Who has never shopped at National Book Store? Aside from newborn babies, almost every Pinoy has been to NBS at some point in their lives, to buy books, magazines, school supplies and hundreds of other items.

It’s amazing how the country’s biggest books and supplies chain has been the No.1 choice for school and work tools for more than seven decades now. National Book Store recently celebrated its 75th anniversary with a festive, star-studded gathering at the Fairmont Hotel ballroom in Makati.

The milestone celebration toplined performances by Sarah Geronimo, Piolo Pascual and Gary Valenciano, who unveiled and performed the newest theme song for the company. The shindig was directed by Rowell Santiago and hosted by Toni Gonzaga.

The real star of the night was Socorro Ramos, fondly called “Nanay Coring,” who had founded the company along with husband Jose Ramos in 1942. There were many highlights during the two-hour event. The Ramos family, headed by company president Alfredo Ramos and managing director Xandra Ramos-Padilla, led the toast on stage in front of 600 guests composed of the company’s most valuable partners in business and media, and store managers from all of its branches nationwide.

The most memorable highlight of the night was Piolo Pascual serenading Nanay Coring with her favorite song, “Dahil Sa Iyo,” which prompted the whole ballroom to sing along with them. Just a few weeks later, Nanay Coring celebrated her 94th birthday at the Swatch building in Makati. At the private party, the company matriarch fondly remembered the history of NBS going back to when they only had one store along Avenida, and expressed her amazement at how a simple sari-sari store has grown to become the Philippines’ most loved bookstore.

Now managed by granddaughter Xandra, National Book Store has 227 stores in the Philippines, 2 stores in Hong Kong, and a robust multi-channel network that includes specialty stores, an upgraded e-commerce site, and a delivery hotline. For everyone who wants to be inspired, “An Open Book: Thursdays with Nanay Coring,” written by her daughter Cecilia Licauco and edited by Yvette Fernandez is now available in National Book Stores nationwide.

Among many things, NBS prides itself on bringing famous authors to the Philippines. They recently arranged for international bestselling author Kevin Kwan, the creative force behind the “Crazy Rich Asians” trilogy, to head to Cebu for a book signing. Hosted by Kris Aquino, “Crazy Rich Asians” cast member, over 350 people attended the event at SM Seaside Cebu.

Kevin and Kris chatted about his books, the upcoming film adaptation of “Crazy Rich Asians,” and Kris’ role in the film. And of course, all of the Cebuanos got their books signed. They also got to ask Kevin their questions about the trilogy, and have their photos taken with him, and Kris, the Queen of All Media herself. The Cebu book signing was preceded by another event with Metrobooks in Hong Kong. Check out the books also at www.nationalbookstore.com.

Philippine Tatler editor Anton San Diego also arranged for a special evening with Kevin at Manila House in BGC. The talented author received a warm welcome and happily signed copies of his latest book, “Rich People Problems.” Over cocktails, Kevin talked about his books with special guest host Karen Davila, and gamely answered questions from the lively crowd.

Speaking of books, Tahanan Books recently celebrated its 25th anniversary at a memorable gathering. Despite rain and heavy traffic, authors, artists, book designers, publishing collaborators, friends and family filled the Milky Way Café in Makati City to celebrate Tahanan Books’ quarter-century of creating meaningful books for Filipinos.

Reni Roxas established Tahanan Books in 1992, and managed to raise it to achieve many milestones in the local children’s book industry, producing an impressive array of more than 150 original titles over the years. Tahanan’s diverse publishing list showcases bilingual and Filipino picture books, biographies of heroes, folk tale and short story anthologies, reference and science books.

Tahanan has dedicated itself to making quality books for Filipino. Named for the Filipino word for “home,” Tahanan aims to nurture a passion for learning with books that celebrate Philippine culture and history.

Tahanan Books’ Reni Roxas, Marianne Austria, Tissa and Boy Blue Tan, Alex and Marixi Prieto, Pixie Carpo, Charlie Rufino and Cary Rufino

The thanksgiving merienda kicked off with a quick trivia quiz about Tahanan Books. Carla Pacis, a Gawad Balagtas Lifetime Achievement Awardee for Children’s Literature in English, said a few words and invited a few more friends to talk about their favorite adventures with Reni from her years abroad and in Manila.

With the guests waxing nostalgic, Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz, the chairperson of the National Book Development Board, took the stage to deliver a roast that felt more like a thoughtful letter from a lifelong friend. To close the celebration, Reni expressed her gratitude to the people who helped her lead Ilaw ng Tahanan Publishing, Inc. through two and a half decades, and her hopes to bring even more Filipino books to families here and across the globe.

Next week will be a very busy weekend with Red Charity Gala on Saturday at the Shangri-La at the Fort. One of our annual special donors is Cris Albert of Fila Philippines. She has much to celebrate with the extension of their franchise in the country.

Cris and Butch Albert welcomed Giorgio Aramu and Michael Yun from FILA Italy and Korea, respectively. Their presentation about their future plans was well received by the visiting executives.

The following day, Giorgio and Michael were brought to the different FILA stores. They started with the top shops to some concessionaires. Today FILA has 330 shops nationwide. A special gathering at Manila House culminated the FILA events where important guests listened intently to Cris’ bright plans for FILA.

In closing, please support our Assumption HS 1981 Pop-Up Bazaar at the Swatch Building along Chino Roces Avenue on Friday, October 13. Starting at 10 AM, more than 30 vendors of various lifestyle and apparel items will sell to the public. Come join the fun!

PopUp Friends Ani Brown, Indy Ycasiano, Monica Altura, Doray Ellis, Marie Faith, Lara Parpan, Sea Princess, Luci Villarruz, Apol Massebieau and Mia Lauchengco


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