By Lauren V. Macaraeg #LaurenMacDoodles

Our Lampara Get-Together Party last January 27, 2018, Saturday was a refreshingly relaxing gathering of Lampara Books writers and illustrators with our publisher and the Lampara team. ✏❤📚

Lampara Books writers and illustrators with our publisher and the Lampara team

The cozy get-together, which took place in the sunny, airy atrium of the JRich/Precious Pages Building, felt more like a reunion of friends than a typical work event.

Photo courtesy of Mr. Carlo Bunayos

We felt at home because of everyone’s warm, friendly vibe and the tireless efforts of our hosts to make everyone feel welcome. Check out the attendance list at the end of this blog post to see the names of all the talented creative professionals we got to hang out with at the party.

Back-to-back Lampara events last Jan. 27, 2018: Lampara Get-Together Party & Aklat Awards 2018

We started the day with a delicious brunch feast provided by our hosts, our publisher, Mr. Segundo “Jun” Matias, our brand manager/editor, Ms. Aiko Clarizza Buduan-Salazar, Mr. Carlos Manalansan, Mr. Carlo Bunayos, and the rest of the Lampara family. As we savored the tasty Chinese fusion dishes (and the Lampara cake!) together, we had the opportunity to chat with each other, to get to know new friends, and to catch up with old friends in the kiddie literature community. 🥟🍽🎂

Lampara Brunch: A feast of food, words & ideas

We actually enjoyed each other’s company so much that, after the Aklat Awards 2018 (watch out for my upcoming blog post about it) at the Precious Pages Event Center in the afternoon, some of us even returned to the atrium to continue our bonding for merienda and dinner! Di naman kami clingy ano?! 😜

Seriously, one of the reasons why our Lampara get-together – and the after-party and after-after party! – was exceptionally fun was because of the terrific company. My colleagues and I couldn’t seem to run out of things to talk about. It’s partly because of what we have in common: We are all bookworms and we are all part of the same industry. Yet it’s also partly because of our differences as well: We each have varied interests and experiences outside of the world of writing and reading. And we were all eager to learn from each other through both our similarities and differences.

I was surprised when even Ms. Alice Panares, a current member and former president of the Philippine Art Educators Association, Inc., as well as Sir Jun and some of our veteran writer friends, who have all been involved in the publishing industry for so many years, were still ready to ask questions from other people and listen to their answers, even to us who are relative newbies. Nakakatuwa lang to see na game pa rin sila to discover new things about life, books and beyond, although they are way more knowledgable than us about the publishing world. Kung sa bagay, we will never run out of new things to learn about. And that’s a good thing.

Plus, some of my friends were even curious about my Live4Infinity Life Project, which led to thoughtful discussions about mental health and child depression. To my surprise, I actually gained NFFs at a work event because of our talks. It also reminded me that I am not the only one who writes stories for young readers, not because life is all about sunshine and happiness, but because we believe there is hope even when life brings shadows and sadness too. Thanks for the support and encouragement, ladies and gentlemen! 🌞

It also helped that we wanted to make the most of our time together since we don’t get to see each other that often. We shared lively, interesting conversations, both serious, intellectual and philosophical ones and silly, crazy ones too. Thankfully, we have the license to be wacky since we are children’s book writers and illustrators!

We even had random photo shoots and selfie sessions for fun. While some of us younger ones were taking groufies, Sir Jun Matias confidently said, “Kaya ko rin yan!” We laughed and let him take our groufie. In fairness, success nga! 😊

Hindi rin nagpatalo ang aming mga mentors na sila Ms. Zarah Gagatiga, Ms. Bernadette Solina-Wolf, Ms. Alice Panares, Mr. Rhandee Garlitos, and Sir Ruben De Jesus na ang gagaling mag-groufie… at mas mabilis pa mag-post sa akin haha.

Of course, I took the chance to take a photo with my talented illustrators, Aldy Aguirre (“Sinemadyika”) and Dominic “Domz” Agsaway (book in progress a.k.a. #ProjectMBM) since it’s rare for me to see both of them at the same time.

It was also great to talk with seasoned writer Ms. Becky Bravo, who was one of the judges when I joined the 1st Annual Lampara Books Children’s Story Writing Contest back in 2011.

My NFFs and I enjoyed taking pictures together as remembrances of our interesting, imaginative chats, especially with Yellowbelle Duaqui, Eugene Martin, Jericho Moral… and the monitor lizard that “monitors” lol (long story).

We also took class pictures with the rest of the fun crew, including Pepot Atienza, Ma. Cecilia Dela Rosa, Pergylene Acuna, Ivan G. Reverente, Aaron Asis, etc.

Ang saya rin ang kulitan namin nung after-party ni Ms. Rose Tan, a popular romance book writer who is now also writing young adult novels for Reb Fiction. “Eto na tayo sa perfect wedding venue!” ang biro namin habang nasa sa rooftop. “Pero nasaan na ang groom?!” 😂

Last but not least, winner ang marathon kuwentuhan, chickahan at groufies namin ng mga matira-matibay folks na nakasama namin sa impromptu after-party at after-after party: ang life of the party na si Sir Rhandee Garlitos, Sir Jun, Ms. Aiko, Genaro Cruz, Albert “Abet” Cruz, Mark Raywin Tome, Domz, Yellowbelle and yours truly, Lauren. Balak ko actually umalis agad after the event, pero I decided to stay and just have fun. I’m glad I did.


After after party!!! Ang titibay 😉

Another reason why the party was relaxing was because of the gorgeous venue. I was literally open-mouthed in surprise when I walked into the atrium for the first time.

For some reason, I assumed that our party venue would look similar to the event space in the same building, where I attended a different event a few months ago (wag kasi assuming lol). And while the event place was impressive and attractive in a corporate way, the atrium was picturesque enough to be featured in a magazine!

The sprawling space looked like a cross between a solarium, a posh apartment, and a rooftop garden. Sunlight streamed through the glass windows and walls, lending a natural glow to the mix of modern and traditional Asian pieces that furnished the interior, which we found out was designed by Mr. Richard Reynante himself, the co-publisher at Lampara Books. To top it all off, there were rattan couches with plush cushions outside that invitingly beckoned one to sit back and read for hours.

“Dream reading spot ko yan!” I announced as I entered, pointing to one particularly alluring reading nook with a Mediterranean feel. It was only after then that I remembered to properly greet the early bird guests who were already seated around a giant, square wooden table.

As a bonus treat, we received giveaways from Lampara, including an illustrated calendar, planners, notebooks, and my favorite Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Di lang mga bata ang may loot bag pag party! Even my kitty, Cutie the Cat, liked the giveaways.  🐈

The combination of intelligent, humorous company, overflowing food, and of course, stimulating conversations about books, really made the Lampara Get-Together Party a memorable one for all of us. I’m definitely looking forward to the next one! We hope to catch up with our other fellow authors and artists whom we missed in future gatherings.

Thanks to Sir Jun, Ms. Aiko and the Lampara Books team for the all-day. all-out hospitality, food and giveaways! You guys rock. And thanks to everybody for an amazing time. Ang saya niyong kasama. ❤

Photo courtesy of Mr. Carlo Bunayos


Here is a list of Lampara key persons and cool authors and illustrators, as well as our special guests, who were part of the Lampara Get-Together Party (Sila rin ang mga nagtiyagang mag-type sa online keyboard ng tablet ko haha. Salamat po! Please tell me in case I missed anyone):

Lampara Books Team

Segundo D. Matias, Jr. (Publisher & Author of “Twit!” and other Lampara Books)

Aiko Clarizza Buduan-Salazar (Brand Manager & Editor)

Carlos Manalansan (Production Coordinator)

Carlo Bunayos (Marketing Director)

Special Guest

Alice Panares (Member & Former President of Philippine Art Educators Association, Inc.)

Lampara Books Authors & Illustrators (Children’s Books)

Zarah Gagatiga (Author of “A Tale Of Two Dreams”)

Bernadette Solina-Wolf (Illustrator of “A Tale Of Two Dreams”)

Rhandee Garlitos (Author of “Mga Lihim sa Gabi ni Ruming”)

Ruben De Jesus (Illustrator of “Ang Tatlong Prinsipe ng Kalinaw”)

Becky Bravo (Author of “Fish for Two”)

Dominic Agsaway (Illustrator of “Mainggiting Kuting”)

Yellowbelle Duaqui (Author of “Ang Sakim na Aparador”)

Eugenia C. Martin (Author of “Ang Pinakamasayang Biyahe ni Karen”)

Genaro R. Gojo Cruz (Author of “May Pasok ba sa Paaralan Bukas?”)

Pepot Atienza (Illustrator of “May Pasok ba sa Paaralan Bukas?”)

Mark Raywin S. Tome (Author of “Ang Bisita ni Lolo Lino”)

Ma. Cecilia Dela Rosa (Author of “Punong Mainggitin”)

Jericho Moral (Illustrator of “Punong Mainggitin”)

Pergylene Acuna (Illustrator of “Si Znork, Ang Kabayong Mahilig Matulog”)

Ivan G. Reverente (Illustrator of “Ang Supremo at Ang Kuweba”)

Aaron Asis (Illustrator of “Luntian, Ang Bungang May Pakpak”)

Albert Cruz (Author, Book in Progress)

Lauren V. Macaraeg (Author of “Sinemadyika”)

Aldy C. Aguirre (Illustrator of “Sinemadyika”)

Reb Fiction (Young Adult Fiction)

Ms. Rose Tan (Author, “Marceline Cinco’s High School Survival Guide”)

Discover more Lampara authors, illustrators and children’s books at


#WritersLife x #Live4Infinity #LifeProject by #LaurenVMacaraeg #LaurenMacDoodles: “LAMPARA GET-TOGETHER PARTY 2018” 02.09.2018 ✏🌟📚

#LamparaBooks #PreciousPages #RebFiction #Books #ChildrensBooks #BookInProgress #WorkInProgress #WIP #BookwormBites #GeekyJoys #ReadersLife #LaurenMacScribbles #LaurenMacKulit

#Event: Lampara Get-Together Party 2018, January 27, 2018, Saturday, JRich Corporate Center/Precious Pages Building

#ProjectHEAL: #MyFavoriteThings #Work #Writing

#ProjectTIME: #KiddieLit #Colleagues #Authors #Writers #Illustrators #Friends #CutieTheCat 🐈

#MentalHealthAwareness #Healing #Recovery

Check out Lauren’s other adventures at:

About the author

Lauren V. Macaraeg

Lauren V. Macaraeg is a children's book author and freelance writer. Check out her official website at to learn more about Lauren and her book Sinemadyika.

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