Filipinos can't wait for the Big Bad Wolf Part II

Filipinos can't wait for the Big Bad Wolf Part II

For two weeks Manila was the host to the Big Bad Wolf.

Nope this is not the reincarnated story of the much loved nursery story about the three little pigs and its arch nemesis the big bad wolf, but the inaugural staging of the biggest book sale in the planet. The chosen site was the World Trade Center in Pasay City and it was open twenty four hours a day,seven days a week. It opened its doors last February 16 up to Feb. 25.

And from the turn out that was witnessed by the Big Bad Wolf people, this will not be the last, Miguel Mercado , the marketing head of Big Bad Wolf Philippines,in an interview with ABS-CBN News said that they will be working for another staging of the book sale to other parts of the country in the future. *
(photo credit to owner)

"To dream with an advocacy and to dream with a mission, it's always there," he said. "Maybe after the sale, we'll rest for a few hours and then I'm sure we'll be working on the next one." 

The booksale was the brainchild of BookXcess heads Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng, whose sole mission is to help introduce books to readers who normally couldn't afford one. 

It started in Malaysia with just over 120,000 books and has since grown to become one of the world's biggest book sales. For the Philippine visit the group brought over two million books.

"This is just to boost the [book] industry," Ng explained. "To inject some excitement, to get people to start reading. [This event is for] people who have forgotten the joy of reading, and those who have not experienced the joy of reading."

Ng noticed the difference between the readers from the United Kingdom and tose in Southeast Asia, stating “it’s a totally different culture.”

In southeast Asia kids read not for pleasure and entertainment but to “pass exams.”

"For a majority of families here, we never had that luxury or that environment. It's all about academics -- how to pass your exam, how to get good grades." 

She had hoped to change that reading culture through Big Bad Wolf.  *

Gawad Kalinga partnered with BookXcess to make Big Bad Wolf happen here in Manila.

Ng and Yap were asked what have they learned from their first taste of Manila as host for the Big Bad Wolf, and they gave five things that stand out.

1. Right down to business: Pinoy readers go for specific authors

Yap described book lovers here as "deeper readers" compared to other markets such as Malaysia. This meant that they forego "surface deep" general knowledge titles to browse fiction -- a "testament," he explained, "as to what a mature English market" looked like. 

2. "Stray" books may hurt business, but that's not a bad thing

They were initially disappointed with the large number of visitors who would leave books they decided not to buy at a corner instead of returning them to where they found them, but Yap said that this meant they were "attracting the correct crowd." 

Since their mission is make books affordable, seeing readers with "limited budgets" come and support their festival is enough to move him and Ng. 

3. Holding Big Bad Wolf here gave them a glimpse of the best of Filipinos 

Ng said she was overwhelmed by the gratitude Filipino readers made them feel for selling heavily discounted titles. "Every single person I was introduced to say, 'Thank you for being here.'"  *

"For the past 10 years, we do receive a lot of appreciation and thank you notes, but never have I, for once, received thank you's from every single customer," she added. "That really touches me."

4. Missing Chinese New Year celebrations with their families a worry

Ng shared that it was very hard to tell her mom that she won't be home for Chinese New Year, but she just couldn't pass up this opportunity to finally bring the festival to the Philippines. 

Working with Gawad Kalinga, Ng hopes Big Bad Wolf was able to "create," "inspire," and "empower" young Filipino readers. 

"When a child gets the correct book, that child will be the next president of the country through dreams and being inspired," she said. "Reading and books should not be a luxury item and to certain upper-class people." 

5. Manila is a city that never sleeps

Yap said that the only reason they decided to open for 24 hours here for two weeks was so that people who work during odd hours will have a chance to visit them. 

"As long as one customer comes in after midnight, the battle is won," he said. "There are a lot of people who work at the call centers who sleep during the day and work at night. And they will never get to come here if we don't open 24 hours."   *

Based from the people behind this great idea and from the reactions and countless posts in social media, we cant wait for the second staging of the Big Bad Wolf.

Report from ABS-CBN News


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