I’d been wanting to go to Bookay-Ukay since college when I saw a photo about it on a social networking site, but never had the chance since it was far from home and I had no one interested enough to go with me. Then came last year and I thought I finally found that perfect Bookay-Ukay buddy, but sadly, our bridges burned a few weeks after we agreed on going there together. I couldn’t brave the big Quezon City on a search for it alone so I thought my desire for book-hunting at the store went to ashes along with my “incinerated” friendship.
But then at the start of the year, I went excited ’cause my friend and fellow blogger invited me to visit Bookay-Ukay. So without hesitation, a date was marked on the calendar.
To give a good picture of what the store is about and why I’ve been meaning to pay a visit to it, let me explain its name. Bookay-Ukay is a play of words certainly thought of by its lovers-of-words owners. “Book” and “ukay-ukay”, those are the two terms. “Book”, we have no problem about its description, but “ukay-ukay” is a Filipino term for “thrift store“, so put them together, and we’ll know that the shop sells second-hand books that are still in good condition.
Since settling in Maginhawa St in 2008, it has been visited by cool and book-loving celebrities like Saab Magalona and Mercedes Cabral. Not that I want to look and be labeled cool, I’m actually proud to border on the nerd side, but Bookay-Ukay is a must-visit simply because it has books. And cheaper ones, I must say.
I didn’t know it was so easy to get there, but still, I wouldn’t know how to if not for my friend who frequented the area back in college (She studied at Miriam College and its near there.). We met at SM City North EDSA and took a jeepney ride to Quezon City Hall from its terminal for 8 pesos each person. After that, we walked to the side of National Housing Authority and told the driver of the first tricycle in line to drop us at the restaurant Tomato Kick for 17 pesos for two persons. As soon as we got off the tricycle, we were greeted by a two-storey old commercial building, and looking at the right side of its second floor is the sign of Bookay-Ukay. We finally arrived.
Contrary to what I imagined, the store is quite small, in fact, it’s only a room full of books. Perhaps I visualized it to be like those giant bookstores Fully Booked and National Book Store, which was so wrong of me. But at least its interiors speak of what it offers, unlike the formality and plainness of its rival book thrift store Booksale. The green wall on the left is filled with doodles and other stuff like a poster of local pop punk band Kamikazee, and the shelves just below contains other stuff sold in the store like magazines, CDs, and wall clocks which numbers are in counter clockwise. On the counter next to it are key chains from Pop Relief.
Then after those, everywhere else was filled with nothing but books, books, and yes, books on the shelves resting on the remaining walls and even on the floor. Just the perfect haven for book lovers like me and my friend.
For some time, my friend and I seemed strangers to each other as we both engaged in separate solitary quests for the books we like. From novels, both local and international, to medical books, Bookay-Ukay has second-hand books for everyone.
While I was busy on my hunt, a couple entered the shop and as the guy looked through the shelves, I heard him mutter to his girlfriend in Filipino something like, “I’ll be out of budget again because of books.” Hello there, fellow bookworm! Nice to meet ya! I wanted to tell him, but of course, that’d be crazy. hehe.
At the end, I wasn’t able to buy myself a book (Booo! Shame on me!) as I remembered my pile of unread books at home and how I’ll just decrease the chances of finally reading them if I buy more. At least now I know where Bookay-Ukay is. Meanwhile, my friend was able to buy two books for only 350 pesos. She got James Clavell’s Shōgun and Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha, and she was very happy with her finds.
Are you a fellow bookworm who loves to hoard and read books for less? Visit Bookay-Ukay today and satisfy your book addiction!
55 Maginhawa St, UP Village
Diliman, Quezon City
Mobile #: 0905.428.3125
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bookayukay
Operating Hours: 1pm – 12pm, daily