8 Reasons Why Metro Manila Is Still Asia’s Shopping Capital

Inside Trinoma Mall
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Metro Manila is Asia’s Shopping Capital

Wherever you stay in Metro Manila, there’s bound to be a mall within a few minutes of your base. Makati and Mandaluyong each have at least 5 malls respectively and aside from the new Malls being constructed, most of the famous Malls are expanding.

Asia’s Shopping Capital SM Mall of Asia at Night
SM Mall of Asia at Night photo by Jun Acullador

1. Big malls everywhere.

SM Mall of Asia
SM Mall of Asia

Some of the world’s biggest shopping malls are also here. There’s SM North EDSA in Quezon City, which boasts of 1,100 shops and 400 dining establishments. It is ranked 3rd largest shopping mall in the world, according to holidaypoint.com.au. Another option is SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, ranked 10th largest in the world and is larger than Terminal 2 of Singapore’s Changi Airport.

2. Everything from cheap to luxury.

Greenbelt 3 in Makati City
Greenbelt 3 in Makati City photo by Kitakits

All these malls aren’t confined to the luxury sector, too. There are numerous shopping centers in Metro Manila that are basically air-conditioned indoor flea markets. One good example is Greenhills, where most people go to score bargains and even imitation goods.

3. There’s also mall sale every now and then.

A storekeeper inside Virra Mall in Greenhills photo by Gadjo Sevilla
A storekeeper inside Virra Mall in Greenhills photo by Gadjo Sevilla

Unlike in the US where you have to wait for Black Friday to snag a great deal, in Manila there’s at least one every month. There are a lot of sales around payday weekend (usually the 15th and 30th of every month) and even special sales held at convention centers. Malls also hold sales every major holiday. When you consider that the Philippines has a lot of these holidays, then you’ll never run out of chances to shop for cheap.

4. Street markets galore.

Street Market in Divisoria photo by Jake Hirsch-Allen
Street Market in Divisoria photo by Jake Hirsch-Allen

If shopping malls aren’t your thing, then you may find what you’re looking for in the many street markets that dot the metro. A day spent in Quiapo, Divisoria, or Baclaran will show you that you can buy almost anything on the streets of Manila.

Just remember to be a bit careful—these are literally out on the streets and you may end up jostling for space with some vehicles while going around. Shopping at these street markets are not for the faint of heart, so if you want a more comfortable experience, just shop indoors.

5. Themed bazaars.

Asia Shopping Capital
Shopping in Quiapo-Manila photo by Gino Mempin

Another alternative to shopping at malls would be to watch out for the numerous independent bazaars that happen every now and then. These are the perfect places to find arts and crafts that cannot be found anywhere else. Examples include the 98B Saturday Market in Escolta, Manila, which happens once a month and offers various arts and crafts for sale. There’s also the weekly Legaspi Village Sunday Market in Makati City, known for its foodstuff.

6. A mix of East and West.

Inside Greenbelt Mall in Makati
Inside Greenbelt Mall in Makati photo by en-vi

The most popular brands, luxury or otherwise, from both ends of the globe can be found in Manila. From Louis Vuitton at Greenbelt to Uniqlo and Forever 21 outlets in malls around the metro, you’d find them all here.
Various local brands such as Bench and Kamiseta give them tough competition, however. Don’t be afraid to try them out!

7. Shopping is Easy because everyone speaks English.

Power Plant Mall in Makati photo by Lesley Choa
Power Plant Mall in Makati photo by Lesley Choa

Ever tried to haggle with someone who can’t speak your language? Or tried to ask questions about what you’re buying and failed to get a clear answer? That’s a rare occurence here in Manila. With the Philippines having spent around 50 years under American rule, English is a second language for most locals.

8. There’s something for your husband and kids to do while you’re out shopping.

Inside Trinoma Mall
Inside Trinoma Mall photo by Roslyn

Let’s admit it—not everyone enjoys shopping. That’s why many major Manila malls have customer lounges that offer free Wi-Fi and refreshments for your hubby to enjoy while waiting. Some malls also offer play areas and daycare services where you can leave your kids while you go around the mall. There are also cinemas, arcades, ice skating rinks, bowling alleys, and even small-scale amusement parks inside some malls for kids and the young-at-heart to enjoy.

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