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.
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.
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.
Most malls typically open daily from 1000 to either 2000 or 2100 at night. Street markets start around sunrise.
You can buy souvenirs from most of these malls, especially the Megamall which has a huge department devoted to this called Kultura Filipino.
VAT refunds are not currently available for foreigners.