It celebrates equality of the sexes, magnifies the effects of centuries-long foreign conquest in present-day society, and honors the importance of family. Like an artist’s magnum opus, Woman in a Frame is a beautiful work of art, a gem in Filipino literature.

Novel in Filipino


Territorio de los Hombres Batch 6: Marcial Ortega by Vanessa (Precious Pages Corporation)

What made this novel engaging for us was not just its formulaic plot, but also its back-stories. The author took time to build her characters and abide to a so-familiar formula among our modern romance stories. Matibay ang mga tauhan, may mga kasayasayang pinaghuhugutan, at nag-di-develop ng may dahilan. This made us realize that the author wouldn’t want to mess up with her readers’ intelligence.Finally, the novel is also a wish fulfillment for us. Kwento ito ng pag-ibig, pangangarap, pagkabigo, pagbangon, pagyaman (super yaman!) at paghihiganti – isang bagay na naka-nuot sa ating mga kamalayan bilang tao at bilang Pilipino. Pareho man ang tema nito sa ibang mga finalist, ay mas higit naming nakita ang aming sarili kina Marcial at Carmen.

Kaya naman ngayong taong ito, aming iginagawad ang Filipino Reader’s Choice Award para sa Nobelang Filipino kay Vanessa para sa kanyang Territorio de los Hombres Batch 6: Marcial Ortega.

Comics/Graphic Novels

Trese Book 5 midnight tribunal cover

Trese 5: Midnight Tribunal by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo (Visprint)

We decided that Trese 5: Midnight Tribunal as the winner of the comic/graphic novel catergory because its narrative was able to incorporate the elements of Philippine folklore, history, and pop culture, creating a unique balance between the fairy tale story and the fantasy graphic novel. Other elements of comics, such as the use of color, panelling, etc., were also utilized to complement the overall mood and movement of the narrative. Lastly, the story brings together both the young and the old generation: those who grew up hearing the stories of these mythical creatures from their elders, and those who are just discovering the Philippine folklore.

Short Story Anthology


Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang (Volume 2) by Severino O. Reyes, Christine S. Bellen, Rebecca T. Anonuevo and Felix Mago Miguel (Tahanan Books)

Ang Ikalawang Antolohiya ng Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang ay isang koleksyon ng mga maiiksing kwento na may kakayahang ipasyal ka sa ma-alamat na nakaraan ng ating bayan. Sa mga pahina nito ay maari kang maka-enkuwentro ng isang sawa na may makapangyarihang Sula na maaring bumago ng takbo ng iyong buhay. Sa mundong ito ay di hadlang ang iyong katayuan sa buhay o murang edad. Dito maaring mapalitan ang kabiguan sa pag-ibig nang walang kapantay na saya at karangalan. Kung kaya naman naniniwala kami na ang akdang ito ang may kakayanang makawili ng pinakamaraming mambabasang Pilipino mula sa iba’t ibang edad, antas ng edukasyon, at katayuan sa buhay.

Essay Anthology


Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years by Susan F. Quimpo & Nathan Gilbert Quimpo (Anvil)

This anthology written by the Quimpo family siblings provides another perspective in decades of Philippine activism that is probably untold or unknown by many. This autobiography engages the Filipino reader because of the authors’ sincerity to what has really happened in their advocacy to combat the diseases of the Philippine society. In addition, it uses clear, vivid descriptions that makes such an autobiography enjoying and interesting to read.


LITA poems on women-600x600

Lita: Poems on Women by the Cavite Young Writers Association (Balangay Books)

Lita: Poems on Women is a beautiful collection that illustrates vividly the different stereotypes about women, and places these stereotypes in the Filipino context to reflect the prejudices of society. It shows women in different roles in our society for how they really are, reminding us of the admirable inner strength of women. At the same time, it tackles topics that revolve around or indirectly affect women, including the fears of men and other societal issues.

Congratulations to all the winners! :)

Feedback for the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who attended this year’s Filipino ReaderCon, especially since there have been changes in the schedule and the program due to supervening events. So for everyone who attended, helped promote in one way or another, supported the event from day one, and volunteered for the myriad of activities that made this year’s ReaderCon a success – THANK YOU.

As a final activity, we would like to ask for your comments/feedback regarding this year’s program. We all benefit from experience, it’s true, so whatever you think may help us improve for the next ReaderCon, we would all appreciate to hear from you.

Kindly fill out the feedback form below for this purpose.

Thank you, once again, and see you next time! :)

Reminders for the Readercon

Yay! We’ve all waited for this for so long! It’s finally the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon! Here are some reminders for tomorrow:

  1. Registration starts at 8:00am. If you pre-registered, please arrive at the venue before 8:00am to secure your slot. Walk-ins are allowed, so if you did not pre-register, you can still go through regular registration. Be reminded however, that this is first come, first served. Please arrive early.
  2. If you’re bringing a car, you can download a car pass here.
  3. Registration fee is Php150, inclusive of reg kit, food stub, certificate, and a raffle stub.
  4. During registration, sign up for the panel you wish to join. Check out event’s updated program, it should help you decide. :) You may switch to another panel if you change your mind. Just proceed to the registration table again and sign up to the new one. Again, this is first come, first served. We have limited seats for each panel.
  5. Listen well and take good notes if you can. We have prepared a good mix of topics we know readers would enjoy and learn from.
  6. Inside your kit are food stubs and will be given when you register. This includes 2 snacks and 1 cocktails. As for lunch, you may take them at any of the restaurants lined up along Katipunan Ave. Please be reminded not to lose your name tag as you’ll still use them in the afternoon sessions.
  7. There is FREE WiFi at the venue. How awesome is that? Let us all be very interactive and tweet about the event using #filreadercon. We’ll be live tweeting the event, so make sure you’re following @PinoyReaderCon on Twitter. Please also tag us on your posts and photos on Facebook.
  8. Readercons are all about readers like you. Please make the most out of it especially during the socials. We’d love to meet you and your group! It will be helpful if you’d bring your business cards so we can exchange them with each other and get to know you more, even after the event is over! :)
  9. Finally, Readercon is also all about giving back. In light of the devastation brought about by Yolanda, we are holding a book drive for the Sacred Heart College in Tacloban. So, if you have books apt for high school students and you’re willing to donate them, please bring them over. We’ll set up a table where you can give your donations.

So, there! We hope everyone is all geared up for tomorrow. See you at What Readers Want: The 3rd Filipino Readercon December 7th 2013 (Saturday), 8:00am to 6:00pm at the Rizal Library! 

This event is held in partnership with Rizal Library and National Book Development Board (NBDB), and sponsored by Hachette Philippines, Simon & Schuster, Island Merchants Corporation, The Beachsters, VisprintBuqoFully Booked, SamsungScholastic PhilippinesFlipreadsOMF Literature, Inc and Adarna House.