February 19, 2019 – Claire M. Lorenzo
alike.com.ph—After birth comes the baptism. For Kwago founder Czyka Tumaliuan, she felt like it was time for her baby’s rites of passage.
Her brainchild Kwago, a part-library and part-bookstore nestled at the very entrance of Warehouse 8-A in Makati City, was relaunched this February after months of fundraisers and experimentation. With hopes to reassemble a new and improved space, Czyka renovated Kwago all thanks to its godparents.
“It really felt like giving birth last year [and] this time, I got a lot of support from the ‘ninongs’ and ‘ninangs’ who helped out and who donated [pieces of] furniture and books,” she said.
With the help of Kwago's neighbor Jia Cabansag of Altum, Kwago was a response to what the community needs. Czyka said it was a way of taking on a responsibility of having a better storage with a better collection. They redesigned the space to accommodate more books and longer conversations.
“It’s not just about the authors, it’s about developing readership with more criticality. We want to be stricter in terms of filtering the books and we want our inventory to reflect our passion for arts and culture and our commitment to support,” she said.
Along with the launch, Kwago also introduced a special program called “A Curated Shelf” that aims to feature different individuals and their selected titles that influenced their lives. A Curated Shelf will run for two months, alongside events that respond to it.
First one to be invited on the shelf, which was a welcoming view during the launch, was the selection of visual and sound artist Tad Ermitaño. Tad is set to give a talk on March 2 about his curated collection. There are also four more people in line for the Curated Shelf this year.
“For Curated Shelf, we are looking into bringing it outside Kwago—like little reading nooks in spaces I believed in,” Czyka said. “The vision for it is to make a more intimate way for readers to connect with the authors.”
She said they are looking forward to launching more projects that will promote various ways of telling stories.
Another thing not to miss from Kwago is the fiction-inspired drinks that takes you to another perspective of the literary world—“Hemingway,” “Dead Balagtas,” ‘Perec,” “Dark Hours,” “Bago ang Babae,” and it’s newest addition, “Kishida,” at P250 each.
Kwago also welcomed Jean Karl Gaverza of The Spirits of the Philippine Archipelago as partner and chief espiritista.
“With the relaunch, I have no expectations but to be honest I’m just happy and thankful for everyone who wanted [this] space where we can hang out, collaborate, and talk about ideas connecting each other and escaping the world,” Czyka said.
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