SM Mall of Asia (Part 1)
The SM Mall of Asia is a shopping mall that opened in the Pasay area of Manila on May 2006 and is the Philippines’ largest mall, surpassing its cousin, SM Megamall, and the third biggest mall in the world in terms of gross floor size. I have been there a few times and it is really huge with lots of retail shops, restaurants and there is even an indoor skating rink and a very big Shoe Mart (SM) department store there. This is worth checking out when you are in Manila.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
168 Shopping Mall: "Bargainville" of Manila
168 Shopping Mall is a wholesale and retail shopping mall in Divisoria ("Bargainville" of Manila) with the modern sophistication and clean, decent ambiance of commercial centers like Greenhills, Market Market in The Fort, and supermalls in Makati. I go there occasionally because it is a shopper's paradise.
I usually avoid Divisoria though it is considered a shoppers’ mecca because I can't stand the dirty and polluted environment; yet, I when I need to buy bargain items in wholesale quantities, I find it convenient to shop at 168's airconditioned stalls. I was surprised that all kinds of shoppers, from Class A-E fashionistas to the street vendors patronize their stalls. A self-confessed shopper there is the former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
I recommend 168 because some of their items like ready-to-wear clothes are 50% cheaper than the ones sold in Greenhills, and of course, much, much cheaper than in SM malls..
What to buy: At 168, you'll find all kinds of commodities, from novelty items, bags, shoes, toys, hardware, RTW's, etc.
Note: No photos in this tip because I don't bring my camera to Divisoria.
What to pay: Your P1,000 will already buy 4-5 pieces of blouses.Related to:
- Road Trip
SM Mall of Asia (Part 2)
In late Nov 2007, I managed to visit SM Mall of Asia again and is still amazed by the sheer size of this shopping mall (one of the biggest in the world). Besides housing two big department stores (Shoe Mart and Hypermart), there are tons of retail shops, cinemas, a food court, a skating rink, lots of food outlets and restaurants etc). If you are a shopping fanatic, you need to spend at least a few days here :)Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
There is a big handicraft and souvenir shop near to the entrance of Fort Santiago known as the Mananzan Hadicrafts shop. There are lots of local handicrafts and souvenirs here which are at a reasonable price, and the best thing is you can take your own time to walk around and choose your items. The service staff are very friendly as well.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
Shopping at Makati area
The Makati area of Metro Manila is perhaps the most famous shopping area of the city. Most of the skyscrapers of the city are located here together will big shopping malls, hotels etc. The main street of Makati area is Ayala Street, where you find many hotels. The major shopping centre at Makati is the Glorietta shopping centre which has 4 annexes known as Glorietta 1, Glorietta 2, Glorietta 3 and Glorietta 4. There are lots of shops here, including cinemas and the famous department store called Shoemart (or SM in short). Next to the Glorietta shopping centre is the Landmark shopping centre and across the road (via a bridged walkway) is the Greenbelts shopping centre. The famous Ayala Museum is located just next to Greenbelts shopping centre. Overall, Makati is a good shopping area, plus a good place to hangout because of the many restaurants, pubs etc.
Please note that whenever you enter a shopping centre, there will be a simple security check which can slow down your entry to the shopping centres on a crowded day. Also, do note that there are separate doors for entrance and exit (these are clearly marked on the door).Related to:
- Family Travel
- Women's Travel
"Tiangge" is a Filipino term for market stalls. Greenhills shopping center is popular for this kind of shopping atmosphere. Actually, there are a number of small malls and a supermarket within the complex but it is the numerous tiangges that draw the people in. Here you can find all kinds of clothes and shoes, mostly knock-offs or imitation brands and cellphones and related services (the technicians can do anything with your phone, ringtones, etc.). In addition, there is a large congregation of stalls which mainly sells pearls and other kind of jewelry. Remember to look around first and BARGAIN!Add to your Trip Planner
Mall of Asia: Mall of Asia
Mall of Asia exactly adjacent to Manila Bay. The shopping experience is second to none, even by western standards. It is once the largest mall in the Philippines until the redevelopment of SM North Edsa. After shopping, you can also check out the restaurants facing the Manila Bay.
(photo from photobucket)Add to your Trip Planner
Greenhills Shopping Center: Shoppers Haven
It is a shopping haven for a person who likes to bargain, it is considered as the number 1 place to shop in Manila. You need to be in the frame of mind to 'negotiate' on price and can't be in a rush. A lot of 'knock off' merchandise but a lot of choices. Get awesome deals from designer knock offs to fine pearls. The atmosphere is quite different from other malls around Manila but the shopping experience is guaranteed to be ultimate shopping paradise.
(photo from Google images)Add to your Trip Planner
National Bookstore: One-Stop- Bookshop
No filipino haven't been to the very reliable National Bookstore. Every kid who's about to enter school would end up shopping at National Bookstore for their school supplies.
I used to be here as a student for my back-to-school shopping, then later for books.
Prices are affordable and reasonable. Recently, they implemented the Laking National Bookstore cards where frequent customers can avail of bonus points for every P100 purchase. How cool!
For someone like me who has a passion for reaing, this place is simply 'heaven'.
What to buy: books - all kinds
What to pay: Items can be as cheap as P12 for a ballpen and as expensive as P4000+ for a hardbound book.Related to:
- Family Travel
My shop: Pearl of the Orient
The Philippines is known as the Pearl of the Orient*. Here different kinds of pearls abound - mother of pearl, fresh water, cultured pearls. Aside from your usual strand of pearl necklace and earrings, pearls and shells are fashioned into boxes, curtains, placemats and plates.
If you are interested in any of these, please send me an email.
What to buy: On the picture is a mother of pearl necklace which I am sure any woman will love to have in her jewelry box.
What to pay: Mother of pearl necklace - $10-$20, depending on quality.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Quiapo Area (the MLQU side): DVD DVD!
This is not a single shop but city blocks of commercial stalls awash with music, video or installer discs 100% "illegal copies" - oh my badness why am I saying these!
What to buy: Music CDs, Videoke CDs/DVDs, Movie DVDs, Compilation DVDs of your favourite TV shows (from soap operas to documentaries), application installer CDs, educational discs from Dora to Barney to Sesame Street and more - oh my badness why am I telling all these!
What to pay: everything for sale at as cheap as P10 (yep 10 pesos) per disc - and some of them are 6 titles in 1 disc!Related to:
- Budget Travel
Glorietta to Greenhills: Shopping in Manila
Manila isn't really a shopping destination but offers fairly decent shopping nonetheless. Visitors will notice armed security guards keeping homeless out of aircon malls, banks and even burger bars.
Up-market malls like Glorietta 4, Greenbelt, Town Centre, Powerplant, and Podium carry a multitude of designer boutiques. Other notable shopping malls are the SM and Robinson's Malls dotted around the capital.
There are literally tons of shops in Greenhills Shopping Centre, a popular mall-cum-flea market complex just a short drive from the Ortigas Centre business district. Shops here offer a plethora of computers, jewellery, and clothes. Araneta Centre in Cubao though not as fashionable gives a glimpse of how shopping destinations looked like in Manila before gigantic malls took over the scene. The shops there, though, might be of more interest to locals.
The wholesale/retail market of Divisoria is without doubt THE place for bargains. Divisoria is crowded with shops selling clothes, fabrics, toys, kitchen ware, home décor and almost everything else. Tutuban Centre Mall in the heart of Divisoria is definitely not run-of-the-mill as it was converted from a turn-of-the-century train station. Wrought-iron columns and lattice work, and red brick masonry give it a unique air, at least on the outside. Inside, the mall carries just the usual shops. The neighbouring multi-storey 'cluster' malls are a dizzying maze of small shops where one can haggle.
What to buy: Nearby Ilaya and Tabora streets are what locals call the 'real' Divisoria. The markets and stalls here are for the more adventurous shoppers. Most stalls have illegally encroached on the sidewalks and streets and duty inspections by patrols are an amusing highlight of the day, with vendors packing up in less than a minute, leaving the formerly jam-packed street almost deserted. The place is littered, crowded and frequently foul-smelling, but if you're a shopper who enjoys dirt-cheap bargains, this is for you. However, it's best to shop in Divisoria with a local who knows the place, otherwise you'd end up lost and almost surely gypped.
Quiapo is another local bargain centre with relatively cleaner and more organised street markets, particularly along Carriedo, Villalobos and Hidalgo streets. Wares are similar to those in Divisoria, but you can take in a little whiff of the old Manila atmosphere while you're there as it's in one of the city's oldest shopping districts. The place is also known for its bargain electronic parts and systems, and for local handicrafts which are sold in shops under the nearby bridge. Again, best shop here with a local.
Note: security is an issue. On the streets travellers will need to keep their wits about them, Metro Manila is notorious for crime - particularly pick pocketing.Related to:
- School Holidays
Divisoria: For only the Street Smart
For the ultimate in bargain shopping, you have to go to the Divisoria district located in Manila City. There are two main shopping malls, 168 and Tutuban Center, wherein you can find clothes and shoes (mainly for women) at the lowest prices. Of course, these are mostly made in China and the quality is not assured or consistent but some would say it is even cheaper here than in China itself. For foreigners, it is best that you be accompanied by a local and I suggest you bring a car with a driver who will just wait for you while you go shopping.Add to your Trip Planner
Meyer Photo: Top Secret
Previously for my camera/camcorder needs, I would only consider Hong Kong or Singapore for the cheapest prices. Then my niece mentioned that she just bought this digital camera for half the regular price at a store in Quiapo, Manila City, named Meyer Photo. I checked out the place and confirmed that their prices will match that of Hong Kong or Singapore, and also the discount price at Amazon. I just bought a high definition camcorder in Hong Kong for US$ 1000 (lowest Amazon price was also the same) and Meyer was offering the same model at around US$ 1100. I needed high definition mini DV's and on Amazon, the sale price was around US$20 for a pack of two. At Meyer, you could buy one at US$10. Of course, I bought four tapes!
If you are using your car or taking a taxi, from Taft Avenue, take the bridge to Sta Cruz, Manila, then immediately turn right upon going down from the bridge. Meyer Photo is located right beside the old Shoemart building. Or you can take the LRT and go down at the Sta. Cruz station, then walk to Palanca Street.Add to your Trip Planner
Chronos group: Hot Stuff...wrist bling bling
Fyi, the Chronos group owns Lucerne, Time Studio, and Swissgear (I think) so prices in these stores will be uniform. They carry Omega, Rolex, AWC, Ball, etc if that is your thing. Cash price is very low compared to 0% deferred payment. I bought mine there and so far they've given me outstanding service. I met the matriarch owner in Greenhills who was very nice.
What to buy: Genuine (not pre-owned) Rolex, Omega, AWC, Ball, Breitling, etc.
What to pay: Omega Constellation around PHP70K cash.Related to:
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
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