November marks Philippine Book Development Month. In this digital age where people rarely read printed books anymore, this observance celebrates local writers, book authors, and publishers who continuously nurture Philippine literature and champion it in the global sphere.
In Metro Manila alone, there are many unique bookstores to visit like Books from Underground, which reopened at the Lagusnilad underpass, Solidaridad in Ermita, and Kinokuniya in Mitsukoshi in Bonifacio Global City.
In case you’re traveling outside the metro and want to visit literary hot spots in between the usual sightseeing destinations, there are a few places worth seeking out as well. Here are some unique places around the country that bookworms and bibliophiles will love.
Mt. Cloud, Baguio City
Since it first opened in 2010, Mt. Cloud in Baguio City has become the premier place for bookworms to buy books in Benguet. This quaint bookstore offers an extensive selection of Cordillera Literature and art books and local literary titles that are generally difficult to find. In 2020, the shop moved from its original location in Casa Vallejo and Hill Station near SM to a larger and homier space on Yangco Road (near Brent School and Pink Sisters) which has a garden space to host literary events. Mt. Cloud is now part of a community hub that also includes a cafe and a bike shop. The independent bookstore frequently organizes book launches for local authors and serves as a space for reading activities for local writers and poets.
Mt. Cloud Bookshop. 1 Yangco Road, Corner Brent Rd, Baguio, 2600 Benguet.
Gaia Cafe, Sagada
GAIA Cafe in Sagada has evolved from a simple treehouse cafe into a warm library cafe where you could easily spend the day reading with good coffee and views of Ambasing Valley. The zero-waste restaurant was famously featured in the 2014 Filipino movie That Thing Called Tadhana. Visitors can pair their cup of Sagada Coffee, mountain tea, fruit shakes, or beer with light snacks like Kamote Fries, Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies, or Chocolate Chip Cookies while browsing through the cafe’s extensive library of fiction, coffee table books, and magazines.
GAIA Cafe. 3WC2+49P, South Rd, Sagada, 2619 Mountain Province.
Bodhi Library, Tagaytay
In case you’re looking for a new place to visit in Tagaytay, Bodhi Library inside La Bella Tagaytay offers a rustic sanctuary for bookworms. This hidden gem inside the Santorini-inspired boutique hotel contains an artistic mini-library from the owner’s personal collections. Since the place champions alternative and holistic health, the books are mostly about alchemy, astrology, palm reading, myths, ancient history, alternative medicine, dreams, and more. Visitors can also enjoy coffee and refreshments at the cafe and shop for souvenir items at the Mind and Body Gift shop in the same artsy and relaxing space.
Bodhi Mind and Body Shop, La Bella Tagaytay, Barangay Neogan, Tagaytay, Cavite.
Libro Espresso, Batangas
Said to be the first library cafe in the south, Libro Espresso in Lipa offers a minimalist and modern cafe where patrons can enjoy coffee while reading. The library cafe established in 2022 offers a sanctuary for locals and visitors traveling to Batangas. Libro Espresso offers books ranging from children’s literature, to fiction, non-fiction, and magazines. It also has an online library available for membership. The cafe serves coffee and non-coffee-based iced drinks, as well as shakes and sodas that you can pair with pasta, rice dishes, waffles, sandwiches, snacks and desserts, and breakfast meals.
Libro Espresso is located at Unit 3 Phase 2 Prospero Commercial Bldg. Brgy. Balagtas, Batangas City.
Trabi Café, Rizal
Trabi Café is a coffeehouse in Binangonan, Rizal that offers a variety of food and beverages, along with books and paintings for guests to enjoy. Their arthouse has a collection of fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, manga, graphic novels, cookbooks, and educational materials, among others. The cafe also offers WiFi so residents can hang out to study or work. Enjoy classic and blended coffee-based drinks, tea, milk tea, and fruity drinks, along with cakes, pastries, and savory snacks on their menu.
Trabi Café is located at 0905 Tambayan Road, Sitio Hangganan, Pag-asa, Binangonan, Rizal. Business hours are from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
The Book Museum, Marikina
In case you’ve never been there, there’s a Book Museum and Ethnology Center in Marikina that offers a great spot for book lovers and avid travelers. The Book Museum contains a collection of limited edition books and published materials from over 200 countries and islands around the world as well as travel artifacts from different regions of the Philippines.
The museum doubles as a library with one space devoted to those who just want to stay and read. You can check out a rare collection of miniature books. Try reading one of the smallest books in the world, and even read a tiny edition of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry here.
The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center, 127 Dao Street, Marikina Heights, Marikina City.
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For more travel tips, visit the author’s blog at www.traveling-up.com