Words and Photos by Sophia Teaño with photo contribution from Deianelle Albert
If you’re a book lover looking for a selection of good Filipiniana or just a couple of undiscovered titles, Baguio has a nice little bookshop for you. Located in Casa Vallejo, Mt. Cloud Bookshop is an independent bookshop that accommodates a variety of titles that can satisfy your cravings for quality Filipino books. It was founded by anthropologist sisters, Padma and Feliz Perez, whose family had a long-time dream of running a bookshop.
The wooden panels provide a warm and cozy atmosphere for the bookshop’s visitors.
A short flight of steps lead down to an ellipse sign that says “mt. cloud bookshop”. On its left, you will find a wooden-framed window adorned with suspended colorful origami butterflies and a mobile of small bottles. The door is left open, greeting the interested customers with an air of welcome.
Once you enter, you will be greeted by a cozy wooden interior and of course, books—lots of it—on shelves and tabletops. The layout of the bookshop is simple and straightforward, leaving space for the visitors to pass through and take a look at the interesting titles that the store offers. Mt. Cloud also features a mezzanine second floor. The walls that lead up to it are decorated with paper cranes and artworks, lending colors against the white walls.
A colorful children’s section will invite not only kids, but also those who consider themselves kids at heart.
On the first floor, a large table displays a selection of featured books from various genres. The floor mostly showcases historical and political books, indigenous people’s literature, and children’s books. Going to the mezzanine, a bookshelf on the staircase landing holds a collection of graphic novels and comics, as well as poetry books. The second floor contains topics ranging from general references to Asian studies. Other collections that are not to be missed are media books, art books, short fictions and novels, as well as young adult titles. A little nook is also present in the midst of the shelves, providing a space for resting or browsing.
What is special about Mt. Cloud, however, is that this independent bookshop is not solely about business. Their books – scholarly, creative, or otherwise – are not meant to merely sit on the shelves. The bookshop allows its customers to flip through its books, regardless of how long. They are not like typical bookshops that forbid reading through the items for a lengthy period of time. Titles that are controversial in nature, which aren’t easily found in mainstream bookstores due to their political language, are also sold at Mt. Cloud.
With founders who have anthropological backgrounds, the selection of indigenous people-related literature are sure quality titles.
For rare titles that aren’t for sale, specifically for their comic books, the bookshop offers a renting arrangement. Another interesting service that Mt. Cloud has is a tailored subscription. They will send a selected Filipino book per month for three months based on your answer in the form they provided. This is part of the bookshop’s campaign to encourage people to #readlocal. It costs Php1,200 for residents able to pick them up from the shop, and Php1,800 for those outside of Baguio.
Looking Back—a shelf dedicated to Philippine history and social issues.
The bookshop also holds events from time to time ranging from book launches by distinguished and independent writers to open mics, to story-telling events from publishing houses. What’s more is that their events are usually free of charge.
Should your next book hunt be for academic work or simply an exploration of local writers, the array of books that Mt. Cloud contains won’t disappoint. There is something truly endearing in getting to know your country, and the literature isn’t something to miss.
If you plan to drop by Mt. Cloud on your next Baguio visit, they are open daily from 10am to 8pm.
Mt. Cloud Bookshop
Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City