Growing up, my mother usually takes me to Divisoria to buy all kinds of stuff for our personal use as well as for her “pahulugan” business: from school supplies, textiles, shirts and jeans, and many others. I practically grew up being familiar with the sights, the smell, and the sounds of DIVISORIA.
But later on, being exposed to my classmates who are well off, i got a bit jealous of them who were buying their bags and clothes from the malls. While they have Sanrio or Marvel Superhero products, i have the ones with Chinese characters and logos that are unfamiliar.
Things turn upside down when i started working. Up to now, the trend has changed from just being fashionable to being practical. Gone are the days when brands would be the “it all” and even popular bloggers in Manila would spouse the idea of “practical fashion”.
Yes, you will now find items in Divisoria which are very expensive when purchased in the malls. As they say, you wouldn’t find the difference when it’s worn or used. Who would have thought that some of the fashion bloggers and models that are popular online also uses products brought from Divisoria? And they are even proud to show it off on most of their Divisoria haul vlogs.
The key, it’s really very cheap! Set of clothes for 100pesos (less than 10QR), school bags from 200-500 pesos (not even 50QR), and you will even find items that you can also order in Lazada (the same brand, and even a little cheaper if you have a good bargaining power).
Here are the usual tips when going to Divisoria:
- COME EARLY in order to have more time to roam around. There are many places to shop and you can get so overwhelmed with so many stores (999, 168, Divisoria Mall are some of the recommended places). Most of them are open as early as 8:30am to 7:30pm everyday. Reserve the Lucky China Town for an authentic chinese dinner.
- WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES. While the malls are air conditioned, shifting from one building to another, going through the side walks, and bringing so many stuffs may be inconvenient if you are wearing thick clothes and many other accessories. Bring in your cellphone is ok but you have to be vigilant while using it.
- STUFF YOURSELF BEFORE GOING TO DIVISORIA. Eat something before “going to war”. The area is so big and you may overlook the time while being so engrossed in shopping.
- BRING A LIST OF WHAT TO YOU WANT TO BUY AND BRING YOUR OWN ECOBAG TOO. Setting a budget is so important as you will find everything very enticing to buy. You may just grab even those you find amusing even if you don’t actually need it. Because it is really cheap there! But you have to focus on what’s on your list and allow only additional items if still within budget (from the discounts you will be making later on). Bring cash (Philippine currency) since they don’t accept card payments. Save money by bringing your own bag which will make carrying your items very convenient.
- LEARN THE ART OF CANVASSING. The products are not arranged per zone/category (so you can find similar items here and the same, same items on another level or in another building). As they say, the stores in front have higher prices than those on the inner alleys… so you may want to go around a little further… and farther.
- ENHANCE YOUR BARGAINING ABILITY. Prices are not fixed as in the malls. Bargaining can be done but always be polite in doing it. You may haggle for a lower price or you can also do some tricks. My mother-in-law wanted to buy few pieces of headband for my wife and daughter. But the cost of a 12-piece set is too much and we only needed some. I saw a group of ladies also looking for the same item and asked them if they want to buy the set with us and share the cost. And they gladly agreed.
- BE SPECIFIC WITH YOUR SHOPPING LIST. Sometimes, just doing a list isn’t complete without the size, the length, the width of any items you want to buy. Those little details can save you more time and even money. My wife watched several Divisoria haul videos and even noted the name of the store where to buy it. She had it all listed but i forgot to bring it… and that’s how great I am, hehehe! Or well, could it be an excuse so i don’t have to buy it all (wink).
- GOING HOME LATE. They usually say it’s difficult to get a taxi or getting out of the parking from Divisoria. That is when you are going out anytime in the afternoon when most of the late shoppers are just coming in. On my first try going there, i came a bit late and i didn’t have much time to buy many things. But i was surprised it was easier to get a cab once the stores closed down in the evening.
Wondering what i bought for 500 pesos on my first visit?
I came about 5pm after a meetup with some of my friends from UST (my college friends). I intended to just get myself familiar with the place for my next visit with Mama Edna (my mother-in-law). So i just decided to shoot a hyperlapse video for my instagram and saw myself failing on my bargaining skills when i tried to see how far my 500 pesos would go.
To buy few things for my daughter was the first thing that came into my mind and here are some of them:
- A small Hello Kitty back pack -Php250
- Set of Sanrio hair clips – P110
- Set of colorful hair ties – Php40
- Peppa pig manual fan – Php50
- A purple character cosmetic headband (just to close the 500 budget) – Php50
Did i do well on my first try? Comment below.
Aside form these, we were able to buy even more stuffs on our second visit to Divisoria:
For some of us, prices are definitely our major consideration and so mastering the arts of canvassing, checking out quality and even bargaining for discounts are really necessary.
Though I don’t say that quality which “usually” go with the brand isn’t important. For items that you will use longer and is about safety and security, i would suggest you go for the “branded” ones. The durability and longevity would justify the cost. But for those items that are wear and tear, and those that you will only use occasionally, then those items in Divisoria are sure the most practical fit.
Some funny stories: