8 Things to Do at The Book Museum Aside from You Know, Reading

The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center doubles as a library because of the huge book collection by owner Atty. Dominador ‘Jimmy’ Buhain. Atty Buhain is the chairman and president of Rex Group of Companies. If you remember seeing ‘Rex Bookstore’ imprinted on your school textbooks way back, then those are from his company.

His museum, nestled in Dao St., Marikina Heights, Marikina City, is an absolute heaven for book lovers. I was told that some students go here to do research as the collection consists of difficult-to-find literature. But in case you’re looking for other activities while you’re here, or your girlfriend wants to go here with you but you aren’t really a bookworm yourself, then check this list out:

The Book Museum_1

Things You Can Do at the Book Museum That Doesn’t Involve Reading

1. Travel

Atty. Jimmy Buhain is one of the most travelled man in Asia; he’s been to 230 countries and country islands in the world and is listed under the The Travelers Century Club.  During his travels, he makes sure to bring home souvenirs.

Yes, you guess that right: books are one of his favorite souvenirs. The displays are categorized into the countries where he got them from; with Germany, the printing capital of the world, having most of the books in the collection.

The Book Museum_2

2. Donate books

If you are a book author and you’d like your masterpiece to be displayed here to reach a wider audience, then here’s some good news for you: the museum welcomes donations from authors, seasoned and newbies alike. Imagine your work being displayed in THE Book Museum: awesome, right?

Please note though that all the 7,000 books and other reading materials featured here were actually read by Atty. Buhain. So if you are to donate now, expect that your book will not be instantly displayed: it might take a few weeks or months after he has read them.

3. Take Instagram-worthy photos

The Book Museum features colorful murals by artist Leo Aguinaldo. These walls depict the important details about the publishing scene here in the country and abroad.

The Book Museum_3

The Book Museum_4

Please note though that you can only take your Instagram shots outside the museum. This is because of the very limited space inside and also, the books and other displays are enclosed in glass, so it’s quite difficult to take decent shots given that the light bounces from the glass cabinets.

4. Get Cultured

The Book Museum is actually just one of the buildings in this complex. Three other buildings house the other collections which likewise displays Atty. Buhain’s love for travel: ethnology. Prepare to learn more about different cultures both locally and internationally with the guided tours provided by The Book Museum staff.

I was one of the first guests to visit the recently opened annex building which features prehistoric stones from Gigantes Island and headgears. The other two buildings have artifacts from Northern Philippines, mostly Cordillera, in Ethnology 1 while Ethnology 2 houses Atty. Buhain’s collection of weapons, clothes, and other cultural items from Southern Philippines.

The Book Museum_6

At the Annex Building’s headgear area with Janis of www.janisnarvas.com

5. Rent a Room

Part of the complex’s maintenance comes from the room rentals they offer. Interestingly, the name of the rooms are the Buhains’ family values like Love of God, Love of Country, Good Morals, Leadership by Example, and many others. For as low as P4000, you can have a solo fan room. They have a total of nine rooms for rent or transient here, so if you ever find yourself in Marikina looking for a staycation place and you’re either into books or culture, getting a room here wouldn’t be a bad idea. This way, everything will be well within your reach.

The Book Museum_7

Photo by The Book Museum

6. Conduct Events in their Conference Area

Another feature of the new annex building is the conference hall called ‘The Wave’. This can accommodate 20 people and can be a venue for film viewing, conferences, and many others.

The Book Museum_8

7. Shop

Atty. Buhain certainly knows that he isn’t the only Filipino who loves souvenirs. All museum visitors can bring home T-shirts, mugs, photo frames, and more from the gift shop located at the annex building’s ground floor.

The Book Museum_9

8. Eat

Roaming around the four museum buildings will definitely leave you hungry. Fortunately, the Php 300 entrance fee already includes Php 100 consumable food and drinks from the James Dean Café. Despite its American Diner theme, it’s a surprise that the treats here are very affordable. You can have their speciality coffee for Php 50 and snacks for Php 30 – 70.

Noteable Displays You Can Find at The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center Marikina

The Book Museum_10

(L) Printing Machine from the 1970s, once used in Recto, Manila, (R) First Edition of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

The Book Museum_11

(L) Publishing act, one of the smallest book published in the Phils (R) 40 miniature books by William Shakespeare, purchased in Frankfurt on March 2012

The Book Museum_12

Longest Book – scroll from China, 20 Meters, story of Confucius life

How to Get To The Book Museum

Anybody visiting the museum via public transportation will find it a bit difficult to locate the place. Frankly because Google doesn’t provide the information! I don’t know why!

But fret not, I got you fam:


  1. Find a way to get to Gateway Mall, Araneta Center in Cubao
    • Take the MRT and get off at Cubao Station – Php 30 average (depending on where you’re coming from)
    • Or take a UV Express bound for Cubao and get off at Gateway Mall – Php 40 average (depending on where you’re coming from)
  2. From Gateway Mall, take a UV Express bound for SSS and get off at Meralco – Php 30
    • You will find a line of UV Express at Gateway Mall’s Aurora Boulevard’s side, the line is directly in front of McDonalds
  3. From Meralco, take a yellow KAMMI tricycle to the The Book Museum
    • Special rate – Php 20
    • Per person rate – Php 12


  1. Find a way to get to Gateway Mall, Araneta Center in Cubao
    • Take the MRT and get off at Cubao Station – Php 30 average (depending on where you’re coming from)
    • Or take a UV Express bound for Cubao and get off at Gateway Mall – Php 40 average (depending on where you’re coming from)
  2. From Gateway Mall, take a UV Express bound for SSS/Parang and get off at Concepcion McDonalds – Php 30
  3. From Concepcion McDonalds, ride a blue CMTODA tricycle to The Book Museum
    • The tricycle terminal is beside the church near PNB, not KFC
    • Special Rate – Php 48
    • Per person rate – Php 12

Things To Improve

I sure enjoyed my short stay at The Book Museum but there are some points that I believe the management can further improve on:

  1. Accessibility

As I’ve already mentioned, it could be a challenge to get to the museum without a private vehicle. I’m not really a fan of transferring from one vehicle to another when traveling. Honestly, if not for the invitation to review the museum, I wouldn’t go there on a personal trip given the hassle of commuting.

Of course the buildings were already built and we can’t do anything about the location but perhaps a special shuttle service for the visitors can be provided, just to lessen the number of vehicle transfers?

  1. Space for Displays

This is particularly for the ethnology buildings 1 and 2. Atty. Buhain indeed owns a huge amount of artifacts that there’s not enough space to store them. When touring these buildings, you have to be careful as you might bump into the displays which aren’t enclosed in glass. I really have no idea how they conduct field trips here especially if there are groups of unruly kids roaming the premises.

  1. James Dean Café Services

There are a lot of things that this café has to improve on. First is the speed of service. We were already asked for an advance lunch order prior to starting the tour but when the tour was over (after approximately 2 hours), our food weren’t ready still. This is a bit understandable as the museum has an event that day but I hope they can provide faster service next time.

Also, they can also improve on the selection of food as some guests would want more filling options beside bread and drinks.

The Book Museum_13

Final Words

The Book Museum has plenty of things to offer no matter what your interests are. As a traveler, it opened my eyes to places I’ve never thought of visiting. There’s really so much to explore and learn still.

As a book lover, it made me realize that despite the popularity of digital media, printed books are still very much alive. I salute Atty. Buhain for sharing his collection and supporting book authors. On a side note, I’m now more eager to finally set foot on Germany, especially that I’ve learned that it’s the world’s printing capital. How exciting!

The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center

Address: 127 Dao Street, Marikina Heights, Marikina City
Opening Hours: 9AM – 4PM, Mondays to Sundays
Entrance Fee: Php 300, inclusive of guided tours and P100 consumable for food and drinks at the James Dean Cafe

Disclaimer: The tour was complimentary but all opinions are mine.