Books & Places: Balai Tinay in Legazpi City

My conversations with a friend this week have been strewn with a lot of talk about Legazpi so I remembered this post that has been in the drafts for months now.

I went to Naga and Pili in Camarines Sur, and Legazpi in Albay last January. I had a friend in Pili so I wasn’t alone most of the time in CamSur but during the end of my vacation, I have to be alone in Albay. My friend was very nice to drop me at Balai Tinay, the place where I stayed.

Upon arriving, we were awed by the great ambiance of the place and saw this frame of quotes about travel at the reception area of the house.

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Here are some of the quotes from familiar authors:

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

Lewis Carroll

It is not down in any map; true places never are.

Herman Melville

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

Henry Miller

Not all who wander are lost.

J.R.R. Tolkien

But this is not a travel blog. Hahaha! So why am I writing this post? My friend and I both love books so imagine how happy we are when we saw these:

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There are a lot of magazines and books scattered in the different parts of the house. We readily look into the collection and found famous titles like The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Middlemarch by George Eliot, Twisted V by Jessica Zafra and more. There are also a lot of non-fiction books, different editions of the Bible and some Filipiniana literature. I opened some books and turned their pages and I found out that most of the books were owned by a woman named Ging (I’m not sure, I forgot, will edit when I remember. Hehe!). I believe she is a daughter of the owner of the house

I didn’t read any but it was really fun looking at those books and holding them. So even if my friend already left me here alone, I felt comfortable and happy just being surrounded by books. LOL. I brought my own book which I read in peace in the following locations: 😀

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I had a chance to speak to the owner in the morning while having coffee and pandesal (free!) for breakfast. He and the other staff are friendly and will readily assist you in your needs. This place is perfect for a traveller who is looking for a peaceful and relaxing stay. Plus the books! So, need I say more?

Books & Places: Singapore

merlion.jpegLast August, I went to Singapore. That was my first time to travel alone by plane. 🙂 I went there to visit my aunt and of course to see some popular Singapore attractions. But aside from those usual places and several museums, I also included these bookish places in my itinerary:

1. BooksActually
No. 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168645

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BooksActually is an adorable independent bookstore in the peaceful suburb of Tiong Bahru. Aside from books, they also sell notebooks, cards, tote bags, pencils and more. This is where I first saw a copy of Murakami’s latest book and a UK edition of our book club’s September book. They also have a lot of titles from their local artists.

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2. Woods in the Books
No. 3 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168642

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Woods in the Books is another independent bookstore just a few steps away from BooksActually that specializes in picture books. They have good selections of children’s books but they also have books for adults like graphic novels.

3. Evernew Book Store
Blk 231 Bain Street, #01-07 Bras Basah Complex, Singapore 180231

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Evernew sells previously owned and cheap books, which is somewhat like Booksale here in the Philippines. This is where I unearthed this artistic book which I gave to my sister.

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4. National Library Building
100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064

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The National Library Building consists of two 16-storey blocks, with three basements. It houses two libraries, the Central Public Library in Basement 1 and the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library from Levels 7 to 13. My aunt and I went inside the Central Public Library. The large collection of books, reading areas and multimedia stations are awesome. There were also a lot of lovely quotes about reading and some recommendation lists posted on the shelves and walls. I also admire their periodicals section which includes newspaper issues/archives from different parts of the world. So, yes, they have issues of Manila Bulletin there.

5. Sunny Bookshop
68 Orchard Road, #06-11/12 Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839

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I read about the closing of this bookshop on the Internet weeks before I went to Singapore. I was lucky to visit and buy some books on sale two days before it closed. These are the books that I bought for only $2 each.

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6. Books Kinokuniya
391 Orchard Road, #03-09/10/15 Ngee Ann City, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Singapore 238872

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Kinokuniya is a popular book store chain from Japan. Outside Japan, Kinokuniya Singapore is the largest. I spent a lot of my time there browsing in the music section. I bought this book and some bookmarks.

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7. The Arts House  (plus Earshot Café)
1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429

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We saw this on our way from the Asian Civilisation Museum to the Peranakan Museum. The Arts House is an (surprise!) arts and heritage centre that hosts art exhibitions and concerts. Within the building, there is this attractive Earshot Café “fully dedicated to promoting Singapore books, music and films while having a great cup of coffee.”

Roaming on the upper floors, we saw an exhibit  about Donald Moore, “one of the most colourful figures and stalwart promoters of the publishing and arts industry in Singapore.”

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8. Littered with Books
20 Duxton Road, Singapore 089486

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I had fun looking (Thanks GPS!) for Littered with Books, another independent bookstore. And I had fun wandering within the store. So far, I think this is my favorite. (I think this deserves a separate blog post. 🙂 ) This is where I bought this book written by a local author. I love the cover and there’s a free bookmark!

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9. Popular
Blk 231 Bain Street, Level 2 to 5 Bras Basah Complex, Singapore 180231
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Popular is one of the leading bookstore chains in Singapore. This feels like a counterpart of National Bookstore here in the Philippines. I saw their largest branch called POP@Central when I was at the Bras Basah Complex.

10. Basheer Graphic Books 
Blk 231 Bain Street, #04-19 Bras Basah Complex, Singapore 180231

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My last bookstore stop, Basheer Graphic Books, specializes in design books and magazines related to architecture, interior design, graphic design, animation, fashion design, photography and more art-related stuff. It was difficult to choose what books to buy for myself because there are A LOT. (And I’m not yet sure which branch of the arts I should pursue. Haha!) I just purchased some architecture magazines, again, for my dear sister.

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It was fun taking strolls and visiting these bookish stores. So maybe if you’re going to Singapore, drop a visit to any of these nice shops (and the library). 😀