Sunday, January 01, 2012

There is something about getting all the dust on your hands that makes book hunting more exalting.

I was looking into my old stuff and found an old article I wrote about Bookay-Ukay. Incidentally, my husband and I were checking their latest offerings on Facebook today, something that we don’t really do together because we’ve been robbed of our coffee time since he got so busy with work this year. So every chance we get we spend it having coffee, and me telling him stories about the kids.

It’s wonderful that the internet makes the distance from where we are to the Bookay-Ukay store negligible, but there is something about getting all the dust on your hands that makes book hunting more exalting than searching time-aged books with the help of an uncomplaining mouse.

“Ukay-ukay” is a celebrated word in the Filipino language that literally means “to dig through”, but is mostly used in the language of fashion when people find branded/unique clothing apparel and are able to buy them for a song. Twitch this a bit and use it on books and you’ll end up with a large-scale fandom.

Here and now, I want to share my Blessed Bookay-Ukay Day which happened three years ago.

Karim and I are slowly rebuilding the library we lost during our exodus to Manila. It was nothing grand and definitely far from the order that my virtual bookshelf has. We had piles of books in one area and a lot more scattered in different parts of our then tiny house. So recently, we have been frequenting bookstores to re-collect the stuff we had and to find new ones that never became part of our collection.
When we were packing, it initially became a choice between my shoe collection and our son’s toys. I didn’t want him suffering from psychosis in the latter years of his life just because I was the mom who brought everything else but the toys. So 60 pairs of shoes, a big box of books and some toys were left orphaned. The skateboard, the scooter, the bike, he had to let go also. I was not going to be impelled into bringing stuff that I had to skate, balance, and pedal all the way here. Lugging along two large boxes of toys and three huge suitcases of clothes, plus a son who would never stop talking, was more than enough for a grand move to the metropolis.

Last Sunday, the boys and I had to crawl our way to Box O’ Rice for lunch. No time, no energy, no desire to cook on a steamy midday Sunday. For anyone who has not entered into the realm of eating street side seafood in a box, please know that BOR is the Oprah Winfrey among fast foods. The food is entertaining; a bit pricey but won’t really bore a hole in your pocket. The packaging, too, is quite engaging.

Anywhere we go, the unwritten rule is “mommy always gets the best seat”. That is according to Karim’s day-to-day guide made for Cole on becoming a gentleman. I opined that in a small square table, the one facing the street was the dream seat of the day. Indeed, it was. Something from across the street was screaming at me, hauling me to go over to the other side and find a piece of heaven.

The three of us marched to Bookay-Ukay after lunch and got lost in their compelling collection. We spent the next three hours picking out books, and then eventually spending a fortune on good finds. Cole was so delighted he found a series he instantly fell in love with. He could only find books one and two of Scholastic’s Abracadabra series, so he got hold of those two plus some other books. Finding Bookay-Ukay was wonderful especially since we’re starting Cole out on short story reading.

Karim was ecstatic and suddenly looked like he was reunited with a long lost love. I threatened him with a look of jealousy until he held it up to my face: Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock. A long lost love indeed.

Months ago, I was approached to do a book review on Henry James’ Turn of the Screw. I went on a long desperate search among the big bookstores but I was always met with: “It’s out of stock.” Out of stock? Who’s hoarding all the James books? I didn’t know Henry James had a lot of fans around here. Needless to say, I begged off from the book review.

Bookay-Ukay had it for me and it’s mine, mine, mine.

Blessed Bookay-Ukay day is next payday … and God help me with this addiction. I’ll be more broke than I already am before I turn 33. 


55 Maginhawa St.
UP Village, Diliman,
1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +639054283125


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