Roamer's Roundup

A Lit Fest And A History Con Weekend (Sorry, AsiaPop Comic Con)

It was a packed weekend recently as a number of events were simultaneously happening around the metropolis. Unfortunately, due to personal commitments, I was not able to check out all of them. Sadly, one of those I was not able to check out was the AsiaPop Comic Con 2016 which happened at the SMX Convention Center.

However, I was able to check out a couple of interesting events: the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2016 at the Raffles Hotel in Makati and History Con Manila 2016 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila. Coverage follows after the break.


Formerly known as the Philippine Literary Festival, the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival is an annual admission-free event organized by Raffles Hotel Makati and National Book Store. Since its inception in 2014, the 3-day event is highlighted by various talks, lectures, book launches and signings courtesy of various local and international authors.


This year’s event was graced by the presence of Pulitzer Prize award winning author Adam Johnson and bestselling authors Paula McLain and Anna Todd who delivered talks about their works and careers as writers and also did book signings as well.

Make no mistake though, the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival is not just about the international authors being brought in as guests. There were also a number of events being held throughout the event floor of the hotel almost simultaneously. Just to give you an idea, at the same time when Paula McLain was doing her talk and book signing at Ballroom 2, there was a writing workshop happening at Ballroom 1 courtesy of the people behind Young Blood of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. At a function room ahead was a book launching event, which at the time the Urban Roamer was there happens to be the book launching of Filipiknow. My congratulations to Luisito Batongbakal Jr. of Filipiknow for a successful book launch event!

Nice to have met you at the event, Filipiknow!

At another function room, lectures and discussions were being held. At the time, the topic was about book publishing in the digital age, with Neal Oshima, Apa Ongpin, and Karl Castro on the panel.

The Youngblood workshop at Ballroom 1
Neal Oshima, Apa Ongpin, Karl Castro in one of the talks

Truth be told, this was the first time the Urban Roamer was at such an event. I have to say, this would be one event I shall be looking forward to each year.


The Urban Roamer then proceeded to the World Trade Center Manila for the first ever History Con. Organized by the cable network History Channel, this is actually the first ever history convention in Asia, and Manila is fortunate to hold the first iteration of such an event.

Cosplaying as soldiers from WWII

However, I have to say that despite it being a “history” convention, you will not really see much of traditional history. That should not come as a surprise since History Channel itself is no longer just a channel that strictly deals with history. And this convention reflects the “diversification” of the network and what it offers to its viewers these days. At one part of the convention floor reminds you of an auto event and another part showcases men’s grooming, You get the idea.

Yes, there’s a boxing ring in the convention floor

One of the sidelights of the event, crocodile meat being served

As a result, you get this…interesting event that caters to different interests, something I very rarely see in conventions. Come to think of it, this would probably be the first convention I attended that has this eclectic theme, very eclectic considering it is a “history”-themed convention. Nevertheless, for the somewhat most part, the history aspect of the convention is still there, through the promotion of one of History Channel’s shows (both reality and scripted programs) as well as some of the exhibits in the floor.

At the NHCP booth at History Con (yes, the NHCP had a booth there)
At the Heneral Luna booth at History ConOn t

Apart from exhibiting history made in the past, there was also history being attempted to be made during the event. In particular, there was this Guinness World Record attempt being made for the longest TV watching marathon to be made. I was happy to know that the record attempt was successful at a record 100+ hours. Congratulations to those who broke the record, though I’m sure those participants would have to get a really long sleep to make up for those 100 hours mostly awake.

Too bad I wasn’t able to attend the talks and other events that were being conducted on the upper floor’s function room. But roaming the convention floor was enough of an experience for me. Congratulations to the organizers of this event and it will be interesting to see what they have in store next year.

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