Tag Archives: Buku Buku Kafe

culture by Jonathan Lansang

Learn what it takes to put out great work at Komiket University

Aspiring comic book creators can get a real-world perspective in this weekend workshop.

In Japan, there is a huge market for self-published comics (doujinshi), some of which may be as simple as the author’s photocopied works on bond paper just stapled together. These comics are often sold at conventions such as Comiket (a portmanteau of comics and market), an event which started with around 600 attendees in 1975 and has since ballooned to accommodate more than half a million people in recent years.

With the breadth of talent available on our own shores, it was only a matter of time before someone would organize our very own Filipino Komiks and Art Market, or Komiket. The event, described as “an affordable comics and art market that aims to discover new comics creators, new readers and celebrate new comic book launches,” has been held thrice. Like its namesake, it aims to provide a venue for unknowns to showcase their talents. As part of this mission, organizers Paolo Herras (writer, Noodle Boy, Buhay Habang Buhay) and Mark Navarro (artist, Kubori Kikiam) put up Komiket University, a four-day workshop designed to help developing scribes by sharing their experiences in the industry. I immediately signed up to see if the experience might bring some spark back into my long dormant dream of being a comic book writer.

The first two days of the workshop were dedicated to the core of our fledgling comic books: the story. As the first of many “Creator’s Life Hacks” he would share, Paolo explained to us that stories are lessons learned. Every single adventure, exploit, or clash of titans, are all an experience that results in the main character’s growth. The formula is essentially a hero, trying to achieve a goal, with a villain trying to prevent it. Through exercises that helped define said hero and identify our writing styles, jumbled ideas were put on paper and slowly organized. At one particularly nerve-wracking point, we all wrote down up to three of our story concepts and placed them around the room for our classmates to comment on. In the spirit of camaraderie though, all comments were kept positive and helped identify potential bugs to iron out. The third day saw one of Paolo’s frequent collaborators, Tepai Pascual (Maktan 1521), sharing some of her techniques to create visually stunning panels. While I cannot claim that I possess any gifts in the art department, it was still interesting to see how the construction and flow of a page could affect its overall impact.

Throughout the workshop, Paolo and Mark both kept in touch with the class, continuing to give us feedback on our evolving storylines and helping us enrich them. Yet of all the lessons we were taught, what was shared on the fourth day was probably the most enlightening of the entire experience. We’ve all tried writing. Most of us have tried our hand at art. There aren’t that many that can say that they’ve attempted to sell their self-published works alongside dozens of other people all doing the same. Getting more real, they emphasized that it wasn’t easy. You won’t always be able to sell your work, and sometimes you may face harsh criticism even if you do. In the end though, those that stick it out still find the experience rewarding because being a comic book creator is the very passion that drives them, and it is for these individuals that the lessons taught in Komiket University will prove the most beneficial. If you think that you have what it takes, and you have that yearning from deep within to let the world see your work, then you’re in luck! Komiket will be holding another Creator’s Workshop later this month. For those that attend, I look forward to seeing your work proudly displayed on your table at the next Komiket.

Art by Mags Ocampo

Jonathan Lansang
Jonathan Lansang is a self-confessed geek and player (of board and video games, not hearts). When he isn’t dazzling people with his vast wealth of useless trivia, he enjoys cooking and eating. Mostly eating.
food + drinks by Alyssa Castillo

Buku-Buku Kafe is More than Meets the Eye

Art, music, books, and food collide in this quirky artistic hub in Las Piñas.

Walking into a restaurant, one usually expects to just sit down and eat. Simple enough, sure, but that doesn’t always have to be the case—not entirely, at least. Apart from the pleasure of devouring some of their scrumptious dishes, Buku-Buku Kafe offers much more: a space for eating, drinking, reading, listening, and for discovering unique tokens to take home.2The Santiago Trio (composed of a mother, daughter, and son team) strive to bring together a like-minded community that has fine appreciation for all kinds of arts. According to the trio, they decided to bring the Cavite-born Buku-Buku Kafe to the metro in an effort to create a local hub for artists and independent musicians as well as to boost the art and music scene down south.8The name Buku-Buku stems from the phrase “many, many books” in the Bahasa language. True to its namesake, the café features a diverse collection of books, comics, and independent zines, as well as prints, postcards, notebooks, and other novelty items crafted by local makers and designers. Among the vast array of knick-knacks includes Pia Besmonte’s limited run of Manic Pixie Depressive Gremlin, which discusses the trials and triumphs of the 21st century Filipina, as well as native Caviteño artist Rubie Sales’ temporary tattoo brand Tatsify, which she created with the intention to collaborate with local calligraphers and graphic artists.9Like many ideas integrated inside Buku-Buku Kafe, the menu was curated and inspired by the Santiagos’ own travels across Asia and Europe; as well as their own twists on Pinoy favorites. Their slow-cooked Beef Brisket Tapa is an ode to the breakfast classic Tapsilog, and is served with garlic rice, a fried egg, and roasted tomatoes on the side. The bestselling Romi Lamen is an upgraded lomi which features pork broth, roasted pork, pork liver, a soft-boiled egg, shitake nori, chicharon, and kimchi.11 Among their other must-try dishes includes their take on local classics like their Isaw Fries or their Asian Friend Chicken Adobo, as well as their Western twist on the popular Singaporean noodle dish, the Lamb Laksa. Down these hearty dishes with a cup of their freshly brewed coffee or even a cocktail of your choice. A couple of swigs might just put the cherry on top of a good, relaxing night with your friends while you catch a live set by local musicians like BP Valenzuela.61The Santiagos further highlight their passion for creativity by making it a constant key throughout the entire process of bringing Buku-Buku Kafe from Cavite to Las Piñas. The new branch possesses an industrial chic look that champions the visual arts and that fits neatly into its 123 sqm space. Every corner from floor to ceiling is riddled with quirky design details, from sprawling wall murals to framed black and white vintage photographs to their picturesque lighting fixtures which are suspended amid overhanging ‘floating’ books.
bukubukuBrimming with creativity and art, Buku-Buku Kafe is stepping up to the plate to claim their title as an emerging destination where art, music, and good food collide.

Photos from Buku-Buku Kafe

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Alyssa Castillo
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media's Editorial Assistant for The NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @lysscstll.