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Kawaii On A Budget

Juana Kawaii Shopping

I have come to the conclusion that it just makes sense that I live in Asia. I had preparatory steps along the way that enabled me to make the transition. One of those preliminary steps was my obsession with all things kawaii. I have always loved stationery, Sanrio Surprises, stickers, and post-its from a young age (and still do!).


One semester in college, I found myself living with six Japanese roommates. I had won the lottery! A parting gift they gave me was the knowledge of the word, ‘kawaii’ or “cute”. Since I love cute details, kawaii sang to me and it seems that I am not the only one bitten by the kawaii bug!


Filipino culture, especially in Manila, is having a Japanese kawaii craze. Filipinos love to travel and Japan is a hot spot right now. However, you need not make a trip to Japan just to shop kawaii because there are super kawaii discoveries right here in Manila.


Here are my favorite places to source kawaii materials:


  1. Daiso – Daiso is packed floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall so be prepared to search. You will be rewarded for your efforts, be assured. Daiso is my go-to for party favors, party décor, and has the best selection of bento items that I have found in Manila. Expect items to be around Php60.00-Php88.00.


  1. Miniso – Imagine if Ikea and Japan Home center had a baby. This would be Miniso. Its’ clean lines and organized simplicity leads to a calming experience despite their inventory being vast. This is my go to for minimalist home/kitchen items and craft supplies. Their acrylic paint pens, fine point and calligraphy pens cannot be beat in price – 3 for Php100.00.


  1. Landmark – Landmark paper section is my kryptonite. I swear I didn’t need 10 paper journals but when I walked in, Landmark put me under a spell and convinced me otherwise. On the ground level near the luggage section, you will find the motherland of stationery. Prices vary between Php40.00-Php150.00. You have been warned, shop at your own risk.


  1. Divisoria – I know, I know, Divi is huge but it really does have it all. In Mall 168, you will find pens, washi tape, party goods and so many other kawaii products for less than Php100.00. There is a cluster of stalls; just hop around and price check.


  1. Wonder Photo – Hailing straight from Japan, this is Fuji Films hip photo and print shop. Pssst! A little secret: they have the best washi tape and the brands are all from Japan! Each roll ranges from Php40.00-60.00 but are of very high quality.


Happy Kawaii Shopping!


Amber Folkman is a transplant from Seattle and calls Manila home. Being here long term, Amber has settled with her husband and have grown their family with three boys. Amber has made it a personal mission to get everyone to thrive in Manila by sharing her positive perspective through Instagram and her blog, amommabroad.com.

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