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You visited this part of the globe thrice in the past five years. We need to ask: What keeps you coming back?
I love you. I really do. I initially knew absolutely nothing about the Philippines and all I knew eight years ago was that I keep getting emails saying you have to go to the Philippines. [firstpara]

So when people from Fully Booked run into me in Comic Con one day and said “Can we bring you to our country one day?” I said yes because I know there are readers out there who want to meet me.

It took us about two years to organize. So I came out here in 2005, oh my God! These are my people! I mean the level of enthusiasm with which I was greeted, the intelligence and also the sort of frustration they have.

Frustration in what sense?
I keep meeting smart, talented, creative people here who felt they have no outlet, who felt they have been denied a voice.

People keep telling me that they love people, science fiction, fantasy, horror but no national awards were covering it and stuff like that was why when I left the Philippines the first time I thought to myself, I want to do something, I want to give something back to this place and so that was why I started the competition.

And that for me is incredibly delightful. Watching what the competition has done I’d promised myself the next time I come back that I would actually going to take a holiday and bring my fiancé and the kids with me.

You know, this is my third time in the Philippines and I haven’t even visited a beach? So I’d do that. One of the things that fascinate me about the Filipino readership is that you are incredibly literate.

You have a growing literacy; you are a people who are comfortable with words and very comfortable with technology. Also, one of the things I love is that you are completely up-to-date.


INTERVIEW: CHARMAINE Z. CHANCO
PHOTO BY: VINCENT COSCOLLUELA

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