BOOK UPDATE: mayroong akong interview na lumabas sa manila bulletin kahapon (Monday September 11, 2006) – ang balita ko nga, may picture kami ni jet sa article. maraming salamat kay annalyn jusay sa pag devote ng space sa newspaper para ipakilala ang Kwentong Tambay book. ang husay talaga ni AJay. kung hindi kayo nakakuha ng kopya ng dyaryo, basahin nyo na lang online o kaya abangan na lang ninyo pag naging pambalot na ito ng tinapa.

Here’s the full interview…

Batjay the blogger becomes a book author

By Annalyn S. Jusay (now blogging at

A blook is a “printed book whose content was originally posted on a blog,” according to Wikipedia. The Philippines recently welcomed its first blook with the launching of “Kwentong Tambay” at the recent Manila International Book Fair. Its author is the wacky and irreverent Nicanor David who thrills his countless online readers from around the globe with his adventures as an OFW in Singapore and now in sunny California. In one of those rare moments, Batjay replies to Blog-O-Rama in English and shares his feelings about being an author, how Pinoy readers are, and how the “blook” is his own Taj Majal to his wife Jet whom he loves so much.

Q. Can you give us a little history of how your blog book came to be?

A. Last July, I was chatting with my nephew Adam about the possibility of making a book out of my blog entries. Adam works in the publishing industry and he has been involved in the creation of a number of books in the past. We talked about my plans and he approached PSICOM, my current publisher, to work out a deal. The rest is history.

The book is a gift to my wife, Jet. I wanted to make her laugh.

Q. What made you decide to convert your blog entries into a book?

A. Vanity. Hopefully, a thousand years from now, people will still remember me through the book.

Seriously, I thought it would be a great idea to make a book out of my life as an OFW. I’ve been posting my experiences in my blog for five years already and most of the stories are about my life as an engineer working abroad.

Many Filipinos don’t have access to the internet and I just wanted to tell my stories to them – my mom for instance, doesn’t even know that I have a popular blog. She just finds about what I write second hand, through people who read my blog, who tell her stories about my exploits abroad.

I wanted to reach out to the OFW community, most especially their relatives stuck in the Philippines, who have no idea what their loved ones are dealing with overseas. Through my stories, I wanted to tell them that in spite of the loneliness of being abroad, OFWs still have a great time. That we cope through humor in the most absurd things, like foreigners picking their nose in public, because it’s the only way to keep us sane.

It’s also good that I write in Pilipino. At least I know I can reach out to more people. Let me rephrase that – maigi na rin na nagsusulat akos sa Pilipino, at least alam ko na mas maraming makakabasa ng sinusulat ko. Gusto ko kasing abutin yung mga Pinoy na tinatamad dahil nahihirapan silang magbasa sa ingles.

Q. How does it feel to be the first Pinoy blogger to be a book author? How do you feel about being an author in general?

A. I don’t think I am the first Pinoy blogger turned book author. Bob Ong once blogged but stopped when his work got published. So, I guess he is the first.

I won’t close down my blog site though. I’ve worked out a deal with my publisher so the book and the blog will be separate entities. I like the notion that you can get free stuff online – so the Blog will remain as is, available to everybody who wants to read, make comments and have fun. In short, I will be both blogger and book author.

The book will cost about 125 pesos. Ang cheap ko talaga.

Manolo Quezon sent me an email a few weeks ago telling me that this is the cost an average family spends for books per year in the Philippines. It is cheap – but I do hope, it’s cheap enough for most Filipinos to own.

I am not sure about the statistic: Do Filipinos spend less on books because they are poor, or do they spend less on books because they just don’t like to read? I hope the book will get people to read though. I know the topics of my book aren’t that “intellectually stimulating” but if it will get people to start reading then I’ll be happy.

I hope the cost of the book will be enticing enough for people to buy. I mean, 125 pesos is the cost of a Jollibee lunch, or 3 or 4 packs of cigarettes. Mura lang at sana sapat para maging interesado, kahit yung mga hirap sa buhay.

Q. On the other hand, can you enlighten us on the difficulties of being a book author? Can you share with us your publishing/authoring experience?

A. It’s been a great experience. I’ve had a great time working with my nephew whom I haven’t seen in more than ten years. It’s difficult though because I am based in California and sometimes it takes a while for get things done because all the work is being done in Manila. I had to work late at night because of my regular job kaya para akong puyat na unggoy for a month or so.

I also had to work in secret because the book is a surprise gift to my wife, Jet. She didn’t even know the book existed until we got emails from people in Manila who were congratulating me for the book. I know it paid off because her smile was priceless when she found out.

We did create a system that works. An initial manuscript was developed by Adam based on my blog entries and I just edited it after it was completed. We then submitted it to PSICOM, the company who published the book. They assigned an editor, Sarah Grutas, to work on the manuscript. We tweaked it even more over the next month or so, until it got to the point where the material was good enough for publishing.

After the initial manuscript was completed, we decided to work on the book cover. Ideas were passed back and forth until we were all comfortable with one of the most important parts of a book: good cover design sells books. We went for simplicity – a yellow cover showing the book title, a quote from the Manuel Quezon III’s introduction, the author’s name and a sketch of a balikbayan box.

We asked Manuel Quezon III and Connie Veneracion to write an introduction. It’s good that they both agreed. Their contribution adds a certain sophistication and intelligence that I don’t have, or deserve. I hope it’ll be enough so that the major bookstores will treat the book seriously.

The final manuscript was created and proofread and PSICOM printed an initial run of 1000 copies, just in time for the Manila International Book Fair. All in all, the whole process took almost two months from conceptualization to the final product.

Q. What’s in your book that will make us want to buy it?

A. A picture of me in the nude doing somersaults.

I wish.

Seriously, the book is mostly about my four years as an OFW in Singapore. It’s about dealing with stupid foreigners who don’t have any idea about the Philippines who think that all Filipinos are domestic helpers or seamen or singers, or worse Abu Sayyaf. It’s about dealing with foreigners who are amazed because brown skinned kutis betlog boy speaks good English.

I did create “exclusive entries” in the book that you won’t find in my blog. Besides the fact that it’s a major reason for people who read my blog to buy the book, the additional entries unify all the stories together into, hopefully, a complete book.

A lot of the entries in the book are very personal. I don’t know how my readers will respond to this. Will they be able to identify when I bitch about how I miss my dad who passed away many years ago? How will they react when I tell them about how I worry about my mom in Manila? Will they understand how it feels to be a Filipino engineer talking to a ngongo Australian?

Q. Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper for us to read about your life in your blog instead?

A. Yes, it’s cheaper to read the entries of my blog if you have access to the internet. But there are a lot of people who don’t have online access and these are the people who should get the book.

People can also get a copy so they can read the book when they are traveling to school or work. I believe that it’s better to read the book rather than pick your nose while sitting in the middle of traffic.

It’s also a great Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary gift. At 120 pesos, kahit kuripot ang boypren mo, you can ask him to buy you a copy, and I’m sure he won’t hesitate to get you one (or two).

Q. Do you hope to get rich being a book author?

A. The book might make me popular but I will never get rich. The money is just not there. I don’t know how other authors get paid but I just don’t think it’s enough to put food in the table. Perhaps if you have many books out and all are best sellers, baka pa.

But who knows. Perhaps the book will sell a million copies and my publisher will give me a bonus big enough so I can come home and just write for a living.

Q. Who do you consider your idols in writing?

A. Pinoy author? Si Nick Joaquin, isa sa mga idol ko. Si Jessica Zafra, nakakatawa at matalino kasi ang mga sinusulat niya. Dati paborito ko rin si Carlo Caparas kasi mahilig akong magbasa ng comics nung bata ako.

Paborito ko rin si Dengcoy Miel. He’s a Pinoy editorial cartoonist who is very popular in Singapore. He has a number of published books and one of the most intelligent people I know. I am proud to be his friend.

Hindi Pinoy author? Si John Irving. I worship the toilet bowl he shits on.

Marami rin akong mga paborito na binabasa parati – si Lynda Barry who is part Pinoy. Si Neil Gaiman at si Arthur Clarke.

Q. Do you think there will be a sequel to this book of yours? What other surprises can we expect from you?

A. If this first Kwentong Tambay book sells then I might seriously consider appearing nude in the next book.

I do have plans to create even more. In fact, I think we have enough material to create 2 or 3 more books. So, if this first book sells then there will be a sequel. If not then I’ll just apply to be a macho dancer.

40 thoughts on “FAMILY PHOTO

  1. Hello! I’ve read you in the newspaper.
    I think having your blog published as a book is really cool! ^^ hehe..
    Ang oh, may picture nga po kayo sa article.. ^^v

  2. hi doc emer. mabuti ka pa at may hard copy. baka naman pwede mong i-scan at ipadala sa akin via email. para man lang masilayan ko kung ano ang hitsura ng interview. ang galing talaga ni AJay. nagpapasalamat nga ako at nabigyan tayo ng space sa bulleting para pag-usapan ang libro.

    hi miyon. thank you. yan, pagkabasa mo, pwede mo nang ipambalot ng tinapa yung newspaper na may picture ko.

  3. Nyahaha … bigatin ka na Kuya Batjay. Years ago, nagbabasa lang ako ng blog mo kase kakatuwa … ngayon may book ka na.

    Ayos ah! Congrats!
    Baka sa susunod nyan meron ka ng pelikula … nakanangboogie! (hala ka, esep esep na kung sinong gaganap sa role mo)

    Seriously … super appreciated mga blogs mo, super nakakatawa, super nakaka-entertain. Nakakaloka din kase minsan ang buhay Ow-Ep-Dabalyu d2 sa SG.

    Sana po di ka magsawang magsulat pa. Kudos!


  4. Uy, taga Singapore. Mga mahal kong kabayan. Miss ko na ang Singapore. Sana makadalawa this year. Actually, nasa SG ako ng November. May conference kami. Makakatikim ulit ako ng pepper crab.

    Salamat sa pagbati. Pag uwi mo sa Pilipinas, bili ka ng libro. let me rephrase that – Bili ka ng maraming libro, para pati mga bumbay ay mabigyan mo ng copy.

  5. ang galing… buti na lang un ang part ng dyaryo ng m.bulletin na nakatambay sa cr namin ngayon lang..kaya nabasa ko…hehehe… although alam ko nanamang may book ka kaze avid reader ako! pero mas natuwa ako kze nabasa ko cia at nakita ko pic nyo ni ate jet! 😉 kuya batjay..available na po kaya sa national bookstore ang book nyo?

  6. galing talaga! nakaka-bilib!! congrats!

    i will let u know pag may book na kami. nagpapabili na ako sa brother ko sa pinas, for me & my friends.

    sarap naman, back to sg ka pala soon…

  7. hi kathy. buti ka pa nabasa mo na ang sinulat ni AJay sa bulletin, mas masarap nga dahil nasa trono ka. bagay na bagay na tungkol sa akin yung article.

    gwapo ba ako sa picture? hehehe… hindi pa available sa national bookstore pero mayroon na sa fully booked, book sale, filbars at mag:net.

    available din siya sa conspiracy bar and grill sa QC. mas ok dito bumili kasi may kasamang musika pag bumili ka ng book.

    hi aleth with an “H”. back to SG for a visit lang. sayang nga eh. masarap din namang tumira sa singapore. maraming salamat sa pagbili ng libro. sana marami pinabili mo para masaya.

  8. Waah, pinaalala mo, gusto ko ng chilli crab. waah, nananakam nanaman ako! San kayo kumakain, sa east coast? Vinago na sha, mas maaliwalaz na sha ngayon.

    Never ending pa din ang construction dito. Hmm … pareho pa din ang amoy, di nyo ba na-miss un? nyahaha!

    Ingats sa muli mong pagvalik!

    PS – naku, tagal ko pang uuwi, sa Fasko pa. Kaya nagfabili nako sa sissy ko, sana lang makita nya. It’s a good way to let them know how life is, here in SG.


  9. pag chili crab at pepper crab? sa “no signboard” at sa “jumbo”. pag fish head curry, sa suki namin sa kiong siak road. pag prata at laksa, sa kainan sa suntec city. pag chicken rice, sa hawker ng queenstown. pag… naku huwag ko na ngang ituloy at hindi ako matatapos.

    alam ko nabago na ang kainan sa east coast. parang on going ito nang umalis kami. sana makabili ang sister mo ng book.


  10. Congrats sa interview! I dont have a hard copy pero tyak meron nun sa library namin dito sa ofc 🙂

    nagpunta ako sa filbars sa SM North, unfortunately, wala pa silang kopya ng blook mo. May nakabili na bang ibang readers? pasabi naman kung saan pa pwedeng makabili o 🙂 thanks!

  11. hi van.

    thank you – sana makakuha ka ng copy soon. mayroon na sa library ninyo? talaga, saang library?

    heto nga pala ang mga establishments na mayroon nang libro… ang sure bet dito ay sa publisher at sa conspiracy bar and grill.

    1. mayroon na sa mga maliliit na bookstores ang kwentong tambay: sa katunayan, available na ito sa filbar’s, booksale, fully booked at mag:net.

    2. pwedeng rin nga palang dumiretso sa publisher at bumili ng book doon. heto ang contact persons, phone number at address nila:

    * Publishing Company: PSICOM
    * Contact persons: Sarah Grutas or Arnel Gabriel
    * Phone Numbers: 912-3085 or 911-3196
    * Address:6 Yale St., Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

    3. Available din ang Kwentong Tambay sa Conspiracy Garden Bar sa Quezon City. You can buy the book, have a few drinks and watch a good show

    * Conspiracy Garden Bar
    * 59 Visayas Ave.,Barangay Vasra, Project 6, QC
    * Telephone: +632-4532170
    * Email:

  12. ginoong batjay!!!!!!
    haneep ang buk mo!!! may kopya na ko maadik na rin ata yung kapatid ko sa pinas nauna na syang magbasa bago pa naipadala sakin. sana nga sa susunod na buk nude photo mo na ang cover para unahan pa lang ulam na joke!!!!
    thank you for creating books such as this, it really makes me appreciate my love for reading..keep up the good work!

  13. ayy, wala po sa library namin ang blook nyo,I was only referring to Mla Bulletin kung san andun ang interview nyo hehhe

    ayus! mas madaling mapuntahan ang conspiracy bar, makakakuha na rin ako ng kopya, sa wakas! salamats!

  14. forgive me for being an idiot, but who is manuel quezon III and why is popular? is he like kris aquino?

    anyway, i’m looking forward to get a copy of your book soon. ipopromote ko din sa blog ko because i like your blog very much. more power!

  15. congrats kuya batjay!! nye! wala pa pala sa National Bookstore.. excited pa naman ang asawa ko syempre pati ako! hehehe!

    pag nakabili ako ng libro.. sana magkaron ng autograph mo!!

    Congrats po ulit!

  16. naku pasensya na.. sa sobrang pagka-excite ko e napadoble yung message ko! hehehe!

    sayang nung umuwi ako ng pinas e hindi pa naka-release yung book mo!

  17. mamang pogi!!!! daming comments, dami lalo ang fans! i was here yesterday reading your sinigang post,so many things happening in your life,bilis ng update. 🙂

    Ajay did a good one again!

    Intayin namin yung nude photos mo,ahihi!

  18. hi sachiko. ngyehehe… bigla tuloy akong kinabahan, baka nga maganda ang benta ng libro at mapilitan na mag issue ng Volume 2 na may picture ko na nakahubo. so many things happening indeed. pati sa work kaya pagod ako lately. salamat sa lahat ng inyong support.

    thank you rHo. marami nang mga ibang maliit na bookstore na available ang book – filbars, mag:net, book sale at fully booked. try mo roon. ingat!

    thank you ernie. taga isabela ba kayo?

    hi linnor! sikat – sa sobrang sikat ay pwede na ngayon gawing pambalot ng tinapa ang picture.

    hi bote. sana naman maging available na siya this week. ang alam ko ay nag order na ang mga bookstore kaya it should be ready soon.

    hi dennis.

    si MLQ3 ay apo ni President Manuel L. Quezon. columnist siya sa philippine daily inquirer at lumalabas sa mga talk show sa TV. may blog din siya – mabait at hindi mayabang. tunay na pinoy.

    sana nga makakuha ka na ng copy ng book. maraming salamat sa pag promote pare. malaking tulong ito.

  19. kuya batjay (and ate jet)! congratulations. wow, first “blook” ha. i didn’t know that word is on wikipedia. or that word even existed. congrats. 🙂
    i have saalam pax’s blook (of “the clandestine diary of an ordinary iraqi.” hopefully, i can get a copy of your blook. congrats, ulit. (3 times ko nang inulit yun, excited talaga ako.)

  20. congrats….i am on my way to Conspiracy to buy your book…lagi ngang ina announce ni Dante sa Rock 990….sige will read it first and then give my comments…..congrats again and Rock and Roll…………..


    Events didn’t permit me to go to the bookfair but I’m hoping I can get a copy from filbars (thanks to dr. emer) soon. last time i went there ala pa sila daw.

  22. My idol batjay,

    Wow, punta ka palang Singapore this Nov. Hopefully eh magkrus ang landas natin. Just let me know kung kelan ka kakain sa No Signboard restaurant at nang makadaan at maka-pagpauthograph at papicture sa yo.

    Bibili ako ng book mo paguwi ko this October and then hopefully makahingi ako ng lagda sa Nov.

    Tiyo Paeng

  23. My idol batjay,

    Wow, punta ka palang Singapore this Nov. Hopefully eh magkrus ang landas natin. Just let me know kung kelan ka kakain sa No Signboard restaurant at nang makadaan at maka-pagpauthograph at papicture sa yo.

    Bibili ako ng book mo paguwi ko this October and then hopefully makahingi ako ng lagda sa Nov.

    Tiyo Paeng

  24. maraming salamat. sana makakuha ka ng libro sa october. by that time avaiable na iyo sa national bookstore, sa powerbooks at sa lahat ng mga nabanggit ko nang tindahan.

    marami akong nakaka krus ng landas sa singapore. yung nga ang namimiss ko – dahil sobrang liit ng singapore, ang daling maka encounter ng mga ok na pinoy.

    BOSS ROLAND – dalaw ka na rito. ipapasyal kita sa disney land!

    Hi ABI. thank you. astig – mas matigas pa sa ilokanong bato.

    thank you missP. you should be proud even without me writing the book. your living the life of a proud pinay in germany. ingat!

    maraming salamat sa bati juls – hindi kalevel my pren. para lang akong kuto ni miss zafra. i think it’s available this week. my friend was able to get one sa fully booked yesterday. ingat at hope to see you again sa future blogger’s EB.

    hey roy. thanks very much. i haven’t been able to tune into dante’s show lately because they are having problems with the online feed. it’s nice though that he’s mentioned the book. you should be able to get your copy at conspiracy – drink a beer for me while your watching the show when you’re there.

  25. Hi Jay,

    Can I buy your book sa National book store? Saan sa Pilipinas merong tinda nito? Wow ikat ka na….. Feeling ko sikat narin ako kasi dati rati binabasa ko lng ung blog mo ngayon author ka na….. Congrats.

    Pls email me na lng where I can buy your book. OO nga pala ako ung tiga kidapawan na may ka kilala si Ogie na nasa blog mo na nangungulangot heheheh…. will give him a copy maybe if I get the chance to buy ur book… So please email me where I can buy it

    Thank you

  26. hello ma-ane.

    mamayang gabi, pumunta ka sa conspiracy sa QC. somebody will be reading parts of my book there. pwede ka rin doon bumili.

    saan pwedeng bumili ng book?

    1. it’s available now at all national bookstore and power books.

    2. it’s already available at filbar’s, booksale, fully booked and mag:net.

    3. pwedeng rin nga palang dumiretso sa publisher at bumili ng book doon. heto ang contact persons, phone number at address nila:

    Publishing Company: PSICOM
    Contact persons: Sarah Grutas or Arnel Gabriel
    Phone Numbers: 912-3085 or 911-3196

    6 Yale St., Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

    4. Available na rin nga pala ang Kwentong Tambay sa Conspiracy Garden Bar sa Quezon City. you can buy the book and watch a good show while you’re there.

    Conspiracy Garden Bar
    59 Visayas Ave.
    Barangay Vasra
    Project 6

    Telephone: +632-4532170


  27. Dear Jay,
    congratz nga pala!-was on leave kaya recently ko lang nabasa interview mo sa BT–naihi ako sa tuwa for the special mention,hehehehe! at may cinematic luha rolling down my cheeks pa raw(in slow motion ha)mwahahaha!

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