Snapshots: A Little Bit of Seoul in Manila - A Preview

It's been nearly a year since my awesome trip to Seoul with friends, and there is still a lot left to post about it - I will get to that, some time in the coming weeks hopefully. But until then, here's a preview to the next few posts you'll see up here, about two Korean-inspired cafes in Manila - plus a cute KPop video for your travel playlists, or if you're ever dreaming of Seoul and need some inspiration!

Snapshots: "Canang" Flower Offerings, Bali, Indonesia

Whenever I think of Bali, I'm reminded of canang - flower offerings placed in store fronts, sidewalks, on the dashboards of vehicles, and of course in temples. The offerings always provided a dash of unexpected color - and random picture perfect moments - in the most common places.

The Simple Life: Muji, Philippines

My first encounter with Muji was in Hong Kong, and instantly I was sold on its "simple life, minimalist style" philosophy. They finally opened a store in the Philippines last year (or was it 2009? I forget), and now they have several branches around the city.

I have a few Muji pieces at my place, and Rissee and I got matching "couple" boots from there for our trip to Korea last year. I also love their travel stuff - especially since I could really use some help with organizing my stuff when I travel.

MUJIBeauty has a special promo this month, so do check it out!

Click here for more details.

The Shop Around the Corner, Lipa City

A few months back my cousin Chiantee stayed with us for her summer vacation, so I played lovely tour guide and host for her for a couple of weeks, showing her around Manila and a bit of Lipa City. On the last few days of her visit, we checked out The Shop Around the Corner, a fairly new cafe in Lipa City. I'm not quite sure why unique and quirky cafes and restaurants come few and far between in my hometown, where unfortunately Starbucks is still "the place to be" (is it wrong to be a little bit anti-establishment every now and then?). In any case, ever since our first visit, The Shop Around the Corner has become my favorite place in Lipa City. And no, it's not just because I'm cousins with the owners, nor because I have childhood memories of the house where the shop is. Of course, those things help.

The Shop Around the Corner is on the second floor of an old house situated right at the heart of Lipa's town proper. As a kid, I remember coming to the house along with my cousins to visit our lola at Christmas and during the annual town fiesta. It was an old house, filled with pictures and old trinkets of things from a much older time - I remember feeling like I had stepped into the past every time I visited, remember stepping out into the balcony, lined with all sorts of potted plants that seemed far older than I was, and looking out into the bustling intersection that was always filled with the noise of jeepneys and tricycles, even at Christmas, and especially during the town fiesta. Even my dad has fond memories of the place from when he was a kid - the house had, as cliche as it sounds, truly stood the test of time, and has been witness to the coming and going of quite a few generations of our family.

Today the second floor where the family used to gather during the holidays has been transformed into The Shop Around The Corner, and the proprietors, cousins of mine, have cleverly managed to maintain the home's heritage and "original feel", as it were, even as they have updated it. It's a little surreal, coming back to a place you remember from your childhood, only to find it has changed, though not completely, thankfully. A wave of nostalgia and childhood memories came flooding in the first time I stepped into the cafe and realized the old staircase remained, as well as the patterned floors, the arched windows, and of course, the balcony. It's kind of cool actually, to find that the place has been updated like this - an intersection of the past and the present, as the house endures yet another chapter in its already rich history.

Should you ever be in Lipa City, I hope you pay a visit to The Shop Around the Corner. Try the waffles! They are seriously amazing. They also sell accessories and quirky household items worth checking out.

This song and music video seems appropriate for this post, so here's some local talent for your travel playlists:

The Shop Around The Corner

Retail Shop, Custom-made Furniture, Interior Design, Cafe and Gelateria

2nd Level C.M. Recto Ave. corner Kap. S. Luz St. Poblacion, 4217 Lipa City, Philippines

Mon - Sun: 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Facebook Page

*Pictures taken with my Samsung Nexus S, using various Android applications. I forgot to bring a camera that day and thankfully I had my phone with me!

Side note: My writing's a little rusty, I'm sorry! I haven't blogged in a while and it's so horrendously obvious. This is just a warm-up though - I hope to be able to write more often from now on, so please continue to visit this blog. I am also catching up on my correspondences - to those who have written me, I will get back to you as soon as I can, and my apologies for taking so darn long!
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