Now that we’re finished covering the foodies, let’s talk about the best eLBi establishments that help feed the mind naman, and then my favorite place that makes me feel oh-so-pretty and pampered.
Best Antique and Book Shop
Every true-blue tipid mode bookworm of LB knows this: The Practical Shop! In high school and college, I frequented this place almost every other day to hunt the next installment of the Sweet Valley High series I was so addicted to. And whenever I would see a Sidney Sheldon or Judith McNaught book (that is on every starter bookworm’s list), my heart would go thump, thump, thump. This place was practically a tambayan for me back then. Because that place was a portal—the books I find there took me to places!
Through the books I bought there, it’s like I’ve already toured Europe and travelled through time and lived during the Prohibition and the Renaissance. I also had an in-depth glimpse of what it would be like to be a maiden in love with and wooed by a duke, and even the thrill of being an international con woman. The aroma of old books that wafted through my nose in that place usually signalled that again, I could escape my reality. It used to give me a high that only my fellow bibliophiles could understand. That’s why I see the yellowed, worn out books of best-selling authors as precious works of art, especially when they cost only P5, P10, P15, P20, and P25. Yes, they were that cheap there at Practical Shop, considering that the closest thing was to buy a preloved book from Book Sale, where a similar book costs about P75.
But wait—there’s more: every 15th and 30th of the month, external sellers have bazaars and garage sales in Practical Shop’s, well, garage. And the products sold are varied: from preloved and new clothes to healthy juices, hair accessories, toys, etc!
Best Beauty Parlor/Salon
The services of my favorite ever beauty parlor in town are relatively cheap, but every time I’m there I feel like a million bucks!
Ever since Metrohair opened when I was in second year college, I’ve been a fan. In fact, I often wonder how come other salons attract other patrons. Because honestly, I don’t see any reason why eLBizens would still want to get haircuts anywhere else. Well, there were times I tried to be disloyal to Metrohair and I went elsewhere, but I always regretted it. So why exactly do I love Metrohair? Because Metrohair = Affordable Luxury.
1. It offers all the latest in treatments and technology at very reasonable prices. Metrohair stylists get trainings from L’Oreal that’s why they’re up-to-date and don’t just hula-hula the treatments. I know because my hair stylists (Jeny–but he has already left–and then Cecile) would tell me that they learned this and that from their workshop at L’Oreal. I don’t think other local parlors go to this extent—to really have their hairdressers trained by professionals.
2. It caters to students and to professionals alike, as they offer both high and low end services. Example, its hair coloring treatments’ prices vary, and they’d tell you the advantages and disadvantages of each brand. Their nail polishes also vary, from Caronia to Orly, to suit its client’s budgets.
3. Services really are cheap, as in. Would you believe that haircut there is just P38?!?!? Yes, that’s right! And at price is already inclusive of shampoo, blowdry, gel and a free welcome drink! Footscrub with pedicure and nail polish is only about P150! O ‘di ba?!?
4. Its magazines are up-to-date, thank goodness!!! Don’t you just hate it that when you return to a beauty parlor after a year and look for a magazine to pass boredom, you still see the same old magazines from your last two visits?!? Well, Metrohair is the first local beauty salon that does NOT do that! I remember back in college when my friends and I used to take turns buying Cosmopolitan magazine (although Randy banned me from buying Cosmo because he felt like it would make me “wild”, hehe). For students living on allowances more than a decade ago, P100+++ for a magazine was expensive. So when we see that there’s a new Cosmo mag out with “exciting” articles inside, my best friend Chrys Collado would say, “Tara pa-footspa/haircut tayo sa Metrohair para mabasa na natin ang latest na Cosmo!” O diba ang brilliant?!?
5. It is well-staffed. Of course, I would always prefer that my regular stylists do my hair (Jeny for a decade, but now that he’s gone, it’s now Cecile) and nails (Cora forever). But when they’re booked and I’m in a hurry, I’m glad that I could just choose from among several others. Very time-consuming when the hairstylist is also your pedicurist, as you have to wait for him/her to finish one task before he/she could proceed to the next task.
6. It has a classy ambiance. I admire the owner, Maxim Salvosa’s, regular renovations and innovations—it means he is hands-on and he really cares for his clients. I saw how Metrohair improved over the years, and that just shows Maxim does not let his salon rot away or leave it as it is simply because it already is popular. I guess it has something to do with Maxim’s being a former international flight steward. That means he has travelled extensively and been to places. He told me too that in-between flights when he stayed in Makati, he used to go to the high end salons in Makati to relax. He dreamed of putting up something similar back home in Los Banos. And so he did when he retired and returned to live in Laguna.
And last and definitely ze best….
Best UPCAT/College Entrance and High School Entrance Review Center
Ano pa nga ba?!? Los Banos’s pride: BRAIN TRAIN forever! But don’t take my word for it, because I admit that this time, I’m biased. But for good reasons!
Let our long list of UPCAT Passers and UPCAT, ACET, and DCAT Topnotchers do the talking first:
And then a few of our former students:
Need I say more?!? 🙂 Now don’t be surprised to learn that even though we absolutely have no clout in Metro Manila, even though we can’t advertise there , and even though there are lots and lots and lots of other review centres there, smart students and parents still choose to go to Brain Train. And then they would say that we were better than they expected. So yeah, BRAIN TRAIN is one Los Banos-born business establishment that every eLBizen can be proud of. 😉
And that concludes my Da Best of eLBi series this year. If you know more hidden gems of eLBi (I’m sure there are!!!), let me know so I could feature them here as well.
PS: If you missed the first parts, here they are: