Fans of books written by UP’s creative and academic minds can now find their favorite titles in the UP Town Center on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City where the University of the Philippines Press held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for UPper Shelf, its first off-campus commercial outlet on February 15, 2019. Located on the second floor of the mall behind the restaurants, Chocolate Kiss and Rodic’s, UPper Shelf aims to introduce the creative works of UP’s best to a broader audience.
The ribbon-cutting was done by UP Press Director J. Neil Garcia together with UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Bautista and UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia. The event, according to Garcia, was, in part, an opportunity to thank all those who worked hard on the project, among whom were UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, former UP President Alfredo E. Pascual and his administration, and members of the UP Office for Design Planning and Initiatives.
“The bottom line is,” Garcia said, “that we’re all so happy that of all our merchandise that our country’s one and only national university could choose to showcase in a nice and pleasant store in a nice and pleasant mall like this one, it’s our books that have been accorded such a distinct and enviable privilege.”
Apart from being a bookstore, Garcia said that UPper Shelf would play another role that he believed a university press should consider more in the present time–creating and fostering a “social life” for its books. He said that books “might as well not have been written if they do not get to ‘live’, which is to say, if they are not read, engaged with and hopefully loved by as many people as possible.” He hoped, therefore, that the store could become a space for book-related events such as poetry readings, book club meetings, book signings, and others.
To commemorate the opening, some of UP’s best poets read their poems published in the two-volume anthology, The Achieve of, the Mastery, edited by University Professor Emeritus Gemino Abad. They included Isabella Banzon, Paolo Manalo, Garcia, and Abad himself. Award-winning tenor and Philippine Madrigal Singers soloist Ervin Lumauag also entertained the audience with two sets of performances.