When in the city of Manila, what do you do? You eat and shop because there isnt a terribly large number of tourist attractions.
This was the second time we were in Manila. The first time around we had gone to Intramuros, Rizal park, and the Taal Volcano, so we weren’t too interested in going back again. Instead shopping became the thing to do, and we were surprised about how short of time we were to do all of it. The following malls were the highlights of our trip.
A cheaper and more affordable mall compared to the others in Makati. I highly recommend going here for wooden products, like the type you see in Muji but at a fraction of the price. Things like chopping boards, plates and bowls, salad spoons, mortar and pestles, as well as placemats can all be found here.
This one is actually 5 malls all interconnected. It can be easy to get lost here, and the signs aren’t too clear to explain how to move between each of the Gloriettas. This one has most of the major brands you would expect in a western style mall, but with some extra highlights like an Official NBA Store, which I haven’t seen in South East Asia yet, as well as 3 Nike stores, and because this is the Philippines, has a decent basketball range of shoes and athletic apparel.
You can stay here for a day to eat and dine in on the cheap, and still not cover everything! Just skip Glorietta 5 which is tricky to get to, and doesn’t have a lot.
Again similar to Glorietta, this is made up of multiple malls into a huge complex. This one is dining king for me, which a lot of Filipino, Japanese and Western restaurants in the outdoor dining precinct. Also this one has a major park in the middle of it so you can take a break from the intense air conditioning inside and defrost.
Nothing special here, just the usual brands like H&M, Forever21, etc. This one is a pass for me.
But of course, its boring to just stay in the Makati city district. The good deals are to be found outside the city.
This is the king of all markets with fake quality goods everywhere. Divisoria is more of a district rather than one single market, with a series of malls surrounding small streets and roads that market sellers collapse on everyday.
Unfortunately we went 2 days before Christmas on a Friday, so we dared not to go to the outside area of the market (People were not moving basically). We only went to 168 Shopping Mall, Lucky Chinatown, and 999 Mall.
Come here if you want to haggle over fake branded goods, from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour for athletic apparel, to Superdry and Supreme for streetwear, and the usual female branded suspects (Gucci, Prada, LV).
Be prepared to haggle to get the deal you want. Also remember to dress down and comfortably, try not to stick out if possible (easier said than done for many!). I have no photos because I was told to not stick out as a tourist.
Getting here isn’t too bad now that there is Grab in Manila. It cost about 150 PHP from Makati to go to Binondo (Chinatown) which is where Divisoria is.
This is known as a more upmarket version of Divisoria. Still chaotic but not as bad. The quality of fake sneakers here is much better, and at times its really difficult to tell the difference with a real Nike sneaker. They do price accordingly though. I paid about $50 SGD for fake Air Jordan 4s, and about $5 for each Nike Tee i bought. In comparison a Nike Tee would be less than $4 at Divisoria. But i guess you are paying a premium for good air conditioning also.
Theres also a large snack section where you can get all of your Filipino snacks to bring back home.
The basement levels is where the action is at, but there are also malls attached to Greenhills, such as V-Mall which has a large selection of toy collectibles, and Food Courts to keep you going!
GRAB car to Greenhills was about 200PHP, and you have the peace of mind of knowing the fixed price.