Any student from the Philippines has brought them for school—the typical 50- or 80-leaves notebooks stapled to bind and printed with red and blue lines.
These notebooks would have cartoon characters or Filipino celebrities on the cover. They have the red margin to the left of the page as a guide for numbering lines.
While I grew up with these notebooks, I despise them now as a parent. I’ve bought Holly two sets of these red-and-blue lined notebooks for 2nd and 3rd grade, and each time her notebooks didn’t stand the continuous use.
The weak card stock covers tore off from the rest of the notebook, the pages fold and bend so easily, and tear if the kid applies too much glue on the page.
I longed for a set of composition notebooks that had the same red and blue lines, but better binding and paper quality to last throughout the school year.
When I began following Print Cafe on Instagram, and discovered they launched a set of 10 composition notebooks for the new school year, right away I inquired and ordered a set for Holly and Cyrus to use.
The Print Cafe 10-piece Composition Notebook set cost me around P900+ including shipping to Cagayan de Oro city, so it’s quite expensive if your local National Bookstore doesn’t carry it. Processing took some time too, since they wanted to ship my set with any other order outside of Manila.
How they packaged it wasn’t all that great, but the product packaging itself was pretty cool. The notebooks were kept in place with plastic tape, and I got a sheet of stickers along with the notebooks.
The notebooks themselves feature 10 different colors, each with space on the front for one’s name and the subject it’s to be used for. They each have plastic covering, though they’re thin and, in my opinion, bound to tear if handled roughly.
I really like the minimalist design and the shades they used—not too bright or neon-like as other, cheaper notebooks would sometimes have.
Holly has seven subjects that she needs notebooks for, so three I’ve given to Cyrus to use.
This is what threw me off though. Print Cafe mentioned that they used the traditional red and blue lines for these notebooks, but the lines were all blue and followed the layout used in composition notebooks for high school and university.
Browsing through their Instagram feed now, it turns out the set below is what I should’ve gotten instead. These notebooks have completely different cover designs and the red and blue lined pages my kids needed.
Overall I wasn’t happy with how this purchase turned out, but I hoped that the teachers wouldn’t mind since Holly was already pretty good at taking down notes. We managed to get through the first official week of school, and so far I’ve not heard any complaints from her teachers.
Would I buy Print Cafe’s Back to School composition notebook set again? Yes, but only in person. There’ll always be risk when shopping online, especially when the brand doesn’t have their own website built yet, so for my second buy it’ll be when I get to visit Manila again.
The kids haven’t done much with their notebooks, so I’m not seeing any significant damage yet. I’ll probably update this post with snapshots of what Holly’s notebooks look like.
You can order Print Cafe’s Composition Notebook (10-pack) via their Instagram feed. Just send them a direct message to order.
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