A little bookshop by the train

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Posted at Apr 08 2014 11:13 PM | Updated as of Apr 09 2014 07:13 AM

Juleric Bookshop sells used books at the Guadalupe Commercial Building in Makati. Photo by Chito Concepcion

Palengkes and open spaces are hardly the place to look for books. Nowadays, they are found in big-name bookstores or second-hand shops inside malls. But just off the MRT Guadalupe Station in Makati is a house of used books that’s out of place yet not out of patrons.

The shop is nestled between closed stalls at a commercial building facing EDSA. Nearby stands sell packed snacks, fruit, rice, and household essentials. Unlike them, this shop has no name, but the stacks of magazines and paperbacks out front make it stand out to any passersby.

Inside, a small lady in her 40’s browses the rows of thin romance novels that sell for 10 bucks apiece. A teenage boy picks out a book in front and starts reading. Outside, a man sits on a plastic mono-block leafing through a hardbound Bible. Other people just mosey in, scan the titles, and zoom in on a few for a closer look.

At the seller’s station, a bespectacled man with ruffled salt-and-pepper hair wraps books and tapes torn covers and pages. Behind him a three-foot pile of unsorted books awaits a fix or a place in the packed shelves.

His mouth is busy as much as his hands. He’s struck a conversation with a male customer who asked about a book in the shelf of 65-peso titles above the pile. Later, the topic moves to Hukbalahaps and Philippine communists.

The seller interrupts the chat by calling out to curious drop-ins.

“That row of books is 40 pesos each. But you can get three for P100.” He doesn’t mind saying it, even if handwritten signs scream it all around the shop.

The guy he was talking to later leaves, yet not without saying he’ll be back to check if the book he’s looking for becomes available.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.