The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center

Did you know that the first book museum in Asia can be found in Marikina City? 

Located at  127 Dao Street, Marikina City, The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center is the first Book Museum in Asia. The museum is the cradle of Atty. Dominador Buhain’s collection of limited edition books and published materials that he collected while traveling the Philippines and the other 200 countries that he visited. Along with his collection of printed materials that served as his memoirs, are artifacts that can be found in the Northern and Southern part of the Philippines. 

How to get there:

By UV Express
From Cubao
* Ride a UV Express ( Cubao- SSS Village ) at Gateway Terminal. Fare costs Php 35.

* Alight at Meralco Bayan-Bayanan

* Ride a tricycle going to the Book Museum cum Ethnology Center

By Jeepney
From Marcos Highway
* Ride a Jeepney going to Marikina ( Marikina- SM Fairview). Fare costs Php 8.00

* Bayan-Bayanan Intersection or in Immaculate Conception Parish- Marikina

* Ride a tricycle going to the Book Museum cum Ethnology Center

The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center is currently divided into different section- the location of the Totems, the Book Museum, the Ethnology Center, Museum Annex and James Dean Cafe.


The main entrance of the museum is composed of totems that greatly influenced Atty Buhain and us, Filipinos.

Totems that show the people and the culture that influence the collector along with the mural that depicts the history of Print Industry in the Philippines.

Totems depicting the folklore in the Philippines such as aswang and duwende; the culture of Cordillera Valley, the First Books published by Rex Publishing and Atty. Buhain’s parents and his life story stand tall at the entrance of the museum.

The totem that shows the culture of Cordillera Valley.

 A mural depicting the History of Print Industry in the Philippines and the machine used by Rex Publishing also welcomes the visitors that will explore the museum

The machine used by Rex Publishing in publishing their first set of books. 

Book Museum

As a traveler and wide reader, Atty. Buhain collects print materials, books, journals, postcards and brochures in every country that he visits and this serves as his memoirs. As years pass by and the more he visits different regions in the Philippines and abroad, his collection grew and this gave birth to the First Book Museum in Asia.

Atty. Buhain’s wide collection of books.

The Book Museum consists of all the print materials that Atty. Buhain collected. The print materials are neatly arranged on glass cabinets with the corresponding country where Atty. Buhain gathered his memoirs.

Books and printed materials that Atty. Buhain gathered from different parts of the globe.

Along with his wide collection of printed materials are his collection of miniature items such as The Smallest Book in The World, Le Petit Paroissien De L’enfance or a small Prayer Book, The smallest Tablet in China and Miniature Collection of Shakespeare’s works.

Miniature Prayer Book with five engraved scenes from the New Testament.

China’s Smallest Tablet 

The miniature collection of Shakespeare’s Literary Works 
The smallest book in the world.

His collections also include the smallest wood-carved Crucifix and The Last Supper.

The smallest wood-carved crucifix that Atty. Buhain purchased in Germany.

The Book Museum also cradles the Longest Book that contains the artwork that shows the life of Confucius.

The longest book in the museum depicts the life of Confucius.

Ethnology Center

Northern Philippines

Cordillera is Atty Buhain’s favorite province in the Philippines and as his favorite go-to-place, his wide variety of artifacts collection and wares are coming from Cordillera. This part of Ethnology Center showcases the rich culture and heritage of Cordillera Valley.

Among his collections are Indigenous Filipino wares such as bolo, wooden bowls, spoons, dippers, stone and wooden markers, copper pots and stonewares.

The headgears and wooden wares used by tribes in Cordillera Valley.
Lime Container
Wood carved spoons.

Headgears used by different tribes in Cordillera during ceremonies or special events are also displayed in the museum along with wooden mortars and other traditional rice harvesting tools.

Cordillera clothing and ornaments were also displayed in the museum.

Garments used by tribes situated in Cordillera Valley.
Garments and wooden mode of transportation used in Cordillera.

On the other hand, Kalingga Tattoo Needle or the ones used by tribes in making exquisite body tattoo along with Ifugao Artistic Carabao Hat and  Head Hunter’s Trophies exhibited in the museum never fails to amuse its visitors.

Needles used in creating the famous Kalingga Tattoo.
Headgear made of real Carabao skull.
Head hunter’s trophy

Southern Philippines

Southern Philippines is composed of collections from tribes in Mindanao. The rich and vibrant culture of Mindanao is shown on the wares exhibited in this part of the museum.

Traditional B’laan house.

Weapons used by tribes such as the Mangyans and Tausug were displayed in this section.  Along with the weapons are the body ornaments used by different tribes in the Muslim Region such as earings used by Bagobos and T’boli.

Body ornaments used by different tribes in Mindanao
A chess set owned by one of the Sultan in Mindanao

Musical instruments used by folks in different areas of Mindanao can be also seen in Atty Buhain’s collection.

Museum Annex

The newest annex of the Book Museum is composed of another interesting collection of Atty Buhain. The wing cradles the wares and ornaments made of stone that were found in Gigantes Island.

Artifacts found in Gigantes Island
One of the carved stone found in Gigantes Island.

On the second level of the annex, lies the headgear collection of Atty. Buhain. Famous headgears of the countries that Atty. Buhain visited are neatly arranged on this level. Along with the headgears are his collection of slingshots and other body ornaments.

Filipino  Headgear Collection of Atty. Buhain
Replica of the Ancient Greek Helmet. 
Atty. Buhain’s Headgear collection. 
Some of the Headgear collection at the Museum Annex.
Headgear collection from around the world.
Body ornaments made of shell

The wing also has a totem dedicated to the Filipino Comediane and Villain.

James Dean Cafe

Atty. Buhain is a proud James Dean fan and to comemorate his idol, they created a cafe that serves as the late actor’s memoir.

James Dean and his car.

Upon entering the cafe, the life-sized James Dean statue along with his car and movie posters greets the visitors of the cafe. 

Photos and posters of the late James Dean

The cafe has a typical American Diner theme and ambiance. The dishes on the menu of James Dean Cafe was named after his movies. 

Hot Chocolate

The Cafe’s specialty includes burgers, sandwiches, milkshake, hotdog buns, dessert like banana split and brownies and locally sourced coffee such as Civet Alamid, Kalinga, Sagada and Batangas Barako Coffee.


The Book Museum and Ethnology Center is open from  Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM while James Dean Cafe is open from Monday to Sunday 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Museum Entrance Fee costs Php 300 per person inclusive of a Museum Docent, access to the Book Museum, Southern and Northern Ethnology Centers, Museum Annex, The World Map Lounge, and a Php 100 food voucher that can be used at James Dean Cafe.

To know more about The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center you may visit the following social media accounts:



Author: traveleatpinas

Established in 2016, Travel Eat Pinas serves as a venue to share destinations in the Philippines where travelers can have a one-of-a-kind gastronomical experience, adventure, and soothing recreational activities. Travel Eat Pinas also feature EVENTS about food, travel, and lifestyle; must use ESSENTIALS and easy-to-follow RECIPES that you can make for your loved ones.

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