Manila Shopping Guide and Tips: Divisoria, Malls, Markets and the Art of Haggling
Even with the advent of humongous shopping malls about twenty years ago, these special trade centers survived the onslaught of the suction effect of nearby malls sucking economic life from traditional downtown places. One prime example of this is Raon, now called Gonzalo Puyat St., in Quiapo Manila. It's not as grand as Tokyo's Akihabara but electronics shops still line the street even selling DIY kits of videoke machines with coin slots (this used to be Tutubi's favorite haunt before he got the photography bug thereby shifting his attention to nearby photographers' haven on Hidalgo St.)
Where to buy list of areas lined with specialty shops, some of them cheaper due to bulk orders:
Guitars and Musical Instruments - V. Mapa St corner Magsaysay Boulevard (near SM Centerpoint); also Raon in Quiapo, Manila
Computers, PC accessories and gadgets - Gilmore and Hemady Streets corner Aurora Blvd, New Manila (near LRT 2 Gilmore station)
Construction supplies and home building - EDSA from Munoz up to Balintawak, Quezon City
School and office supplies - Yuchengco St (formerly Nueva) Binondo, Sto. Cristo St., Divisoria
Gold jewelries (Chinese) - Ongpin St, Binondo (Manila Chinatown)
Chinese Medicine - Ongpin St. in Chinatown, Binondo, Manila
Pearls and Jewelries- Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan; Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Electronic parts and fixtures - Raon St. (Gonzalo Puyat), Quiapo, Manila
DVDs and CDs (mostly pirated music and movies) -
Eyeglasses/optometrists - Paterno St, Quiapo (parallel to Raon)
Industrial tools and supplies - T. Alonzo St, Sta. Cruz, Manila
Cannibalized parts of old houses - Dimasalang St. near Dangwa bus terminal
Car parts and accessories - Banaue St, Quezon city
Printers (invitations for weddings, and other events) - C.M. Recto avenue (mendiola to rizal avenue)
Art supplies - Avenida/Recto area in Sta Cruz, Manila
Cross stitch threads and supplies - Hidalgo St, Quiapo (near the terminal of Balic-balic and Lealtad jeepneys)
Picture frames - Andalucia St. near Central Market and Fugoso St
Flowers - Dangwa area on Dos Castillas St, Sampaloc, Manila (near A.H. Lacson St. (formerly Gov. Forbes))
Camera and Photography stuff (lenses, tripods, filters et al) and photo printing - Hidalgo St., Quiapo, Manila (the street in front of Quiapo Church)
Pets (some pet shops sell endangered, protected, smuggled thereby banned animals e.g birds, aquarium fishes, turtles, piranhas) - Aranque Market, Sta. Cruz, Manila and Cartimar, Pasay City
Birds, besides Aranque Market and Cartimar, there's the Weekend Bird Tiangge in Hulo, Malabon beside Hulo Market. Saturday and Sunday mornings
Antiques - Ermita, Manila and Bangkal, Makati (Evangelista, Hizon and Apolinario Sts)
Old CDs, memorabilia - marikina shoe expo (Cubao X), Bangkal, Makati
Native handicrafts and artworks - Quinta Market, Quiapo and Dapitan Arcade, both in Manila
Fruits - Carmen Planas St, Divisoria; Carvajal St, Binondo, Manila
Toys - Tabora St, Divisoria
Dry Goods - Ylaya St, Divisoria,
Dental and medical supplies - Avenida from Recto to Bambang, Fugoso St, Sta. Cruz, Manila
Baking and Cooking - Asuncion St, Divisoria, Manila
Fabrics/Textiles (muslin, rayon, poplin, polyester, cotton, knit, piña) - Ilaya St in Divisoria, Manila or Kamuning Market in Quezon City
Religious Sculptures - Tayuman St., Sta. Cruz near LRT Tayuman Station
Dentures, retainers, braces and other dental items: San Miguel, Manila at the back of CEU
Seafoods - Aranque Market in Sta. Cruz, and areas called Dampa and Seaside (if you want to buy them in bulk, you can go to Navotas fishport for the traditional "bulongan/bulungan" (whisper) negotiation
Lechon (roast pig) - La Loma District of Quezon City
Bearings and Oil Seals - Masangkay St., Sta Cruz, Manila
Lighting Fixtures, lightbulbs - Soler St., Sta Cruz, Manila
Signs and signboards - Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City
Trophies, plaques, medals - V. Mapa St corner Magsaysay Boulevard (near SM Centerpoint) in San Juan; also Raon in Quiapo, Manila
Kris, Knives, swords, Muslim wares - the sidewalks of Quiapo, Manila
Herbal medicines, folk cures, abortifacients (euphemistically called pamparegla)- Quiapo near the church
Uniforms (made-to-order Military Uniforms, belts, bags and combat boots for
CMT/ROTC, NBA basketball clubs and other sports) - Quezon Boulevard northbound in Quiapo and a stretch of Recto from Avenida to Mendiola)
Books, Textbooks and pocketbooks (used/second hand) - CM. Recto Avenue in the University Belt (just before the MMDA cleared the sidewalks)
Motorcycles, motorbikes, bikes, mopeds, scooters, vespa - the so-called Motorcycle City on 10th Avenue near Monumento in Caloocan City
Metal works and stainless steel equipment like rotisserie - MacArthur Highway, Valenzuela City (similar place in Cavite)
Ukay-ukay (used clothes, shoes, bags) - Bambang St. Sta. Cruz, Manila near LRT Bambang station
Vegetables at "Bagsakan" price - Balintawak Market (bagsak presyo)
Itlog na Maalat (salted eggs), Balut (aborted duck embryos) and alfombra footwear - Pateros
Kakanin (Filipino desserts e.g. bibingka, sapin-sapin and pichi-pichi) - Bonifacio St., Cainta (Rizal) near Cainta Church
Mobility Aids (wheelchairs, crutches and walkers) - Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Cainta, Rizal
Diplomas (any school), certificates, fake IDs - "Recto University," Quiapo, Manila
Snake Oil, the effervescent cure all - C.M. Recto, just look for curious people in groups and loud voices reciting an endless litany of diseases that can be cured by their "panacea" :P
This list is not exhaustive, other people may have similar "secret shopping places" unknown to Tutubi
There are various factory outlet stores scattered in Metro Manila but there's still nothing similar to Hong Kong's Citygate Outlets where branded items are sold at big discounts. The Designer Depot at the corner of Quirino Avenue and Osmena Highway falls short of the mark (besides being in a dangerous place to be stuck in traffic)
Markets, Tiangge, Bazaars et al
Divisoria: comparable to Bangkok's Chatuchak market, where you can buy anything under the sun at dirt cheap prices. There's also 168 Mall, something like Divisoria with air-conditioner. Other malls include Tutuban Center, Meisic Mall and Divisoria Mall. It can be reached via jeepneys on Taft Avenue (where the LRT runs) with signboard Divisoria. From Cubao, better take the LRT 2, get off at Recto station then transfer to jeepneys with Divisoria signboards. (Note: you can't ride the LRT if you have too much baggage with you)
How to get to Divisoria
located near the popular Redemptorist Church and accessible via LRT Baclaran station. If you're coming from Quezon City, you can take the MRT, get off at the last station (Taft Avenue) then transfer to the LRT or board a Baclaran-bound jeepney.
C.M. Recto St, Sta. Cruz, Manila
How to get there: walking distance from LRT 2 Recto station or LRT Doroteo Jose station. Jeepneys going to Divisoria from Cubao will take you there or those jeepneys plying Rizal Avenue (just alight on Recto corner Rizal Avenue (Avenida))
Kamuning St., Quezon City (near Delgado Hospital)
How to get there: Take the MRT and alight at GMA-Kamuning Station. Walk a little towards Kamuning (or Kamias Street) then ride a jeepney with Quiapo signboard and request the driver to drop you off the the market. Fare is just the minimum. Alternatively, jeepneys in Quiapo with signboard Project 2-3 pass by the place.
Dangwa Flower Market
Stretch of Dos Castillas St from Dimasalang, Laong-laan and Dapitan St, Sampaloc, Manila
Flowers (e.g. mums, gerberas, roses, anthuriums, tulips, et al) for any occasion at wholesale prices. It's named after the nearby transport terminal where buses from Baguio City arrive with loads of fresh flowers from the city of pines.
How to get there: From Quiapo, board jeepneys with signboard Dimasalang or Dapitan and drop off when you see the flower shops after crossing Gov. Forbes (now A.H. Lacson). Alternatives: from LRT Tayuman station, ride jeepneys going to Lardizabal and request the driver to drop you there. Conversely, from LRT 2 Pureza station, walk towards Lardizabal St and board jeepneys going to Tayuman. (for those with cars, only street parking is available so park at your own risk)
Bangkal Vintage Shopping
Evangelista, Apolinario and Hizon Streets, Bangkal, Makati
How to get there: Board jeepneys with signboard Evangelista on Taft Avenue from LRT Libertad station. You may also take the MRT get off at Magallanes station then flag a taxi to take you there.
Address: Dapitan St, between Mayon and Kanlaon Streets, the border of Manila and Quezon City
How to get there: From Quiapo, board a jeepney with Dapitan signboard and drop off near the arcade.
For those tourists looking for regional specialties like food, pasalubong and almost anything under the sun: Manila's Weekend Markets
Sidcor-Centris Sunday Market
Eton Centris Walk
EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
Every Sunday, 6am to 12nn
Remarks: One of Tutubi's favorite food trip destinations
How to get there: walking distance from MRT Quezon Avenue station
Legazpi Sunday Market
Legazpi Village, San Lorenzo Village
Every Sunday 9am to 4pm
How to get there: From LRT Gil Puyat Station, board bus with Ayala/Rustans on the signboard and alight on Ayala Avenue corner Rufino (formerly HerreraSt., where the conductor will shout Rufino, PBCOM, Paseo). Walk back towards Rufino, turn left and continue walking until you the market at the corner of Legaspi and Herrera St.
Salcedo Weekend Market (Saturday)
Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Every Saturday 7am to 2pm
How to get there: From MRT Gil Puyat station, board a jeepney going to LRT/Taft or Washington then alight at the corner of Buendia and Tordesillas/Malugay. Cross Buendia and walk along Tordesillas St until you see the park with stalls. Alternatively, from LRT Buendia station, board a jeepney with signboard Guadalupe and alight at the corner of Buendia and Tordesillas [landmarks: Ministop, Philtrust Bank and Jollibee]. From that corner, Velasquez Park is just about 200 meters away.
Alabang Organic Market
Location: Narra Parking lot in front of Corte de las Palmas
Saturday, 6am to 12nn
Northeast Greenhills Weekend Market,
Connecticut St., Greenhills, San Juan
Located near Greenhills Shopping Center
Sunday, 7am to 12nn
Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Mostly food and dry goods catering to call center employees
Saturday, 2:30 am to 1 pm
Cuenca Community Bazaar
Cuenca Community Center, Ayala-Alabang
Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 9pm
(until Dec. 21, 2008)
(Last month, there was Pick Manila weekend market at Celadon Residences near SM San Lazaro (that shopping mall that erased the historic San Lazaro racetrack, reason why Tutubi hates you, SM San Lazaro). Tutubi also heard of the Malatapay Wednesday Market in Zamboanguita near Dumaguete. Will try to check it out should he return there)
The Usual Shopping Malls:
The Philippines' malls are like mini-cities by themselves with supermarkets, department stores, lots of mall spaces for lease, movie cinemas, game arcades, gardens, restaurants, food courts and others you don't normally find in malls of other countries. They're open all throughout the year from 10am to 9pm on Monday to Thursday and 10am to 10pm from Friday to Sunday. Malls are usually closed during Holy Week particularly Holy Thursday and Good Friday (there are exceptions though like SM City Baguio). SM malls open at 12nn on All Saints Day.
SM, the largest mall operator has malls in almost every major city of the Philippines with SM Mall of Asia the largest of them all fronting the historic Manila Bay.
Robinsons also operate malls with numerous ones in the National Capital Region and a few locations outside the metropolis.
Ayala malls include Glorietta 1-5 and Greenbelt 1-5, in Makati, Trinoma in Quezon City and Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa. There also is Ayala Center in Cebu City. Glorietta and Greenbelt are walking distance from MRT Ayala station while Alabang Town Center needs a bus ride to Alabang, south of Makati.
Upscale malls with branded items are Greenbelt 4 and 5 in Makati, Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and Rustans malls in various locations in Metro Manila.
Bonifacio Global City
How to get there: From MRT Guadalupe station, board a jeepney with Market! on the signboard. Alternately, from MRT Ayala station (EDSA corner Ayala Avenue), there are buses servicing The Fort whose routes end at Market!Market!
Greenhills Shopping Center
City of San Juan
How to get there: From MRT Ortigas Avenue station, walk towards Robinsons Galleria then board a jeep going to San Juan. Buses of G Liner and RRCG servicing Cainta to Quiapo, Manila route pass by the place.
HK Sun Plaza
Macapagal Avenue and Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
mostly Hong Kong style shopping of made in china products. reported to be suppliers of merchants of 168 Mall, Baclaran and Divisoria
Tiendesitas on Ortigas Avenue corner C5 inside Frontera Verde.
Other malls are Metropolis in Alabang, Starmall on EDSA Mandaluyong
Isn't the Philippines a real shopping mecca?
Credit Cards and Shopping Money:
Public markets are mostly cash-only except some establishments accepting credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, JCB) or debit card POS payments (BancNet, BDO, BPI and Landbank).
Chinese nationals holding debit cards of China Union Pay (CUP) can withdraw cash from BancNet ATMs or pay for their goods using Point-of-Sale systems (POS) at SM groceries, supermarkets and other accredited establishments.
ATMs (cash machines) are conveniently located inside malls or just the periphery. Banco de Oro ATMs are all over SM as well as Chinabank due to their connection with the owner while BPI ATMs are scattered in Ayala-owned malls of Glorietta, Greenbelt and Trinoma.
There are also some establishments, including SM supermarket and department stores, accepting payments by swiping ATM cards (debit cards) at Point-of-Sale terminals (POS) using BPI EPS, Landbank, BDO and all BancNet member banks.
The Art of Haggling
Haggling is an art practiced by Filipinos in markets, bazaars and tiangge, where the posted or advertised prices can be brought down to a small percentage of the price. You can always ask for discounts and bargains by polite request or banter, at times starting at half the price and working from there until both of you agree at the price.
For foreigners, vendors will try to quote a price much higher than what locals get. The trick is to let a local do the negotiations, particularly someone who knows a little about the language, if not a local of the place. This is just one of the reasons why Tutubi tries to learn the local language instead of using Tagalog, he wants to get items at a local, not a touristy, price. In case you have no companion, wait until a local inquires about the price of the merchandise then buy at the same price the local got it.
Tutubi is not an expert on this but he also knows how to haggle, particularly when he senses the price needs to be lowered. If in case haggling can only bring a minimal discount or if he's feeling charitable, he won't haggle for a lower price, he just thinks he's actually helping the vendor earn a decent living rather than give dole-outs to indolent people around town.
Safety and Security:
Some of the areas mentioned, e.g. Divisoria and Baclaran, are littered with pickpockets, thieves, snatchers (cellphones usually) and other petty criminals. Some nooks and crannies are also particularly considered not safe at night. As general rules, use common sense, have a companion if possible, be on your guard always, dress down, don't make yourself an attractive target for crooks and you'll be fine.
It's due to these concerns plus the incovenient, non-airconditioned spaces that people with money to burn prefer to shop in Manila's gigantic shopping malls, at least three of them included in the ten largest malls in the world - SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall and SM City North EDSA - so much for a third world country that can lay claim to the title Mall Capital of Asia, if not of the world.
Buying pirated DVDs and CDs is one of the causes of the ailing movie and music industries. Piracy is now also linked to terrorism where terrorists use funds to finance their death-mongering ways in the name of religion.
Develop an eye for authentic stuff to avoid getting duped e.g. how would you know if pearls are real? Tutubi found this out in Greenhills from a stall attendant: real pearls when scratched can be buffed and returned to it's smooth sparkling beauty; synthetic pearls scratches can't be removed easily.
Buying endangered wildlife encourages smuggling and poaching, driving some of the animals to the brink of extinction. Please don't buy them. You may also get in trouble with the law, particularly the Protected Animals and Welfare Bureau (PAWB). Animals taken from the wild seldom survive long in captivity and can carry dangerous viruses-- remember SARS, AIDS and bird flu!
Be mindful of excess baggage rates of your airline. Paying for excess baggage charges may be more expensive than buying things at your neighborhood shopping place.
For foreigners, be wary of duties and taxes on returning to your home country. You may have to pay more for customs duties when you arrive at the airport plus some items may not be permitted for entry due to restrictions and quarantine requirements.
Lastly, recommend buying Philippine-made products if price and quality is at par with others. It's good for the economy.
Camera Shops on Hidalgo St., Quiapo, Manila
Dangwa Cheap Flowers
posted by GingGoy @ 10:32 PM,
- At Nov 2, 2008, 12:10:00 AM, carlotta1924 said...
i can spend the whole day just browsing around cubao x's antique stores. love it there :D btw, if you're a music lover, there's also this shop that sells LPs and old vinyl records. it's in UP village at the corner of maginhawa st. and another street going to UP (forgot the name tho :().
thanks also for the tip on cannibalized houses. might visit the place when i'm free.
- At Nov 2, 2008, 3:49:00 AM, Akilez said...
So, What's the new name for Balete?
- At Nov 2, 2008, 6:55:00 AM, x said...
oh, tutubi!!!!!!! i've always wanted to go to dv but never get the chance to see it when i am in manila.
this list is just what i need and will need. hehe. i am so going to bookmark it. haha!
thank you. very helpful :D
- At Nov 2, 2008, 8:43:00 AM, GingGoy said...
carlotta, i think i already saw that store selling old LPs but I listed areas with stores specializing in the same items, sort of like "birds of the same feather," and not single shops like it. will also revisit the place someday
achilles, sorry but i got confused. balete drive is parallel to hemady, broadway centrum and gilmore. i also pass by that area at night and see nothing unusual.
acey, divisoria as a tourist attraction...just take care if you happen to go there
- At Nov 2, 2008, 10:43:00 AM, Sidney said...
Wow...you did your homework !
I will keep this post for reference and when I need to do some shopping.
- At Nov 2, 2008, 1:05:00 PM, Kyels said...
This is one thing I suck at - haggling!
- At Nov 2, 2008, 3:44:00 PM, said...
- At Nov 2, 2008, 4:13:00 PM, GingGoy said...
sidney, this has been in my drafts for the longest time. just found the time to update and post the information
kyels, you can always practice. i remember in India when i taught Koreans i'm with the art of haggling. One of the koreans told me i'm such an "economic" guy when i was able to haggle for a 20% discount on our souvenirs :P
- At Nov 2, 2008, 11:56:00 PM, Gypsy said...
This is an excellent, excellent post! I will send this link to my expat friends! Thanks loads!
- At Nov 3, 2008, 2:50:00 PM, aldrinbee said...
i've been to some of the place you mentioned from Raon to Greenhills to Ongpin to Salcedo weekend market to Divisoria but there is one thing I can't truly master and my wife is very good at. It's the haggling thingy! Sometimes i feel a bit ashamed when she opens up the haggle to 1/3 of the given price. But she manages to get it most of the time!
LOL at Recto University... fake IDs nyahahaha!
- At Nov 4, 2008, 12:03:00 AM, escape said...
this is one of the best post here. i really need this list because you can really save a lot if you really know where you can buy it at lower prices. you can also include Evangelista in Pasay/Makati for car accessories.
thank you very much for the reference. this will definitely be something ill keep.
- At Nov 4, 2008, 2:42:00 AM, Nina said...
wow, this is an extensive list!
Why I can't subscribe to your feeds via google reader?
- At Nov 4, 2008, 9:29:00 PM, GingGoy said...
gypsy, thanks for the excellent remarks :P
aldrin, so ano U cert gusto mo?
the Dong, thanks for the tip. This list has been in my drafts for more than a year. it's just now that i posted it :P
nina, I tried it myself, it works. i redirected my feeds to feedburner. try to use the feed URL at the feeds button below
- At Nov 5, 2008, 1:09:00 AM, escape said...
just in time for christmas! shopping time na kasi.
- At Nov 5, 2008, 5:46:00 AM, Photo Cache said...
Such a comprehensive post. Very educational too. And fitting especially with the holiday shoppping in the offing.
- At Nov 5, 2008, 1:20:00 PM, said...
And to get cheap and full meals, visit the restaurants around schools :)
- At Jun 24, 2009, 7:49:00 AM, said...
my friend and i will going to divisoria next week,taga baguio sya,sasamahan ko lang mamili dun,i just want to ask/know where is the nearest bus terminal there..to baguio,para derecho na raw sya sa pag-uwi.thank you very much sa mag rereply.
- At Jun 25, 2009, 9:42:00 AM, GingGoy said...
anonymous, in there are jeepneys in Divisoria going to Cubao where Victory liner is located. The nearest that i know of is Philippine Rabbit bus terminal near the corner of C.M. Recto and Avenida (Rizal Avenue) and just s short jeepney ride away from Divisoria (just board Cuabo or San Juan-bound jeepneys to get there and alight when you see the LRT train tracks
- At Jul 3, 2009, 5:51:00 PM, said...
another way of telling if your pearls are the real thing is to slide the pearl on your teeth. it it feels
smooth, its probably a fake. it its rough, its the real thing.
- At Jul 3, 2009, 6:22:00 PM, GingGoy said...
lynet, that's another tip on buying pearls. thanks
- At Mar 16, 2010, 7:48:00 PM, said...
Thanks. I will save this on my phone.
- At Apr 8, 2010, 2:08:00 PM, bebe said...
hi... there... please let me know where can i buy bulk of MUSLIN COTTON/FABRIC & BROWN PAPER BAGS. So much interested for this product for our export business purposes. Please...Thanks a lot.Kindly, txt me at 0939-537-7030/7031. or e-mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
- At Apr 23, 2010, 8:35:00 PM, said...
Good day... Hi please let me know where to buy branded items on cheap price....I have heard that there's a factory outlet along quirino highway going to road of paco market... I just don't know how to get there...if somebody knows the exact address please let know plus a landmark...thanks a lot.hope sombody can tell me....
- At Apr 24, 2010, 5:51:00 PM, GingGoy said...
anonymous, you may be referring to Designer Depot at the corner of Quirino Avenue and Osmena Highway. It's indeed a well-known factory outlt with trailers as stores, it's fairly noticeable and a landmark in itself. It's on your right on SLEX/Osmena hiway if you come from makati. no direct jeepney or bus routes pass there though if you intend on commuting
- At Sep 14, 2010, 5:21:00 PM, said...
Yeah, nice to shop at this places, very low price but be wise only, not all cheap products are good.
- At Dec 6, 2010, 2:12:00 PM, Manouchka said...
Shopping in Fort Bonifacio is also great for Christmas gifts, so much choice at great prices!
- At Jan 23, 2011, 6:01:00 PM, said...
Great post Keep it up
- At Sep 15, 2011, 2:36:00 PM, said...
Super excellent post! Thank you so much.
- At Apr 20, 2012, 8:19:00 PM, G.J said...
you have been provided us a great budget to setup a trip.
- At Jun 13, 2012, 2:46:00 AM, said...
Shoes - Marikina?
Thanks for the post. Very helpful.
- At Jun 29, 2016, 3:12:00 PM, Unknown said...
Where to buy picture frame in Divisoria. Thank you