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A couple of weeks ago, I got an invitation from kyusireader (Peter Sandico) to the Philippine Launching of Suzanne Collins' final installment to her Hunger Games series – Mockingjay. 
I was never a fan of violent and gory YA literatures until I came across this series. It has turned me into a believer that you can appreciate a well-written post-apocalyptic novel for young readers, if the purpose, concept and themes are still as universal as the other books you have in your collection. 
Besides, if Peter recommends it, who am I to say that I know better?
I just learned about the novel a couple of months ago. Nakalabas na ang Hunger Games at Catching Fire, kaya naman nung malapit ko nang matapos ang Hunger Games, pumunta na agad ako ng Powerbooks para kunin ang second book para 'di ako mabitin at makatulog ako ng maayos. 
Un pala hindi. When I started to read the first few chapters of Catching Fire, hindi rin ako nakapag-tu-tulog. I have to say that the novels were unputdownable, despite the violence and/or the promise of it. 
It took me only another two months to wait for the final book. Ung ibang mga fans ng series, taon ang binilang para lang sa paglabas ng last two installments. 
And so I went to the launch. It's a long weekend naman, at may oras pa kami ni 'be bukas dahil holiday (National Heroes Day). 
When I arrived at the venue, pagod at gutom na 'ko. Naligaw kasi ako, dahil ang akala ko, sa National Bookstore ng Galleria ang launch. Hindi pala. Sa NBS Bestsellers. 
Kakaiba ang Bestsellers. Ngayon ko lang siya nakita. Sana may ganito rin sa Makati para mas happy. Malaki siya at maliwanag. 'Di tulad ng ibang mga specialty bookstores na naka-dim lights at masisikip ang mga aisles. Ito, walang pretentions. Parang sinasabing: "'di ba libro ang pinunta mo? Hindi sushalan? Pwes, what you see is what you'll get!" 
'Un, parang ganun. 
Like ko siya actually. Though as much as I want to buy a book or two, I still have a number of titles at home that I have to finish. Besides, I'll be starting with my Graduate thesis next sem. Kapag kumuha pa 'ko ng iba pang babasahin, baka kung saan na ko mapadpad. But I promised myself, I'll have 'be and I visit Bestsellers again to get ourselves a book or two. Pero saka na. 
Sa mezzanine ang launch. Pagkakita ko sa stairs, ito agad ang tumambad sa akin:
Sabbeeeeh?! Kinilig naman ako. Nakakatuwa pala kapag nagma-materialize ang mga nababasa mo. First time kong makapunta sa launching ng isang international novel. Nakakatuwa. Karir kung karir! 
Apart from Scholastic, other organizations also sponsored and organized this event. Isa na dito ang Flip Flipping Pages, a Filipino book club who actively supports reading, and conducts literature related activities, at New Worlds Alliance, a group of science-fiction, fantasy loving fans in the Philippines.
For those of you who haven't read the series yet, the Capitol is a state in the novels where the antagonist lives. The series is about how a country fights bureaucracy and works on attaining freedom through a post-apocalyptic revolution. 
Kaya ikaw na nagbabasa, makikisigaw ka rin ng DOWN WITH THE CAPITOL! 
Apart from the anti-Capitol banner, eto pa ang mga nakapaskil sa hagdanan:
Akala ko, sa novel lang ang tunggalian nina Peeta at Gale. Pati rin pala sa mga fans meron din. Dun sa mga hindi naka-ka-alam, si Gale at Peeta ay parang si Jacob at Edward lang sa Twilight series. Pero mas bet ko pa rin ang mga characters ng mga nauna. Promise. 
Just for the record, I still consider the Twilight series a literary trash!
The organizers of the launch really did a great job in re-living the series. There's even a printed map of Panema, with all the 13 Districts and the Capitol. 
When I arrived, there was a book discussion where Peter was one of the panelists. 
May mga panelists din from publishing houses and the academe who gave comprehensive talks on the novel, pero 'un kay Peter lang talaga ang well-applauded. Walang kyeme. He really knows what the fans really want to hear. But then again, despite that fact that some of the fans do not agree with him sometimes, he was still firm with his ideas and interpretations. 
Sabi ni Peter, ang isa sa mga favorite characters n'ya ay si Cinna. Ung stylist ni Katniss (heroine). Tumambling ako! It takes one fabulous reader to see how important Cinna is in the series. Also, (though his gender wasn't much explained) his character symbolizes gay power and activism. Lavehet! 
But in spite of the different views on the series, the fans still listened, cheered, laughed and applauded. 
Personally, I was amazed by how young most of the readers and fans were. Mga bagets. Mga bata. 
Kasama nung iba ang mga magulang nila. 'Ung iba mga yaya. Napaisip tuloy ako, kung tama bang nandun ako. Parang ako yata ang pinaka-matandang fan. 
At nainggit din ako. Nung bata kasi ako, wala kaming pera pambili ng libro. Hindi madaling maka-hingi ng pera kay nanay at tatay noon para lang makabili ng librong hindi naman kailangan sa school. Kaya naman kailangan kong magipon ng baon at gutumin ang sarili ko sa loob ng isang buwan para lang makakuha ng bagong labas na Sidney Sheldon nung high school ako, at Stephen King nung college na 'ko. 
Kaya naman si Arvin, ayun nag-basketball na lang. 
Pero OK lang rin. Nakakatuwang isiping marami na ulit na mga batang mahilig magbasa. 
May isang fan na nagtaas ng kamay during the discussion. Tinanong siya kung sinong character ang paborito n'ya. 
Pumunta siya sa harapan at naglitanya.
Nineteen years old pa lang siya pero ang dami na n'yang sinabi. Hindi man rooted from literary theories, he explained another look at the characters (especially Cinna and Madge's mother) and presented a theory that even I was surprised to hear. 
Sana ganito si Matthew pag dating ng araw. 
Sabi sa invitation ni Peter, may snacks daw sa launch. Tamang tama naman at gutom na rin ako. There's this bakeshop that sponsored the snacks. Mga cupcakes and cookies with the mockingjay picture on it. Taray!
After the discussions, nagsimula na ang mga palaro. Hinati ang grupo into two teams (Team Peeta and Team Gale). Binigyan ng mga flags ang bawat grupo. Ung mga maka-Peeta, blue, at ung maka-Gale orange. 
Ako? Team Peeta ako siempre! 
Nilapitan na 'ko ni Peter after the discussions. Nun lang kami unang nag-meet. Nakilala ko siya sa blog n'ya at nakilala naman n'ya ko when my bookshelf became Bookshelf No. 25 in his blog last May. 
Siempre, pik-pak muna. 
Matagal din kaming nakapag-chickahan. May mga natutunan din ako, tulad ng: Nasa huli talaga ang pagsisisi
After the first game, the facilitators called for paired teams of Tributes. They re-enacted the Hunger Games, pero sa malinis at less-violent na paraan. Nakakatuwa. One from each pair will be the Attacker, who will post stickers at the back of other attackers, while the other team member will be the Strategist – the one who will protect the attacker from other attackers. 
Nakakalerki ang laro. Pero nakakatuwa kasi parang nakita ko sina Peeta and Katniss. 
Itong batang ito (in black) from District 10 ang nanalo. Grabe, she almost reminded me of Rue. 🙁
As much as I wanted to stay, marami pa kong kailangang gawing assignments sa bahay. Nagpaalam ako kay Peter. Magkita raw kami ulit. Sama ko na raw si 'be. 
I drove back home, chanting: "Peeta! Peeta! Peeta! DOWN WITH THE CAPITOL!"

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Tags : book launchbookscatching firehunger gameslifescoopmockingjayrandomsuzanne collins
Orly S. Agawin

The author Orly S. Agawin

Orly has been writing for The Jellicle Blog since 2008. He is a training and development consultant by day and an art enthusiast by night. He lives in Parañaque with his mom.

4 Comments

  1. Hi, Orly! Thanks for coming to the launch. (Naks! Parang ako yung organizer, pero hindi naman. Dakilang guest lang din ang drama namin. Hehe.)It was so nice to finally meet you! We should make chika more! By the way, pa-repost nitong post mo sa FB ha?Peter

  2. haller. orly! ngayon ko lang nabasa na may post ka about Mockingjay! yung girl in black na sabi mong nanalo sa game, is Gege’s niece, if i’m not mistaken. and if you look at the picture closely, si Paolo ang nakaupo katabi nya. they were partners in one of the games and yes, they were the cutest pair! hahaha!

    1. OMG! Hindi ko pa kayo kilala nitong mga panahon na ‘to! It was my first time to personally meet Peter and Rhett. Gosh! Those were the days! Ambata pa ni Paolo! I sooo feel like Dumbledore.

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