The Reading Spree

Flipping pages and finding common denominators

Tag: bookworming

Bookworming in Baguio… Again.

There are some places that you can’t help but return to, and not just once. For me, Baguio City is one of those constant destinations.

Baguio reminds me of long road trips with family and siblings’ friends in the ’90s, way back when an eight-hour travel time from Manila was normal, and the long way through Dau was the “shortest” route. Baguio is where we all go to escape the unbearable heat in the city. Baguio’s where you stop if you’re headed further north, e.g. Sagada, Ilocos, or San Juan.

More recently, Baguio is the first place that comes to mind whenever I want to get away from everyone else, but still be just one bus ride away in case there’s an emergency at home. I now also think of Baguio whenever I want to score some great books.

I was back in Baguio yet again last month. This time around, I was a writing fellow for creative nonfiction (CNF) at this year’s UST National Writers’ Workshop. (So yeah, I got in.) While the workshop kept all of us busy for a week – and those damn storms Gorio and Huaning kept us mostly indoors – we had two days to roam around the city and do whatever we wanted.

Of course, my itinerary included book shopping.

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Bookworming In Quezon City: Bookay Ukay

Remember Multiply? Remember when it was the social media service to use for easy online shopping (and mass uploads of incriminating party photos)? I didn’t do that much shopping on Multiply, thanks to my fear of bogus sellers and annoyance at people who called me “sis”. (Hindi kita kapatid, gaga.) But when I did, I bought only one type of product (books), and through only one online retailer.

Years later, I finally got to see Bookay Ukay‘s physical store for myself.

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Bookworming In Makati: Booksale

Book shopping’s pretty simple for me. If I see a book and if I like it, I’ll get it. If I don’t or can’t get it now, trust that I’ll come back for it and bail it out of book jail. Doesn’t matter if it comes from the usual chains, secondhand shops, bargain bins, swaps, even friends’ shelves. This mentality largely explains why I still have more than a hundred books on my backlog, but… yeah. That’s just how it is.

But even an indiscriminate hoarder like me has a few favorite book haunts, and so far they haven’t let me down. And I’ve found several awesome places in Makati City to get my affordable-book fix.

Yes, I’m talking about the “Republic” of Makati — a city more known for big business, traffic gridlock, shopping malls, sosy weekend lifestyle markets, higher food/drink/parking prices, and errant traffic enforcers.

But the Republic also has plenty of great surprises, particularly for bookworms. For the first entry in my “Bookworming in Makati” series, I’m taking you to a popular secondhand book store in a rundown mall. Ignore the pirated deebeedees, please. Straight to the books!

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Bookworming In Manila: Solidaridad Book Shop

For those who don’t live in the Philippines, and/or aren’t familiar with its cities and regions: when Filipinos say “Manila”, oftentimes we refer to Metro Manila — composed of several cities plus one municipality known mainly for balut. It (Metro Manila) has also been called the Gates of Hell by Dan Brown. Sometimes I agree with that label, sometimes I don’t.

As for the actual city of Manila, I’ve been to different places within its borders for the past few months, for work and in my personal time. I was a regular many years ago due to work (a former client’s office is in the Ermita area), and it’s fun for me to rediscover “secret” shortcuts and see new things in a very old city.

Sunset along Roxas Boulevard, facing Manila Bay. I’ll never get tired of this view. I took this photo in front of Diamond Hotel.

The latest Manila adventure brought me and a friend to a small, almost-50-year-old bookstore along Padre Faura, within walking distance of Robinson’s Place Manila (because “malling”, ‘yo).

The little store with shelves of literary trasures: Solidaridad Book Shop.

The little store on the right: Solidaridad Book Shop.

We were in the area anyway, and we’ve always said we wanted to check it out. So off we went on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, because bookstore visits are always fun for us. 😛

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Bookworming In Baguio!

I haven’t done a Bookworming In… blog entry since last year, after a three-week backpacking trip to three Asian countries. Didn’t realize it has been that long! Time to break that lengthy spell.

I just came home from a five-day holiday in the City of Pines, two of which were mostly spent on the road. Needed a quick, within-the-budget getaway, and I really missed Baguio’s cold weather. I also wanted to return to a place I’ve been to many times, and not spend so much time adjusting and devoting valuable hours to the usual tourist traps. Another factor: I wanted to go somewhere that’s far enough from everything and everyone, but near enough so I can easily get home in case of emergencies.

The Baguio I knew back then is so much different from the one that exists today. It now has more people, more traffic, and definitely more pollution (and less pine tress and much less of that wonderful pine smell), to name a few basic differences. But there are still plenty of awesome, not-so-touristy places to check out.

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Bookworming In Thailand, Myanmar And Vietnam!

I said in my previous blog entry that I was on holiday for three weeks. I spent the second week of October up to the first few days of November backpacking through Bangkok, Thailand; Yangon, Ngapali Beach, and Mandalay, Myanmar; and Saigon, Vietnam. I’ve been planning this trip since 2009 (after I returned from my first solo trip through Hong Kong, Siem Reap and Kuala Lumpur), and there were a lot of changes in plans, budgets and itineraries for the next three years − and even until a few hours before my departure!

Some things haven’t changed, though. As with every trip (like this one), I just had to hit up a few bookstores during my 21-day journey. A few places in my itinerary are also related to books, literature and history; and one of the places I stayed in had a lot of reading material available for its guests.

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Bookworming In Taipei!

Most people form certain traditions through the years, especially when they travel. For me, it’s bookworming while traveling! Since 2009, I’ve made it a point to visit bookstores, drool all over the merchandise (not literally, of course), and purchase a couple of titles. I remember hoarding paperbacks in Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur and worrying if the new books will fit in my small wheeled luggage, or meet the check-in quota. Sadly, some of them remain untouched on my shelf, but that’ll change eventually − of course, these titles will make an appearance here on The Reading Spree.

I arrived in Manila early yesterday morning from a three-day holiday in Taipei, Taiwan, with two longtime friends. On our last day in the city (Monday), and in keeping with my short list of “non-negotiables”, Tintin and I visited two beautiful bookstores that have been featured in print and online magazines, and are well-known among Taiwanese bibliophiles and in-the-know travelers: the quirky and unique VVG Something, and the behemoth known as Eslite. Tradition sustained; books bought; wallet drained. 😉

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