To Divisoria With Love

This newfound love of mine (a.k.a. sewing) has given me plenty of reasons to go to this shopping haven called Divisoria. This is Manila’s center for bargains shopping where you can find all sorts of stuff from clothes, shoes, fabric, jewelry, home accessories, gadgets and gizmos, and stuff you never thought you needed…all for dirt cheap! At 9 in the morning, as we approached the center of it all, this was the most welcoming of sights: 

There are other surrounding malls, but 168 is the place to be. We parked our car and we were on foot from here.

My one thing for going here was to find myself a dress form and scout for fabrics which Divisoria is popularly known for. Needless to say, I had other things on my list and an item that said “whatever-I-find”. Ok, that’s not really one thing. : )

Let me show you around a bit as we walked toward the streets called Ilaya and Tabora where there is a flood of fabrics and everything for crafts, and they don’t get any cheaper anywhere else in this side of the world. They are deep within the tight alleys and if you walk too fast, you will miss them. I wasn’t able to take photos up close for fear that my phone would be snatched, so I took these very discreetly and just snapped away. There is an acrid stench that comes from the pavement you walk on. It is inescapable even if one was to breathe in through the mouth and exhale through the nose, or even if you simply stop breathing. And yet it is a warm welcome from all things dirt cheap and a thrift shopper like me can’t deny that quickened beat of the heart.

As we walked along, we picked up a thing or two. I wish I could show you but it was risky, and besides, our hands were full. It was nearing lunchtime and we needed to take a break. My girl friends and I wanted to try out this highly recommended dimsum place which was quite a distance from the fabric alleys, so we decided to take a tricycle just like this: There were 3 of us cramped in the passenger seat which gave us a breathing space of about 6 inches from each other’s face. These were the sights along the way. To my left were jeeps in traffic…and to my right, about 6 inches from my face…our very HOT tricycle driver. I prefer the view on the left. Hahaha! 

After about 15 minutes of super bumpy ride… we’re finally here! The best hakaw and siomai in Divisoria! It was all worth the trip.I’d rather not think the food was “dirt”-cheap. It was good and cheap. (Haha!) Right after a great and hefty Chinese Dimsum lunch, we decided to breathe some sophisticated air for a bit. Ahhh… airconditioning… Mango… Cotton On… Payless… French Baker… Coffee!!!I must agree. But there is more good life to be had at 168, so back we go! And there’s my dress form. Mission accomplished! I’m a bit disappointed that I missed out on taking photos of the main event which was the fabric shopping. I promise there will be a part 2 of this travelogue and I shall show you the sea of fabrics I swam in. I’ll be braver and skillful next time.Goodbye for now, Divisoria… leaving you my love until we meet again…

… umm maybe next week?


5 thoughts on “To Divisoria With Love

  1. If I’m ever blessed with the opportunity to visit the Philippines, you’ll HAVE to take me to Divisoria. So many goodies! ( I’m sure I’d get lost in the fabric.) -Shannon

    On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 9:57 AM,

      • I’ve been to the flea markets of Brussels, the floating markets and Pratunam of Bangkok, Santis in L.A., Paddington Markets in Sydney, and the underground version of 168 (another Manila haven for bargain seekers) that meanders Seoul’s subway system, but I must say that there is something about the “flavor” (my term for colors, aroma, chimes and organized chaos) of Divisoria that reaches and touches the core of my treasure hunting instincts. I am so going back. Not even that view 6 inches from you (oh wait, us…I was there) will deter me. Next week?

  2. Pingback: The Art of Giving & Receiving |

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