Recto-Doulos? For the uninitiated, C.M. Recto Avenue is one of Manila’s main thoroughfares and a regular haunt of bargain book hunters. So Friday, in essence, was our “book buying field trip”. The ‘outing’ was a nice reward for ourselves for hurdling the LIRA Fellows’ Night, as well as a self-gift for Christmas.
Pau in white, yours truly with the new (and quite ungainly) short hair in black, Ia in blue, and JC in dark green. Thanks to Pau’s mom for the shot.
We were lucky to arrive (around lunchtime) at a queue-free book fair. This drew a collective sigh of relief from us — we’ve seen some Doulos-at-Manila pics showing long lines snaking through the South Harbor.
We got a free ride by offering our unmatched greeting and ushering talents. Just kidding. No, seriously.
As can be expected, the ship’s crew/volunteers were mostly non-Filipino; when we were paying our Php 10 entrance fees, I blurted out “Dalawa po,” not realizing that a Caucasian was manning the booth.
The book fair area was split into two. The first, the main store near the ship’s stern, housed most of the books (covering religion, literature, kids’ and young adults’ fiction, science, law, hobbies, reference, etc.), souvenirs, and music records. The second, near the hoist, was where we bought a Doulos bag for 300 pesos and got two otherwise expensive books for free. I’m not shitting you. More on that later.
I forgot what government building this is. Anyway, the water here doesn’t reek of Manila Bay’s infamous dank smell, unlike near the Baywalk and the Yacht Club.
All of us were able to treat ourselves to some cheap but quality titles, except for Ia, who’s one of the most
scroogy frugal persons around. As an aside, the ship’s excellent strawberry-vanilla ice cream provided a very welcome (and palatable) break from the heat!
Farewell, MV Doulos. Looking forward to your successor — she better visit Manila, too!
As the early afternoon wore on and the sun began to chillax, the crowds became thicker…while my wallet became thinner. Richer in sweat and smiles, we left the ship and had a belated lunch at a nearby canteen. Till next time, Doulos. Or your heiress, whoever she maybe.
For those who weren’t able to catch the ship in Manila, it’s not too late — the Doulos will be paying Subic Bay a visit, too, and it will be open from December 27 to January 14. Come on, Subic’s not that far from the metropolis. Well, at least not as far as, uh, Papua New Guinea, the floating bookstore’s next host country. (You can check out the ship’s schedule.)
The MV Doulos visit was the penultimate activity of our field trip. Earlier in the day, we strolled through a small stretch of Recto’s sidewalks which were overflowing in bargain books. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to buy a single title (several old books authored by/about Marcos weren’t much of a ‘bargain’). Pau got a couple of Rizal books.
Fortunately, National Bookstore Recto came to my rescue (and to JC’s, too; just ask the lucky guy). These three books were priced at 99, 65, and 99 pesos, respectively:
David Weber’s Ashes of Victory is one in a series of books centered around a lady admiral named Honor Harrington…not that I’ve read any previous Honor books. Doona is a collaborative effort by Anne McCaffrey and Jody Lynn Nye, and it’s actually a compendium of two books, Crisis on Doona and Treaty at Doona. The last one, Alastair Reynolds’ Century Rain sports a purty cover, and from my skimmings, purty writing.
Because I’ve gone ahead and talked about specific books (again), here are the rest of the day’s “catch”, courtesy of the generous Doulos. Believe it or not, none of these are second-hand books:
- Nature Writing: The Tradition in English — Remember the buy-a-bag-get-two-books-free promo I mentioned earlier? The tote bag pictured above cost me 300 pesos, which seems high…until you learn that you get two free books normally worth thousands. Basically, the white book above sold for 150 pesos for 1150 pages. Gaia’s gift, I say. It’s not your usual do-this-don’t-do-that instructional book — this one teaches by example. The book contains nature writings from 131 authors, including Charles Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf, and Mark Twain. Skimming through the book, I couldn’t help but ask myself if I’m ready to also explore this genre of writing…especially with the concrete jungle encapsulating me for most of my life.
- Biology (7th Edition) — No, I’m not a biology major. (I finished computer science.) Yet when I saw this book, I felt a spark of nostalgia. One word: Pisay. Because of our high school’s overly scientific orientation, for years we pored over thick tomes similar to this book (in addition to dissecting animals and scooping up bacteria-rich water from our creek). Yeah, yeah — with this (and the succeeding books), you can call me a geek. Or nerd. Or anorak. I got this one for virtually 150 pesos. Compare that to the similarly sized, glossy Physics textbook by Tipler that I was forced to buy in 2nd year college — what was that, 2500 pesos?
- Doulos: Model and Guide — At 250 pesos and only a paucity of pages, this is the only non-sale thing I bought. It’s a souvenir book that includes a die-cut card model of the ship…which is partly why it appealed to this miniature-collecting friend of yours.
- The History of Flight — Those who have been poking around my blogs’ archives will know that I’m quite into airplanes. Pau, thanks a lot for pointing me to this title! I don’t know how I missed this one. I got this for 800 pesos.
- Moonshadow: The Story of the Total Eclipse — This book’s more suited in a high school library or a teen’s bookshelf, but I picked it up anyway. Heck, I’m just 3 years separated from teenhood. (Also, it being about science and being cheap — Php 100 — did my wallet in.)
- Geographica — This 1000-peso book is “the complete illustrated Atlas of the world”. Of course one can also find the info here on the Net (most notably/notoriously, Wikipedia), but I’ve always preferred reading on the bed and being able to sift through actual paper. Uh, comes with a free CD. The book’s so huge that it comes with its own “carrying case”.
- The Legend of the Christmas Stocking — Php 75, originally around 700
- The Legend of the Christmas Tree — Php 75, originally around 700
- The Legend of the Candy Cane — Php 75, originally around 700
- My Christmas Gift to Jesus — Php 100, originally around 300
Not included in the list is a certain Chinese/Japanese book with an attractive cover and attractive illustrations…and attractive price (50 pesos). This went to Ia, along with a Doulos souvenir mug.
Whoa, it’s already Christmas in a few hours? (And in a few days, my ‘anniversary’ as a blogger?) Must’ve fallen into a time-warp.
May you have a wonderful Christmas!