Best Shopping Spots in Manila
Metro Manila is the center of almost everything in the Philippines. It is, after all, the capital of the country. It is home to towering skyscrapers, showbiz and entertainment, the house of the President and other government offices, and various commercial and entertainment establishments.
Naturally, it is also the hub of shopping malls and districts. There are countless of these in the central business district alone, and the only way you can make the most out of Manila is if you know where to go if you want to buy or see something.
Here is a guide to the best shopping malls and spots in Manila. Are your wallets ready?
Who doesn’t know Divisoria? It’s in the news, it’s in Filipino culture, and everyone’s talking about it. Divisoria is the source of cheap school supplies, bags, shoes, various merchandise—you name it. Even household furniture are being sold here for prices you will love. Because of that, it is almost always crowded here.
Shopping tips: If you are planning to buy something during peak season (Opening of classes, Christmas, Lenten season, et cetera), be sure to come early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Also, haggling is totally acceptable here if you buy the same product in bulk (three or more).
If there is another shopping district that can be considered a rival to Divisoria, it’s definitely Quiapo. Located just right across Quiapo church, this is like a mini-mall of sorts that offers a wide range of products for bargain prices.
Shopping tips: Quiapo sells really interesting handicrafts, like tissue boxes made from mother of pearl, woven shopping bags or bayong, and various interesting home ornaments like decorative bamboo and frames!
Many would say that Baclaran is an organized Divisoria. Indeed, it is easier to find a product you want in Baclaran because shoes, clothes, food, and other kinds of shops are grouped together. Despite this, Baclaran can get really crowded and hectic, so prepare yourself for the heat.
Baclaran is located in the northern part of Paranaque.
Shopping tips: Shoes and school supplies are the leading products of Baclaran. With that said, it can become increasingly crowded before or during the opening of classes.
SM Mall of Asia
Frequently shortened to MOA (pronounced mo-wah), SM Mall of Asia is one of the larger malls in this list. It is the fourth largest in the country and currently the 12th biggest in the world. Located in Pasay, MOA is composed of four separate buildings: Main Mall, Entertainment Mall, North Park, and South Park Building.
Shopping tips: This is a fact: you cannot explore all of MOA within a day. With that said, make a list of which stores you want to visit and what you really want to buy.
Bonifacio Global City
BGC, also called The Fort, is a commercial district that is composed of not just shops but also residential complexes, office buildings, and car showrooms. This is located in Taguig. It does not get as crowded as MOA or Divisoria, but the shops here are definitely pricey.
Shopping tips: BGC is home to luxury brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Rolex, Puma, and Old Navy, to name a few. There is also one known shopping mall here, which I will talk about in a bit.
Greenbelt Mall in Makati is an upbeat shopping mall that offers it all. They offer both local and international brands, so it is suitable for people from all walks of life, even window shoppers! Greenbelt has designer clothing, Filipino bistros, cafés, and restaurants.
Shopping tips: This mall has a considerable number of electronics/computer shops and branded clothes to choose from. Their website offers a comprehensive list of these stalls, which will really come in handy if you are planning to go shopping for something specific.
Greenhills Shopping Center
Somewhere in Ortigas Avenue is Greenhills Shopping Center. This mall has hundreds of shops, including cellphone shops, small delicacy stores, jewelry brands, and countless clothing stalls and boutiques.
Shopping tips: Because of its inclusive range of shops, Greenhills Shopping Center arguably offers prices that are comparable to Divisoria, but this mall does not attract as much crowd as Divisoria.
Tiendesitas is a shopping complex divided into four buildings. Each one has no specific theme, but Building B exclusively houses dining. Buildings A and C contain a plethora of shops, including fitness centers, fashion boutiques, and handicrafts.
The complex is located in Pasig and has minimal crowd compared to other malls.
Shopping tips: If you are looking for pet supplies, Tiendesitas has a considerable number of these in Building D.
Glorietta has been around since 1991 and has been the same well-loved mall in Makati ever since. It has been the setting of the old Filipino movie Hotshots. The mall is divided into five buildings, with a combined shop number of more than 500.
Shopping tips: Besides dining and clothing options, Glorietta is dominated by electronics shops like DataBlitz, Cable Monster, and CDR King. Since the mall is frequently the location for many exhibits and events, you can chance upon electronics-related events, too.
Being one of the Robinsons Mall chains, Robinsons Galleria showcases features that are characteristic of the mall brand: countless service centers, travel agencies, and hardware stores.
This five-level mall complex is located in Quezon City, near EDSA Shrine.
Shopping tips: There are many food stalls in Robinsons Galleria. If you are in a hurry to grab a bite but are short in time to fall in line inside a fast-food restaurant, you can choose among hundreds of food stalls located in the first few floors.
SM Megamall is located just near Robinsons Galleria, along Ortigas Avenue and EDSA. Just like Glorietta, this mall has been around since the 1990s. The mall has about 500 stores, 280 of which are dining outlets.
Shopping tip: Like most malls under the SM brand, Megamall is known for its supermarket (there are two of these here) and SM Cinema. It is also home to one of the few ice skating rinks in the Philippines.
Shangri-La Mall EDSA
Everyone near or who lives in Mandaluyong would consider Shangri-la Mall as their go-to. This shopping center is home to international brands like Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, and Converse, as well as the more affordable shops like Celine, Bench, and Folded & Hung.
Shopping tips: While this one is complete with fashion and jewelry, Shangri-La is also complete with service centers like Cebuana Lhuillier, Western Union, and a number of banks.
SM Aura Premier
SM Aura Premier is located in Taguig. It is among the shopping malls in the BGC complex. It just opened in 2013 and, besides being the characteristic mall under the SM brand, is also home to a variety of entertainment centers like Samsung Hall, a performance theatre.
Shopping tips: After shopping or dining, go to Skypark, a multi-level living roof. Its innovations like Skypark as well as its various green areas placed in the shopping areas earned the mall the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) awarded by the US Green Building Council.
Did you know that Trinoma stands for Triangle North of Manila? Located in Quezon City and opened in 2007, this mall has countless specialty shops, cafés, and clothing stores.
Trinoma has four major floors and is known for its landscaping and water displays.
Shopping tips: This mall under the Ayala Malls brand has a number of amusement centers like the in-house Ayala Malls Cinema, Redbox Star, and Timezone. There is also a park named after the mall on the topmost floor.
SM North EDSA
If you are looking for a place where you can buy average-priced products and entertainment, then SM North EDSA is the place to go. This mall has everything ranging from bookstores and electronics shops to restaurants. There is even a 7 Eleven in the mall.
Outside the mall are SkyDome and SkyGarden. All these are located along EDSA Avenue.
Shopping tips: SM North EDSA is the largest shopping mall in the country and the fourth largest in the world. Needless to say, one day is not enough to window shop here.
Shopping tips for all
- When going through crowded shopping areas like Divisoria, Baclaran, and Quiapo, be sure to be wary of your belongings. I strongly advise that you do not wear jewelry or anything expensive, as pickpocketing is sadly fairly common, still. Prevention is better than cure.
- If you are a foreigner, do not rely on your local currency or your credit/debit card from your home country. While most malls in this list accept cards, there are still a number of stalls inside these that only accept (Philippine) money for all their transactions.
- It always pays to plan ahead. Many of the malls I listed above have their own websites that show their respective shopping/mall directories. From there, you can find the shop you are specifically looking for if they have it
- Do not patronize fake products under any circumstance. Producing counterfeit products is against the law, and if you continue to buy these, you contribute to the demand for them.
Shop wise and shop safely. Happy haggling!
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