by Cathy Dellosa Lo
In the noisy hustle and bustle of everyday life, finding a quiet little nook to read a good book can be a welcome but often elusive respite. We are always too busy trying to be an adult that we forget just how therapeutic it is to just sit ourselves down on a comfy corner in a cozy café with a good story to bury our noses in. Sure; there’s nothing wrong with preoccupying ourselves with deadlines, meetings, and personal responsibilities—hey, it certainly helps pay the bills—but there’s something about book cafes that remind us how to slow down every now and then.
- Cool Beans Café
No list is complete without a contribution from Maginhawa Street in Quezon City. Cool Beans Café brings the authenticity of the Northern Philippines to the metro with locally-sourced coffee from Benguet and Sagada. A smorgasbord of books lines the walls of the café with genres that only a true library has: classics, Filipiniana, young adult, non-fiction, children’s literature, and even a collection of National Geographic and other magazines. The cozy ambience of the place makes it really difficult to resist sinking in one of the couches and reading until your eyes hurt from the pleasurable strain.
Aside from diving into the books, you can also dive into the absolutely delish dishes like the creamy Pan-grilled Chicken Alfredo and the Pan-grilled Pork Belly for meat lovers. Pasta is never off the table as well with choices such as the Vigan Longganisa Penne, because how else will you truly enjoy the North without some scrumptious Vigan longganisa?
- Press Café by Fully Booked
Books are your friends. They enthrall you and they change you; they take you to places you otherwise would never have known. And because they are such precious treasures, they should be handled with care and must be enjoyed and read where you can give them all the focused and undivided attention they deserve. Press Café may not exactly be a library per se, but it is a haven for bibliophiles who just love to couple the smell of fresh pages with the soothing aroma of coffee. There are three branches of Press Café in the metro right now, and each one is integrated into Fully Booked because, honestly, what’s better than sipping coffee while reading the new book you’ve just bought?
It’s not all about the drinks, though. Press Café actually has an impressive range of food choices, albeit a tad pricey, for every kind of taste (even my pregnant friend saw something she truly liked). Sandwiches, pasta dishes, salads, entrees, and burgers abound. Even homey starters such as the Mom’s Favorite Dip are all focused on trying to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Those light tortilla chips dipped in melted mozzarella made me feel like there was a great injustice because this wasn’t something I could munch on every single day of my life. But if you want a starter that’s more filling, then the Presadilla is the way to go.
So go ahead. Purchase that book you’ve been eyeing on the shelves of Fully Booked for far too long, then walk on over to Press Café. Indulge in their Herb Roast Chicken and be thankful for your alone time—it’s a privilege you don’t always get to have.
Press Café has three locations: 2/F Fully Booked, Promenade Building, Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Avenue, San Juan; 3/F The Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Center, Lopez Drive, Makati; Fully Booked Building, Commerce Avenue, Muntinlupa City.
- Tweedle Book Café
Like the true bookworm that I am, my favorite haunt back when I was in college was the campus library. The university may be buzzing with life everywhere else, but inside the hallowed halls of the library, it was hushed. It was muted. It was home.
That was exactly what I felt when I stepped inside Tweedle Book Cafe. It may be located in the vicinity of the vibrant Tomas Morato area, but it’s actually secluded enough to ensure every bibliophile’s much-needed privacy. If you truly want to get away from it all, this quiet nook is the perfect place. The long tables make the café an excellent venue for book clubs, study groups, conferences, and last minute cramming. The peace and quiet can definitely clear your head enough for you to be as productive as you can be, but if you’re there to simply get lost in a good story, you can take your pick among the rows of books around the room. And in true librarian fashion, Tweedle Book Cafe even has library cards where you can log your progress on the books you are reading.
It’s guaranteed that once you sit yourself down and start reading, you won’t notice the time passing by. But if you do look up to check how long you’ve been poring through your fave book like a maniac, you’ll find the time on the quirky clocks on the wall—even the time in Rivendell or Paradiso.
Of course, it’s still a café, so don’t hold yourself back from indulging in a few cups of TWG Tea and TCC Hot Chocolate. Warm yourself up with some Genmaicha Latte and comforting bowls of Ola Sardinas Spanish sardines pasta. The Pinoy Breakfast pasta is a must-try as well, and if that does not draw you in, then the ceiling scribbled with famous authors’ names surely will.
What about you, fellow bookworm? What are your top café picks when you just want to read a good book and get away from it all?
Photos courtesy of official Facebook accounts.