Shopping in Manila

Manileños love shopping and in particular ‘malling’. Manila in recent years has risen to become the mall capital of Asia yet the city still retains lively outdoors markets.

Markets

For atmosphere, the daily produce market around the famous Black Nazarene Church in Quiapo is vibrant and crowded. Look out for batik goods and voodoo items. San Andres’s exotic fruit market in Malate is popular with tourists and pricey.

Browsing the Evangelista Street flea market and thrift shops in Makati passes a pleasant few hours and look out for antique bargains. Noisy Baclaran Market in Pasay City is renowned (or notorious) for pirated DVDs and CDs.

Shopping centres

Far from uniform, malls in Manila possess their own specialities and clientele. Amid splendid greenery replete with man-made lake, the Greenbelt malls in Makati are loaded with high-end designer and imported goods as well as fine restaurants and fashionable bars. Tiendesitas at the edge of Ortigas highlights local handicrafts, souvenirs and furniture, as well as local agricultural produce.

Greenhills Shopping Centre on Ortigas Avenue bursts with electronics goods and cut-priced freshwater pearls. SM Megamall, also in Ortigas, is an earthier, non air-conditioned mall with bustling crowds seeking out fake brands, jewellery and brightly coloured artwork.

Balikbayan Handicrafts (HK Sun Plaza, Diosdado Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City) is popular for handicrafts, local clothing and wood-carved souvenirs.

Opening hours

Most malls typically open daily from 1000 to either 2000 or 2100 at night. Street markets start around sunrise.

Souvenirs

You can buy souvenirs from most of these malls, especially the Megamall which has a huge department devoted to this called Kultura Filipino.

Tax information

VAT refunds are not currently available for foreigners.

Edited by Tina Banerjee
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