I have school on Saturdays. Just one class, from 10:30-12:00. Manila is far from my house, y’all. So to make the most of it, for the past two weekends we’ve been going to HUB: Make Lab at the First United Building along Escolta to pass time!
There are a bunch of interesting buildings along Escolta, but I only know them because of my parents’ stories. SM’s predecessor, a pen shop where my dad got one of his more iconic fountain pens, etc. Nearby are Uno Seafood Wharf and Crown Prince Seafood Restaurant, the former of which has really good Prawn Salad (even though I hate mayonnaise lolol).
The first time I visited was around a month ago? By myself, but I’m a broke student lolol So since I got to go around with my parents this time, I bought some stuff! I wanted to get some shopping in before the stalls switched, because they change vendors quarterly (unless they renew their lease, that is!)
If I have time (and money) before the stores change, I want to go back to buy a set of Atom Aurallo Pregnancy Club canvas bags for my friends.
You know who you are.
Kariton makes handmade notebooks out of recycled material! They have notebooks with covers made from old cardboard and even cellphone boxes. I bought the plain cover notebook on the upper right for 40PHP (so much cheaper than I thought it would be ?!), and the paper’s at 100gsm, so I’m going to try painting in it a little sometime soon. Look at the paper’s grain on the right HUHU kilig. The small notepad made from the Starbucks cup holder is actually their business card!
If I remember right, they also hold bookbinding workshops! Kariton is renewing their lease though so I’ll still be able to buy more notebooks. _____ (Not that I need more, but no one can stop me.)
So I kind of bought a bag of this granola from GEN. MDSE. last week and when I finished it. I came back. And bought three more bags. (I don’t have a problem.) This stuff is so good, y’all. Cacao nibs are kinda like peanuts in texture (I guess?) but they’re bitter in a really good chocolatey way. Also, pinipig and oats. I prefer the tangy variant with dried green mangoes because I like sour food, but I’m also already halfway through the bag of the ones with dried ripe mangoes, so. During my second visit I also bought some mugicha, but I have yet to try it!
They also sell, amongst other things, zines and books cute keyrings and clothes made out of sacks (!?), which is super interesting! It really is kinda like a general store, there’s a little bit of everything.
No, but really, please try the granola.
I’ve been looking for some ~classical~ records to listen to after getting my turntable last year, and I finally got my hands on a Mozart one I really like! Incidentally, I bought it because Gieseking is an accidental favorite of mine–back in high school I discovered him while looking for a random pianist I could use for a story reference. lol. I got this for 200 (down from 220!) and aside from the tasteful crackling noises, it doesn’t skip. At all. I’m a little in love.
Collector’s Items & Vintage Goodies is probably one of my favorite stores there. I really like the feeling of dust on my hands after going through old records (that’s a lie, but you get what I mean), and they have cool stuff like old casette tapes turned into keychains and special banknotes from the central bank! I need to go back and scour for more music though.
While waiting for the coffeeshop to open we hung around and got some gelato from rulesofraw. We got watermelon coco kalamansi, sweet corn, and strawberry! Objectively, strawberry was the best flavor because it was perfectly tart! My least favorite was the watermelon, probably because I equate watermelons with sorbet, so it was kind of odd for me texture-wise.
Outside their coffeeshop are Cueesee Creations and WARDEN home. Cueesee Creations uses cute fabric to make things (like bags and pen holders)! In fact, I bought a cactus-print pencil case from them to hold all my drafting junk, but I didn’t take a photo of it because I’m using it to hold my drafting junk. LOL
WARDEN home is a furniture store! I don’t know if you can see it but that light in the corner is a really cool lamp. They also made custom furniture for the coffeeshop.
Their coffeeshop is called the DEN, and while it’s till in its soft opening stage, there are already so many interesting things to see in it. If I remember right they’re only selling long blacks and lattes at the moment, but they use Philippine-sourced beans that are good and easy on the tum. Now I don’t usually drink coffee, but I could drink this stuff black!
There’s a long table in the middle of the shop, filled with things for sale like stickers (I bought a set of those Pannies and they’re easily one of my favorite sticker sets to date) and postcards and even the DEN’s aprons. The way they’re laid out feels so homey, like they really belong to the table, so at first glance I couldn’t even tell these things were for sale! Plus, look at those polar bears. SO CUTE.
The DEN feels warm and homey. A long table on one side has a lot of design and lifestyle books (makes me wanna buy POPEYE for reference, oof) that visitors are free to read. The kitchen (?) is an open area, and is actually reminiscent of a home’s brunch bar or something. Like I mentioned earlier, the furniture was custom made for the store, and the chairs are actually suuuuper comfy to sit in. The walls are lined with framed art. Warm lighting contrasts against cold concrete to add comfort to the space. There’s an outdoor smoking area, but I didn’t bother checking it out because I can’t stand cigarette smoke. Just thinking about the place is making me a little sleepy. That’s how comfortable it is!
I didn’t get to write about all the stalls (there are too many), but I’m really looking forward to the next batch of vendors! They’re open from 11AM-9PM on Tuesdays-Sundays, I think it’s better to visit the HUB in the late afternoon/evening though, because it’ll be more lively at that time since people are finished with work. Overall it’s a lovely space that has something for everyone, and always has something that makes you want to come back.