Sunday, July 16, 2006


One of my favorite pastimes in New York was going to Barnes & Noble Bookstore on Broadway in front of Lincoln Center. This is an entire building with about four floors of books galore.

On its very top floor is a café and near it is an entire wall of racks of magazines — from consumer to specialty trade. Although these are for sale, you can browse through them at your heart’s delight provided, of course, that you handle them with care and not crumple the pages.

What I would do is grab a couple of magazines after getting myself a mug of decaf coffee or green tea and then find myself a stool by the counter that runs along the immense floor-to-celing window. With Lincoln Center as my view, I would leisurely read those glossies as I sip my hot beverage. This super bookstore also offers tables and comfortable couches for its patrons, but when alone, I usually prefer sitting by the window where, after reading, I would just gaze at the Manhattan skyline and space out. Quite meditative, actually.

The magazines at Metro Manila newstands are oftentimes enclosed in clear plastic bags and sealed shut. This is to prevent passersby from making a public library out of their kiosks. Understandably so but a potential customer can only base his decision to buy on the merits of a magazine's cover (back covers are superfluous since they're mostly contracted to major advertisers). However, regular customers are sometimes privileged to open the plastic bag and quickly browse through a magazine's table of contents, as well as its inside pages prior to making a purchase.

These days, instead of Barnes & Noble or the local newstands, I go online and bloghop. Incidentally, I recently came across some fine reads that you may want to check out (if you haven’t already). On Manuel L. Quezon III's site, I discovered the behind-the-scene story about The Beatles and their alleged snubbing of Imelda Marcos during their Manila visit 40 years ago. Manolo also cited Carlos Celdran’s 2000-word essay about the Spanish mestizo's ouster from the Philippine's privileged class .

One of my favorite smart kids on the blogosphere, Jhay, has an entry that we ought to implement nationwide — ICE (In Case of Emergency). That is, in our cellphone's phonebook, we should add a contact and name it ICE. This will contain the name and number of the person we have designated for the police or paramedics to call in case, God forbid, we find ourselves unconscious in a gutter somewhere; in dire need of medical attention.

Global Voices has picked-out two entries by our fellow-Pinoy bloggers: Torn and Frayed’s circa 1762 Manila when it was attacked by the British and Synesthetique’s requests from the ghost that frequents her office.

And there’s Conrado de Quiros’ previously published, Ten Things to Love About Being in the Philippines, Part 1 and Part 2. Mr. de Quiros included the abundance of DVDs in Quiapo as one of his reasons, but quickly quips, “Those who feel like berating me for listing the DVDs from the Quiapo district in Manila among the things that make this country livable might first wish to examine whether the Windows they're using to boot their PCs and the software they're using to write their furious letters with are original or licensed.”

Oookay... I think that’s enough selection of good reads for this cloudy in Manila Sunday.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 9:02 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wished there were more friendlier books and magazine shops like Barnes & Noble here in the Philippines. Most stalls and stores are so snobbish and downright greedy, their salespersons would give you a dagger look after taking a browse at what they have on offer but not making a purchase simply because you didn't find anything to buy.
Nagtinda pa sila!

Anyways, thanks for the mention and the net has indeed become a neat place to find good stuff to read.

July 16, 2006 2:38 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Jhay! That entry of yours is absolutely a great idea that we all should seriously consider.

Yes, ganyan nga attitude of some newstand attendants, especially at places like Glorietta. There's a stall I often go to in the university belt area, whose staff allows me to open the plastic and browse quickly. But then again we've gotten to know one another which makes it ok with them.

I have a distinct feeling that you'd be travelling lots after you're done with school so, stop by this particular Barnes & Noble branch and enjoy the place!

July 16, 2006 8:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't have any Barnes & Noble bookstore here but I must visit one when I am in NY or anywhere in the States(?). Kelan kaya yon?

I've stopped buying magazines and also read articles online now and TV, which is really my number one source of information and gossip. :)

July 16, 2006 11:34 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sabi ng sister ko may ganyang bookstore din daw dito.. I haven't seen it yet but I would love to visit it and make myself comfy reading while sitting in their couch reserved for their customers.

Past time ko yan dito pag nasa tuition ang niece ko ..magbrowse ng magbrowse naman ng books na possible bilin at basahin.

July 17, 2006 1:25 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

I can imagine you sipping coffee.. reading your fave mag and enjoying the view. :) Simple pleasures ano ?

I have my 'own quiet spot' in wellington as well, around lunchtime somewhere in the queen's wharf enjoying the view of oriental bay naman.

July 17, 2006 7:00 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

btw, check out the instrumental song 'Manhattan' by Eric Johnson

July 17, 2006 7:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there'd be a bookstore like that here in our country, it'll surely be something like heaven-sent for a bookworm like me. I used to frequent second hand bookstores and there I'd stay for hours and hours just browsing thru all those books stack in a pile, and some magazines too.

I agree with you bout the blogosphere being a well-suited substitute or complement to magazine readings; it looks like the local blogosphere have grown so well in the past few months that articles we usually see on glossy weeklies can now be had online.

July 17, 2006 1:48 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Like you, Niceheart, I hardly buy magazines these days, except for Vanity Fair, which here in Manila you get only the back issues. As you know, this magazine features fine writers whose contributions run the gamut from politics to entertainment to crime to music.

I'm really surprised they do not have Barnes & Noble where you are. How about another bookstore but similar concept?

As for your someday visiting NYC, think New York Jazz Festival. Your son may one day perform at Lincoln Center and your entire family might come along for the trip :)

Kita mo na ... meron pala sa Singapore ng ganyang concept na super bookstore. Go find it Melai because this kind of stores usually have a section for incredibly low priced sale books! Kanya lang kaka-browse kung minsan gusto na din nating iuwi kaya bili na naman :)

That's the idea, Senorito -- we all should have a special spot just for ourselves. If not at this bookstore, during the warm weather days, you'd find me in Central Park with my dog just kickin' back.

I'll check out Manhattan by Eric Johnson. Thanks!

Right you are, Major Tom! The blogosphere offers incredible reads. And yes, we need a similar super bookstore here in the Philippines. I'm sure there are many bookworms here than we realize who will truly enjoy this experience. I'm sure it'll also inspire many of our young people to get more into reading books. BTW, Barnes & Noble regularly hold afternoon readings for children. And they have many branches all over Manhattan alone, not including the suburbs. A success story, indeed!

July 17, 2006 10:01 PM  

Blogger Rey said...

I did had some good time reading last Sunday too. After five years, I re- read Alan Moore's best selling graphic novel "The Watchmen", and the complete bounded version of "Batman: Hush" by Jeph Loeb & Jim Lee.

July 18, 2006 10:14 AM  

Blogger Rey said...

Here in Singapore we have something like Barnes and Noble but it's called BORDERS ( I think it's american franchise also) and the japanese owned mega- bookstore too, Kuinokuniya. I do like browsing magazines there once in a while if I have free time, and explore some books that i'm not too familiar with.

July 18, 2006 10:19 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Borders has similar concept as Barnes & Noble, Rey, but not as big. The branch I frequented was the one on the ground floor of World Trade Center (no longer there, obviously). Anyway, Borders must be the store in Singapore that Melai's sister was referring to.

Whoa! You must be a quick reader having gone through two book in one day :) Cool.

July 18, 2006 8:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because you love reading books and you are doing it online, I have a good news for you.

Project Gutenberg (, with the cooperation of many other eBook publishers, is currently sponsoring a month-long eBook ( until August 4, 2006. Available for download are 1/3 million free eBooks.

Here are some links that I think would help you get started:

I am sure you will be amazed when you see the range of their book collections. They are all free for the taking
The books mostly comes in PDF format.

Have a great day and enjoy.

BTW, if you still have time, you may start volunteering at . This is a very good learning experience.

July 19, 2006 3:13 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...


Many thanks, Myepinoy! I will definitely look into these, as well as the volunteering effort. I'm sure many others will appreciate your input.

Again, many thanks!

July 19, 2006 7:57 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The McNally Robinson bookstore here in downtown Winnipeg has a cafe inside but I haven't seen anybody bring a book or magazine there. You know what, lately, there have been quite a few bookstores that have opened here like Chapters Indigo, but I haven't visited them yet. Who knows, they probably have cafes too. I only go to the bookstores inside the shopping malls here. And now that I think about it, I don't have time to linger that long in bookstores. I'm always on the go running errands and wanting to get back home right away. :)

July 20, 2006 12:41 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think the concept behind it, NIceheart, is not only selling books, but experience as well. This the concept that made Starbucks a cash rich company :)

I can understand your hectic schedule with your work, the boys and taking care of household matters -- it ain't easy Im sure.

But if ever you do have some free time, time it when there's a reading by a guest author. And if the subject involves young people (like Harry Potter or aomething), bring the boys along. I'm sure they'll get a kick out of it.

July 20, 2006 8:43 PM  

Blogger nina said...

i think powerbooks here in manila have the same concept. you can read to your heart's desire and they also got some couches/benches. some branches[i.e. the one in sm megamall] have a coffee shop too but some branches[the one in rob's place] are too small that u wouldn't like to read inside coz there couches were place on the display area and you end up looking like a "model/manequin" for the passer-bys. im not quite sure though coz i havent been to barnes and nobles yet but definitely powerbooks is a place for bookworms out there.

btw, i just want to share this: i got some of my ebooks from that gurl who's kind enough to share what she got.. and hope you wont mind moi adding u on my blogroll. ehehe! tnx!

July 27, 2006 10:20 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Haven't been going to SM Megamall, Yanin, but next time I do I will have Powerbooks as one of the reasons for going.

Many thanks for the ebooks url ... and I'll include you on my listing as well. I wish you have your comments box on 'cause you do have very interesting posts!


July 28, 2006 5:56 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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