There was a time that Manila was referred to as the "Pearl of the Orient", or the "Paris of the East". It was beautiful back then - majestic rivers, crystal clear Pasig river, horse-drawn calesas passing by busy streets where neo-classical structures towered Manileños who were taking life one day at a time. Old Manila used to be one of the most beautiful cities in Asia. However, this Manila people referred to as majestic now remains frozen in photographs and memories of those who lived through that era.
So imagine our excitement when we saw a dilapidated structure of the past brought back to life?
In 1946, post-war, people flocked the city in search of new beginnings. This brought about the increased demand for housing and real estate. Laperal Apartments was one of the buildings that first towered Calle Azcarraga, now known as Claro M. Recto Avenue --- marking the start of Manila's recovery. It has housed famous businesses, such as Estrel's Cakeshop!
By the 21st century, you'd think the Laperal was a goner - I mean it was dilapidated, and there was hardly anything that could be salvable.
However, its current owners started work on Laperal for about two and a half years after they bought it. They wanted to bring back its original purpose— a top of the line space with good art and good architecture anyone can proudly call home.
Last week, Bobby & I got the privilege to witness the grand opening of Youniversity Suites. We felt like college students again (though college wasn't too long ago for us). Loud music, lots of food and people and just a wholesome good vibe The place itself is very inviting and pleasant, especially because there are so many stalls and shops that you don't even have to leave the place to find your creature comforts. Honestly, it made us both nostalgic in a way; both of us were thinking about our college days the whole night and just thinking about the possibilities if this type of place was accessible to us back then. Youniversity really balances fun and studies. A place where students can literally chill (cause the whole building has aircon), where students can meet and catch up with their friends and family while staying well inside secure doors. I really wouldn't be surprised when places like these start popping-up beside popular colleges across the nation.
Thoughtfully restored and transformed into a student's haven, it breaks all stereotypes and definitions of what we typically know as dorms.
Undergrads studying around Manila's U-Belt can now occupy the 85 semi-furnished units that fills about half of the place. The other half? Well, there's a wide range of budget friendly food stalls, restaurants, boutique shops and other diverse services to make any student's life easy peasy. Here's a photo tour of the place!
Let's take a look at what's new!
The Youniversity Suites have quick access to the L.A. Village ~ a vintage-inspired commercial complex which offers four fours of fun, food and entertainment.
A wide range of budget-friendly food stalls and restaurants serving authentic cuisines also await ~ from Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese and of course, Filipino! There are also restaurants and cafes such as Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Hot Stars, and more!
Imagine all the things you can do at Youniversity!
There's FREE WiFi, roof terraces and sky lounges for all the students to chill out! There's also a gym, infinity pool, parking spaces, and more!
Each semi-furnished dormitory room at Youniversity Suites has a bunk bed, kitchen with granite countertop, and private toilet & bath!
There are rooms for one, two and for four! All rates range from P 10,000 and below per person depending on what you're getting and how long you'll be staying.
Imagine being able to stay with your friends here! Or for the parents reading this - doesn't this look something out of your pin boards on Pinterest? If Yñigo had to live in Manila area, it's going to be a no-brainer for us -- he'll definitely stay here!
We've yet to bring Yñigo here for a family food trip we're planning out soon - but with everything Bobby and I saw, we are just too happy.
It really brings back the glory days of Manila. Though it is not exactly how it was before, it definitely imbibes the life of what Old Manila had in it. Revived and breathing a second life it deserves. The Youniversity Suites is the place to be! This piece of history was resurrected for everyone to appreciate, and enjoy - so make sure, even if it's generally far away, to book a trip to this place. There's a lot waiting for everyone there.
For parents looking for a dorm in Manila their kids or teens can stay in, please do check out this place! Really is worth it also considering the thought put it in the architecture, and the efforts they made to bring optimal comfort for a price that doesn't break the bank!