The Philippines is a shopper’s paradise. Metro Manila alone already teems with numerous shopping places where you can find the best bargains in clothing, accessories, food, housewares, and electronics. Here are the most noted shopping destinations:
Divisoria – With its proximity to the port area, Divisoria is the convenient dumping ground of all kinds of merchandise from all parts of the world, but mainly from Asian countries. And with lower freight costs, the merchandise can easily be sold at dirt-cheap prices in Divisoria outlets. This cheap items can be found on the stalls and alleys. It can be quite confusing if you’re a noob so it’s best to have a local to guide you through the shopping maze.
Be careful of pickpockets. Don’t bring your valuables. I usually don’t bring my mobile phone when going here. If you are shopping with a group, designate an area where you would meet after an hour or two so you could do your own shopping and not drag everyone with you.
The area has several large buildings, each with several floors of stores. The best buildings to visit are Tutuban Mall, 168 and 999. The stores in these buildings feature the latest fashion and technological trends, but be very wary of imitations. Warning: You must be willing to do a lot of walking between buildings and floors. But the goodies that you can get is worth it.
Nearby is the Lucky Chinatown Mall which features high-end retail outlets and dining establishments.
If you’ll be bringing a car, you can park it in Tutuban Center Mall’s multilevel parking area where you can safely leave your vehicle.
Greenhills Tiangge (AKA Flea Market) – If you don’t fancy doing a lot of walking under the hot sun in Divisoria, then the Greenhills Shopping Center is a better alternative. Greenhills is chock full of all types of shopping goods, albeit slightly higher in price than those in Divisoria. Popular items that you can buy here are clothes, bags, home accessories, jewelries, cellphones and electronics. There is one full floor of electronics outlets waiting to be snapped up. Prices of gadgets will depend on how well you can haggle with the sellers.
SM Megamall, Robinsons Galleria, Shangri-la Plaza and Starmall Edsa-Shaw – The Ortigas area, in the middle of Metro Manila, hosts these malls which caters to different budgets. Starmall for cheap finds, SM Megamall and Robinsons Galleria for the midrange budget and Shangrila for upscale shopping.
Baclaran – Situated near the Redemptorist Church in Paranaque, Baclaran is yet another haven of merchandise ranging from garments to traditional medicine. But you must be prepared to brave the thick hordes of people. Also watch out for your belongings as petty theft is pretty common here.
SM Mall of Asia (MOA) – Just a jeepney ride away from Baclaran is the 10th largest mall in the world, SM Mall of Asia is made up of shopping and dining establishments including a department store, a hypermarket, theaters, retail outlets and restaurants. Some restaurants have open-air facilities where you can view the magnificent Manila Bay sunset. The mall has standard anchor stores found in many other malls in the country. A main attraction is the IMAX theater with 3D and 2D screenings, as well as several state-of-the-art cinemas. The mall also houses the first Olympic-sized ice skating rink in the country which is used for ice skating and ice hockey training. An open-air music hall is used for concerts.
SM Makati, Glorietta and Greenbelt Malls – These malls in Makati are a hodge-podge of contrasting retail outlets, from tiny flea market style stalls to department stores and posh designer shops. Ayala Malls have two large malls here to be explored: Greenbelt and Glorietta. Each mall has its own major sections (Greenbelt 1-5 and Glorietta 1-5).
SM Makati has some renowned global and local brands and is connected to the MRT Ayala station.
These 3 malls are all connected to each other by footbridges so you can easily consume a full day shopping on the many shopping options available.
TriNoma Mall (stands for Triangle North of Manila) – Up north in Quezon City is yet another sprawling mall developed by the Ayala Malls. It carries the same anchor shops that are found in the Glorietta and Greenbelt. There are four shopping levels which are complemented by alfresco areas featuring mini waterfalls and picturesque landscaping. It is home to both big-name international stores as well as home-grown ones.
Just across the street is SM North Edsa, the 4th largest mall in the world and the 2nd largest mall in the country. It’s the first mall by SM Group and it solidified the “mall culture” in the country where everything you need is in just one place (supermarket, department store, cinema and restaurants). It is also the largest solar-powered shopping mall in Southeast Asia. This is the mall which I grew up going to with my family so I kind of know all the stores here.
Bonifacio High Street – Across the Makati area is a shopping mall surrounded by residential and office condominiums. The mall follows an old-town concept where buildings are just two stories high and contain small high-end retail shops. In the center is a park where shoppers can walk their dogs. There are also coffee shops and restaurants featuring indoor and alfresco dining.
Market Market – Though not as huge as the other malls, Market Market is well-liked because of its mixture of contrasting shops which feature either affordable bargain items or high-end products. There’s something for everyone in this mall.
Eastwood City– Right on the eastern side of Metro Manila is another shopping mall complex surrounded by tall residential and office buildings. There are several malls in this complex, including Eastwood Mall, Cybermall, and Citiwalk. Each of them have their own parking spaces. The complex offers shuttle service for the convenience of shoppers. Some clothing shops and retail outlets in Citiwalk and Cybermall are not found in other areas. The entire area is pet-friendly. You can easily access each mall through elevated footbridges.
How about you? Where’s your favorite place to shop in Manila?