ReaderCon Filipino Friday: Week Three

Thanks to the guys and girls of ReaderCon for meme 3.

How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines?

I don’t think you have to have shelves upon shelves of books to be a book lover in the Philippines. But having just one book might not turn you into one, either.

And one may have loads and loads of books, maybe even flip through them occasionally but never become a lover of reading. Even if you have books but you cannot read, then you might just not get the full experience of becoming a book lover. Being able to read is the key element. And although we may be proud of our literacy level, there are still a lot of people left to reach here in our country alone. Teaching people how to read is one problem, equipping them with books is another; becoming a book lover will come to them but that depends on how the people experience the books and reading themselves.

There’s only so much (or so little) of readers in the Philippines who are books lovers. And of those, not all of them have the means to get the books that they want, for one reason or another.

What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader (e.g. availability of books)?

The state of Philippine public libraries leaves so much to be desired. Unless it has improved in the last six years, of which was about the last time I was inside one. Private schools are a different matter but, from what I remember with public schools, they could really use some help.

Count yourself lucky if you grew up in a house with books accessible for reading; a great plus if your school library and its books were still in good condition when you were around. But for other kids, the school and its library (if there is one) is where their love for books and reading start. Yet if the condition of the books is really sorry and the library is in dire need of repairs—even if the kids could read—it might not inspire them to become readers and book lovers.

What are positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines (e.g. book prices are lower here than they are abroad)?

We don’t easily get rid of old books. And that’s not sarcasm!

I’ve been to certain libraries (not saying where) where supposedly obsolete books are still pretty much in circulation. Even if the tomes are very much outdated and their updated versions are just next to them, it’s great to see that they still serve their purpose. I guess there are still readers there who want to see the difference of the information then and now. And some of those old books have articles and stories that aren’t printed in new versions or aren’t reproduced in other books.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jinky says:

    “Teaching people how to read is one problem, equipping them with books is another; becoming a book lover will come to them but that depends on how the people experience the books and reading themselves.” –excellent point!!

    BTW, interesting to know about obsolete books staying in circulation … are these more textbooks you speak of?


    1. matiserrano says:

      Thanks so much for that, Jinky!

      Some are textbooks for for various subjects for various grades while some are encyclopedia sets, complete or incomplete.


  2. Chachic says:

    Sigh, we all want to have good public libraries here. If we did, maybe more Filipinos would be encouraged to read. I consider myself lucky that my parents prioritized books even though we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. I guess they wanted both my brother and I to enjoy reading and learning and looks like it worked. 🙂


    1. matiserrano says:

      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. When I see the how the public libraries are in other countries, I couldn’t help but feel envious. And especially more when I remember that these libraries allow some of their books to taken out. From what I know of our libraries here, they don’t allow that. But I guess they have their reasons.

      And that’s a really great thing. Libraries can be a great resource, if only it wasn’t for their maintenance. Anyway, good for you and your brother for having parents like that.


  3. Patrick says:

    We both have parents that are teachers too so we’re truly blessed. I think if my Mother wasn’t a teacher I wouldn’t have been exposed to books as a child.

    We’re not rich. I think if my Mother’s job was something else but our financial standing was the same, things would have been very different for me, book-wise. Sadly, that’s the majority of families I see around. And I do blame it on poverty.


    1. matiserrano says:

      Possibly, yes. It’s likely that she would’ve still taught me how to read and would’ve read to me. I can’t imagine my mother in another profession. But I do owe much of how I love books to my parents.

      That’s the sad truth. Poor people have limited resources and-or feel limited.


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