Have you ever walked into a bookstore, told yourself you’re just going to browse, and ended up being drawn to the cash register with a couple of books held close to your chest? I have. Too many times. I get this giddy, triumphant feeling, especially if I find the title I want under a heap of books on sale. (Particularly, because I’m not the most patient bargain hunter. In fact, I’m one of those people who’ll likely sit out one of those scavenger hunt games.)
And then I get home and look at my bookshelf, the bedside table, my desk, the boxes beside my desk, my work chair, and wonder if there’s still some space or surface besides the floor where I can put these new books. Where can they join the rest of the unread books scattered about or shoved in little corners? This is the time I tell myself I shouldn’t go inside bookstores every chance I get. Ignore the sale sign. Ignore the wonderful smell of books.
When we went up to Baguio, this note to self was completely set aside as one of the places on top of my must-see list in the city is the bookstore next to Casa Vallejo called, Mt Cloud Bookshop. A friend of mine told me about it, so after P and I put down our bags and got settled in the house, we headed to Casa Vallejo and the bookshop.
It’s just a small cozy shop, which is where its charm lies. The wood-paneled walls are adorned with books, a few artwork, and many shelves filled with more books–poetry, children’s books, fiction, non-fiction, and a lot of Philippine publications (hooray!). When we went there, a locally published book on Art Deco was to be launched that evening.
When you visit a small local bookshop such as Mt Cloud, you just have to buy something to support it. I mean you want it to be there every time you visit. I was a bit dizzy with hunger (it was 4 pm and we still hadn’t had a decent breakfast or lunch) so I didn’t really get to read all the titles to check if there were books I wanted, and I ended up just buying postcard prints of Baguio-based National Artist BenCab. I thought: Okay, no new books to lug back home and add to my ‘book debt.’
Then I got back to Manila and a sale bin in Fully Booked lured me and I found Danny Wallace’s Join Me (the same guy who wrote Yes Man) and an Anne Tyler title for PHP50 (Digging to America). A few weeks later, while waiting for a friend in another bookstore (which always ends with a purchase, tsk tsk), I saw David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King standing on the new titles shelf. It took me 5 seconds to reach the cash register while I clutched it by my chest. No regrets there. They are all piled atop the box beside my desk, along with DFW’s Girl With The Curious Hair, which I got as gift for Christmas, and Chi Running from my husband, both of which I haven’t scratched off my reading list just yet. I really should stop going inside bookstores for a while.
Mt Cloud Bookshop
Upper Session Road, Baguio City
+63 (920) 9141554
+63 (74) 4244437