Back-to-school sounds exciting to the ears, right? Maybe you are ready to post your daily #OOTD—which obviously will be your school uniform—on social media. You might also be stoked about new restaurants near school to try on your lunch break with friends. But first, let’s warm up a bit and do back-to-school shopping. Take note of these places where you can buy school essentials from the most basic to the trendiest ones.
National Book Store
Worthy of first mention in this list is the National Book Store
, also known as NBS. It is one among many favorite hangout places for readers who are looking for new titles to add to their collection. Aside from books, they also sell school supplies for students of all ages. Did you know that Socorro Cancio-Ramos, the founder of NBS, started this business with only PhP211 capital? She started with a small store in Escolta selling textbooks and supplies. Today, the bookstore has over 170 branches all around the country.
Notwithstanding many newer and trendier shops that have spawned since its establishment, NBS is still one of the major go-to places for students who are looking for books, school supplies, crafting and scrapbooking materials, and office equipment. Notebooks can range from PhP15 to PhP200 depending on the brand, thickness of leaves, and design. Ballpoint pens and pencils start at PhP5, while gel pens and other sign pens can cost PhP24 and up.
Bigger NBS branches usually have more items on display. During back-to-school seasons, they set up all school supplies in one area of the shop so customers can conveniently find the things they are looking for.
is a subsidiary of National Bookstore and is also a major distributor of books in the Philippines. They opened in 1996 selling books of different genres and topics—from lifestyle to architecture, history, and case studies. They sell journals with trendy designs as well. They also hold book signing events, poetry readings, and other interactive events that engage the readers.
Powerbooks also offer school supplies although the items are not as plenty as those in National Bookstore. Tickler notebooks cost between PhP17 and PhP20. Pad papers are not available in Powerbooks; only bond papers and specialty papers that can be used for portfolios, scrapbooks, and other craft projects can be found on their shelves. Writing materials are priced from PhP6 to PhP100.
Photo courtesy of Powerbooks
Meanwhile, collectible items like bookmarks are abundant at the store. Readers who value bookmarks so much might want to check out these items at Powerbooks.
was first established in 2003 at Rockwell Power Plant Mall. To date, they have 17 branches all over the country showcasing world-class titles on different genres. Its name perfectly fits its stores because when you visit one of their branches, you will see a lot of books in every corner, each shelf full of books. But aside from books with exclusive covers, Fully Booked also carries arts and crafting tools. You can also buy one-of-a-kind journals here.
Basic notebooks can cost from PhP30 to PhP60 each. Imported notebooks start at PhP300. Primary and intermediate pad papers are sold for as low as PhP50 while pens and pencils cost between PhP6 and PhP100.
Padayan Bookshop Guimba Nueva Ecija Branch (Photo from Pandayan Bookshop)
, whose name sounds very Filipino, was originally a store section under CVC Supermarket in Valenzuela City, Manila, offering school and office supplies. They began operating as a solo corporation in 1993. And just because it bears the word “bookshop” in its name doesn’t mean the store only showcases books.
Over the years, Pandayan Bookshop has stuck to the same target market. While the shop is rich in books about Philippine literature, majority of their merchandise focus on school supplies for grade school and high school students.
Their notebooks and journals range from PhP12.50 to PhP31.75; pad papers are priced between PhP12.50 and PhP18, also sold in sets at PhP58 each; and, pens and pencils cost around PhP9.75.
They have 80 branches in Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon. In addition, for those who find their shops too far from their home, they also have an online store. Payments are available via bank deposit and money transfer.
If you’re a mom with kids going to school and on a tight budget, Divisoria is the perfect shopping destination for you. This place is famous for offering bulk items at lower prices. And not only school supplies can be seen here but also apparels that will complete any student’s get-up from polo shirts and skirts to shoes.
Current prices at Divisoria are as follows:
Notebooks: PhP9 – PhP10
Pens/Pencils: PhP6 – PhP7
Crayons: PhP35 – PhP50
Scissors, Sharpener, and Eraser: PhP10
Pad paper: PhP10 
As June comes nearer, these prices are expected to go up because of higher demand. Hence, it is advisable to come to shop here as early as possible. However, do not forget that this place is an open area and is often overcrowded—you must always take extra care of your belongings. It’s better to leave your valuables, such as phones and jewelry, at home.
These are just some of the most well-known establishments when talking about school supplies. To have a more efficient shopping experience, prepare a list of things you need to buy, like the way you make a list for monthly groceries. Avoid the crowd and long lines at the counter by going as early as possible. Finally, bring someone—your mom, a friend, or classmates— whom you can talk to while picking the best design of the notebook you want to buy.
Do you know other shops where we can shop for school stuff? Drop us a comment below!
Note: Prices may change without prior notice.
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