Manila bookstores to visit after Big Bad Wolf says goodbye

Alternative to Big, Bad Wolf

Yes, we share the sentiments. It is very saddening that the Big Bad Wolf book sale will end on March 4, especially for folks who didn’t get the time and luxury to go to Pasay City.

The good news is there are several independent bookshops Metro Manila offering low-priced yet high quality books.

Below are some of the must-visit bookshops after the Big Bad Wolf run ends:

Books From Underground

Photo grabbed from Book from Underground Facebook page

This shop is situated along the Lagusnilad underpass beside Manila City Hall. The shop started to operate in the late 2000’s. They have a wide selection – cookbooks, history, theory, literature, magazines, periodicals, and journals of all sorts. Some are even book-signed.

Usually, they sell mass-market paperbacks from PHP 50 to PHP 200, trade paperbacks and hard bounds from PHP 100 and up, depending on the title’s rarity and demand.

Opening from afternoon until late evening, it became a hang-out for its customers with varying literary tastes, ideologies, and political affiliations. One of its proprietors joke that ‘Underground’ is “the place where the Left and the Right meet.”

Visit Books from Undergound Facebook page for more information.

The Common Ground

Photo grabbed from The Common Ground Facebook page

What is the usual and ideal partner of a good book? Coffee and/or tea. That’s why The Common Ground (TCG) took it to the next level. Aside from selling books, their shop doubles as a cafe.

Located on Leon Guinto Street, Malate, TCG induces 80’s and 90’s nostalgia, with its vinyl records and cassette tapes available for customers to play while enjoying their coffee and reading. It became a hang-out place for students from different schools in Taft Avenue.

TCG also hosts activities related to literature, history, politics, among others. It hosted the Baybayin writing workshop of Nawaya, a cultural group. They also provided the venue for the launching of a poetry compilation written by on-strike women workers of Sumifru which was released by Gantala Press, a local feminist publisher. Solidarity events for peasants organized by Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo or SAKA were also held at TCG.

Unlike major bookstores, TCG encourages zine production and DIY (do-it-yourself) publications – they even have a special shelf for self-published writers and artists.

Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Roel's Bookshop

Before opening a physical shop on Maginhawa St., Quezon City, Davao-based Roel’s Bookshop was known for selling books online. With an extensive selection of fair-priced humanities and social sciences titles, they gained regular customers from different parts of the country. Their shop is open from 1pm to 11pm every day.

Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Yumi Thrift Shop

Photo grabbed from Yumi Thriftshop

What’s remarkable about this book store is that they sell used books in mint condition. The first thing that will catch your attention is their shelf full of classics printed by different publishers. It is now located on B. Serrano St. Cor P. Jacinto St., Caloocan City.

Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Popular Bookstore

Photo grabbed from Popular Bookstore Facebook page

Known during the early 90’s for selling proletarian literature for proletarian prices, this bookshop is popular (pun intended) among activists and Left-leaning readers. Its original location is on Doroteo Jose Street, Santa Cruz, Manila. In the mid-2010’s, they moved to Tomas Morato, Quezon City. It boasts an extensive selection of Filipiniana titles and now has a special section for used books. It also became the top distributor of activist writers in different fields – may it be history, literature, politics, and/or economics.

Visit their Facebook page for more information.

There are other great bookstores in Metro Manila such as Uno Morato in Quezon City; Tradewinds Bookstore in Intramuros, Manila; and, Solidaridad Bookshop owned by National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose in Padre Faura among others.

Booksale is always there, with hard-to-find titles hidden inside every shelf. But for the hardcore anti-establishment, stalls and ‘latag’ vendors along Claro M. Recto Avenue is the best source. From out-of-print Filipiniana literature to 19th century literature, Greek philosophers to postmodernists, theory and literature—they have it.

It is a good thing that despite the cultural trap of the cyber age, books still gain appreciation and interest among the Filipino youth.

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