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The Astbury champions Filipino storytellers with ‘The Write Side’ book club by Bookshelf PH

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Astbury prides itself at being a hub for creatives, and a safe space for exploration, discussion and wild experimentation. Most recently, it has become an avenue for storytellers to convene through “The Write Side of Bookshelf: From Manuscript to Masterpiece” book club by Bookshelf PH

In itself, The Astbury stands tall in its promise of being an ideal space for creatives to gather, with its private club model that seeks to cater to the nuances of the creative mind. With regular events, activities, and opportunities to strike conversations among its patrons, the private members club aims to provide everything one may need to explore curiosities and spark ideas. Aside from these pockets of activity, the space itself is designed to encourage ideation with private rooms, a communal area with a café, a roof deck that looks over Poblacion (one of the hippest places in the Metro), and carefully crafted corners to get to work. 

This year, it has adopted Bookshelf PH, an independent marketplace for digital and physical books by Filipino authors, in its roster of patrons. In its commitment to push forward Philippine literature, Bookshelf PH has recently launched its book club, named “The Write Side.” The regular meetup hosts a series of discussions featuring some of the community’s bestselling authors to talk about not only their novels, but also the stories behind their published works. 


Its inaugural meeting had Pancho Dizon as its guest speaker, one of Bookshelf PH’s long-time partners who has written for titles such as The 50, The Evangelist, and Fearless Filipinas, to name a few. With the digital bookstore starting out as a publisher that focused on catering to the then-vacuum of Philippine-based business books, it’s no wonder why a lot of its top-selling titles are such. 

Through his talk, Pancho touched on Bookshelf PH’s mission to tell Filipino stories, pointing out three main factors. Firstly, representation: “If you speak to a foreigner who doesn’t have any connection to the Philippines, what do they think of? Usually they think of beaches, or maybe something less nice like ‘third world country.’ They don’t understand that there are a lot of high-level people here who excel in their fields and are outstanding. It’s a shame not to have these stories put out there. We have no shortage of inspiring stories, right?” he quipped. 

Secondly, he believes that a book acts as a window to our culture: “It lets us take control of the narrative and counteract any stereotypes or misconceptions. So people should understand that there’s a lot going on in our country. We’re not just sitting around waiting for a handout; we have our own stuff going on, we have our own ideas of how work is supposed to look. A recurring theme in a lot of companies that I’ve interviewed and that I’ve written for, is really how Filipinos take care of each other. So we really want to do a deep dive on that, because it’s something else, and it’s something that no one else does.”

Lastly, Pancho emphasized that it provides local context: “When it comes to topics like business or finance, you can go to Fully Booked and see [international bestsellers] there and that’s fine, but it doesn’t really apply to us in the local context. So it’s really important that we get local experts and locals telling their stories, and that’s really what Bookshelf PH is all about.”

Bookshelf PH has hosted several “The Write Side” sessions since launch, bringing in authors like Merlee Jayme on Chairmom and Katya Lichauco on Big Deal and Fearless Filipinas 2 for insightful sessions on their processes, tips, and other nuggets of wisdom to an audience full of bookworms, writers, and storytellers. It’s also an opportunity for the digital bookstore to widen its reach as a publisher and encourage more authors to step out and tell their stories. 

“The more different stories are available, the more we have different audiences that we [can connect with]. As long as keep chugging it out and publishing, we will find the audience and we will find the [right] market. Also, thanks to social media, people will find us [more easily] — the readers, the authors, and the buyers,” Monette Quiogue, The Bookshelf PH Head of Operations, stressed. 

This initiative is just one of the many activities Bookshelf PH holds to engage its community; it also hosts book launches, author spotlights, and more, making it an ideal partner for The Astbury in its shared goal towards providing avenues for discussion among storytellers. 

Follow Bookshelf PH for more updates on the next“The Write Side” session at, and follow The Astbury for more community events for creatives at

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