Aside from being a first-class travel destination, the Philippines is also a shopping haven. Countless shopping choices await visitors in this Southeast Asian nation, which is home to fun-loving people, colorful festivals, fascinating attractions, and thrilling events. Some say a vacation in this archipelago of 7,107 islands is not complete without shopping for pasalubong.
There are numerous shopping areas in the Philippines from flea markets to posh malls. It all depends on your budget and shopping targets. Souvenir items and trinkets can be bought in almost every market across the country while high-end fashion collections are flooding giant malls in the country.
Since one can spend a whole day shopping and bargain-hunting, it is wise to be equipped with a shopping and travel guide on the Philippines. Here are some of the best and accessible shopping sites in the metro.
If you're looking for traditional Filipino handicrafts, then the Quiapo Market in Manila is the perfect place for you. Located alongside the Quiapo Church are markets and stalls selling all kinds of affordable stuffs from wood carvings, lamps, and canework. You can also buy cheap electronics and clothing in Quiapo, which is also famous for the Black Nazarene.
SM Mall of Asia
Considered as the fourth-largest shopping mall in the world, the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City is a shop-til-you-drop paradise in the Philippines. The center, which covers a total land area of 42 hectares, combines various shops, food establishments, and supermarkets under one roof. It also hosts the country's first-ever IMAX theatre. An average of 200,000 people enter the mall everyday.
Ayala Commercial Center
Located at the heart of Makati, the financial capital of the Philippines, is a modern shopping district. The Ayala Commercial Center offers a wide variety of shops selling things from imported goods to locally made products. A number of shopping malls, including Glorietta, Greenbelt, and The Landmark, are located in the area.
Greenhills Shopping Center
The Greenhills Shopping Center is akin to year-round bargains. Situated in San Juan, the establishment has over 2,000 stores and espouses an "indoor-outdoor" theme. The facility, which is also home to a Roman Catholic chapel and a Muslim prayer room, provides shoppers with a wide variety for their food, fashion, and homeware needs.
Other popular shopping malls in the Metro Manila are the Araneta Shopping Complex in Cubao, the SM Megamall and Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas, and SM North Edsa in Quezon City.
Shopping in the provinces is also vibrant. There are always good buys in flea markets where one can find various products such as clothing, brassware, wood carvings, painted papier-mache, silver jewelries, grass mats, antique painting and figurines, rattan furniture, and pearl accessories, among others.
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Allan Leandro Merin has been writing for a living since 2008. After leaving a career at a daily electronic crew newspaper, he joined a web development outsourcing company and linked up with Local Philippines, the most comprehensive online directory of Philippine destinations, events, and attractions.