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TOP #1
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Vinyl on Vinyl

recommendation by paolojcruz

cultured

On paper, it sounds like a hipster's wet dream: vintage vinyl records being sold alongside designer vinyl toys (hence the name). If that's not cool enough for you, the retail space also doubles as a gallery for youthful contemporary art.

It can get kinda pricey, even for those of us with a local professional salary, but if you earn in dollars, you'll probably get a little more for your bucks.

Definitely worth a look for the artwork alone, even if you happen to be broke at the time.

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TOP #2
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Sputnik

recommendation by paolojcruz

fresh & funky

This specialty comic and toy store isn't hard to miss: just look out for green facade, designed by artist Leeroy New to resemble alien mucous. And what's inside is even more noteworthy. There's a well-curated selection of indie comics (Filipino-made and otherwise) on the ground floor. Niche appeal toys (limited edition action figures and designer vinyl) and a small t-shirt selection are available in the space upstairs. Lovely manager Chez will negotiate custom orders, within reason.

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TOP #3
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Bookay-Ukay

recommendation by paolojcruz

cultured

The name of this second-hand bookstore is a play on words: it comes from "ukay-ukay" (which loosely means "rummage sale" in Filipino). It's quite an apt moniker -- the titles are loosely organized, but you'll really need to dig around for the perfect find. In the end, it's totally worth it: you just might find a pulp classic, cult title, or discarded best-seller -- sometimes for even PHP50 (approximately US$1) or less. The store also hosts poetry readings and even the odd intimate gig.

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TOP #4