There are several places to visit in the bustling road of Chino Roces between Makati and Taguig for some fun time among friends and even for your date, ranging from hidden art galleries to an authentic Korean store.
But there is something much more special in Kwago, the only homegrown independent bookstore in Makati. Discovering this hidden art gallery you’re amazed to find it’s a nest for rare and highly-niche books, and a hidden “tambayan” to writers, artists, and even tech communities seeking for its cultural programs such as their Komura; a cluster of events such as book and zine fair, art exhibitions, gigs, and the pay-what-you-want beers in between the events.
When Kwago closed down their space in La Fuerza last November, it’s no wonder people who frequent the place seemed devastated, asking, “Where is Kwago?”
The bookstore seemed like a gate to Narnia, mysteriously never to be seen again after venturing inside its world. People were colored surprised, then, when the bookstore suddenly made itself known with their announcement the launching of their new space in Bangkal, Makati, with an overnight event from 1PM of February 29th until 1PM of March 1st, which is backed by the founders of Purveyr magazine and also the same place where the previous Purveyr used to be at.
It would be a 24-hour event with activists, graveyard shifters, open-cal artists, and women in music. To detail, here are the event deets for your perusal, at least one of these you might be looking forward to visiting it for.
- An exhibition of works by 40 artists within 24 hours: A transient-group show that Czyka Tumaliuan and Roy Voragen of Comma curated with artists who aim to problematize our evolving notion of time and chaotic space. More than 40 works by various artists will be dispersed across the bookstore’s shelves, all responding to “the nonsense, the cacophony, the incoherence… how to make sense of it all?” Global queer artist Alfred Marasigan will also be doing a live stream performance during the event, all the way from London.
- A graveyard shift with women in music: From 10 PM til 6:30 AM on Feb 29 – Mar 1, Kwago invited women in the local music industry to perform in a series of gigs from dusk until dawn, featuring artists like Yassy T. and Pamcy. Headliners will be revealed on the day itself!
- Comics by Rob Cham that hints at this country’s political climate: A piece by comic artist Rob Cham illustrating our country’s political climate, specifically its bloodshed streets will be one of the first things visitors will see once they reach the venue, just right on the new bookshop’s window. Whether or not the work disturbs you, the picture is all too familiar as it takes spotlight in the space.
- Komura; forum and zine launch: The heart and soul of many of Kwago’s visions, Komura; is their yearly intimate book and zine fair that gathers local authors and readers in one space. Czyka Tumalian of Kwago and Kayla Dionisio of Warehouse Eight, both the co-founders of Komura, are moderating a forum on the importance of business acumen to keep independent initiatives like the bookstore alive as a special program for the launch. The event will also launch the winning zine of the Komura; Creators Grant recipients, Marren Adan, Val Angeles, and Kristian Dalao.
- A relaxing brunch among creative writers: Kwago is holistic in its approach, so it won’t be surprising this is also part of the event. More than just a bookstore, Kwago nurtures the discipline of writers and authors who serve as the backbone of the literary community. To top it all off, there will also be a casual conversation about self-publishing and creative writing with Marguerite Alcazaren De Leon, author of the book People in Panic.
- Simply donate what you can to join the fun: Anyone, and I meant, anyone is welcome to stay the night! Just donate anything to your capabilities and you can join and support the new bookshop. From Midnight to dawn, there will even be an open mic to wrap it all up neatly for the night. Not talking sensual, but this could be the best pillow talk one would go for.
- And so, so, so much more: Mentioning on the comprehensive lists, there are more to look forward to in the event, such as performance by artist-activist Jon Olarte during the night, a DnD game in the morning, aaaaand the highly-curated selections of books and zines for sale!