5 ukays to score second-hand furniture (and other unexpected finds)

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Find second-hand cabinets, chairs, dinnerware, and all sorts of knick knacks at these shops. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — For people who are shifting to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle, it makes sense to extend the practice beyond personal care items, cutlery, and food choices and into the home. From bigger pieces like furniture and appliances, to smaller items like dinnerware and unique trinkets, one can maintain a sustainable lifestyle, as well as save a lot of money, by opting to buy second-hand and vintage items instead of buying brand new products from malls and expensive boutiques.

There is a good number of surplus and ukay-ukay shops around Metro Manila, like JMS Surplus Shop in Marikina and Hapon Surplus Trading in Manila, and if you’re the type to visit ukays and surplus shops often, you’ve probably already shopped at these places. But for those looking for a little more variety, or those who just want to go on a quick but productive road trip out of town, there are a ton of similar shops all over Cavite as well as in neighboring Las Piñas and Laguna where one can score some really interesting finds.

Of course, don’t expect everything to be in the best condition. These are, after all, mostly second-hand items. If you're the type that enjoys a good fixer-upper though, combing through these stores might be a fun weekend activity for you.

Though the best way to find these stores is to go on a road trip around Cavite, sticking to the main roads like Governors Dr. and Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, the five stores on this list should be a good place to start.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Ukay-ukay stalls in Biñan, Laguna

These two ukay-ukay stalls may be a bit hard to find and easy to miss, as they’re not located along major roads, unlike the rest of the stores on the list. They’re also smaller, and resemble roadside fruit stands rather than actual ukay shops. But they do contain an assortment of finds, from office chairs to cabinets to hundreds of small plates, cups, and tea sets. Items are always changing, but if you’re lucky you might visit on a day when they have nice wooden side chairs for as low as ₱1,200.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Aside from furniture and home items, these two stores also have a lot of second-hand clothes and bags on display, so you might just be able to give your wardrobe an update as well. Among the other unexpected finds here are organic soaps, school supplies, old tennis rackets, old golf clubs, various knick knacks like Japanese oni masks, and even second-hand wheelchairs.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Location: Both stores are situated along Road 7 inside Silcas Village, Biñan, Laguna.

How to get there: Make your way to Southwoods Mall via SLEX. Take the Southwoods Exit. On the rotonda, take the turn that goes towards Unihealth Southwoods Hospital. Turn right into a small opening and follow the road (Road 18), then turn left at Road 7. The two ukays will be beside and across ‘Ronald Fruit Stand.’

Photo by JL JAVIER

Korean Surplus General Merchandise, GMA, Cavite

If you’re already in Cavite and driving around GMA and Dasmariñas in search for ukay stores, it’s worth stopping over here. In this shop, you’ll be able to find dining sets, mirrors, chairs, bedside tables, cabinets, and even bed frames. Take note though that even if the shop is pretty spacious, finding what you’re looking for might take a little time as there doesn’t seem to be a clear system for organizing the items here. It’s sort of a mish-mash of stuff.

Photo by JL JAVIER

There are also a few random electronics here and there, like electric fans and speakers, but most are pretty old. The store also has a few racks of second-hand clothes on display, as well as used linens and pillows.

Location: The store is located along Governor’s Dr. in Brgy. Banaba, GMA, Cavite.

How to get there: Make your way to GMA, Cavite via Governor’s Dr. The shop is situated beside a PS Bank and across a Motorcentral.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Japan Surplus store in Dasmariñas, Cavite

This store may look small from the outside, but go deeper inside the shop and you’ll find a huge open space that fits furniture for seemingly each part of the home, such as dining tables, sofas, chairs, wooden cribs, kitchen cabinets, and wardrobes of various shapes, sizes, and materials. In fact, this store has one of the biggest stocks of wardrobes and cabinets we’ve seen. They’re priced anywhere between ₱2,000 to ₱10,000 depending on the size and make.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Second to the cabinets, they also have a variety of plates, glasses, cups, mugs, bowls, pots, pans, and tea sets. Toy collectors might also enjoy the assortment of toys and figures available, from anime to Star Wars, as well as other novelty items, like Japanese kokeshi dolls, daruma dolls, and old-fashioned wooden toys.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Location: The store is located along Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Salitran II, Dasmariñas, Cavite.

How to get there: The store is about 20 minutes away from SM City Dasmariñas. From the mall, turn right onto Emilio Aguinaldo Highway. Go straight down the highway until you find a sign that says “Japan Surplus Everyday Sale!” on the left side of the road, beside Arcontica Color Trade.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Melden Europe Home Furniture and Accents, Las Piñas City

This store offers much more polished and intricately designed antiques and vintage furniture than the others on this list, so the prices here are more expensive. The style of the furniture, as its name suggests, is also very European. You’ll also find a lot of different styles of wooden side and arm chairs on display out on the storefront.

Photo by JL JAVIER

But claustrophobes ought to prepare themselves because the two floors of the shop are full of furniture and it can feel pretty cramped. You’ll find cabinets and wardrobes stacked on top of each other, chairs, lamps, and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, vases and figurines lined up on top of upright pianos, and cupboards filled with all types of dinnerware.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Location: The store is located on 33 Alabang-Zapote Rd., Las Piñas City.

How to get there: Make your way to Las Piñas via the Skyway. Take the NAIA Exit, enter NAIAX, and take the Cavitex Exit. From Cavitex, take the Bacoor/Las Piñas Exit. From the exit, stay to the left until you reach Alabang-Zapote Road.