Filipinos, you’ll find, are crazy about shopping. In fact, every major city has a shopping centre. So whether you find yourself in the city, in the middle of a beautiful island resort, or even relaxing in an outrigger boat, you can always go for some casual retail therapy.
If you consider yourself a “professional shopper” though, willing to commit whole days to your search for a bargain, our malls are sure to keep you occupied. Try SM Mall of Asia or SM North, two of the biggest in the world.
For the more adventurous, try the Divisoria area and its 168 Mall. This area is the backbone of Manila’s buy & sell trade — blocks and blocks of no-frills bargain-shopping. You will definitely find it hard to leave empty-handed.
If you enjoy the bargain-hunting but would like to avoid the heat, try Greenhills Shopping Centre in Mandaluyong City or Market Market mall in Taguig City.
What to Buy
There’s an exciting selection of great buys in a country known for export-quality items at reasonable prices: South Sea pearls, hand-woven cloths, embroidered fineries, terracotta and porcelain, coral and mother-of-pearl accessories. Pineapple fibre, prehistoric jars, native handicrafts, and handmade footwear are interesting items, too.
The Philippines also produces fine furniture, basketry, exquisitely crafted jewellery, and gift items made of shell, wood, and stone.
Shop for handicrafts, antiques and souvenirs in Manila’s Quiapo district: ilalim ng tulay (literally, “under the bridge”). The Ermita and Malate districts in Manila, Tiendesitas in Pasig City. Market Market in Taguig, The Kultura shop in SM malls, and most department stores also stock up on a wide selection of excellent, local handicrafts and souvenirs.
Of course, don’t forget to check out the souvenir centre or central dry market of the particular province or town you’re in. Every region has its own particular craft, material or delicacy. And some, like our dried mangoes, are deservedly world-famous.