Downtown Manila


            oSilahis Arts & Artifacts – GIFTS & SOUVENIRS

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; 744 General Luna St, Intramuros; h10am-7pm)

            This is almost more of a cultural centre than a shop. Intricately woven baskets, wooden Ifugao bulol statues for guarding rice, textiles and other crafts from around the country are sold next to beautiful antiques.

            Upstairs Tradewinds Books ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; 744 General Luna St, Intramuros; h10am-7pm) specialises in Philippine history, culture and biography.

            oSolidaridad BookshopBOOKS

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; 531 Padre Faura St, Ermita; h9am-6pm Mon-Sat)

            Owned by the Filipino author F Sionil José, Solidaridad has a masterfully curated collection of both Western and Eastern non-fiction, international magazines such as the New Yorker, and hard-to-find Filipino history titles and documentaries.

            HUB Make LabMARKET

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; First United Bldg, Escolta St, Binondo; h11am-8pm Tue-Sun)

            The HUB is basically a happy place for creators and entrepreneurs. You’ll find all sorts of things being sold out of funky cubicles: wacky fashion accessories, vintage items, ice cream ‘experiments’ (soy sauce and bacon, anyone?), desktop succulents (ie mini-plants)…and of course plenty of art – the artists’ group 98B COLLABoratory is just upstairs.

            Manila Collectible CoGIFTS & SOUVENIRS

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %0917 861 3011; Fort Santiago, Intramuros; h9am-8pm)

            This funky shop specialises in hand-spun textiles and accessories produced by indigenous groups across the Philippines. It also sells fair-trade organic coffee, Philippine cigars, local ‘wines’, flavoured pili nuts and pure cacao.

            Tesoro’sGIFTS & SOUVENIRS

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; 1325 Mabini St, Ermita; h11am-8pm)

            The speciality here is pinya (fabric woven from pineapple fibres) products – especially embroidered barongs (from P9500), but there are also lacquered coconut-shell products, baskets, bags, coffee, dried mangoes and a few rare books on Philippine culture. Also has branches in Makati ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; 1016 A Arnaiz Ave, Makati; h9.30am-9pm Mon-Sat, 10am-7.30pm Sun) and the airport too (Terminal 1 and 3) for last-minute gift shopping.

            Maria ClosaANTIQUES, ARTS

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; 1335 Mabini St, Ermita; h9am-6.30pm Mon-Sat)

            This high-end gallery shop is one for serious collectors with quality hand-crafted furniture, sculpture and artefacts from around the country.

            Hiraya GalleryART

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; 530 United Nations Ave, Ermita; h9am-5pm Mon-Sat)

            This long-established commercial gallery has a museum-quality selection of Filipino contemporary art. Names to look out for are Norberto Carating, Eric Guazon and young Batanes artist Randalf Dilla.

            Mall of AsiaMALL

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; Manila Bay, Pasay; h10am-10pm)

            One of the top 10 largest malls in the world, with the usual retail shops and a zillion restaurants, plus an Olympic–sized ice rink and an IMAX theatre. Come early evening for its oceanfront carnival rides and stay for the impressive weekend fireworks shows over Manila Bay.


            Lovers of markets and mayhem should cross the Quezon Bridge over the Pasig River to Quiapo Church, home of the Black Nazarene.

            The main reason to go to Quiapo, however, is not to see the church but to witness what’s happening on and around the church square, Plaza Miranda ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; Quiapo). Here and in the surrounding markets every manner of product is sold to a throng of humanity.

            Most notorious are the dubious apothecary stalls selling herbal and folk medicines, as well as amulets (carved stones and medallions believed to have magical powers). Showing admirable initiative, vendors will tell you that the ‘Pampa Regla’ potion is good for everything from weight loss to curing erectile dysfunction, depending on how you look.

            Particularly colourful are the stalls around Carriedo St, which sell thickly padded bras, hardware, porn DVDs and just about anything else. Nearby under Quezon Bridge, the area known as Ilalim ng Tulay (literally ‘under the bridge’), you can find really cheap junk for tourists. Across the road at the recently modernised Quinta Market & Fish Port, vendors peddle seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit and other foodstuffs.

            The action is particularly feverish at weekends, when half of the population not in malls is shopping here. As in other crowded areas, don’t carry valuables in your pockets, and wear your backpack on your front.


            oBalikbayan HandicraftsGIFTS & SOUVENIRS

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; 1010 A Arnaiz Ave, Makati; h9am-8pm Mon-Sat, 10am-8pm Sun)

            Set over three levels, this is the kind of place that pulls in tourists by the busload. The merchandise is of surprisingly good quality, considering how much of it they have. The speciality is beautiful glazed coconut dishware and decorative balls, among many other products.


            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; Ayala Centre, Makati; h11am-9pm)

            This is the high end of the Ayala Centre, with scores of swish cafes and restaurants around a central park area. There are five sections (Greenbelt 1 to Greenbelt 5), each with its own character.

            Lemongrass HouseCOSMETICS

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati; h9am-10pm)

            This well-regarded Thai import peddles all-natural oils, sunscreen, after-sun gel and an effective lavender-and-citronella mozzie repellent, among many other fragrant soaps and lotions, all sourced from small suppliers in Thailand.


            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; 7274 Malugay St, Makati)

            A hive of creative energy and cool, this co-op brings together a collection of urban galleries, vintage shops and boutiques, along with a few bars and restaurants. It doesn’t really wake up until early evening.

            LRI Design PlazaDESIGN, ART

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; 210 Nicanor Garcia St, Makati; h10am-7pm Mon-Sat)

            A conglomeration of art galleries and contemporary furniture showrooms under one roof showcases all that’s chic in the capital’s art and design world.

 The Fort (BGC)


            Echo StoreCOSMETICS, FOOD

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; Serendra Mall, McKinley Pkwy, BGC; h9am-9pm)S

            Specialises in fair-trade, locally sourced products (including coffee and handicrafts) and chemical-free beauty/health items. Its cafe serves tasty organic and sustainable dishes.

            Fully BookedBOOKS

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; 902 Bonifacio High St, BGC; h11am-11pm)

            Manila’s most comprehensive bookshop, with a great travel section and an outstanding selection of fiction and non-fiction (all in English). There are branches in most malls across Manila, but fans of Tintin will want to check out this flagship branch in The Fort.

            Bonifacio High StreetSHOPPING CENTRE

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; btwn 5th & 11th Aves, BGC)

            This upscale open-air strip mall spans three long blocks in The Fort (BGC), with loads of good restaurants and upmarket fashion labels, plus art installations and frequent weekend festivals. It leads to the Fiesta Market ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; McKinley Pkwy, BGC; h10am-9pm) outside Market! Market! mall, with open-air eateries and regional cuisine.

 Quezon City & Around


            oCubao ExpoVINTAGE

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; Gen Romulo Ave, Cubao)

            Über-hip assortment of bars, kitschy shops and galleries selling everything from old LPs to retro toys and housewares.

            oGreenhills Shopping CenterMARKET

            ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ;; Ortigas Ave, San Juan; h10am-8pm)

            Somewhat like an indoor/outdoor flea market, Greenhills has stall after stall selling DVDs and brand-named clothing of questionable legitimacy. But snoop around here and you’ll find quality antiques and the best selection of genuine pearls in the country.

            Human NatureCOSMETICS

            ( GOOGLE MAP ;; 463 Commonwealth Ave, Quezon City; h9am-6pm Mon-Sat)S

            The flagship shop of this social enterprise selling all–Filipino, chemical-free beauty and health products. Also sells local coffee beans, with free cups of brewed coffee. Does excellent work in helping poorer communities.

Originally posted 2021-05-05 21:53:56.