Monday, January 10, 2011

The Collective: My favorite shops

The Collective - New Old Bikes Mini
Toad the wet sprocket at new old bikes
The row of low structures along Malugay in San Antonio Village in Makati used to be warehouses -- either abandoned, neglected or converted into shop houses.  This periphery of the Makati business district alternated between stores and storage places though in the past year, it has been the site of frantic construction.  While real estate developers expand beyond Greenbelt, a collection of shops cum creative/concept venues emerged, aptly called The Collective.

I'm lucky I'm in the neighborhood as I have the privilege of coming over when I want a break from the usual.  I have a couple of favorite shops I keep coming back to.
The Collective - Vinyl on Vinyl Wall
Vinyl on Vinyl mural fascinates
The Collective - Vinyl on Vinyl Four Frames
Art meets vinyl in Vinyl on Vinyl
Plastic fantastic and toading the wet sprocket.  Even to just ogle the toy art and other vinyl curiosities (LPs anyone?), I love coming back to Vinyl on Vinyl.  The oft-photographed mural outside pulls you in and the vinyl art inside transfix you.  Carlo, the affable guy behind the counter, is always generous with a smile and always ready to share bits about the currently exhibited artworks or shop talk.  Here, only the merchandise is plastic but the smiles are anything but.

I don't ride bikes but new old bikes is another curiosity.  Here's where vintage meets tech in a merry mingling of bikes, and where old bikes get a new lease on life.
The Collective - Ritual Sea Salt
Ritual sells practical curiosities

Rites and rituals.  Ritual, a shop selling organic stuff, is a comfort zone of sorts. Whenever the door opens, the reassuring aroma of chamomile wafts into the air outside.  I'm constantly amazed to find artifacts from my younger years here -- like good, old-fashioned batidor for mixing tsokolate e, panghinunuli (metal ear cleaners) -- along with an assortment of organic products like four kinds of sea salt (from Pangasinan, Ilocos, Gensan and Sultan Kudarat), two kinds of sugar (coconut sugar from Sultan Kudarat, muscovado from Gensan), even malunggay pesto from time to time.  There are also organic laundry soaps, healing oils, toiletries and even chemical-free clothing.

Wings, Banh Mi, Pasta and Melon Beer.  Food is another reason to visit The Collective.  Treating friends to Wingman for an order of Pinaka (hottest, spiciest) Chicken Wings is always a safe proposition.  Their home-made fries are freshly-made on site, eschewing the frozen stuff served elsewhere.  For pasta, Holy Chicken (shredded chicken on a bed of fussilli with chili-garlic sauce and cashew nuts) in Pasta Box is a winner.  The Pinoy Panini (adobo flakes with kesong puti, caramelized onions in ciabatta) and Nachos with Garlic-Tomatoes dip are my perennial orders. (Read our post on Pasta Box in Happyfoodies)
The Collective - Wabi Sabi Banh-Mi II
Wabi-Sabi Banh-Mi - fare to-ride/drive/travel-for
Pasta Box Holy Chicken Fussili
Pasta Box Holy Chicken
Times when I'm missing vegetarian fare, I drop by Wabi Sabi.  Their Banh-Mi is absolutely to-drive/travel-for, you'll easily mistake it for the meat version.  Ditto, their Gyoza and Ramen. (Read our Happyfoodies post on Wabi-Sabi)  A recent addition, Offbeat, serves delightfully different Melon and Strawberry Beers along with Backgammon Fries (fries with a decadent chocolate dip)

For now, I cherish sharing The Collective with a small crowd. I guess it won't be long when the condos in the area will be up and crammed with residents and this venue would be overflowing with people.

The Collective is located at 7274 Malugay Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City.  Most shops are open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am onwards.


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