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I admit it.

I am not really a bookworm.

I felt like an impostor when I brought my nine books to swap that day in Parkmall. I felt pretentious, looking through the selections available. I didn’t think I could finish reading the ten books I brought home.

“Wait a minute… ten? Don’t you mean nine?”

I’ll explain later, but first, let me get you acquainted with the group that has a passion for books and for sharing the wonders reading has to offer.


Who is Book Swap Cebu?

Book Swap Cebu (BSC) is a growing community of book enthusiasts who share their love of treasured books with fellow bookworms. It is composed of volunteers from different walks of life (teachers, public speakers, event organizers, professionals, leaders). One thing they have in common—their love of learning!


How did BSC start?

One day in December 2015, three ladies (Chappy Piramide, Mariam Sollano, and Shelate Antigua) from Toastmasters Club were having a meeting about some of their group’s updates. The conversation strayed and they started talking about books.

Chappy: …we just thought of exchanging books with each other. Because we are Toastmasters, we are fond of events and programs. That was why we thought of making an intimate event for friends. We made an event page for it; but it was made a public event. And pretty soon, people were liking the event and expressing interest in going to the event.


team BSC

Left to right first row: Charisse Piramide, Maribel Cuales, Steph Jarina, Joan Maris Rosos, Mariam Jaustine Sollano, Dave Kevin Visaya
Left to right back row: Leonor Laluna, Nico Ivan Velasquez, Dante Cuales Jr., Czeska Yvonne Naputo, and Francis Sollano


What is the aim of BSC?

(1) To identify the community of book lovers in Cebu.

(2) To encourage the practice of recommendation and sharing of good reading material.

(3) To create a venue for learning, leadership, and involvement of the community.


What’s been cooking in the last few months since Book Swap Cebu started?

Chappy: First was last January 8 at Handuraw Pizza Mango. Then we had the April 1 at Handuraw Pizza Mango. We also launched Short Reads Live then. Third was in Cebu City Public Library (May 21), our first partnership with Youth for a Livable Cebu.

BSC not only holds book swaps but also partners with other groups such as Youth for a Livable Cebu (YLC). BSC, along with YLC’s Beyond Books project, has hosted “short reads live”—reading to an audience a cherished story.

Chappy: Some of the readings included excerpts from the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. One of the readers was Ms. Cebu Raine Baljak. And we did an interactive play adapted from the Little Prince.

They have also partnered a second time with YLC as they celebrated the National Children’s Book Day. That was their first swap at a mall.


How do I swap books?

The concept of the swap is for the participants to bring a treasured book and exchange it for another treasured book brought by other participants.

You bring any number of treasured books, register, and you receive the same number of ticket stubs you can use to claim other books you’ve chosen in the event.


What books?

You’ll know what books are up for swapping if you see books on shelves and/or tables with the yellow Book Swap Cebu sticker on them. There are some special books that have been swapped more than once, showing double stickers. This shows that the treasured book has passed through different hands and whose stories entertained and touched more people.

As for the type of books eligible for swapping, it would depend as well on the event.

Chappy: For the first two swaps, we did not include textbooks, reference materials, and children’s books. When we did the children’s book swap, the books we required were books for kids and teens. And when we did the swap for Parkmall, we decided to try including textbooks. I think for the regular swaps that we will have, we will stick with the rules we had adopted for our first 2 swaps.

When I checked one of their event pages, (and this is said to apply to different kinds of swaps), it said “But please, no activity books, comic books, cook books, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Make sure the books are in good condition (not falling apart, no missing pages, no front or back cover).


How are the schedules and locations for the upcoming book swap events determined?
They hold book swap events in different locations (they have held the events at key places such as Handuraw Pizza Mango Square Branch, the Cebu City Public Library, Parkmall, and there’s definitely plans in the works for more venues and opportunities for you to join in the fun!

Chappy: The group decides on regular swaps and special swaps. We try to do regular swaps on a quarterly basis. For regular swaps we kinda made Handuraw Pizza Mango our home J. As for special swaps, these are swaps done in collaboration with sponsors and partners who invite us. Last July, we were invited by Parkmall and YLC to do the swap. We also have several invites from Talamban Times Square, Ayala, and J Center Mall. In the work pa ang kani nga invites (These invites are still in the works.)


kid book swap


Is BSC open for more volunteers?

We’d love that!

Where can I know more? How do I contact BSC?

You can:

– Like the Book Swap Cebu Facebook page to know more updates about upcoming events.

– Message them on their FB page

– Call 032 254 5545 (office hours of weekdays)

– Email


Back to my experience at one of the book swap events, I was away from the book swap tables and shelves. I narrowed down my selection to ten books, but because I only had nine ticket claim stubs, I needed to pick nine and leave one. I really had a hard time deciding when Czeska, one of the volunteers at BSC, came over and said that I can have all ten of them. What—really? Her genuine love for books and sharing their wonders overflowed as she went back to the table to place an extra book she brought with her in my behalf. The book she placed on the table was called “Journey of Little Gandhi”. She had not read it yet.

When you share your treasures with one another, they are sure to grow.

Czeska and yours truly

Czeska and yours truly




Ann Lorraine Sia


Likes: drawing, metal music like songs by Underoath and Saosin, prose and poetry. In some ways still like a kid but in more ways an old soul.


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