Divisoria is the motherload of shopping in the Philippines and is the best place if you’re looking for anything. Yes – anything! From party materials to giveaways to store supplies to household items and more. It is where you can find the cheapest items in Metro Manila (and perhaps the whole country!). Large malls sit beside small stalls and bulk-order establishments, providing anything you can think of, which is why it attracts shoppers from all walks of life.
While it seems like paradise for any shopper or merchandiser, there is a caveat – Divisoria is a mosh pit of sorts. You have hundreds of shops and stalls on muddy, crisscrossing streets, thousands of people looking for deals, horrendous traffic and unbearable heat. Pickpockets and crooks also abound. Even then, people still find themselves rushing there, and if it is your first time to go, you might want to remember some helpful tips to make sure you survive your shopping trip unscathed:
How to go to Divisoria
Divisoria is located in the old part of Manila City, but is very accessible by taxi and light rail transit. The best way to get there is to take the light rail transit to Divisoria. Try the LRT 1, LRT 2 or MRT which all stop at the Recto Station. From the station you can take a cab or a jeepney to Divisoria.
Don’t bring a vehicle. It’s completely difficult to find a parking space. If you must, ask a designated driver to drop you off and pick you up somewhere a little bit further away from the crowds.
Go there on mornings and during weekdays to avoid the throngs of commuters and shoppers. Most shops are open from 7:00 AM so you can go as early as that.
What to wear
In Manila, it is either rainy or sunny so wear anything that’s appropriate for the weather. Even when you want to go to just one destination alone (let’s say the 168 Mall for example) in Divisoria, you will have to brave through the gridlock of busy streets that make up this whole district. Who’s to say that you won’t find yourself walking around to check out other goods you find on the street as well? That said, you should always dress for the occasion. Wear anything that makes you feel comfortable.
It is acceptable to wear shorts in this area. Wear a cotton t-shirt, too. Leave the dresses and accessories at home. Bring a small bag with only the essentials – money, some tissue paper, hand sanitizer and your mobile phone. It’s also better if you use a sling bag which you can place in front of you at all times. Wear strapped sandals, sneakers or walking shoes.
Where to buy
While it is easy and fun to get lost and just explore Divisoria, this will take you more than a day to do so. If you are in a hurry, create a list of items and try to locate the stores that sell these before you go. This way, you will have an itinerary to follow, which will save you time and effort. Check out the Divisoria street guide I’ve provided in another post to know where to find what you need.
What to buy
There are so many things to buy in Divisoria, and they’re really cheap. It is a great place to shop for clothes, textiles, accessories, household items and even school supplies. Many merchants and online sellers come here to get their stocks.
I suggest though that you avoid cosmetics, personal care products and food – anything that you put on your skin or ingest. Divisoria is a place for the best knockoffs, and you never know what they put in these cheap alternative versions. Avoid buying baby toys and candies, or anything that kids eat as well.