Philippines Travel Finds

on the road… a travel find along araneta avenue


Hubby and I  were on our way home from a daytrip in Dapitan, when a sign that said “Japan Surplus” beckoned us to make a U-turn and check out a nondescript warehouse along Araneta Avenue. A quick scan at the entrance revealed what the place really was… a Japan Surplus warehouse. The place was overflowing with old bicycles, television sets, sofas, trolleys, gym equipment, hi-fi stereos and a mishmash of household items from the 80s and the 90s. Trust me. I haven’t written “hi-fi stereos” in a while. Not wanting to go through piles and piles of junk, we decided to call it a day and just go home. But as we were heading back to the car, I spotted something shiny sitting on a corner shelf.


comfy in my kitchen
It was a stovetop espresso maker! It was waving at me, begging me to pick it up. So I did! Inspected closely, its aluminum base revealed a great surprise. Inscribed were the words “ALESSI ITALY”. And written in pentel pen: P200. For the uninformed, Alessi is one of the biggest Italian design companies in the world. And as it turns out, what I was holding in my hands was a La Cupola Espresso Maker designed by the great Italian architect and designer Aldo Rossi (1931-1997)  for Alessi in 1990.
Rossi, who has been called ‘a poet who happens to be an architect’, was inspired by  the beauty of   classic Italian architecture in designing La Copula.
Of course I was not aware of this at the time (although I knew about the Italian giant Alessi), but I had a strong hunch that I stumbled on something very special.
I had to stop myself from jumping up and down and cartwheeling around the warehouse. The key to thriftstore-shopping is to look cool, as if you couldn’t care less about the item you’re holding, even if inwardly, you’re already singing Beethoven’s 8th symphony. You also have to look ignorant because if the shopkeeper suspects that you know anything about the item in your hands, no amount of haggling will bring the price down.
Fortunately, I’m an expert when it comes to being deadpan. And so, after nervously calmly negotiating with the shopkeeper, I was able to have my Alessi wrapped and bagged for Php150.00!


As soon as we got home, I immediately (and thoroughly) washed my designer coffee pot and made a cup of cafe latte. The resulting brew was pure caffeine heaven.


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  1. noel anonuevo says:

    saan yan sa araneta, near aurora blvd? o e.rod.quez ave, o papuntang sgt. something?
    Bonnga ang alessi mo.
    Check mo lang kung marami kang components na huhugasan after, kc ganun ako na buryong sa isa pang iconic espresso stovetop chuchu. D best is still the plastic “imbudu” from UCC w/c u place atop your cup.
    just fill it up w/filter( i use folded unchlorinated paper towels, cheaper)..then the ground bits, pour water et voila. Tapon d filter, drink d cape and rinse the imbudu.
    Pero, bonga yang find mo, dhay. Lucky you!

  2. polmangilog says:

    Direk, marami ngang huhugasan. it has 3 chambers: the water chamber where you put the water, then the filter or imbudo where you put your fine grounds and finally the upper chamber where the brew comes out. I don’t really mind cleaning it kasi that’s part of the whole ritual, di bala? pero type ko rin yang plastic imbudu mo. di ba cold press ang tawag diyan or somethang?

  3. phoebe says:

    hello, im really interested where this place is…i found one pero ung sa may mayon malapit…i dont think its the same place…konti lang ung stuff nila at super mahal…Please email me…thanks very much.

    1. polmangilog says:

      Hi Phoebe! If you’re coming from San Juan, it’s on the right side of Araneta Avenue going to Quezon Av. You won’t miss it. Have fun and thanks for the visit!

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