A Quick Guide To Ukay-Ukay Hub in Tagaytay

Do you have thrift/ukay-ukay shopping plans? Why not try the Ukay-Ukay Hub in Tagaytay? Here’s a quick guide:

HOW TO GET THERE?
If you have a car, going to Tagaytay will be very easy. Just locate Fora Mall, park and you are ready to go.

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photo not mine. ctto.

For commuters coming from places near Los Baños, Laguna, here’s what we did: At Crossing, Calamba Public Market you can ride a van going directly to Tagaytay City Market. However, our visit was during a holiday and there were fewer vans going to Tagaytay so we opted to cut trips. First, we rode a jeepney bound to Balibago Complex, Sta. Rosa. At the back of Target Mall in Balibago, we rode a jeepney bound to Tagaytay. We dropped off at the terminal in Tagaytay City Fruit/Flower Market and wait for a jeepney with ‘Olivarez’ signboard (or if you are a group of 3-5, you can ride an e-trike). You can walk going to Ukay-Ukay Hub from Olivarez Plaza. The Ukay-Ukay Hub is just across Fora Mall.

For those coming from the city, as a promdi, I am not well versed on commuting from Metro Manila/Quezon City. Check this link (http://www.thejunction-tagaytay.com/how-to-get-to-tagaytay-by-commuting/) on how to go to Tagaytay and then once you are at Olivarez Plaza or Fora Mall, you are just a few meters away (or a less than 5-minute walk). Use your google map to easily locate the place.

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WHAT TO PREPARE?

Do not underestimate the small signage of the Ukay-Ukay Hub. This thrift shop is so massive you’ll probably be overwhelmed. Don’t panic. Here are some preparations you can do:

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Wear appropriate clothes. Wear the most comfortable shirt, pants and footwear. Remember, you will be searching from several racks and will be standing for too long so better gear up. It’s also better if you bring and wear a face mask (because as in every ukay-ukay, you can’t avoid dust which can trigger sneezing).

Note: The shop is not air-conditioned but it has a commendable ventilation.

Bring some extras. Extra clothes so that you can change when you got sweaty and kinda dusty after shopping. Extra water and snack for that hydration and energy you need while finding thrifted treasures. Extra ecobag because who knows how many pieces you’ll get, right? And extra patience since you will face a wide array of options.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

Upon entry you’ll find sea of clothes hanging on the racks. At first glance it looks small, but as you walk inside you’ll see how big this Ukay-Ukay store is. Relative to those individual Ukay-Ukay shops I tried in Baguio, Anonas, Laguna, and LRT stations this one is the biggest I’ve seen. And, I am guessing, 4 hours is not enough to browse everything in this shop if you are considering checking each piece in every rack.

Ukay-Ukay Hub basically sells preloved shirts, polos, pants, tokongs and shorts for men, women and kids (dominated by clothes for women). Aside from clothes, you can also spot areas for bags and shoes.

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Clothing racks near the entrance are the priciest while lowest ones are at the back. Front line clothes are new arrivals with FIXED price ranging from 100-500 pesos. There are several brands to expect like Uniqlo, Zara, G2000, Levi’s, Cotton On, and H&M (these are brands I personally spotted).

TIPS: Branded piece at low price is a good steal IF AND ONLY IF it fits your size, the style suits your liking, and it still has good quality (check for any damage or stain). Stop yourself from getting ukay-ukay clothes that do not fit you or have damage or permanent stains just because they are cheap and/or branded. Also, do not settle for those pricey branded pieces because you are defeating your purpose of Ukay-Ukay shopping. There are a lot other unbranded and good quality clothes, shoes and bags on sale which can still ‘spark joy’. JUST KEEP LOOKING.

As you dig deep in, you will find racks on sale. These racks are labeled with less PhP 20, 30% off, PhP 10 – 60 each and 4 – 5 pieces for PhP 100.

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TIP: Start your search from the back.

I hope this post will lead you to a sulit, comfortable and fun Ukay-Ukay Hub shopping experience. If you have extra time and budget you can shop for fruits and flowers at Tagaytay City Fruit/Flower Market or view the Taal volcano while dining or sipping coffee. Besides, you need to relax after hours of standing and looking for budget-friendly pieces to add to your wardrobe.

 
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22 Things you can do in Korea during summer

Finally! You found an incredible seat sale (around PhP 4,000 – 5,000 for a round trip ticket) for your dream Korea trip but the only schedule available is during the summer season. If you have read blogs discouraging you to book flights to Korea during summer, you will either end up regretting your impulsive buying of tickets on sale or having second thoughts whether to book it or not……

STOP RIGHT THERE. Delete the regrets and hesitations and get ready to cross out South Korea from your travel bucket list! Here are the 22 exciting things you can do during your summer vacation in Korea!!!!

1. Wake up.

Yes. Just waking up is exciting because the sun seems to rise earlier than where I live (Philippines). The early morning vibe will make you feel that you can do more things in a day.

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Make sure to get comfortable rooms! We got this 2-bed room with wifi, air-condition/heater, common restroom, free breakfast and unlimited drinking water and near train station for only PhP 700/day.

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What excites me the most in the morning? The free breakfast you can enjoy outside the house! Unlimited toasted bread with jelly and butter spread and coffee plus the nice ambiance!

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We always woke up at 5am to this view every morning.

2. Try out  stuff from convenient stores.

They have several convenient stores and each of those offer different products! Have you tried the banana yoghurt drink? It’s one of the best.

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The airport offers convenient store and we had a quick snack and bought T-card upon arrival. (forgive the dry skin of my palm. LOL)

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Around the city, there are a lot of convenient stores offering almost every basic stuff you need.

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You can even buy cooked rice – microwave ready! The price is good for its contents and taste.

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We even had some noodles and pocket cheese sticks!

3. Commute with fun.

Transportation system in Korea is plausible. They have varying means of commuting and among them are taxis, trains, and buses.

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Taxi rides are quite expensive and therefore if you are on a budget you need to have fun figuring out how to get from one point to another. The train line looks complex but if you plan well your itinerary and carefully read signages, you will get to your target place with ease.

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They even have train in the airport! Make sure to give way to pregnant women and senior citizens and not to make too much noise inside the train.

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Most trains we rode accepted T-money card upon entry except the train going to Nami island wherein someone inside the train collected our fare (Tip: always have some cash).

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You can also ride a bus. Detailed charts are available at the bus stops, they provide information on the bus number, its route and arrival time. Buses arrive and leave on time so make sure to always have a watch!

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Buses have specific stop points. Unlike our jeepney rides where we say ‘para’ or ‘sa lugar lang’, their buses have stop button that will tell the driver to stop – just make sure you are in the right bus stop.

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Monitor time. Public vehicles have their last trip and you don’t want to miss your ride home.

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We almost missed the last train ride going home and lost going to places and these things will consume large amount of your time so don’t make the same mistake and plan ahead!

4. Stroll around the city.

Seoul is a big and beautiful city. You can enjoy walking in the streets day and night without noticing how time flies. The weather is not too hot nor too cold (during our June trip) and just perfect for a good stroll.

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The streets are picture perfect, designed with different kind of people, busy traffics, buildings and establishments.

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Just make sure to wear comfy shoes! 😉

5. Appreciate art.

On your way to your destination expect art works everywhere. Some of them are just so random you’ll wonder what it is.

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And sometimes, you’ll spot random (literally) colourful shits. LOL

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Prepare your inner artist self.

6. Take the perfect selfie and post it.

Enjoy the high-speed wifi connection every corner. Shoot your photo and post it immediately! They have free wifi in selected spots (like airport and train station) or you can avail SIM card that will provide you internet connection everywhere for a certain period of time depending on your plan of stay.

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Not our perfect mirror selfie – but hey free wifi at the train station while waiting make taking photos irresistible. 😀 (Tip: Bring extra batteries, power bank and memory card)

7. Have some coffee shop tour.

I was surprised to find so many coffee shops! Why? Because the coffee shops are literally a wall or a step from one another.

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Different coffee shops offer unique interior design. They are in every corner and offer diverse selection of beverages and pastries – they have caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks!

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Coffee lover or not will surely love these coffee houses.

8. Say a little (or even big) prayer at Myeongdong Cathedral.

The Myeongdong Cathedral is the national cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul. It is formally known as the Cathedral Church of Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception and located in the Myeongdong neighbourhood of Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

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You can go inside and say a little prayer. If you’re not a believer, then you can go straight to taking pictures.

9. Forget your diet and have a taste of Korea.

Morning and night markets offer food of all sorts – from appetizers, full meals to desserts. Have a palate of a Korean through their special delicacies. Brace yourself because this will be long. Also, prepare your budget. LOL.

First stop – samgyeupsal and fried chicken! Because those are what we always see in Koreanovelas. 😛

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Streets are haven for one of a kind Korean food. The food preparation seemed very sanitary. One thing I loved in their street foods was that each stall has tissue if you’re kinda messy.

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Be observant. Check out for stalls with long lines, they surely promise a taste you won’t forget.

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As you enjoy wandering around, you will forget about time but your stomach will be your constant alarm clock. Almost every corner has restos and fast foods you might want to try. Most restos we tried offer unlimited side dish (e.g. kimchi, onion).

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If enjoying your meal is not your top priority, you can just grab a quick snack!

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Myeongdong offers mouthwatering dishes day and night. Their night market is the best though because several food stalls appear during the night – from barbecues to lobsters!

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Try some steamed bun at Nami Island!

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If you’re feeling a little adventurous, get a lot of protein from steamed silk worms. 😛 They also have boiled small shells (I was not able to try).

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Don’t forget the desserts! Summer will be the best time to try these sweets (though ice cream melts pretty fast).

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Try their traditional cotton candy (above photo).

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10. Wear hanbok all day and time travel through old palaces

Have you seen the Koreanovela Jewel in the Palace? It is a film based on a true story about Jang-Geum (a legendary girl) who became the first woman to be the supreme royal physician of her times. The time setting was about 500 years ago and featured old palaces.

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There are several palaces to choose from. We opted to go to Gyeongbokgung and Changdeukgung Palaces. Wear a hanbok (a traditional Korean dress for semi-formal or formal attire during traditional occasions) and get free pass to these palaces. Summer heat will make you sweat wearing these. Make sure to check the weather and temperature on your visit.

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They have hanbok for men and women!

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 Stroll around and be a time traveller for a day. Witness the one of a kind architecture of Korea’s old palaces.

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20180608104733_IMG_1808Gyeongbokgung and Changdeukgung Palaces are just a few kilometres from each other. Make sure to check your map – look for entry points of each palaces so you don’t have to walk extra miles and get lost going from one palace to another – it will be a waste of time.

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Walking on the streets wearing hanbok is a pretty normal thing near the palace. You’ll burn a lot of calories!

11. Go to Hanok Village.

Hanok village showcases traditional houses. They are beautiful IG worthy houses but residents there don’t look happy due to the noise brought by tourists.

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Lower your voice when you’re there. Just enjoy the place and respect the villagers.

12. Shop ’til you drop.

You don’t just prepare your eyes for the view and stomach for the food. You also need planning for the things you need to buy. Streets, alleys, and different stores have things not on your list but will tempt you to buy.

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There is no best time to shop because day and night you can do shopping spree!

13. Prepare your stomach for traditional street food.

Gwanjang Market offers Korea’s traditional foods at an affordable price. Research the ingredients first to know if you can tolerate the taste or if you have an allergy to that food – you don’t want to waste money just trying to be cool.

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I tried Soondae (Korean-style sausage stuffed with boiled sweet rice, cow or pig blood, potato noodles, mung bean sprouts, scallions and garlic) and ended with a lot of leftovers.

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My favourite food so far was Wanja-Jeon (pan-fried mixture of soybean and meat). We went to Gwangjang twice just to eat this! Also, their side dishes are the best!

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It’s best if you have a Korean friend to translate or interpret the food you want to try. Some menus have English translations others don’t.

14. Enjoy the night breeze at Dongdaenum.

If you already went Myeongdong’s night market and still have another night to spend, you can try wandering around Dongdaenum.

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Lights coming from different sources can calm your mind. There are also food stalls and sometimes a band performing in the area you can enjoy.

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It’s fun to observe couples, families, and friends enjoying each other company – you will realise that the world is really big and you’re just a speck of dust in the universe.

15. Go to KBS.

Are you a fan of Descendant’s of the Sun? Then go to KBS. They have an exhibit showcasing their shows. No entrance fee needed!

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If you’re not a fan of any KBS shows, get awestruck with their old filming equipment.

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16. Do WALLing.

Did I just tell you the random art works a while ago? Well, if that’s not enough arts for you, Ihwa-dong got something for an artist like you. They have a mural village!

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Avoid the hassle of getting lost by securing your map going there. We walked and got there easily!

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Summer light will help on intensifying the colours of the beautiful paintings on the wall.

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There are food stalls if you get hungry and mini souvenir shops around.

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17. Lock your heart.

From people who will break it. JUST KIDDING! Enjoy the view and pretty locks near N Seoul Tower.

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If you are with your special someone, why not lock your love for one another. Single? Lock your dreams. LOL.

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Or take the opportunity to capture your pic with the locks during golden hour.

18. Literally level UP going to N Seoul Tower.

Literally level up because you need to climb up the mountain first before reaching the tower. It has an architectural height of 236.8m.

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I would recommend to go there before sunset. That time duration will be enough for walking, eating, and picture taking at the heart lock section. And will be perfect to view the city lights at night.

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This isn’t recommended for those afraid of heights as the observatory height measures 135.6 m. Conquer your fear and witness the stars from below.

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And yeah! I was surprised to see this! And I’ll pee and poo often if I have this kind of view in my comfort room. LOL.

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And if you’re not being called by nature during your visit, why not just dine, relax and enjoy the view?

19. Explore Nami island.

Prepare yourself for a 5-10-minute boat ride. Feel the combination of cold and warm air.

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People rave about Nami during winter and fall time. Seeing pictures during these seasons proves the beauty of the island. But, let me tell you, summer offers a different kind of vibe to this island.

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The freshness in the air and the mixture of green and red leaves will soothe your stressed soul.

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Bring your instagram boyfriend and take your photo between trees. Just like the IG photo of Coleen Garcia below:

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And if you do not have an IG boyfriend or even an ordinary boyfriend (awwiee. LOL). Be thankful for the friend you have who’s willing to take your photo (and doesn’t care if you look good or not. haha). Or just bring a tripod and the magaling-tumayming-sa-self-timer self (skill in self-timer photography). Get ready for all those funny bts shots you will have. Make sure your friend or self-timer took burst of photos you can choose from because I assure you out of 20 shots you’ll just get 1-2 decent photos. Haha.

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Walk around and forget all your worries. Relax!

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20. Calm your mind in the Garden of Morning Calm

After spending time at Nami Island, you can opt to go to the Garden of Morning Calm. It is a place for all season (though spring will show you more flowers).

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Summer won’t disappoint you. The garden will greet you with flowers and different kinds of plants.

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This is one of my favourite places we visited. The place is very peaceful with all those relaxing colours of green, red, purple, pink, etc. The temperature is just right to enjoy the view and calmness of this paradise.

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If you feel tired, you can just sit and breathe and remind yourself how beautiful life is. 😉

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21. Drink but don’t get drunk.

Koreanovelas amaze me on how much Koreans can handle alcohol. And I think these drinks give a soothing warmth in the body during colder days. Being in the place of sojus, try to experience tasting their alcoholic beverages.

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On our first dinner, we already tried soju! Our trip had tolerable cold nights and soju was just perfect before getting to bed. We originally planned to get wasted drinking but our itinerary didn’t allow that to happen. Besides, waking up sober gives you more energy to enjoy long walks.

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Beer + fried chicken = perfect combo! Convenient stores offer a wide selection of beer plus fried chicken kiosks are in every corner.

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Aside from soju and beer, we also tried makgeoli – an original Korean alcohol made of sweet rice. The sweetness, tanginess and carbonation of the drink will give you a unique taste of alcohol.

22. Reminisce Beauty and the Beast with the Rose Garden Festival.

My favorite place in our entire itinerary – Rose Garden Festival! I super love flowers and dream to see sea of tulips. I was saddened when I learned that June was not the best condition for tulips. But, I guess life has its own way to show you magic – to let you believe in miracles. Nope, we really did not witness hectares of tulips – destiny brought us to a place FULL OF ROSES!!!!!!!

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Seoul Grand Park Rose Garden Festival is being held in Seoul Grand Park in Gwancheon around May to June. Last 2018, when we visited the garden, it ran from May 26 – June 10. It brought me happy childhood memories of Beauty and the Beast. It was a paradise my cannot give justice.

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Yearly, they are showcasing tens of thousands of blooming roses with different colours and species.

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You can also see the top view of the garden by riding the cable car. We didn’t ride the cable car because seeing the flowers up close was our goal.

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They don’t only have roses, there will also be equally beautiful colourful flowers that will greet you in their entrance and bid you good bye at the exit.

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Schedule your Korea visit during winter, spring and fall they say. No doubt to that. Snow, colourful flowers and different shades of leaves are pretty exciting but summer time has its own beauty that might surprise you.

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