Monday, October 16, 2006


The economy has been much less than ideal.
No matter what the politicians say ... the fact is that at the level of Juan de la Cruz, times are very hard. But what can we do? The voices of the “have nots” are progressively being drowned in the hum of the growing power of the “have mores”. That plus the harsh reality that the “have nots” continue to swell in numbers as many of the “had mores” are realizing that the financial challenges of today have transformed them into “have nots”. Or in short ... more and more have not .

There is perhaps no more telling reflection of this than the growing number of Makati “mall rats” and "fashionistas" who will join the legions who will be giving DKNY gifts for Christmas this year.

Ohhhh for the non-indoctrinated ... DKNY means Divisoria Kanto Ng Ylaya.

Divisoria is this years “hit”. Once the destination only of business shoppers – it has slowly evolved into the private shopper’s mecca.

The “market” modification has to a large extent been due to 168Mall – a 3 story building on Sta. Elena St. just off Juan Luna St.. Its main draw has been that it is fully air-conditioned, and yet maintains the totally cramped frenzy and drop-down prices that gives it the seamless feel of the equivalent organized chaos that prevails on the streets outside.

When one is finished with the mall, it is time to charge through the bedlam of the streets for even better bargains. Sta. Elena, Soler, Tabora, Juan Luna, Ylaya and Recto streets are lined with a confusion of vendors that sells everything from pigeons, underwear, clothes, slippers, shoes, food, fruits, commercial dry goods, electronics, hardware... just anything and everything .

Here one can find cheap goods at pricebacks that represent perhaps 30-70 % of their Makati prices. The challenge is in engaging the stampede and finding what you want in the deluge of goods that catches ones attention.

Amusing brand finds include Socks 5th Avenue (50pesos/pack of 5), Peragamo rubber shoes (250pesos), Havanas slippers (35pesos), Soni MP4 player (700pesos 256mb), and a myriad other mind challenging brands.

In Divisoria the social classes merge into one. The economics of bargain shopping becomes a great equalizer. To the vendors everyone is “kuya” or “ate” as is every vendor to the shopper.

I have been to Bangkok’s Chatuchak as well as to HongKong, Shanghai and Beijing’s flea markets. The Divisoria experience is in a class all its own ...

The noise, the crowd, the heat, the stench, the filth, the pandemonium – all come together to somehow make the shopping experience uniquely pleasurable to the adventurous.

So if you have a spare weekend ... Divisoria na tayo .
WOW Philippines ...

Leave the accent and the English at home.
Dress down.

No jewelry and watches please.
Mind your wallet.
Haggle vigorously.
Walk away like a spurned lover if you don't like the price
Cash only – small bills preferred.
Street smarts are a must.


Sidney said...

Divisoria is another photographer's heaven. (I hate shopping ;-)

Daguldol Tarakatac III said...

yes ....
i must learn to take better pictures

i love to shop ... actually buying something is another thing all together