Friday, July 1, 2016

LOVE UKULELE? HERE ARE PLACES YOU CAN BUY, LEARN, AND PLAY THE UKE!

UKULELE MANILA PHILIPPINES

LOVE UKULELE? HERE ARE PLACES YOU CAN BUY, LEARN, AND PLAY THE UKE!

Learning how to play this cute little member of the lute family is just one of the short term goals I'm planning to achieve this year. I remembered when some of my officemates would bring their ukuleles and play them after work where we would all sing along. The idea of quick jamming sessions without having to bring a guitar, which looks like the uke's big daddy (yet the two are different), started my interest. Problem is I don't own a ukulele yet and I don't know who among my friends are available to teach me. Good thing we have a growing number of places where we can purchase the ukulele. But the best ones are those where we can also learn how to play them, even jam with fellow uke lovers, while enjoying good food and drinks!


Here are places where we can buy, learn, and play the Ukulele in Metro Manila:

THE FOUR STRINGS
UKULELE THE FOUR STRINGS
The Four Strings is a ukulele lounge located in one of North's music hub - Cubao Expo. The shop opened in March of 2014 where they sell all locally hand crafted ukes and various other small local start up products. People are also free to borrow in house instruments and yes, jam anytime!

I even remembered last year's Fresh Filter event where because of the crowd at Expo we ended up inside The Four Strings drinking beer and joining the uke jam sessions as we wait for our fave bands outside. The place is actually very welcoming despite the small space.

UKULELE THE FOUR STRINGS


UKULELE THE FOUR STRINGS

For those like me who wants to learn the uke, you may also enroll in their one on one sessions fit for any skill level, from newbie (ME! ME!) to more advanced playing styles. The Four Strings also hold open mic jams every Friday night while on Wednesday nights they have "Kape at Ukulele", a free community driven workshop for beginners :)

UKULELE THE FOUR STRINGS
UKULELE THE FOUR STRINGS

Got hungry learning? They also have a cafe on the 2nd floor called Outside. It serves a variety of snacks (sandwiches, finger food), coffee and other beverages. TIP: Their sausage sandwich is the best seller!

UKULELE THE FOUR STRINGS

Ukulele Price Range: P2,500-7,500 depending on the wood and build type. Check their FB page for their online catalogue.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday / 1PM - 8PM (they usually extend their hours for Wed. and Fri. activities)
Address: 59A Cubao Expo, Gen Romulo Ave, Quezon City

Facebook: fb.com/thefourstringsph
Instagram: @thefourstringsph

UKULELE TRIVIA 1: Unlike the guitar's standard six strings, the ukulele only has four. It also uses nylon strings unlike the guitar which has either the nylon or steel strings.




ALOHA BAR AND GRILL / UKULELE PHILIPPINES

UKULELE ALOHA BAR PHILIPPINES

Going South we have the Aloha Bar & Grill and Ukulele Philippines, both under one company (Happy Music) located at The Collective Malugay St., Makati City. Basically Ukulele Philippines is the ukulele shop and Aloha is the ukulele event place. Same as Cubao Expo, The Collective is also known for its music and art exhibits making it the perfect spot for Ukulele Philippines which started in 2012. It is the first all-ukulele shop in the country offering a diverse and wide selection of locally made and imported ukuleles. They also sell ukulele accessories and cases to complete your uke shopping!

Aloha Bar & Grill on the other hand opened just November of last year and is the first ukulele inspired event place in the Philippines. Some of Aloha's crowd favorite is the Hawaiian Huli-Huli Chicken, and babyback ribs. Be sure to also try their own beer cocktail mix Aloha Radler and Aloha Flaming Radler. Aside from Hawaiian inspired drinks Aloha also serves local beers making it your typical go-to bar, only with the pinch of ukulele happiness and Hawaii feels :)

UKULELE ALOHA BAR PHILIPPINES

They also conduct scheduled ukulele workshops for starters like me! But if you're the fortunate ones who are good at it already, Aloha also have weekend gigs featuring various artists from different genre. It has long been a venue for both local and international ukulele artists. 

Aloha Bar & Grill also joined the recently concluded Fete dela Musique as this year's Grunge stage!

UKULELE ALOHA BAR PHILIPPINES
UKULELE ALOHA BAR PHILIPPINES

Ukulele Philippines continues to spread its passion as they also organize and produce the annual Philippine Ukulele Festival since 2013. Some famous international ukulele artists invited at the festival are Kalei Gamiao, Aldrine Guerrero, and Derrick Sebastian from Hawaii, Alfa Garcia and Abe Lagrimas, Jr. from California, Apirak Sirinanthakul of Thailand, Kyas Ryo of Japan, Hau Yi Tsai of Taiwan, as well as local ukulele artists like Pao Gumba, Eduardo Enaje, Ukulele Philippines Ensemble, and BennyBunnyBand.

UKULELE ALOHA BAR PHILIPPINES

Ukulele Price Range: Check their website www.ukulelephilippines.com for their price list.
Opening Hours: Aloha Bar & Grill (Tues.- Sat. 4PM - 12AM) ; Ukulele Philippines (Tues.-Sun. 10AM - 10PM)
Address: 7274 Malugay St., San Antonio Village, Makati

Facebook: fb.com/alohabarPH ; fb.com/ukephilippines
Instagram: @ukulelephilippines

UKULELE TRIVIA 2: Although known as a Hawaiian instrument, the ukulele is actually a modified Portugese instrument called machete de braga. Three men coming from an island in Portugal came and worked in a sugar plantation in Hawaii where they also made the first Hawaiian ukulele.


FART RESTO GALLERY / UKETOPIA PH
UKULELE UKETOPIA

Owkay, fart, hmm. Smells, I mean, sounds good! Haha! Well for everyone's sanity FART actually stands for Food & ART! Not a shitty idea after all! =D

Traveling from Malugay to Don Quijote St., Sampaloc near UST is the newest Uke stop among the list, which only opened this May. Same as Aloha Bar & Grill with Ukulele Philippines, FART Resto Gallery and Uketopia PH is also under one umbrella, only this time it's a family affair.

UKULELE UKETOPIA

UKULELE UKETOPIA

FART is the brainchild of mother Maricar J. Maniego (caterer and owner of Maniego's Plate Catering Services), siblings Mox Santos (fashion photographer and artist) and Marian Laselle Santos, the ukulele seller and an Interior Design student. So it's pretty much a place that showcases their mom's cooking, featuring Marian's ukuleles and her brother's artworks as well. Another non- shitty idea right there!

UKULELE UKETOPIA
UKULELE UKETOPIA
They serve a fusion of cuisine and variety of drinks to enjoy. FART Resto Gallery also have an open-mic in a small stage with instruments for customers who would love to share their talent in poetry and music. Marian or Yan, the ukulele seller, plans to conduct some workshops too if her schedule permits since she is still busy with school. In the meantime their humble stage is welcome for sessions and gigs.

UKULELE UKETOPIA

Ukulele Price Range: P1,400 - P3,000 ; For customized ukuleles minimum additional fee is P500 depending on the design and the size of the uke.

Opening Hours: Mon.-Thurs 10AM - 10PM ; Fri.-Sat. 10AM - 12AM ; Sun. 3PM - 9PM
Address: 1335 Don Quijote St., Sampaloc, Manila

Facebook: fb.com/fartrestogallery ; fb.com/uketopia.ph
Instagram: @uketopia.ph

UKULELE TRIVIA 3: There are many stories behind how the ukulele got its name, but in English it actually translates to "jumping flea". Its slang name Uke on the other hand is the one who "receives the technique" in Japanese martial arts.


UKE BOX CAFFE
UKULELE UKE BOX CAFFE

This is probably an expected entry from many, considering its popularity even if it just turned one. Silently tucked among the many busy establishments in Libis Quezon City is the Uke Box Caffe. This cafe proved themselves worthy of being an ideal place to not just enjoy the ukulele, but to also enjoy in general. I mean with everything going on in the place, from the beach vibe on one side, to the music theme on the other. Not to mention the double deck couches you can spend hours to (but please buy something okay? Buy to tambay guys haha), to even playing board games, Uke Box Caffe is more than your typical ukulele spot.

UKULELE UKE BOX CAFFE

So you're a newbie like me? Worry not as they also offer free weekend workshops (Sat. and Sun.), both for kids and adult, where we will get to experience how to learn few songs with the uke. They got two of the best ukulele instructors Teacher RJ and Teacher Try who also teach one on one or group classes on weekdays.

UKULELE UKE BOX CAFFE
My workmates with teacher Try. Photo from Gaea :)
UKULELE UKE BOX CAFFE
Owned by three ladies, with the ukulele theme spearheaded by a uke lover herself Apple Alegro, Uke Box Caffe believes that ukulele is known to reduce stress, is easy to learn, easy to share, making it for everybody.

True to its vision customers can also rent and play the ukulele, as well as showcase their talent and jam with others through their open mic nights. Or you can just enjoy and listen to the live performances.

SAY HI TO UKE BOX CAFFE'S AMBASSADOR BEBANG (or Bev as I call her) ESGUERRA! YIHEE GALING! CATCH HER SATURDAY NIGHTS AT UKE BOX ;)


UKULELE UKE BOX CAFFE

Aside from the activities you can do at the cafe, you should also try their rice meals, pastas, sandwiches, pastries, and of course their coffee. They have different brewing methods to offer, plus they are actually the first in the Philippines to offer The Selfie Coffee! How vain is that though? Lol! Another notable fact is being the first ukulele coffeeshop to be featured by Reuters.

UKULELE UKE BOX CAFFE
UKULELE UKE BOX CAFFE

On its second year Uke Box Caffe would also like to focus on bringing ukulele to our place! Since they were able to build the uke community on their first year, they want us to enjoy the uke sans being at the cafe itself. Instead, they will be bringing it to our school or workplace! We can arrange private workshops & corporate teambuilding with them. You can also hold your craft-related event at the coffeeshop. Being the jack of all trade, you may also contact them as venue for birthdays, bridal or baby showers!

Apparently the cafe is also a good spot for a music video. Check Janella Salvador and Elmo Magalona's revival of "Born For You" all shot at Uke Box Caffe.
Ukulele Price Range: P1,900 for the entry level handcrafted locally made ukulele ; P3,500 to P7,000 for the solid wood handcrafted mid range
Opening Hours: Mon.-Thurs. & Sun. 11AM - 9PM ; Fri.-Sat. 11AM - 12AM
Address: 187 Village Center E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave Brgy. Bagumbayan Libis, Quezon City

Facebook: fb.com/ukeboxcaffe
Instagram: @ukeboxcaffe

UKULELE TRIVIA 4: You can actually make your own ukulele using a cigar box, and they are being sold in the market for many years already, tracing its history back to the 18th century. Reese Lansangan is one of our artists today who plays the cigar box ukulele :)



Any other ukulele places you can suggest? Feel free to comment below ;)




~All photos used are from their respective Facebook pages.~
About Fao Rani Yarte

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