I frequent Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman because of activities that are usually held there. But I only managed to get inside the UP Press Bookstore (located in the ground floor of Balay Kalinaw) the other day when the activity I was attending had not yet begun.
Expectedly, almost all book titles you see inside come from the university’s alumni. And it’s gone multimedia, too. There’s an art frame hanging at one bookcase, which is for sale at P1,000.00 (USD 21). There’s also an audio CD containing a collection of poems from various artists.
When I got inside the bookstore, I had the feeling of pride for UP. (I have never taken any course from it, although I once dreamed of finishing college in there.) But I wonder if the bookstore really houses all the brainchildren of the university’s graduates. It is a very small hangout for bookworms, about 30 square meters. (National Bookstore outlets have got a tiny Filipiniana section which leaves one wondering who are the next Rio Almas, Nick Joaquins, Pete Lacabas, and the like. (Pardon my gender insensitivity here. Honestly, I have not kept tabs on great Filipino women writers since my younger days.)
I wish I had a thousand bucks in my pocket. I would have bought the book entitled “Brains of the Nation” by Resil Mojares. It bore the price tag of P695.00 (USD 14). (When I was in India [two times] and Oakland, California, I managed to buy five to 10 books because I had enough pocket money and the books sold were really cheap.) I thought that Mojares’s book would give me great insights on how the contemporary Filipino intellegentsia has formed and used its knowledge, which would have influenced the way things are in the country’s politics and economy.
I got out of the bookstore partly disappointed (for not having bought any book [I wish I were a klepto] ) and partly satisfied because I had a toast with the great minds of UP.