Solidaridad: A Gem of a Bookstore
When in Manila, one cannot help but notice how deeply imbedded into every street and corner Philippine culture and history is. Every single nook and cranny has its story to tell. The areas of Malate and Ermita, for instance, are our alternatives to Paris’ Monmartre, where artists of all kinds gather to share their craft, put up shop or meet with patrons.Tucked in the busy street of Padre Faura is what was known as “the best little bookstore in Asia”, Solidaridad, whose proprietor is National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose.
Nothing much has changed in this little shop since it first opened in 1965 to give Filipino’s the opportunity to read good books since there were not a lot of bookstores yet around at that time. Although they specialize in Filipiniana books, they also offer foreign titles that are being chosen by Mr. F. Sionil Jose himself. As for the Filipiniana titles, authors go to the bookstore itself to pitch in their works. According to Mr. F. Sionil Jose’s son Tonette, they have the widest selection of Filipiniana works among all bookstores in the Philippines.
Solidaridad bookstore attracts a variety of readers ranging from students to professionals such as lawyers, doctors, researchers and college professors. Every last Saturday of the month, the Philippine Center of International PEN, an international organization which has writers, playwrights, poets and novelists as its members also hold their meetings at Solidaridad. They host book launches of Filipino books, as well.
What sets them apart from other bookstores would definitely be the titles on their shelves and the spirit of Old Manila that greets you the moment you enter their door just like the nearby National Museum that is free on Sundays does. Solidaridad Bookshop is truly a gem amidst the bustling district of Ermita, Manila and definitely one of the must-see places when in Manila.
531 Padre Faura, Ermita, Manila, Philippines
Contact No: 632 254 1086 632 254 1068
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00 AM-6:00 PM