When we think of bookstores in Metro Manila, three chains immediately come to mind: Fully Booked, National Bookstore, and Power Books. Actually, maybe Goodwill, too.
I do go to those bookstores and enjoy my finds from there every now and then, but there are other bookstores I really love visiting!
Today, let me share with you my favorites (in no particular order) and why!:)
Located along Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong, this bookstore may be small, but is GOOOLDEN when it comes to Filipiniana books! They carry a few books from more mainstream publishers like Tahanan, but also a lot more. Just the other day, I was able to score their last copy on hand of The Boxer Codex, a manuscript that depicts the customs, costumes, and ways of life of the peoples of East and Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines.
If you love Filipiniana books, you will love this store. Check out their website to see their collection. You may also make special orders, just contact them.
Also, I was told by their staff that you can actually go there to browse and read their books – many artists often go there when they do research for their work. They have a long table for this purpose. However, there aren’t many books for children, so this is more of a bookstore for adults.
123 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City
09:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Landline: (02) 632-7683
PS: Although not a bookstore, it’s worth mentioning here that Tesoro’s (their Makati branch at least) also carries a decent amount and good selection of Filipiniana books!
2. UP PRESS
Okay, I may be biased since this is my university, so admittedly, I haven’t checked out the other University bookstores, but this was a haven for me during college. They’ve long moved to a much smaller space within the University of the Philippines Diliman (I really loved their Bahay Kalinaw space), and truthfully, it’s not photo-worthy at all, but the books are also golden.
My favorite buy from here is the Philippine Folk Literature series. What you’ll find here are Filipino books published by the UP Press – anything political, historical, cultural, or makabayan, they probably have it. Browse their books here.
E. Delos Santos Street, Diliman, Quezon City (inside the University of the Philippines)
08:00 AM – 12:00 NN | 01:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Truthfully speaking, I have found a lot more Montessori-friendly books in these second-hand bookstores than in our mainstream bookstores.
But of course, since they are second-hand, there’s no guarantee on what you will find each visit. Sometimes, I come home with a huge bag containing books, and sometimes, I come home empty-handed.
The prices are generally fair, and if they go on sale, even better! Books For Less is actually on sale now at PHP 50 per book for all books in some branches, so I was able to buy myself a hard copy of Bringing Up Bebe for only PHP50. (Booksale recently had PHP 30 on selected books – where I scored Moncure’s My First Book for PHP 30), and I think at least once a year, they hold a huge sale in their warehouse in Pasig, so just follow them on their social media accounts to get updated.
What I love finding for children in these stores: Art Books, Classics like Helen Oxenbury’s works, Alfie Series, Hairy Maclary Series, Mini-Masters Boardbooks, First Discovery series and other similar fact books.
PS: You can ask them to find some books for you, but truthfully, while I’ve left my number several times, I never got an update. 😛 Also, I think if you spend a certain amount, you get a discount. Just ask them about it because I’m not really sure with the details.
This is such a nice second-hand bookstore. I’ve only been to their branch in U.P. Town Center, but I think all their branches have the same feel.
It’s so photo-worthy, but here’s the fun fact: their prices are similar with Books For Less and Booksale! I was able to score books for PHP 50 and PHP 89! Typical Booksale and Books For Less price.
An even more fun-fact: when you spend PHP 300, you get free brewed coffee (Americana).
They have other cool trinkets in their stores, but I’ll just share them in a separate post.
Their children’s book collections are not as wide as Books For Less and Booksale, though (in U.P. Town Center, atleast), but it’s still worth visiting and you might find something for yourself.
Cool Finds Here: Vintage Books, Wrapped Books (which they call blind date books) – those books that are wrapped in brown paper and only have some information written on the paper, enough for you to decide if you’d be willing to buy it!
Last but not the least, I think this is the only bookstore in Manila dedicated for children! Let me know if this statement is wrong. Anyway, they’ve had this space for a while, but it only debuted its space as a bookstore last Mother’s Day (2018)! So yes, this is very new!
Just think low tables for children, a few chairs for adults, curated children’s books for browsing, lots of natural light + gorgeous greens, beautiful mix of colors, and a nice selection of tea! Chic. Tasteful. Calming. Perfect. Oh, and may I add – a small door for children! Pablo wasn’t as thrilled as I was though — he liked the big door, haha!
They have very few books now (but I was still able to score two, including F. Sionil Jose’s The Molave and the Orchid (and Other Children’s Stories, PHP 240) which I’ve never seen anywhere else (except maybe in Sir F. Sionil Jose’s bookstore himself, Solidaridad), but a lot more are due to arrive soon.
They also offer tea! I really liked their blueberry tea (PHP 125).
What to watch out for here: Storytelling Events!
77 Mother Ignacia Avenue, Quezon City (2/F of Crossroads Building)
Weekdays: 11:00 AM – 07:00 PM
Sat & Sun: 11:00 AM – 03:00 PM
Landline: (02) 374-0102
More photos, sorry can’t resist!
So there. My top 5. What are yours?