Last time, I wrote about the Sunday Legaspi market, where you can find all sorts of things and even unexpected surprises. It is a very accessible place to find trinkets and sundries, since it’s near the mall, offices, and villages. But if you want to hunt for the best bargains and are not afraid of an adventure, you should get ready to push and jostle your way through the oftentimes messy and disorderly streets and stalls of Divisoria, Manila.
The first time I went there, I was taken aback by the chaos and rush of people, cars, delivery trucks, hawkers, motorcycles, and men carrying sacks and boxes of goods on their backs or pushing them on crates. At peak hours, nothing barely budges, as everyone is already walking in the streets and the alleyways.
But amid all this, I find myself returning to Divisoria not just to buy the things I need and want, but because I have already grown fond of the bustle and the energy, and of course the slight euphoria in digging for bargains and taking home things at amazing prices.
Whatever you need – and that is almost without exception – it is there to be discovered in Divisoria. You can find fabrics, table runners, zippers, curtains, pillowcases, plain and printed shirts, skirts, buttons, dresses, and even wedding gowns. Once, I was there with my friend who was about to get married, and though she wasn’t looking for lace and satin, I accompanied her to look for packaging – available in paper boxes, abaca containers, wrappers and bags made of different materials – for her wedding tokens. She could also have gotten the tokens from the same place, which offers ceramic figurines and lucky charms.
For the house, one need not go to the hardware store, as dog chains, screwdrivers, metal hangers, wrenches, pliers, hammers, and saws are readily available, side by side with vegetables to fill the kitchen: garlic, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, ginger, string beans, cauliflower, and bell pepper. You can even find fish and seafood in baskets and on tables. There is also a rainbow collection of candies that is sure to mesmerize not just the young, but anyone with a sweet tooth.
Since school has also just only recently opened, it would be advisable for parents to stock on school supplies: pencils and ballpens, pad paper, ID ribbons, glue, scissors, erasers, rulers, and even colored popsicle sticks. Might as well also include backpacks, handkerchiefs, and school shoes – also the toys to bribe students, or cute baby bunnies, if that is what can motivate them.
Of course, entrepreneurs also head for the metropolitan bargain center to decrease the cost of their materials. They head for “ingredients” not just for restaurants, but also for apparel, repair stores, jewelry and accessories, and the entire gamut of product-based businesses.
Needless to say, many other visitors also head to Divisoria just to have fun shopping, whether it be to buy the latest knock-offs or simply to pamper themselves with masks, hats, or bunny bedroom slippers.