The vinyl record industry is alive and well. There must be over a 100 vinyl record shops or sellers in Metro Manila alone to feed one’s appetite for records. Not since the 1980s has there been this demand or craze for music in their vinyl format. And it is cool for the music fan to have a lot of choices.
By no means is this list the “best of” the lot. Far from it. Each shop has its own share of clientele, charm, and level of collector’s delight. I chose these shops for their ambiance, prices, browse space, selection, friendliness of the staff, and the condition of the records they sell. And I’d say these here are good starting points for beginners or for longtime music fans.
Northwest Estate and Collectibles (NEC)
170 K-1st Street, Quezon City (parallel to Kamuning Road)
Time open: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Price range: From P250, P500, P600, P700 and up.
Proprietor Jong Canimo aims to have over 20,000 LPs in stock. More records means more choices and that can be only good for the music fan. I like the fact that this shop is open every single day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is close to EDSA and very accessible. Now the bins aren’t arranged by genre. According to Canimo, “The thrill of hunting for your favorite vinyl record is not knowing what is the next album is. I guarantee in every bin there are surprises that will have you saying, 'What a find!'”
And all reasonably priced. You won’t find any OPM or newly pressed records here as they are all used or second hand ones.
Another cool thing about NEC is that it is two floors of records and books, magazines, toys, and comic books! And when you buy you get a 10% discount. And more discounts on your birthday. That all adds to the purchase pleasure.
641 Cifra Building, Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong
Time open: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What I like about this shop is they also have a bar and some eats so you can have a drink while listening to records. That is if you aren’t in a rush. They have a nice mix of new and second-hand records. In the times I’ve been there, I’d say the owners here have an eye for good stuff so it is always worth checking out. Furthermore, they have some of the best prices meaning cheap. I just wish they had more stuff. My browsing is over in 10-15 minutes. But still a good place to check out. And I love the ambiance.
This is Pop Records
Unit B, Ground Floor, Legaspi Tower 100
148 Legazpi Street, Makati
Time open: 12 noon to 8 p.m. (Closed on Sundays)
This is the one shop in Metro Manila that is “niche.” Niche in the sense that the majority are indie rock and its sub genres with some dance and electronica too. And as a caveat, there’s a small pile of stuff that seems so out of place and shop owner Toti Dalmacion cheerfully admits it. Toti Dalmacion? Yep, that famed audiophile so you know he’s got taste. So you know there’s lots of very good stuff in here. You’ll also find albums from Dalmacion’s very own Terno Recordings.
The store is named after one of new wave era band XTC’s songs and if you’re into new wave and indie music you’ll be in ecstasy in here.
First basement, Makati Cinema Square
Chino Roces corner Arnaiz Avenue, Makati
Time open: 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed on Sundays)
You have to admire shop owner Bob De Leon as he’s been at this for decades now. This man knows what records to get. Right off the bat, you’ll find a lot of records you’d like whether used or brand new. Plus, he’s very helpful in hunting down stuff you are looking for in case it’s not readily available.
What I like about his stock is you won’t find used records with beaten up jackets (unlike other shops that carry them and sell them for outrageous prices when they aren’t in mint or near mint condition). This is a good hunting ground for music fans. Browsing space is kind of limited because the shop is small but it’s still a thrill.
The Grey Market
Bellitudo Lifestyle Strip, Katipunan Avenue, White Plains
Shoppesville in Greenhills
Upper Ground floor Alfaro Place, 146 Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati
Time open: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in White Plains; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Shoppesville,
Primarily a rock and jazz record store. But they arguably have one of the best selections in town especially among the remastered albums. This is a shop where you’ll spend a while browsing.
It’s even better that also sell audio equipment and all related paraphernalia that makes this a worthwhile trip for vinyl returnees and beginners.
4th Floor, Building D Fashion Mall
SM Megamall, Mandaluyong
Time open: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
They mostly carry new records or re-mastered ones. I appreciate the fact that they carry also a lot of indie bands. And like Dalmacion, they have also produced an album of local bands in the appropriately named “Fresh Filter” in conjunction with Jam 88.3 so you know they are really into music and not some entity that just dived into the new vinyl craze. They also have some used records but they are pricey for their condition.
I do like that they have a listening room! That’s a huge plus.