I was surprised to find a small library inside the unexplored Cubao X (formerly known as Marikina Shoe Expo, retaining the X from the word expo). Not so many people are aware of Cubao X’s existence, except perhaps the long-time clientele of Bellini’s, a lovely Italian restaurant (run by an Italian and his Filipina wife) within its walls. One can discover great finds at Cubao X, from the antique shops that will surely remind one memories from the 60’s up to the 80’s era, fashionable items and accessories, art haven and galleries, down to the tastiest and crispiest crispy pata on this side of town at Penpen’s—you can find all these and many more inside Cubao X.
Going back to my story, my friends and I are what you could call bookworms. We’re always attached with our books. Although there have been e-books available on the Net, we still find joy in reading tangible books and would prefer them from their electronic counterparts. While we were hanging out in Cubao X, we noticed a really cozy store in a corner. It looked similar to the bookstore in the film Nottinghill (a 90’s movie that stars Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, shot in a local bookstore in Nottinghill, United Kingdom), only this time the library had a small coffee shop inside it. Plus, there’s no good-looking guy like Hugh Grant who owns and manages the store. The library looked so inviting, so my friends and I decided to drop by.
Upon entering the bookstore, one would easily notice that it’s not like any other store. They have a variety of books to choose from. They sell second-hand books that looked so good one would think they’re brand new sold for a steal price. They have really comfortable chairs and sofas too. And I don’t know if I’ve been pretty weird, but I liked the smell of paperback mixed with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and some dash of chocolate wafting in the air. Even if the place were air-conditioned, one would smell such unique concoction, giving book-lovers like me some kind of energy.
Libreria is perfect for coffee lovers too. For every cup of coffee you order, you get your second coffee serving for free! If coffee isn’t your kind of thing, they do serve hot chocolates too. They have selected biscuits and sandwiches that seem to go well with any drink. There’s nothing like sipping a cup of your favorite drink while reading a book in hand. This is a great “me” time. Be careful though not to spill your drink on the book or else it’ll be considered sold.
Guests could even make a request for a particular book they’ve been looking for on a huge logbook. They could write their suggestions and comments on the said book. And once the book you’ve been looking for has arrived, Libreria staff will make sure to let you know the soonest possible time and will reserve the book for you for free.
Walking at Cubao X is like walking down the memory lane. It reminds you of the olden times, when life was so sweet and simple. It is a haven for artists, photographers, writers, poets, foodies and other people who would want to make their creative juices flow. So the next time you’ll find yourself in Cubao, make sure you drop by Cubao X (it is located near the old Manila C.O.D. building) in General Romulo Avenue and discover for yourself why this place had been kept as an open secret among its guests.