Ah, libraries–the havens of bookworms and the cryptic lairs of librarians who somehow know where every single book is hiding. If you have a penchant for libraries, well, brace yourselves because we’re going to embark on an epic quest to uncover the top libraries in the Philippines.
From historical gems to contemporary wonders, these libraries are not just home to countless books but also to adventures waiting to be had. So, grab your reading glasses, because we’re about to dive into a world of literary wonders and quirky tales.
1. CCP Library and Archives
Address: 3/F Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Contact Details: 832-1125 local 1502
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 8 AM-5 PM
Entry Fee: Free
How to get there: Take the MRT to Taft terminal station, then follow the connecting footbridge to LRT1-EDSA station, and take LRT1 to Vito Cruz station. Head right on Pablo Ocampo Sr. (Vito Cruz) until you reach your destination near Jollibee.
The CCP Library and Archives is like a treasure trove for culture buffs, with a collection that includes art books, film and theater scripts, and even those vintage film reels that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine to the glory days of Filipino cinema.
But this place isn’t just about preserving history; it’s a vibrant tribute to the country’s creative soul, decked with memorabilia donated by legends like Lino Brocka, Nicanor Abelardo, and Felipe De Leon.
Fun Fact: It houses an extraordinary collection of vintage playbills, offering a captivating glimpse into the country’s theatrical history through the ages.
- You know what’s cool? The library sometimes throws workshops and events. Take a peek at their schedule, and you might stumble upon something pretty awesome.
2. National Library of the Philippines
Address: 1000 Kalaw Ave, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Contact Details: (02) 5310 5035, [email protected]
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 8 AM–5 PM, Saturday & Sunday: Closed
Entry Fee: Free
How to get there: Take the MRT to Taft Avenue Station and then transfer to LRT 1 Yellow Line at EDSA Taft Station heading to Roosevelt. Alight at United Nations (UN) Avenue Station, walk towards Luneta or Rizal Park, turn left onto Kalaw Avenue, and head straight until you reach it.
The National Library of the Philippines isn’t your ordinary book nook; it’s like the keeper of our awesome cultural history, making sure it’s all preserved for future folks. It’s been around since way back in 1887. Now, it’s all about safeguarding over 131 million pages of Filipiniana stuff.
It’s also a go-to events, shows, and guided tours to tickle your curiosity. And when you walk in, the place feels grand, with high ceilings, wooden pillars, and spacious vibes.
Fun Fact: During World War II, this library lost its entire collection to the ravages of war. Thanks to an international campaign, including the donation of books from various countries, the library was resurrected from its literary ashes.
- Don’t just wing it. Check their Online Public Access Catalog before your visit to see if they have the materials you need. It saves time and disappointment.
3. The Filipinas Heritage Library
Address: Ayala Museum, Dela Rosa Street, Makati, 1224 Metro Manila
Contact Details: (02) 7759 8281, [email protected]
Operating Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: 10 AM–6 PM
One-day access (up to 7 hours).
- Regular – Php 300
- Student – Php 150*
- Senior/PWD – Php 210
- Discounted*– Php 240
*Discounted rate applicable to Ayala Museum members, AGC employees, teachers, cultural workers, and graduate students.
How to get there: Head towards Ayala Museum’s driveway after crossing Makati Avenue from Landmark, or if arriving by bus in Makati CBD, alight at Ayala Avenue bus stop and walk for 10 minutes, following signs to Greenbelt and Landmark.
The Filipinas Heritage Library has 13,000 books and documents that cover everything from Philippine history to art, language, and religion. Here, you can dig up some rare gems, like documents stored on microfiche, ancient Philippine maps, and photos you’ve never seen before.
They’ve also got this awesome collection called the Roderick Hall Collection that’s all about the Philippines during World War II. Whether you want to drop by for a visit or even book a chat with one of their friendly librarians for your research needs, they’ve got you covered.
Fun Fact: Did you know that The Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati has this fantastic collection of old sheet music from the Philippines? It’s like taking a musical trip back in time through our country’s history!
- If you plan to visit often, think about becoming a member. They might hook you up with extended access, discounts, or even the chance to borrow stuff. Cool, right?
4. Ortigas Foundation Library
Address: 2nd Floor McKinley Parking Building, Service Road, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan, 1503 Metro Manila
Contact Details: 0947 426 1432
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 8 AM–5 PM, Saturday: 9 AM–5 PM, Sunday: Closed
Entry Fee: Free
How to get there: Take Ortigas Avenue and follow the service road on the right, passing Club Filipino Avenue near the Arch of San Juan City. Enter the shopping center, make a sharp U-turn to Parking 7 (P7) on the second floor, where you’ll find the library entrance in the elevator lobby.
This library was established in 1996 and has 21,000 books, images, and documents, and a stash of 8,000 titles from the Ortigas family. They even have this rare 1767 edition of George Anson’s Voyage Round the World, all decked out with copperplate engravings and maps.
Though relatively young, it stands tall with an impressive collection dating back to the 17th century, with goodies like works on Jose Rizal from the legendary historian Gregorio Zaide. It’s basically a time machine to Philippine history.
Fun Fact: It has an original set of Japanese war crimes trial records. These records provide a unique glimpse into the intricate legal proceedings that unfolded in the aftermath of World War II. It’s like having a front-row seat to the pursuit of justice.
- Dress the part! Ortigas Foundation Library has a casual smart dress code—opt for long pants, closed shoes, and sleeved shirts. Choose an outfit that’s comfy yet respectful, mirroring the atmosphere of this intellectual hub.
5. Lopez Museum and Library
Address: 6/F Tower 3, Rockwell Business Center, Ortigas Ave., Pasig City
Contact Details: 8631-2417, [email protected]
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 8 AM–5 PM
- General Admission – P100
- Students, Museum Members, and Senior Citizens – P80
How to get there: Head towards Ortigas Avenue and enter the Benpres Building Complex. The library and museum are located inside the Benpres Building.
The Lopez Museum and Library is like the OG spot for soaking up all things Philippines. It’s rolling deep with 20,000+ titles, handpicked by Don Eugenio López during his travels all over America, Europe, and the Philippines.
They’re not just random books; they dive into epic voyages, early explorations, and the different ethnic groups in the country. They’ve also got the scoop on some iconic Filipino art by internationally acclaimed Filipino painters Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo.
Fun Fact: It isn’t just a repository of historical treasures; it houses an unexpected gem—the personal art collection of its founder, Don Eugenio Lopez Sr. This invites visitors to explore the intersection of public and private passions in the heart of Metro Manila.
- Just a heads up. It’s best not to touch the artworks or exhibits unless they give you the green light. It helps keep these cultural gems in top-notch condition for the next folks checking them out.
6. Aurelio Montinola, Jr. Library
Address: Alliance française de Manille, 209 Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel-Air II, Makati City
Contact Details: +63 2 8895 7441, 8895 7585, email at [email protected]
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 8:30 AM-5:30 PM, Saturdays: 9 AM-5 PM
Membership Fee: Php 2,500
How to get there: Hop on any northbound jeep from DLSU to Taft Ave. and Pedro Gil St. Then, take a stroll from Taft Ave. to Agoncillo St. along P. Gil St. to reach the Aurelio Montinola, Jr. Library at the Alliance Française de Manille in Makati City.
Ready to dive into the captivating world of French? The Alliance Française de Manille (AFM) is not your typical institution—it’s like this cool cultural bridge connecting Filipinos and the French. It’s all about creating a vibe of cross-cultural understanding with its rich history and programs.
Now, let’s talk about Aurelio Montinola, Jr. Library inside AFM. It’s not your run-of-the-mill library; it’s more like a secret language-learning paradise. With over 8,000 documents, it’s got the lowdown on all things French—language, culture, you name it.
Fun Fact: It’s not just a place for adults to brush up on their French; it has a Kid’s Corner, serving as a haven for your little explorers. It’s like a mini French exploration zone where language learning meets playtime!
- Curious about French cinema? Browse their DVD collection. They’ve got classic French films, contemporary favorites, and even some hidden gems.
7. Miguel Hernández Library
Address: Unit D G/F, Tower One & Exchange Plaza, Ayala Triangle, Ayala Avenue, Makati City
Contact Details: 526-1482, [email protected]
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 9 AM-6 PM, Saturday: 9 AM-4 PM
- General Admission – Free
- Membership Fee – Php 840
How to get there: Take the LRT-1 from Doroteo Jose to Gil Puyat Station in Manila, then enjoy an 8-minute walk to reach the library.
Want to vibe to some Spanish tunes or lose yourself in Spanish literature? This is an ideal place. Stuffed to the brim with over 20,000 documents, books, and audio-visual gems, it’s like a Spanish language and culture paradise.
This library has been evolving into this dynamic hangout for Filipino students, researchers, and anyone curious about the Hispanic world. Here, members can even score the sweet deal of borrowing up to four books for two weeks.
Fun Fact: Guess what’s music to your ears at this library? Spanish tunes, straight from their collection. So, while you’re diving into the world of Spanish literature, you can set the mood with some flamenco beats.
- Use the library as a language practice hub. Try reading a children’s book in Spanish or challenge yourself with a short story. It’s a language lesson within the shelves.
8. Goethe-Institut Manila
Address: G/ 4F/ 5F, Adamson Centre, Salcedo Village, 121 L.P. Leviste Street, Makati, 1227 Metro Manila
Contact Details: (02) 8840 5723, [email protected]
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 AM–5 PM
- General Admission – Free
- Membership Fee – Php 500 per year
How to get there: Wait for a bus at MMDA Navotas Bus Terminal in Navotas City, Manila. Ride the bus heading to Ayala Ave., Makati City, and then, have a short walk to the Goethe-Institut.
The Goethe-Institut Manila is not just a place for German classes, but a cool spot to dive deep into German culture. Picture this: a buzzing library with English translations of German authors, stacks of German dailies, mags, and a movie collection with German flicks and documentaries.
It’s a welcoming space where you can embark on a journey of linguistic discovery, making it a noteworthy destination among the top libraries in the Philippines. It’s open to everyone for free! But here’s the cherry on top: members can snag books for an annual fee of P500.
Fun Fact: This library boasts a collection of DVDs featuring German feature films and documentaries. It’s like having a mini German film festival right at your fingertips!
- Stay tuned to the Goethe-Institut’s event calendar. If you plan your visit when there’s some exciting cultural stuff or language activities happening, it’ll spice up your experience.
9. Quezon City Public Library
Address: Quezon City Hall Compound, Mayaman Street, Barangay Central, Quezon City
Contact Details: 927-9834, [email protected]
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 8 AM-5 PM, Saturday: 8 AM-4 PM
Library Card Application Fee – Php 60
How to get there: Take a ride to Quezon City Hall Complex. Once there, the library is just a short stroll away.
The new Quezon City Public Library is like a breath of fresh air, breaking all the boring stereotypes you might have about traditional government offices. It’s got this cool two-story setup with all the modern tech stuff—online catalogs, e-books, you name it.
The first floor is your go-to for things like references, magazines, and this adorable kids’ corner. The second floor is all about law research, event spaces, and multimedia services.
Fun Fact: Nestled within its shelves, you might stumble upon a collection of quirky board games. So, not only can you dive into the world of literature, but you can also challenge your friends to a strategic board game showdown.
- This library has a roof garden. It’s not always open, but when it is, it’s a lovely little escape. Check with the staff if it’s accessible.
10. Jose P. Laurel Memorial Foundation’s Library and Museum
Address: Roxas Boulevard, corner Pedro Gil St, Malate, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Contact Details: 521-09-41, [email protected]
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 AM-12 PM, 1 PM-4 PM
Entry Fee: Free
How to get there: Take the LRT to Pureza Station in Manila, and it’s a quick 20-minute walk. If you opt for the bus, the nearest stops are at Nagtahan Bridge, just a short 4-minute walk to the library and museum.
Established in 1960, it pays homage to the accomplishments and contributions of the former president, Dr. Jose P. Laurel. Situated on the second floor, the library is a rich repository of Philippine history documents and a collection of works penned by Dr. Laurel himself.
This unique institution stands out among the top libraries in the Philippines by not only preserving historical records but also providing insights into the intellectual legacy of a significant figure in the country’s past.
Fun Fact: It holds a collection of handwritten letters penned by Dr. Jose P. Laurel. These personal correspondences provide a glimpse into the thoughts and sentiments of the former president, offering visitors a rare and intimate window into history.
- The friendly staff here are a wealth of information. Strike up a conversation, and you might discover fascinating anecdotes about the exhibits.