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Archive for the ‘Jang Geun Suk’ Category

An addition to the Korean craze just hit Manila. Last November 29 Caffe Bene, the biggest coffee chain in the land of Korean dramas held its grand opening in Eastwood City Walk 2.  From Seoul Caffe Bene has finally arrived in the Philippines, Yey!

Caffe Bene on it's grand opening at Eastwood

Caffe Bene on it’s grand opening at Eastwood

A lil bit of facts: Caffe Bene was established in April 2008 and now they have more than 800 stores all over Korea (beating the giant Starbucks).  It became a Korean sensation due to its key product offerings of: excellent medium roast coffee; their signature freshly made Liege waffles which are richer, denser, sweeter and chewier than traditional waffles; and authentic Italian gelatos that’s good on its own or better enjoyed if paired with coffee or waffles.  Aren’t those sounding mouth-watering already? Here’s a peek.

a peek on Caffe Bene menu

a peek on Caffe Bene menu

For Korean drama addicts, you may probably recognize it as the coffee shop of that infamous coffee “Crème Kiss” from the hit Secret Garden.  Yes, that super kilig romantic act of Hyun Bin kissing the cappuccino foam off Ha Ji Won’s lip was shot inside a Caffe Bene shop.

kilig scene from Secret Garden -- cr to http://nabilaraisyasays.blogspot.com

kilig scene from Secret Garden

cr to http://nabilaraisyasays.blogspot.com

On with the event proper, the grand opening program kicked-off with a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Mr. Desmond Chua, President of Caffe Bene Philippines (leftmost in the picture below) and Ms. Diane Chua, Head of Operations (2nd from left).  The grand opening program was hosted by Korean expat and now a local Philippine personality, Sam Oh.

ribbon-cutting ceremony

ribbon-cutting ceremony

Ms. Sam Oh hosting the Caffe Bene grand opening in Eastwood

Ms. Sam Oh hosting the Caffe Bene grand opening in Eastwood

It was followed by a dedication and prayer by a pastor family friend of the Chuas.

Dedication

Dedication

The welcome speech by Mr. Desmond Chua came next and was full of emotions telling their journey towards opening of this Korean coffee chain in the Philippines.  Quoting some of his words “in this market full of established names we will strive and hope to make a niche”.  A loud applause logically came after a nice speech.

welcome speech by franchisee Pres. Desmond Chua

welcome speech by franchisee Pres. Desmond Chua

a loud applause after the welcome speech

a loud applause after the welcome speech

A toast followed and that gave us a first taste of their signature medium-roast coffee which is less bitter than other brands.  You have to try it for yourself and as for me who prefers a decaf version of coffee most of the time this one is worth it.  The less bitter taste makes a difference and just provides light acidity in the tummy.  I love it.

The

The “Toast”

Caffe Bene medium roast blend espresso for The Toast

Caffe Bene medium roast blend espresso for The Toast

As this new hang-out place was born and added to the huge Korean craze in Manila, I am dearly privileged as a certified K-addict to be invited to its grand opening.  The fruits of blogging led me to be part of this event (see my earlier post about Caffe Bene).  Dubbed as “my very first full event cover” of a Korean invasion and so that explains how my heart is smiling and hyperacidity attacks again in excitement on the day, hahaha.

Yey, I was there! :)

Yey, I was there! 🙂

And my dress did blend well with Caffe Bene earth and woody colors, wink, wink!

while waiting for the program to start

while waiting for the program to start

To complete the program the Director of Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines, Mr. Seong Un Hwang also made his presence with a speech gearing towards a continuous good connection of Korea and the Philippines and welcoming the birth of Caffe Bene in our country.

Director of the Korean Cultural Center in Ph Mr. Mr. Seong Un Hwang

As we witness Caffe Bene being launched sumptuous cocktails are served to us guests.  I have barely eaten before the event (in excitement) so it’s like a feast. The iced tea given to each table is a luscious unique blend that tastes more of a mango juice to me and I think I had three glasses of it.  Apparently it was a Caffe Bene blend. 🙂

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IMG_4136 IMG_4082 IMG_4080

Family and friends of the Chua’s were present and it was well attended too by famous media personalities such as Tim Yap, Claudine Trillo and Franco Mabanta among others.

Claudine Trillo, Franco Mabanta and Sam Oh

Claudine Trillo, Franco Mabanta and Sam Oh

Tim Yap and Sam Oh

Tim Yap and Sam Oh

The cocktails part is just an appetizer.  The most fun part of the event is that the guests (and that includes me) were given the first taste of Caffe Bene’s famous coffees, gelatos and Liege waffles while enjoying the caffe concert of the Philippines’ only electronic rock band, Turbo Goth.  It’s a cozy party time!  Thrilled for the food tasting?  Details in the next few paragraphs. 🙂

Cocktails and and cozy Party time

Cocktails and and cozy Party time

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the classy yet hip electronic rock band, Turbo Goth

the classy yet hip electronic rock band, Turbo Goth

With Jef of Marketing, my bridge and contact into dealings with Caffe Bene Ph. Thanks Sir.

With Jef of Marketing, my bridge/contact into dealings with Caffe Bene Ph. Thanks Sir!

Let me take you now to some behind the scenes part.  Before the program started I was given a tour of the shop including its menu by no less than Mr. Derrick Chua, Head of Marketing of Caffe Bene Philippines.

with Mr. Derrick Chua, Citicup Corp Marketing Director

I can’t help but wear a big smile as I stepped inside.  It really has this cozy feel looking at its spacious woody designs.

entrance carpet view at the door woody insides the signature clock

The two-floor coffee shop boasts a vintage Europen design with cute Korean accents.  Feels like I’m in a Korean drama setting, hahaha.  It has this unique 2nd floor that features a free library for those who wants to study, have alone time and relax or just hang-out with friends over a great coffee.  If I’m not mistaken this part is called “book-caffe”.  Just a tip: bring your favorite jacket or cardigan with you here as it is a bit cold ala-autumn or pre-winter feel in Seoul . 🙂

book caffe 1 book caffe 2book caffe 3

And now let me share you the most exciting part, the menu. I’m on a high here guys. It’s a VIP mode-like feeling as I take my first look at the counter.  It’s not that pricey as I initially thought of.   Their coffee is at around 100-150 bucks just like the established names in the coffee shop market.  As I have mentioned their signature medium-roast blend makes a difference because it’s less bitter and leaves no much after-effect in the tummy for acidic person like me.

at the counter

at the counter

Caffe Bene Coffee Menu

Caffe Bene Coffee Menu

They have this specialty grain-based latte called “Misugaru” which is a healthier alternative to their espresso-based drinks.  As told by Mr. Derrick Chua this has became a favorite and bestseller at their New York City branch.  I have tried the hot version and it tastes goody healthy.  After all it is packed with fiber and anti-oxidants.

Misugaru Latte menu

More on their signature favorites. Their freshly made Liege waffle is a must try. You can have it plain or with gelato and various toppings.  I like the Blue Berry Cream Cheese, more than the best-seller Red Bean and Green Tea.  Other choices are Honey Nut, Strawberry Cream and Caramel Banana Cream.  Price ranges from 135-165 pesos for those with toppings, not bad to try and taste the difference.

waffles 1 waffles 2

Speaking of gelato, another favorite is their authentic Italian Gelatos that feels light but full of flavor (available in around 10 varieties).  Bestsellers are the chocolate and cream cheese though I keep coming back for the strawberry. 🙂

the many flavors of their Italian Gelato

the many flavors of their Italian Gelato

IMG_4105

trying the strawberry Gelato, Yummy!

trying the strawberry Gelato, Yummy!

And the last (but not the least) that I got to taste is the new to my ears “Bingsu”.  It’s a Korean Ice Parfait or simply Korean “halo-halo” in our native language.  This so far is the most priced in their menu starting at 165 pesos.  Its available in Large and the Huge size that’s meant for sharing.  I ordered the Huge one and its literally HUGE, hahaha.  This time I love the Red Bean flavor though I haven’t tried the Coffee and Strawberry.

Bingsu

trying on the Red Bean Bingsu

trying on the Red Bean Bingsu

After this I’m really so happily stuffed.  All those are for free-tasting at least before they opened to public at around 9pm. The only thing I paid for is the Bingsu but I used the GCs that they gave to me earlier so technically its free, paying only around 30 bucks. It’s really fun at this Caffe Bene grand opening right? 🙂  By the way they still have a lot of other offerings like Signature Mocktails, Honey Bread, Yogurt smoothies, teas and cakes..can’t taste them all at the same time hahaha.

waiting for our FREE orders to come

waiting for our FREE orders to come

Ok, it’s time for the blogger mode to be switched off.  Fangirl mode on!  You really thought I forgot this part? Of course, not! In fact I tag along a fellow fangirl friend as my companion for this event. And most of the pictures I credit to her, thanks super Digi Arlene.  So aside from Caffe Bene being a Korean coffee shop what really made me aware of them is the fact that the Korean star and Asia Prince Jang Keun Suk is their current ambassador. I am a super fan of him since the 2009 hit k-drama You’re Beautiful days where he played the main role Taekyung.

Jang Keun Suk for Caffe Bene (credits to owner)

Jang Keun Suk for Caffe Bene (credits to owner)

My friends from Eels Philippines (a Jang Keun Suk fan club) swarmed the shop as long as it was opened to public.  We may be a bit disappointed that no single poster or tarp of Jang Keun Suk appeared in the shop but we are still there to support nevertheless.  JKS is still there for us, and literally he is there as we never fail to bring a picture of him along.  See evidences below. 🙂

me as a JKS fan JKS and Caffe Bene the Eels Philippines gang 2

the Eels Philippines gang

the Eels Philippines gang

Eels PH gang again

We have endlessly asked every barista and even Mr. Desmond and Derrick Chua when would the JKS items be available.  We are kinda “makulit” already but they gladly answered our queries and told us that they are very much aware of the fans’ countless request for those mugs and other souvenir JKS items.  They are still discussing it among themselves and coordinating with Korea on this matter as of my latest knowing.  So for the mean time let us just wait, patience is a virtue. 🙂  Anyway some Caffe Bene cups and tumblers are now available on sale.

espresso cup set cappuccino cup set

tumblers, cups and coffee beans for sale

tumblers, cups and coffee beans for sale

And last but not the least I wouldn’t miss the chance to pose along-side with the media personalites present and the people behind Caffe Bene Philippines.

with Mr. Desmond Chua, President of Caffe Bene Philippines

with Mr. Desmond Chua, President of Caffe Bene Philippines

with Ms. Sam Oh, the host of the event

with Ms. Sam Oh, the host of the event

with Tim Yap (he is so nice pala in person)

with Tim Yap (he is so nice pala in person)

with Mr. Seong Un Hwang, Korean Cultural Center Ph Director

with Mr. Seong Un Hwang, Korean Cultural Center Ph Director

with Jef of Marketing, Ms. Jenny (Caffe Bene Korea rep) and my fellow fangirl friend Arlene

with Jef of Marketing, Ms. Jenny (Caffe Bene Korea representative) and my fellow fangirl friend Arlene

The event launch was really a successful one, Congrats to Caffe Bene.  I went home not just with a box of freebies but an experience.  Thanks again for the invite.

photo booth souvenir pic

photo booth souvenir pic

box of freebies 1 IMG_4170

box of freebies

box of freebies

I have tasted the Bene Difference and now it’s time for you to try it for yourselves.  Korean fanatics and coffee-lovers come and visit them at the G/F of Eastwood Citywalk 2. Store hours are from 7am-1am Mon-Th, 7am-3:30am during Fri-Sat and at 10am-1am on Sundays.  Free wifi access is available.  After this grand opening night I have visited the shop for a couple of times more and they have pretty much a lot of customers already, both Korean and Filipino. Good luck Caffe Bene and again Kamsahamnida! 🙂

Caffe Bene Now Open at Eastwood

Taste the Bene Difference

Taste the Bene Difference

For more info check them out on their website at www.caffebene.com.ph, like them on Facebook caffebeneph or follow them on twitter @CaffeBenePH.

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Last year it was my dear inspiration Christian Bautista’s Bloggers conference that completed my 2011.  I can’t explain how I feel that time but let’s just say that I’m in a cloud nine moment.  My tummy’s trembling both in pressure and thrill as that fateful afternoon of November 13, 2011 came.  There I was seated with all the bloggers and throwing a question on the charming Asiansation Christian Bautista for the very first time.  It was really a dream come true for me.  An aspiring writer and fangirl wish granted.

I’m the girl seating 2nd to the right of Christian

And I really dressed up for this event only to see that most are in their jeans and shirt only.  Oh well you’d know that I am a fan in an instant. 🙂  A picture beside Christian sealed that day!  For a more detailed story see my full blog post

onsite Christian Bautista’s Bloggers Conference

the picture that completed the day!

This year, I think November is really a lucky month for me as I got another invite for a thing close to my heart.  As a testament of my Korean addiction and blogging world presence I got a seat at the grand opening event for media/press/bloggers of Korea’s No.1 coffee chain Caffe Bene in Eastwood.  As of writing they are opening tomorrow, November 29 at 8pm in Eastwood City Walk 2.  Thanks to this career blog post My Caffe Bene blog I have written and juggled in my busy full time corporate word that I’m getting this rare chance.

Caffe Bene sample interior (cr. to Caffe Bene Facebook)

Just thinking of being with all of these people of the writing and media world I can’t help but be elated. Caffe Bene is dubbed as Korea’s Starbucks in terms of popularity and number of stores.  It’s a favorite filming location of Korean dramas, the most recent and popular of which is Secreat Garden’s kilig scenes (for more information about Caffe Bene follow them on twiiter @CaffeBenePH) Anything about Korea ignites a smile on my face and to add more to my giggles the handsome Asia prince Jang Keun Suk (star of hit kdrama You’re Beautiful and the more recent Love Rain) endorses the brand.   Waah, I heart him much and this could be a chance of bringing him here in Manila.  So that’s two bird in one shot, blogging and Korean stuff, enough to make my hyperacidity attack again in excitement. 🙂

Caffe Bene website cover

Jang Keun Suk for Caffe Bene (credits to owner)

I am just thankful given the above two chances of a lifetime.  My blog has been up only for a year and I do not blog that often, posting only about 2-3 titles per month.  Despite of this I’m so grateful that rare chances to be on the limelight were presented to me and that’s a big thing for me.  I’m sincerely glad up to the top of my lungs.  It gives me a venue to post my craziness, the things I love and some inspirations to my readers.  I just wanted to thank all friends and colleagues who were so appreciative of the things I write.  Special mention to my creative writing friends who opened me up to pursue this thing and help me in my poetry, grammar and to learn more about my craft.  Looking forward to more next year as we are preparing a yet another dream come true for me.  Of course golf course I wouldn’t forget to thank Starbucks Matalino for being my friendliest and most conducive place to write.  Have written loads of things inside that corner in Matalino Street, I could not count them to date, hahaha. And they also helped me to promote my blog site as I get a lot of hits with my “Loving Starbucks Matalino” blog post. 🙂

So friends see yah all at Eastwood Caffe Bene grand opening tomorrow and hoping you will support me on my next blogging gig. 🙂  Fighting!

 

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I always have a soft spot for coffee shops.  It’s not so much of the coffee but the cozy ambiance is the one inviting me to sit, order a drink and stay for a long while.  I usually spend an hour or more just mumbling and pouring out my thoughts on the keyboard or a plain paper, the charming baristas of course add more flavor on my stay.  Aside from this guilty pleasure the other thing that keeps me alive is all about Korean stuff:  from Korean dramas, Korean heartthrobs, Kpop music, Korean make-up, soju, Melona ice cream or just plain seeing a Korean on the street makes my day.  Now put these two together, a Korean coffee shop soon to open in the Philippines by the name of Caffe Bene. OMG!

Caffe Bene…sounds familiar?  I have never heard of this Korean coffee franchise before, more so here in the Philippines.  I went to Seoul, Korea last 2010 but all I know then is the famous The First Shop of Coffee Prince plus the international US brand favourite Starbucks and the Dunkin Donuts in Myeondong which has a posh ambiance there (unlike here).  It’s just last month that I learned of this coffee house because it’s now endorsed by the Korean pretty boy Jang Geun Suk that I heart so much.  Of course I become curious when I saw the video of his TVC for Caffe Bene in Youtube.

Now you know why. 🙂 The news that it’s brewing soon here made me more engrossed.  I almost jump out of my bed while I’m online the other night when I found out where the coffee shop will be.   Of all places, it’s in Eastwood, just a 5-minute walk from my workplace.  So I decided to look and go around and see it for myself immediately the next day.  Good thing it’s a Friday so I have the luxury to stay out longer for lunch.  Literally and figuratively I’m excited much! When I saw the big tarp teaser I can’t help but to take photos.  Here are some of my proof. 🙂

Caffe Bene brewing soon in Eastwood teaser 🙂

Caffe Bene Eastwood Teaser – big cup

Caffe Bene Eastwood Teaser small cute cup

So what is Caffe Bene all about?  Apparently (upon research) Caffe Bene is not so new in Korea.  This Seoul-based coffee chain was founded in May 2008 by Sun-Kwon Kim, its current CEO.  It is now the largest coffee house in South Korea in terms of number of stores, more than 700 as of April 2012.  It even has branches outside Korea like New York and China (and soon here in the Philippines).  Caffe Bene is gaining much more popularity these days in Korean TV dramas, the most famous of which is the coffee “Crème Kiss” in the hit Secret Garden.  Yes, that playful and romantic act of Hyun Bin kissing the cappuccino foam off Ha Ji Won’s lip was shot inside a Caffe Bene shop. Thrilled with that trivia?  What more to be thrilled about than its new ambassador.  I bet its presence will even be higher not only in Korea but also in Asia with their very charming new face of Jang Keun Suk.

Jang Keun Suk for Caffe Bene (credits to JKSForever)

At this point I think Starbucks Matalino has found its rival in my heart.   I wish there will be Korean baristas to serve that looks equally charming with my Starbucks Matalino crush, hahaha.  Or maybe and just maybe the Asia Prince Jang Keun Suk himself will show up one day, serving like a barista.  OMO, OMO!  I will die for sure from his melting pretty smile.  I’m already dreaming guys just like all the Eels PH out there, right? I guess it would really be a “feels like I’m in the heart of Seoul” when I step inside its premises at the opening day.

Jang Keun Suk in barista uniform for Caffe Bene (credits to JKSForever)

Caffe Bene will be located at the Ground floor of Eastwood City Walk 2, beside Coffee Bean and just near Starbucks.  As of writing no exact opening date yet but I already signed myself in to be there at the opening day and blog about it.  Talk about Korean-addict I got a tweet reply from @CaffeBenePH that says they will update me once the date is set.  For now what can I do is pass by Eastwood City Walk more often hoping to get some buzz.  And just last Monday I happened to see some developments.  The tarp teaser is half way wrapped up and I can see the insides being constructed.  From the looks of it probably a month or so before it opens.  Oh I can’t wait!!

JKS for Caffe Bene (credits to JKSForever)

Just like other coffee shops Caffe Bene serves hot and cold coffee and non-coffee beverages and pastries plus its signature Belgium waffle and gelato.   As mentioned it will be sitting beside two established coffee shops but I think what would differentiate it from the rest is its Korean flavour and ambiance.  In addition, Caffe Bene features Misugaru drink, which “consists black sesame seeds, black bean, black and brown rice and barley” a healthy treat that makes it more different from the established Starbucks and Coffee Bean. I bet both the Korean fanatics and the plain coffee enthusiasts will try out and love to sip and eat here. For more information visit their official website at www.caffebene.co.kr 

Caffe Bene website cover

Caffe Bene in Seoul interior (credits to visitkorea website)

Just before I end, of course I wouldn’t miss taking a selca on this Korean spot, so what more if the coffee shop finally opens.  Just wait for my blog post.  Hope to see you all at Caffe Bene opening day soon. 🙂

the blogger and Korean addict onsite Caffe Bene Eastwood teser 🙂

Anyeonghaseyo!!  🙂

JKS for Caffe Bene (credits to JKSForever)

Thanks and credits to the following links and websites used as references to this blog post. 🙂

1.  Caffe Bene official website

www.caffebene.co.kr 

2.  VisitKorea – Official Site of  Korea Tourism Org

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1356206

3.  Wall Street Journal Asia Caffe Bene article

http://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2011/04/19/the-man-behind-the-fast-rise-of-caffe-bene/

4.  Wikipedia – Caffe Bene

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffe_Bene

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There’s one thing that made me look forward to the long weekend. It’s this Grand opening of Nature Republic, a popular Korean beauty shop at the 4th level of SM North The Block last November 4. It was a week of anticipation since I saw this wall picture of Nature Republic Philippines at Facebook.

It was a long Friday for me at work but the excitement kept me focused to finish my deliverables that day.  A Korean fangirl would not want to miss this event so I hurriedly get off from my workdesk around 7pm to catch at least the last couple of hours of the shop’s debut.  Luckily I managed to arrive there still fresh and full of energy.  It just made my day upon seeing the signage and of course the huge posters and standee of its Korean Hallyu star endorser, the pretty boy Jang Geun Suk.  Sukkie (as he fondly called by fans) became famous in the Philippines for You’re/He’s Beautiful and Marry Me Mary Korean dramas.

I really looked crazy as I take pictures without even stepping inside the store.   I was just mesmerized just from the outside.  No wonder when I get in I can’t stop from smiling.   The store is really full of JGS’s handsome face.

I was surprised that even at around 9pm customers are still flocking the store eager to try on anything. The saleslady who assisted me mentioned that in the morning the store was really full of customers, mostly were students.  Personally I got curious to try on this product, don’t ask why. 🙂

Exclusively for the opening day the store has a lot of promotions for the shoppers.  For a purchase of 3 bottles of nail polish (regular at 65 pesos each and their premium line at around 300) you get this cute clear pouch with Jang Geon Suk’s startling face.  As a nail polish lover and a Jang Geun Suk fan I grabbed this promo.

For the first 200 customers with a purchase of at least Php 500 one gets a choice of BB cream, facial wash a JGS standee or a poster.  Hmm, it’s hard to choose right; the freebies are all enticing to the senses.

Just recently I became a fan of facial masks so this one gets me knocked down – Free JGS facial mask for a purchase of a bottle of clay mask.

Nature Republic boosts of its cosmetics and skincare products made from nature and I  must say that the store ambiance is really greeny fresh.

After literaly touring the store, its time to finalize items to buy.  I’m a known fickle minded when it comes to choosing and its really hard since I want to try everything I see.  Finally I head into the counter and this is what I saw. OMO!  A blown up poster of Sukkie.

I can’t help it and blurted “Ang gwapo”.  I then asked them if it’s near possible now that he will visit Philippines soon since he’s their product endorser.  The promo ladies at the cashier booth asked me if I’m a fan.  Obviously I said yes and here’s what they buzzed me, Jang Geun Suk is coming here in April 2012, OMG! They are not just sure of the details if it’s a concert or just a tour to promote Nature Republic here in the Philippines.  All they say is that more or less 99% Sukkie is flying here next year.  Happiness much!

To complete my day and surely all fanatics will envy me.   Here’s my Sukkie experience, hahaha, pseudo of course with this giant poster and standee.  Enjoy girls.  Super thank you for the saleslady who volunteered taking my picture without even asking her. 🙂

I clearly remember doing this thing when I visited Korea last year the time when Rain is still the product endorser.  I crazily pose in front of the Nature Republic store in Myeongdong Seoul.  They are really fond of having this giant sized poster.

It’s no doubt I enjoyed this store Grand Opening day.  In my delight I asked a store assistant to pose for a shot as a way of showing my appreciation.  She gladly did with a smile and take note the mirror reflects JGS smile too.  Heaven.

Here’s what I brought home, aside from a happy heart – a limited edition JGS paper bag full of natural products to try on.  As one of the last few customers of the day I feel lucky enough to have not one, but three freebies:  a facial wash, the JGS clear pouch and of course a poster!  I even signed on a membership card that’s free for a purchase of at least 1000 pesos.  It gives an instant 10% discount on my purchase and a lot of exclusive perks for Nature Republic patrons.

I think I will love this store in the next few months not just because of its endorser but mostly of their organic products for a reasonable price and a very good customer service.  Another brand addition to my Korean kikay kit.  Friends don’t be surprised if my Christmas gifts will mostly come from this shop.  Nature Republic can also be found at Festival Mall Alabang, their first store here in the Philippines.  Soon to open in SM Fairview on Nov 11.  So girls and ladies rush to the shop near you.  I’m sure they will extend the store promotions mentioned (while stocks last) and even have new ones as they promote this new Korean beauty brand in the Philippines.

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