bookstores in the Philippines

LIST: 12 independent Filipino bookstores to quench your thirst for reading 

Juno Reyes

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LIST: 12 independent Filipino bookstores to quench your thirst for reading 

FILIPINIANA AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. Independent bookstores in the Philippines.

Photos from artbooks.ph, The Nook n' Cranny, Everything's Fine, Solidaridad, Popular Bookstore, Savage Mind

From occult reads to curated Filipiniana, you might just be able to find your next favorite title in one of these shops

MANILA, Philippines – Even as digital alternatives for everything we have ever known slowly seep in and threaten to take over, there’s one hobby that will always be here to stay: reading physical books. There’s just something about thumbing through the fragrant pages of a freshly purchased book that e-reading can’t seem to match. 

Luckily, there are a ton of independent bookstores that are committed to quenching our thirst for reading. Whether you’re in the mood for occult reads, Filipiniana, queer literature, or books on Philippine art, here is a diverse list of independent bookstores around and outside of Metro Manila. They all specialize in different genres, so you are always assured of a new experience no matter which bookstore you decide to visit or purchase from first. 

Mt Cloud Bookshop

While Mt Cloud Bookshop may be up in the City of Pines, its customer base comes from all parts of the Philippines, and with good reason. The Baguio bookstore has something for everyone as it curates Filipino literature for all ages.

Bonus: Mt Cloud has an entire “Lessons Not Learned” shelf, which includes a wide range of titles on the atrocities of Martial Law – from Press Freedom Under Siege: Reportage that Challenged the Marcos Dictatorship by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo to Marcos Martial Law: Never Again by Raissa Robles. 

Solidaridad

Solidaridad was established in 1965 by highly-acclaimed Filipino writer F. Sionil Jose. Dubbed the “biggest little bookshop in Ermita,” Solidaridad carries a vast collection of Filipiniana and foreign literature. This unassuming shop is packed wall-to-wall with poem collections, anthologies, history books, novels, and everything in between. As such, it’s no surprise that Solidaridad has come to be deemed as a classic bookshop loved by the average Filipino bookworm. 

A classic favorite like Solidaridad, Popular Bookstore is another independent bookstore that is dedicated to keeping Filipino literature alive. 

The Tomas Morato, Quezon City bookshop has fiction, non-fiction, and reference books on everything from gender and Philippine history to Philippine fermented foods and religion. If there’s a niche Filipino title you’re in search of, chances are Popular Bookstore has it. 

Tradewinds

Located in Intramuros, Manila, Tradewinds specializes in Filipiniana publications. It has titles on the Philippine basketry industry, commentaries on Philippine politics and governance, and so much more. The large, iconic sign hanging in the middle of the shop says it all – Tradewinds has everything you might want to read on art, Philippine history, social sciences, politics, and travel. 

Everything’s Fine

Situated in the heart of Makati City, independent bookstore Everything’s Fine fills its shelves with local and foreign history books, queer literature, poetry collections, creative nonfiction, and hard-to-find fiction reads. 

But Everything’s Fine doesn’t just choose already-existing books to go on its shelves – it publishes its own titles as well, and has done so 20 times. It has printed the titles of Jorge Arago, Ishmael Bernal, Angela Stuart-Santiago, and Richard Bolisay. One of its co-founders, Katrina Stuart Santiago, is a published author herself.  

artbooks.ph
artbooks.ph along Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila. Photo/artbooks.ph

Founded with the goal of championing Filipino art and culture, artbooks.ph stocks titles and zines on the very best of Filipino art across all eras, film, photography, theater, dance, music, food, travel, and cultural heritage, among others. 

Interestingly, the art-centric Mandaluyong bookstore is the only one of its kind in all of Manila. Books on Filipino art and culture still aren’t easy to come by. So, if you have any hard-to-find titles in mind that fall under the genres artbooks.ph carries, you can even request them to source them for you. 

Savage Mind: Arts, Books, Cinema

Naga, Bicol’s Savage Mind houses the best of Bicolano and Filipino literature. Stepping into the Naga bookstore immediately transports you to a world of pages on Waray culture, Bikol poems, anthologies, novels, essay collections, and more. 

Classic literature enthusiasts can also find gems in Savage Mind as it sells classic, 18th to 20th century works by acclaimed writers like Gustave Flaubert, Ernest Hemingway, H.G. Wells, and even Paz Marquez Benitez – all translated into Filipino! You can also find popular titles translated into Bikol. It’s no doubt that Savage Mind places language at the forefront of literary appreciation. 

The Nook n’ Cranny (Online)

The Nook n’ Cranny is here to satisfy the knowledge-hungry minds of kids and kids at heart. The shop has books on almost everything a young explorer would be curious about – from philosophy and marine life to monsters and ghosts. Other than this, The Nook n’ Cranny also sells horror picture books for children, proving that spooky things aren’t just for grown-ups. 

If you’re interested in any of the books they have but don’t want to commit to purchasing one, they also have a “library” that allows you to borrow their books for a minimal fee. While the Quezon City-based bookstore primarily operates online, some of its curated children’s titles are also available at The Fine Life Market in Kapitolyo, Pasig. 

Luna Brujeria (Online)

Have an eye for the magical and the supernatural? This Parañaque-based shop might just be what you’re looking for. The Philippines’ first-ever occult book shop, Luna Brujeria has titles on witchcraft, tarot, mythical creatures, sorcery, superstitions, and crystals, among others. 

But the fun of Luna Brujeria doesn’t just stop at books. Staying true to its occult theme, the store also sells altar statues, candles, and various card decks. 

You can place an order via Instagram, Shopee, or their website

8Letters Bookstore & Publishing (Online)

8Letters is an independent online bookstore and publisher that focuses on giving self-published authors a platform to showcase their work. On its website, you can purchase reads ranging from fiction novels, essay collections, poetry books, and self-help books, among others.

Libraria Books

Libraria Books stocks a wide selection of Filipiniana, classic novels, poetry books, picture books, and reference books. Over the years, the work Dumaguete-based writers and artists have found a home on the shelves of the independent Dumaguete bookstore, so if supporting local talent is up your alley, you’ll love Libraria Books.

Tankobonbon Manga Bookstore & Lounge

This one’s for you, Cavite manga lovers! Tankobonbon Manga Bookstore & Lounge in Dasmariñas, Cavite houses an array of light novels, manhwa series, and manga series for any kind of manga enthusiast out there.

Among the manga and manhwa series that Tankobonbon offers are Chainsaw Man, Omniscient Readers’ Viewpoint, Wotakoi, Skip and Loafer, Tower of God, and Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, to name a few. – Rappler.com

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