Monday, March 26, 2012

My Favorite Book Awards (Year 11)

You know there’s still lots of awesome left in the world if people give you awards for being the nerdtastic bookworm that you are. Ask anyone who attended My Favorite Book Awards Year 11 at the Conservatory of the Peninsula Manila about this, and they’ll know what you mean.

That ironic moment when “Solitude” brings you to a get-together kind of event

I consider The Solitude of Prime Numbers a special book long before I joined the competition—it wowed me even if I’m not particularly fond of soulmate stories or mathematics. The flurry of gifts (material or otherwise)  I’ve received because of my review for it  just carved it out an extra special place in my heart. ♥

books (winners)
The above table was set beside the stage. There may be us, the human winners and essayists, but everyone who attended the awarding knew that these books (and our love for them!) are the very treasures that brought us together to celebrate. They’re the real winners here.

Mr. Neo, me, and my mother

The Philippine Star’s Ms. Tanya Lara told me that I can bring at most three persons at the awarding, so I asked my mother and one of my cousins to accompany me. The original plan was that I’d bring my friends Kitty and Debbie, but it was an epic deadly Deadlines Week at work…so yeah, it went down the drain.

Anyway, I got to meet some of my co-winners. Neo E. Valdez, who wrote about the novel Ordinary People by Judith Gues, sat and chatted with us. I was surprised to learn that he reads my blog (not sure if it’s CICB or CIRS), and was largely flattered when he said my book reviews are good.

“It’s good to have a blog,” I could remember him saying. “Most of us who read books need an outlet where we can show our views and opinions. It goes the same for this contest.” He brought his two kids with him, who are also bibliophiles (one of them is an avid Rick Riordan fan).

winner's table
At the winners’ table
I also got to sit with co-winner Rosario Patino-Yap, who wrote about Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate. She brought her family with her, and if I remember it correctly, they flew straight from Cagayan just to attend the event. They’re all nice! I wasn’t able to ask if all of them in the family are readers but I guess it’s not impossible, especially that Ms. Rosario is a high school teacher.

The VIPs: STAR Lifestyle editor Millet Mananquil, head of editorial board Isaac Belmonte and editor in chief Amy Pamintuan, Ayala Corp. chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, NBS founder and GM Nanay Socorro Ramos, and STAR Lifestyle columnist Jessica Zafra. (Photo courtesy of The Philippine Star)

The other biggies who attended the event are The Philippine Star president and CEO Miguel Belmonte, editorial board head Isaac Belmonte, editor-in-chief Amy Pamintuan and managing editor Romel Lara; Globe Telecom head of Corporate Communications Division Yoly Crisanto, NBS VP for purchasing Cecilia “Bak” Licauco, Swatch Philippines president Virgie Ramos, among others.

Bea Ledesma, Me, Raymond Gutierrez, and Liz Uy (Blurry shot is blurred!)
GOD is good!

I received P10,000.00 (Cash and GCs) and a Globe premium handyphone.

I didn’t prepare any kind of speech, so I did what I usually do when my inner emergency alarm goes off: puncture my thought balloons and let the words spill everywhere. I was speechless at first (I sort of told the hosts about it), but as soon as I got hold of the mic, the words were out.

In my non-speech, I said I’m grateful that there are business entities like National Book Store, The Philippine Star, and Globe that give awards to bookworms simply for being the bookworms that they are. Nowadays, people are so quick to stereotype you as a “geek”, “nerd,” or just someone “weird” when they learn you have  a special love affair with literature (not that there's something wrong with being a geek, nerd, or weird!). It’s a blessing for all kinds of readers to have an avenue like the My Favorite Book contest, where everyone seems to tell you that you rock for loving books! :) And I stand by that—you really are hardcore if you’re a bookworm. You live lots of lives, learn about life, put yourself in lots of other people’s shoes…and enjoy every minute of it. It’s not just a hobby. It’s a lifestyle.

“Speechless ka pa n’yan, ah? Pano pag prepared ka na?” jested host Tim Yap after I handed him back the mic.

The following came from Ms. Anna Marie Pamintuan’s Sketches column (Pleasures of Reading) in last Wednesday’s issue of The Philippine Star:
Honorable mention Amalia Airiz Casta, a journalism graduate of Lyceum who wrote about Paolo Giordano’s “The Solitude of Prime Numbers,” was happy to receive an award for her love of books – something that she said made others call her “weird” and a “nerd.” 

Several of the other youthful awardees aired similar sentiments. Someone should remind them that the nerds have taken over the planet.
The last line, folks. That is all.


  1. Congratulations, Ms. Airiz! Great job! :)

  2. Congratulations! It must have been a fantastic event - surrounded by fellow literature-lovers. I'm so happy for you :)

    1. Thank you! It is! I don't usually attend bookworm gatherings, but after this event, I realize I should go out and hang out with more lit-lovers. Thanks!

  3. Congratulations! You deserve it!

  4. OMG you already met Jessica Zafra! I adore her. Anyway, congrats Airiz! Continue to take over our planet!

    1. I did! I haven't read many of her books (aside from some of her TWISTED's), but perhaps I would, in the future. :) Thank you! We book lovers will take over the planet!

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