Category Archives: Bibliophilism

Backstreet Books 

Nomenclature of bookshop — Backstreet Books

One thing I love about Chiang Mai is the prevalence of bookshops selling used books. One of them is Backstreet Books with its categorized and neatly arranged books, so unlike most secondhand shops. By the way, browsing in a used bookshop is oftentimes more delightful because of that library feeling ambiance I would get — a feeling that is absent in those Barnes & Noble types.


Mobile Library


Mobile Taipei Public Library at a park in Tamsui

Public service means bringing the Taipei Public Library closer to the people.


Flavier’s Parable


Here is one parable from Juan Flavier’s compilation – Parables of the Barrio.

Parable of the Letter to God

During the last typhoon, Lencho lost all his rice crop because of a severe flood. The whole barrio was affected so he had no one to turn to for help. In sheer desperation, Lencho wrote a letter to God:

“Dear God:

The typhoon devastated my whole crop. We have nothing left. I have seven children. Please, God, send me one hundred pesos to tide us over.

Sincerely Yours,


He actually placed the letter in an envelope, stuck a stamp on it, and mailed it to “God in Heaven.”

The letter reached the post office but it could not be delivered. However, the postmen had the time of their life laughing at the oddity of a man actually writing to God. Some people said God was dead, but here was a farmer writing to God out of sheer faith. The postmen decided to show the odd letter to their postmaster.

“Do you want to laugh today, sir?” the postmen asked their boss.

“Why, yes,” answered the postmaster eagerly.

And so the letter was handed to the postmaster who read the letter to God. But he did not laugh. Instead he reread the letter in all seriousness and then faced the postmen.

“We talk of social action,” he said. “We all speak of the brotherhood of all men. Yet here is a man in dire need and you think it is funny? Shouldn’t we pool our resources instead and help Lencho?”

The postmen were embarrassed by the truth of the postmaster’s remarks. So the group decided to pass the hat around and raise money among them to assist Lencho.

But they were few and money was difficult to come by, so all the post office personnel could raise was eighty pesos. Nevertheless that was better than doing nothing.

They also decided to play the game with Lencho, so they placed the money in an envelope, put a stamp complete with stamp mark, and wrote on the upper left-hand corner: “From God in Heaven.”

A postman personally hand carried the letter with the money to Lencho in the barrio, who was ecstatic with joy. “I knew God would answer my plea,” he exclaimed. “God did not forget to send the money!”

Lencho quickly counted the paper bills and found only eighty pesos, instead of one hundred he had asked for. So he wrote another letter.

“Dear God:

Thank you for answering my prayer, God. But, please, next time, do not send the money through the post office, because the people there are thieves.

Sincerely Yours,


Parables of the Barrio
Vol 1, Nos 1-50
Juan M. Flavier
Copyright 1988
New Day Publishers

Of Traveling and Newspapers



It’s interesting to read all sorts of news including the classified ads of the locality you find yourself at the moment.



The act of buying from a newspaper kiosk, the possession of their paper, and the pleasure derived from reading it while resting at a park or at the common area in a guest house has become a part of my traveling habits.





Front cover

Putting up with the crowd at last month’s International Book Fair and at the same time feeling a bit despondent that I was at MOA on a weekend (though I didn’t set foot inside the mall), was compensated when I acquired few books from small time publishing houses such as UP Press et al, and some old PCIJ magazines and one old magazine on Mindanao Culture called Gimba (the only edition I found).


Back cover

Gimba is the musical instrument of Manobo tribe in Mindanao, hence the magazine logo is an illustration of this drum. Subscription rate is 10 pesos per copy, 40 pesos for a year’s subscription as stated in the first page of this third quarter 1985 edition. It has 32 pages only but there is substance in every page. How I wish this kind of reading material is still in circulation today.


An article about education among the Ata Manobo

Love as an Amputee of Sorts



Typhoon Prone


Concrete structures were designed to withstand 200 kph wind only for example in the Pacific side but with Yolanda’s 300+ kph…

It’s about time to update the building code.

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