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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Philippines > Manila

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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 a number of lively outdoor 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 but it's pricey.

Browsing the Evangelista Street flea market and thrift shops in Makati passes a pleasant few hours; 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 complete with a 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.

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Featured Hotels

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The A.Venue Hotel Suites

Swish and trendy, this is affordable chic amid Makati's skyscrapers. Set in three towers, the suites have Asian-styled contemporary interiors and minimalist décor and feature kitchenettes and free Wi-Fi. Amenities include a gym, a spa, a swimming pool, a Mediterranean restaurant and a cafe.

Hostel 1632

Penny pinchers and night owls will find succour in this budget hostel. Its 106 air-conditioned, en-suite rooms are boxy and cramped and almost have a capsule feel. But Hostel 1632's position on M Adriatico Street is plum in the heart of Malate. There's a café in the lobby serving local and international food for those craving pasta or pizzas.

Pan Pacific Manila

This luxurious skyscraper hotel in Manila is justifiably popular because of its top-drawer location in Malate's tourist quarter. It's worth the extra splurge to access the top-floor, glass-surrounded Pacific Lounge – lovely in the evening for sipping cocktails and listening to the pianist. The Manila hotel also offers 24-hour butler service and Japanese, Chinese and international restaurants. Early-bird bookings on Pan Pacific's website push prices down into the moderate bracket.

Sonya’s Garden

This divine slice of tranquillity is located two hours' drive from downtown Manila's hullabaloo. County vogue furnished cottages replete with lace curtains, iron bedsteads and polished wooden floors, all surrounded by herb gardens and sumptuous countryside. Sonya's organic farm ensures guests enjoy tasty and healthy food. The bread is baked on site while the garden spa offers a full range of holistic treatments.

ZEN Rooms Peñafrancia

Set in a quiet residential area, this small hotel offers light, simply furnished rooms in Japanese style at a good price. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Henry Hotel

Conveniently located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the Mall of Asia and close to the airport, this boutique hotel is a tranquil escape from the city and features landscaped gardens and a swimming pool. The hotel itself is comprised of a number of buildings and includes a small museum and art gallery. Rooms are chic and spacious. Breakfast is included, and there's also a cafe.