Preparing for School & Shopping at National Bookstore
When in doubt, go to the bookstore.

For years, I've always wondered why clothing stories don't appeal to me as much as bookstores do. I remember the first time I ever walked inside any kind of bookstore was when my mom and I were buying school supplies in 2000 at National Bookstore. I was trying to look for cute notebooks, colored pens, some manila paper, and those usong pencil cases with a lot of compartments and built-in sharpeners. I was entering third grade... and this year also marked Year 1 living in the Philippines again (I'll save that for another story).

It's true that there have been a lot of bookstores that have popped up since then... but nothing will ever compare to the OG.


A Short History


National Bookstore can be traced back to the 1930s. José Ramos and Socorro Cáncio-Ramos, rented a small-corner space of a Haberdashery situated at the foot of Escolta Bridge in Santa CruzManila. With a small capital of P 211, which amounts to about < P 20,000 today, they set up their first retail bookstore selling GI novels, text books and supplies. It went through a lot, even being completely destroyed by a typhoon in the 40's. However, their small store in Escolta, despite having been burnt to the ground during the Japanese occupation and later ravaged by a typhoon, persevered and prospered amidst adversity. Now, they are the leading bookstore in the country!!

It is this resilience and relentlessness that took us to heights they once thought were impossible.


Prep For School with NBS

A few weeks back, I found myself in National Bookstore at their SM North EDSA Branch. I was there to accompany my boss before we had alignment, but then found myself shopping. It was back-to-school season.

Having a [recently turned] three year old, my son hasn't had formal schooling ~ but I've been doing everything to prepare him for school. Aside from enrolling him last summer, Bobby & I have been experimenting on different things:

  • Trying out various approaches (from montessori, to homeschooling, and progressive)

  • Using workbooks to widen Y's knowledge

  • Reading books to him in the afternoon, or before bedtime

  • Exposing him to activities he would normally encounter in school

Bobby and I started school at a young age, so we're taking the time to prep Yñigo and see when he's ready. We don't want him to start too young, or start too late. Just waiting for the right time (and so we can save up for the school we've been dreaming to enroll him in).

But while waiting, we frequent National Bookstore to check resources and other tools that will help us as a family as we transition into the schooling phase. Here's some of the things I got while shopping:


For Yñigo

Got him a Puppy Dog Pal magnet sketch thingy, a sketch pad, big Crayola crayons, and workbooks to help him with both Filipino and English (we want him to be equally knowledgeable with both languages).


For Me

I also got a correction tape for myself, and some books including The Little Book of Lykke because I couldn't help myself.

Overall, I spent about P 2,850 pesos for all the things I got (some are not seen in the photos, btw). I got a good deal for everything. That's what I've always liked about National Bookstore ~ they have such a wide selection when it comes to school supplies, school preparatory materials, and even books. I swear, everyone in the family will find something here. 

I was trying to hold back, but I took photos of other things you can find.


FOR THE KIDS (or want to be kids)

Puppy Dog Pals ~ one of Y's favorite shows on Disney now
Puzzles and more!


for students or those going back to school






some tips when shopping

If you're a parent who's shopping for your toddler, or preparing him for school, here's what to remember:

  1. Know what to buy and not to buy. Discuss with your partner, or anyone who knows your child (as well as you do) regarding what things spark interest and motivation with him. If he's responsive to books, then better get it. Is he more of a flash cards kind of kid? Or is he more engaged when you incorporate clay into learning?

  2. List everything down. You want to buy what's only necessary. Don't splurge [like me] because sometimes, you'll end up with too much stuff at home, or even end up not using them. When you make a list, ask yourself if your child will really enjoy it, if he will just trash it, or if he will hate it. Don't think about what you want... think what he wants.

  3. Go around the bookstore to find the best deals. I mean, I personally take my time there. I can practically live in National Bookstore haha. Kidding aside, try to go around. Canvass and look for very sulit finds.

  4. Take time to examine items before you buy them. Don't be deceived with branding. Sometimes the best finds don't even look like they are at first glance. Feel the paper, read the description in the items you buy. If you can test it out, test it. Remember also if your kid is allergic to anything. Buy non-toxic materials to ensure their safety. I mean toddlers can practically eat anything.

  5. Bring a basket with you, fill it up with the things you initially want. Then discard when you're about to pay. This is my ultimate technique. It works for me. I end up filling a basket, but end up buying a few items - especially those on the original list Bobby or I make.

  6. Bring someone who won't enable you to shop for everything. I mean, I think some people will get that it's hard to leave without anything from the bookstore. I usually bring Bobby with me when we shop because sometimes I mix shopping for Yñigo with shopping for myself. I even call him and send him photos of my haul before I pay just so I know I'm not overspending.

National Bookstore is the leading bookstore, being home to Filipinos everywhere ~ families, kids-at-heart, authors, readers, students and more. Their journey has become an inspiration for Filipinos everywhere, and a reminder of the humble beginnings of one of the country's most loved institutions.

That's it! Hope you learned something from all of this! Ohhhh and I also participated in this short video. You'll see my awkwardnesss, but also my undying love for NBS! Anyway, 'til the next post!