Engaging. Generous. Fresh.
These are the three words how I can described this published author I came across while I am at the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) 2019 last Sept 12, 2019. Who wouldn’t go to his booth if you saw a “free book” signage on the top of the table? Funny, I became inquisitive and asked the woman next to me if it were actually free. And yes, it was.
I was quite amazed on how Mark was able to give away his first published books for free. I know I might be over reacting, but hey, this is 2019, there is no freebie nowadays! Especially in this destitute generation of illiterate millennials who have nothing to do but to play mobile games, instead of reading a book. With his genuine generosity of not just giving his book away but, he signed it for us who were there. So sweet of him to do that, really. Not every new authors would do that, if ever, it would end up in a raffle, in pieces of first 3 or five giveaways. That was utterly heroic, especially in the indie sectors where everyone is striving just to be published or give his or her contribution for the Philippine literature.
I was moved from that simple gesture, that is why, I am doing him an article for everyone to know. This is not just my simple way of acknowledging his deed, but in respect for all my fellow writers especially those authors who keep on pursuing their dreams despite many odds. He was pretty candid and smiling while talking to the ladies who were all-cheers and candidly waiting in the line. I got the chance to know this guy and did a little interview.
Since when did you know that you want to write?
Mark: Actually, I started writing when my parents are still alive, both my father and mom. Actually, I dedicated it for them. As you can see in my book, you can see it from here, it’s to Mama and Papa. And what my mother said, “you started writing it, you have to finish it.” …Tinapos ko siya (I finished it) 7 years in the making. 3 years na writing, 3 years ‘yung processing ng editing (the processing of editing). Naghanap pa kami ng English native speakers. Sila ‘yung nag-edit. (We hired English native speakers. They did the editing)
So, based in 3 years, was it a hobby or a passion?
Mark: I can say that it is both a hobby and a passion.
What is the book all about?
Mark: It’s about love, mainly.
Mark: Usually, I still have to work from another company. When I am going home, I started writing again, I could say weekly. It’s not everyday naman talaga na makakapagsulat ka (that you are able to write) … But ang contribution mainly ng mga kasama mo na gumawa ng book, sila, kumbaga, sila rin ang nakakatulong sa’yo. Kasi siguro masasabi ko na nasa more than 20 katao ang tumulong sa akin. (But the contribution mainly of my colleagues that helped me with the book, it’s like, they were there to help you out. I could say that more that 20 persons had helped me)
What particular love or what kind of love?
Mark: I could say it as.. kasi meron kasing carnal love (because there is called a carnal love). Which is meron din siyang (it has) carnal love but more on filial love, parental love.
Why make it free, especially it is your first book signing?
Mark: Book launching talaga siya (it is actually). So, para mai-promote namin o mai-market namin na ito may isang author natapos niya yung book after 7 years. Worth it naman ‘di ba? (So, for us to be able to promote or market that there is an author who was able to finished the book after 7 years. Worth it, right?)
What is your message to this generation, where reading has been almost forgotten?
Mark: Hindi na nahihilig sa pagbabasa? Kasi ang generation kasi natin ngayon more on electronics. Although hindi naman natin dini-discourage na hindi magbasa sa electronics. Kasi para sa akin, marami akong nakita sa videos yung mga taong nahilig na sa technology meron sa kanila na brain dead….so kung physical book, walang masyadong risk. (Who were not into reading? Although we don’t discouraged that they shouldn’t read electronics. Our generation today is more on electronics. For me, I have seen many videos of those people addicted to the technology where some of them were brain dead.. so if it is a physical book, it is less risky)
What is your message for your fellow writers that haven’t published their book but they want to?
Mark: Just keep up the good work. Ano talagang ituloy-tuloy mo lang. Kahit tumagal ka man as long as meron ka naman goal na tapusin siya. Kasi kung mag-stop ka, yung ideas na sinimulan mo magfe-fade away na yun. Tapos malay mo maganda pala ng ideya mo na ‘yun at hindi nalalaman ng mga tao? So para lang siyang naging oblivion, yung idea na ganon. Walang naka-discover na ganung idea. (Just continue what you are doing. Even though it could take years as long as you have set a goal to finish it. Because if you stop now, all your initial ideas will fade away. What if your idea is great and people didn’t recognize it? So it only became oblivion, that kind of idea. No one was able to discovered that idea)
Where can they buy your book after Mibf?
Mark: After this ang mangyayari kasi, di ko pa masasabi kasi nagaapply-apply kami sa iba’t-ibang mga bookstores. May publisher na siya, Reyes Publishing. (After this what will happen is, I cannot discuss it yet because we are trying to apply in other bookstores. There is a publisher, Reyes Publishing)
See also: MANILA INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR 2018
After the interview, I took a photo with him (which I almost forgot.😅). It was kind of him to accept my short interview and of course my copy of signed free book of him. You can contact him only at his Facebook id: Mark Phillip Castillo.