Shopping in Manila seems to be top of the agenda for travelers, and that’s because there are numerous malls, stores, and markets to choose from. These markets found within the Metro sell almost everything, from clothing to furniture and gadgets at affordable prices.
Just a jeepney ride from Quiapo is every frugal shopper’s dream destination, Divisoria – the mother of all markets in Metro Manila. Though too hectic for some, Divisoria is one big playground for bargaining pros. Things here are the cheapest in the Metro (you’ll get them at an even lower price the more you get and the better you haggle). Exploring the many streets of Divisoria will lead you to cheap and affordable finds, varied goods including clothes, school supplies, kitchenware, home essentials and more! For a more organized shopping experience, venture into the 168 Mall, 999 Mall, and Tutuban Shopping Center for trendy RTW finds.
Also known as the “Flower Market of Manila,” Dangwa Flower Market is the biggest source of fresh flowers in the entire Metro Manila. Here you’re bound to find more than 50 stalls selling different kinds of flowers from different parts of the country such as Baguio, Davao, and Tagaytay, and flowers imported from countries such as China, Ecuador, and Holland. While flowers here are being sold at prices 50% lower than in malls and other markets, rates peak during Valentine’s season. Then, prices are 50% to 100% higher than on ordinary days.
Formerly known as Quinta Market, this public market was established in the 19th century during the Spanish colonial period. At the time, it was known as Manila’s central market and primarily catered to the city’s wealthy families. It was a top choice to have a pleasant dining experience and the Filipino dessert halo-halo was said to have been invented here. But due to the growing development of malls and other establishments, it experienced gradual decline. In 2017, it was rebuilt into a two-storey structure. Here, shoppers can buy all sorts of local and imported goods at very low prices.
Considered the largest market in the entire country, Quiapo Market is said to be the option in between expensive bargain items and dirt cheap kinds. This market right behind Quiapo Church is frequently visited by shoppers looking for a variety of items such as affordable fancy clothes, electronic items, accessories, and pirated CDs and DVDs to name a few. Outside the church, you’ll also find herbal concoctions that are being sold by old women as the cure for certain illnesses, while other vendors claim to be fortune tellers who can see what the future holds for you.
If you’re hoping to score rare finds and old goodies, then visit 98B’s pop-up Saturday Market monthly, held in the First United Building’s garage. While the golden days of pre-war Manila only left remnants along Escolta, Filipinos found a way to relive its glory in a different way by turning the district into a market that houses thrift shops, art galleries, black market, and garage sale rolled into one. Open every Saturday, you’ll come across a wide range of vintage and artistic finds sold by creative people who continue to produce something great out of antiques and their pure talent.
Apart from the iconic Baclaran Church, there are a number of flea markets found within the area. Although Baclaran’s streets are surrounded with buildings and shopping malls, shoppers hoping to get deals go to the sidewalks which sell a variety of affordable products such as clothes, designer brand replicas, and merchandise made from China. Known as the “shopper’s paradise in the south,” this popular shopping destination established in the ’80s continues to lure in shoppers for best buys at low prices. While you can expect that the area is often crowded, it’s usually jam-packed with people during the weekends.
In between high-rise buildings and small establishments, you’ll find the area of Cartimar along Recto Street in Manila. Not just your typical marketplace, Cartimar has been around since 1957 and has been the go-to place for various finds such as designer jeans, perfumes, chocolates, pets (with different foreign breeds), surplus stocks of genuine brands, basketball sneakers, and more! Like other bargain places, everything’s being sold at dirt cheap prices. Book lovers also love to visit Cartimar to find books of all kinds such as art books, college books, and novels available at low prices!
Unlike most markets in Manila, Greenhills Shopping Center is an air-conditioned building which has 90% indoor flea market and 10% boutiques and restaurants. Within its tiangge or flea market, there are over 2,000 stalls selling clothing, furniture, gadgets (whether secondhand or brand new), shoes, bags, and more! While some stalls offer the same product, you have to be keen on finding the best (and lowest) price at a reasonable quality. A favorite shopping destination all-year round, Greenhills Shopping Center has cinemas, mini parks, interconnected mini-malls, and of course, the best bargains for every shopper in need!