So as we were in the regional airport leaving Manila, we saw thunderstorms and lightning outside. The tropical storm Mario had left Cebu and was arriving in Manila. We didn’t see this paper until much later so we didn’t know until the next day what a disaster it was in Manila. But fans started tweeting, wondering if the signings would be cancelled.
This was the view I woke up to in the morning in Cebu, with a soundtrack of tropical birds. The sunrise had turned the water a deep coral. Best sunrise of my life.
Our team gave us most of the day off to enjoy the beach. I jumped at the chance to go snorkeling. But when I saw the line of yellow floaters there, I thought they wouldn’t let you go in the water. Turns out that was just the kiddie line. Their skinny jellyfish were around but with my skin suit, they never touched me.
Saw two blue starfish, first time ever. And these huge, round tables of coral. I swam out to that lifeguard boat you see at the top left.
After a couple of hours in the water, the wind kicked up and it got pretty rough. Time to go in and have lunch.
Never get tired of dim sum.
This is the same view later in the afternoon from my balcony. This was the Shangri-la Resort, a perfect location with the private beach.
Jenn and I had some media interviews in another hotel. I asked for apple juice and they gave me fresh-squeezed, green apple juice. So refreshing.
The Cebu mall event was my first experience walking onto a stage to screaming fans. Intoxicating.
Even with the flooding in many parts of the country, people made it to our event.
With the beachy, resort feeling of Cebu, Jen and I both went for flip flops!
The fans had made signs about our books. This blue one on the left…
… said “Monkey Face.” I thought – that sounds familiar.
Close to the end, after the signing, I asked if I could go to the restroom. They brought out these four handsome guards and one walked in front, one in back and one on each side of me to escort me to the restroom. A woman also came so she could come in and make sure it was empty. Oh, man, I felt like Julia Roberts.
Now I want guards all the time. When I need to find a restroom.
My team said to take a group selfie. Because of the major flooding, many fans said their friends couldn’t make it. So imagine even more people in this photo.
Then the signing began. This cutie wearing the black sweater is part of the team and she helped organize the long line. This signing went on for three hours.
This adorable fan dressed to look like Callie in the video trailer! Look at the trailer and see.
Everyone handed their camera to one of the bookstore people and got their photo taken.
Thank you, Cebu fans, you were lovely and I appreciate each sweet, thoughtful gift. The food was shared with friends and I enjoyed the treasures in my office as a reminder of my time with you all.
I will return someday.
The next morning we were all in the Cebu airport getting ready to head back to Manila. Breakfast/lunch was our first taste of this pork sandwich — which was delicious. I think they had a quote from Anthony Bourdain there.
Back in Manila. After two hard days and nights of rain, it had finally stopped. Fans twitted us they were afraid our signings would be cancelled. They said it was like our Katrina, that was how bad it was, with water up to their necks. We said come h*ll or high water, we’ll be there (now I know where that expression comes from).
Many fans told us their friends couldn’t come, due to the clean up. Many houses had their first floors completely flooded. The mall cancelled all the events this Saturday — except ours. Our team said they knew that the fans would turn out.
And they did.
The gracious Xandra Ramos-Padilla was our lovely moderator at both mall events. It was always so good coming on stage and seeing her warm, easy smile. We knew we were in good hands.
Time for a few questions.
Our group pseudo-selfie (although it’s so strange turning your back on the audience). That amber bracelet is a souvenir I found when Meg took me shopping earlier that morning.
My selfie with them being funny!
Another 3 hour signing followed. These fans had also waited in line overnight.
A group shot of us and some of the team. So grateful to them and the others and to the fans who made it to the signing against all odds of nature.
Next and last Philippines tour post will cover the 35th Manila Book Festival signing! That is the capper, don’t miss it.