The Manila International Book Fair 2016: Top 10 Picks and a Bonus!

I think I was absent in the Book Fair scene for more than 5 years. This year, the only reason I went was because I needed to go to DFA for my 3 children’s passport renewal  appointment. Hello!!!  DFA Aseana was like 5 minutes away from SMX MOA.  How could I pass the chance?  I also saw it as a field trip for my youngest who has never gone to such a huge assembly of books in our country! The fair runs from Sept 14-18, 10AM -8PM. Tickets are at Php 20.00, Php 15.00 if students can present their IDs!

My kids are not very fond of “shopping” or “window shopping”.  It may be  because 3/4 of them are boys and my only daughter may have formed a similar view through the years.   They are very practical people. Buy what you need then go.  Given my own commitment to stick within the budget and never to make the same mistake of hoarding material in the early part of our homeschooling years, we agreed 90 minutes, which extended to 2 hours because I kinda got lost.

It is unfortunate that the event’s website is down:( at the very time, it needs to be up and running. It is down now as I write.   Try it again another time, maybe it will work. So let me direct you to their FB page. They have the entire itinerary there for the different workshops ( some free, some with reasonable fees).

I am not attempting to make a comprehensive post. How could I given 2 hours to walk through aisles and aisles of more than 200 exhibitors/publishers?   So, let me just share my highlights. My top 10 picks!

  1.   Seeing our preschool material once again: Sing Spell Read and Write.   My 2nd son couldn’t help but reminisce as he looked at some of the story books that were part of the kit. Yes, we did it all: All About, Off We Go, On Track, Raceway, Grand Tour 1 and 2, and yes, even a very old edition of Trophy Workbook.  Having 4 children, we were ok to get the  Pre-K set and the Combo set since we were going to reuse all of the material for sure for the the kids. I just purchased the manuals separately. Oh how I loved this material!  Deonna Tanchi was the one who recommended this set to us. It was also a blessing that Teacher  and Reverend Pat Capwell of the Institute of Foundational Learning ( a good friend of Sing Spell Creator Sue Dickson) offered her expertise in training many homeschooolers, around 10 years ago in CCF Alabang. Yes, I am a certified Sing Spell Read and Write Homeschooling Teacher!

This material is being sold by Mind Mover Publishers. Check out their other materials on their website!  I liked the fact that they were selling the material separately (workbooks, books) but they were pricey. The All Aboard US edition workbook was being sold for 1.200! Ouch!  The agent mentioned a price of $357 plus 20% shipping fee for the entire set. (I hope the agent was referring to the Combo set -Kinder  and Level 1). We purchased this more than decade ago for something around Php10,000  (through a balikbayan box I shared with a co-homeschooler). It was super worth it, having 4 children! The pre -K kit was then around $80.00.





This is a rare sight: an almost 6 footer 15 year old laughing over some of the SSRW readers!


The entire set I am referring to looks like this:

2. Meeting Jolly Phonics for the first time.  Jolly Phonics from the CD Book International Inc Booth

Knowing sounds first before the name of the letters!   This is similar to the principle of Sing Spell Read and Write !   The agent I spoke with mentioned that many preschoolers in the UK are moving towards using this principle.  Several PAREF preschools in Metro Manila are into Jolly Phonics.

Jolly Phonics is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. With actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, the multi-sensory method is very motivating for children and teachers, who can see their students achieve. The letter sounds are split into seven groups as shown below. ( uk)




Some of books offer “tactile” experience as children use their fingers to trace the letters, similar to the Montessori way of using sandpaper, sand, or materials with texture.



I love it that the material seems to be very FUN to do with your children ! The materials range from Word Books at Php 380.00 to Workbooks/ Student Book sets from Php400 to Php4000.  Classroom Aids are from Php500- Php 5000.  Starter Kits/Classroom Kits/School Kit Editions range from Php 37,000- 160,000. I am hoping though you can pick and choose and buy some of the material per piece. I was really JOLLY looking through their material!

3. The Php 100.00 books   (Sorry, I forgot the name of the booth! Just look for the stash of books that’s arranged as seen below!!!)

I am fond of listening to videos by Pastor Francis Chan 🙂
A good preschool workbook for Filipino!
Time for Christmas Shopping?

4. Character Books @ Php100.00 each from Paulines!   If you buy 5, it’s Php90.00 each. Sister Mildred  T. Chan said the more you buy, the more discount is given.   These are also sold in Paulines Stores in SM Malls and online via  I am not certain if discounts are only  given at the book fair though.  You may email for inquiries.




Look at the vast issues discussed! This could be entire Character Education Curriculum!

5. Homeschool Add Ons!  Wow,the biggest protractor, compass and triangular rulers! I also forgot the booth name but you won’t miss this for sure. S-K-E-L-E-T-O-N ALERT!


“ANG PROTRACTOR! BOW!” We had a laugh trip with these… What if you were in a regular school and was asked to bring a protractor, and you brought this!

6. Brother Sewing Machine at National Book Store ( Powerbooks at the malls,however, can offer 3 month installment for BDO cards). The sales person at the booth mentioned that these are only offered via straight payment. We love BROTHER. Our 5 year old machine is still working well:)



7. Fully Booked offers 20 percent off! I have been wanting to read a full length book by Angela Duckworth.  I listened to one of her Ted Talks on Grit and wanted more. So happy with this find! Take a peak and listen to the video posted.

img_9279 img_9280

8.  Php 65.00 for each of these Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth by Bookmark.


9. Though I only managed to touch the first copy off the press, I actually had my best surprise : seeing the entire team behind this pioneering project!  The 3 writers, Ms. Joonee Garcia, Ms.  Michelline Suarez, Ms. Divine Reyes and illustrator Mr, Benjor Catindig.  Copies of public consumption will be available tomorrow.

It is like Mystery of History, Story of the World, or Horrible Histories series….Filipino Edition!
Ms. Joonee Garcia, the sweet girl with orange tote is my husband’s batch mate in high school. She has been my children’s piano teacher for several year, truly an amazing artist and educator, and now a writer. You never fail to amaze me, Teacher Joonee!

Get your copies from Tahanan booth for a discounted price of Php 150.00!

10.  Beautiful Card Sets by Vidal Tan, a boy with autism . Php 20.00 !  Yes, no typo error, Php 20.00 for a set at Bookmark.




And my BONUS for the day, yes for the 2 hours I had alloted was,,, drumroll please…..was seeing my “young padawan” Ching Tan-Sy.  Yes, she was part of a disciple group of teens I was leading while I was in college. Oh wow, 200 booths, dozens and dozens of aisles, 10 hours of the opening hours, 5 days of the book fair and I only alloted 2 hours and viola, we end up in the same booth at the same time, with our homeschooled and formerly homeschooled kids! Isn’t that  more than amazing???! It’s quite telling of our seasons…. she was purchasing Math materials for her  preschooler and I was getting College Review Test Booklets! This was indeed a highlight of my day!


So don’t you agree that was the most productive 2 hours ever?

I am not sure if these will help , in case you want to plan your “moves” for your visit (and avoid the traps! I have noticed though that some booths had really awesome set ups and displays! They may be quite interesting to visit with younger children!). I can imagine how full it will be over the weekend, so I guess, it is best to really check the places you’d like to visit so you can have a better strategy with these images I’ve uploaded.







Ladies and gentlemen, “My Manila International Book Fair 2016 Haul! Bow!”

Piled up!
Spread out!

And best news, I was within budget!

If you’d like more tips on how to maximize your visit, please visit  two posts from fellow homeschoolers: Que of the and Teresa of Thank you, Que and Teresa!




Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” 
― Charles William Eliot