1. **Divisoria Market **(Manila)
This is undoubtedly the “mother of all shopping places” in Manila, if not the entire country. Name it, they got it. You could walk a whole day around the streets of Divisoria. This is where all sorts of street stalls or tiangge, rows of stores inside and outside buildings, spreads of sacks laid out on the streets strewn with all kinds of merchandise are found. The street stalls definitely offer the best prices, and the rows and rows of stores inside the 168 Mall.
Want a pair of Havaianas slippers for only Php 70 or barely over a dollar? How about a chiffon pleated dress for only Php 150, or a Marvel superhero T-shirt for Php 120? Apparels are pretty much up to date with the current fashion trends, and there’s not much need to haggle since the prices are already as low as they can get!
Photo credit: hubsociety.co
2. Greenhills (San Juan City)
Greenhills Shopping Center is for the shopaholic who loves to feel nice and pretty while at it. With the air conditioned buildings housing rows and rows of neatly designed stalls and stores, not to mention restaurants, cinemas, mini parks and even a chapel surrounding the place, the posh travel-shopper will love Greenhills.
The complex is a huge place, with annexes to many different interconnected mini-malls. But of course, the prices are slightly higher than those of Divisoria’s but still cheap compared to larger malls with designer stores and international brands. Quite a number of stalls sell knock-off bags such as Chanel or Louis Vuitton, and especially sports and dress shoes.
Choose from all kinds of brands like Nike, Vans, Adidas and more. The shoes go for about Php 500. Throngs of unbranded accessories, purses, satchels, pants, tops and dresses are available too. Bargaining is a must though, but if you’re a pro at haggling then this is no problem for you.
Photo credit: Flickr/Greenhill Mall/spektrograf/CC-BY
3. Quiapo Market (Quiapo, Manila)
Right behind the much frequented Quiapo Church in Manila is the Quiapo Market. Price-wise, you can call it an option in-between Divisoria and Greenhills—not as expensive yet not dirt-cheap either. The range is just as wide though, plus you get a smattering of old school Filipino apothecary in select corners, with old wives selling herbal concoctions, oils infused with ginseng, scorpions or snakes, and bunches of banaba or alugbati leaves that are said to cure body pains and illnesses. The Catholic culture is much prevalent in the place too, so you also get a dose of history and religion while you shop in Quiapo.
Back to shopping, you can get a variety of apparel, shoes, toys, bags, baby products and more. Get a pair of Vans or Chuck Taylor sneakers for only Php 300, or Jansport backpacks for only Php 600. Of course these are not the genuine kinds, but they do look good for their price.
Photo credit: lumanog-photos
4. **Baclaran **(South Manila)
The place is not only known for its iconic church, but also for its flea markets. Known as the shopper’s paradise in South Manila, it offers the best deals on the sidewalks, even though the streets are surrounded with high-rise buildings and shopping malls.
Baclaran has been a popular shopping destination in the Philippines since the 1980s for people looking for good buys for low prices. A variety of products are sold here such as clothes, toys, pets and plants. Much of the merchandise comes from China and are usually knock-offs of designer brands. The place is packed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and on weekends.
Photo credit: infocomrade
5. Recto / Cartimar (Mendiola, Manila)
The product mix in the area of Cartimar along Recto Street in Manila is interesting: loads and loads of basketball shoes, exercise gadgets, tools and pets—name all kinds, from dogs with foreign breeds to cats, birds, rabbits and fish.
The prices like the other bargain places are as cheap as they get. A pair of really good knock-off Nikes can cost you only Php 800 versus the genuine kinds that go for about Php 3,000 to Php 7,000, but you can bet you won’t spot the difference. Store owners claim these are surplus stocks of genuine brands, those with very minor defects that render them rejects, and so they are sold at dirt cheap prices. Books of all kinds—from college text books to novels and art books—are also available at great prices in Cartimar.
Photo credit: indayrivera