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Divisoria Market, Manila Overview

Considered to be the “Mother of all Markets” in Manila, Divisoria is a popular flea market located right in the heart of the city in Chinatown. Chaotic and crowded, the dizzying lanes of Divisoria are a cacophony of street vendors, local eateries and the several ambient sounds, which bustle with frenzied shoppers hustling to buy goods being offered at dirt cheap prices as the items are being sold at bulk or wholesale prices. Strewn about with colourful fabric stores, local food stalls and counters for flashy gadgets, the market has shops that sell almost everything under the sun, from clothes, bags, garments, footwear, textiles, accessories, food items, electronic equipment, crafts, home decor items, kitchenware and the like.

Besides the apparel stores and other products, items and souvenirs, the market is popular for its delicious street food. There are several eateries and food stalls selling Chinese food that you can devour without burning a hole in your pocket. Try the authentic street Filipino street food and fresh fruits and vegetables off the vendors. The market now, also has big brand stores and four enormous malls- Tutuban Center Mall, Divisoria Mall, 168 Mall and Meisic Mall.

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What to Buy at Divisoria Market

  1. The market is popular for fancy costumes. So whether it is Halloween or you need a dress for Christmas, you can easily find it here. You can even find wedding dresses here and if you try hard enough, you might even find a one you actually like.
  2. The market is also known for good quality textiles. You can find ones to suit corporate suits or even school uniforms. Big companies also come here to purchase textiles in bulk for large scale manufacture of apparels and garments.
  3. In addition to that, Divisoria market is a hub for fresh fruits and vegetables. It is advised you visit in the early hours of morning to get the best of the produce. And the products are relatively cheap and affordable, especially the Filipino home grown and also the imported ones.
  4. There are plenty of souvenirs and knick knacks available to take back home if you are a visiting tourists. These items are also bought in bulk by the locals for return gifts in parties and as Christmas gifts for kith and kin.
  5. Another product of utility in Divisoria is the stationery and office supplies. Available in wide variety, these products may not be of premium quality but are easy use and throws.

History of Divisoria Market

Intramuros was the capital of the kingdom during the Spanish rule and the non Christian Chinese merchants were not allowed to trade in the area surrounding Intramuros. So these merchants started by small setups and a commercial centre near the area of Binondo. This shopping centre blossomed and expanded in the 1990s taking over the adjoining neighborhoods, especially that of Divisoria, eventually booming into the flea market that is today.

Tips

  1. Be aware of pickpockets as there are many thieves roaming about in the streets.
  2. Carry little valuables and take extra care of cash, mobile phones and other expensive items.
  3. Most shops in the market only accept cash as the credit / debit cards are not acceptable.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes as you will have to walk a lot. Do not be shy and haggle as much as you can.
  5. The market is famous for bargain shopping. Start by quoting 50% of the price of the MRP being told. In most cases, you can have your way.
  6. The most peaceful time to shop here is on the weekday mornings.
  7. It is not advisable to buy processed foods like candies as they might be considered unsafe for consumption.
  8. Do not buy toys for small kids, especially the ones who are teething. It has been reported that most of these toys contain lead.
  9. It is also not wise to buy appliances or electronic gadgets as there is no warranty or guarantee. They may or may not work later.
  10. Be aware that the cosmetic brands and other accessories may not be authentic and just a copy of the original product.

How to Reach

From Quezon City and Marikina, you can take the RT2 Purple Line and reach the Recto Station. From here, take a jeepney bound for Divisoria. Or you can also walk till the 168 Mall which is pretty close by. The other option is to start from Cubao. Ride the jeepney that is bound for Quiapo and asked to be dropped off at Divisoria.

If you are starting from the south i.e. Pasay, Makati or Paranaque area, you can find a jeepney bound for Divisoria via Taft or Mabini route which will be available near the SM Mall of Asia or along the Taft Avenue. Alternatively, you can ride a bus or an FX bound for Manila City Hall or Lawton. And from Manila City Hall or Lawton you can find a jeepney bound for Divisoria that can will drop you off at the market. Another option is to take the LRT 1 Yellow Line bound for Doroteo Jose. From here walk towards Recto Avenue westward till you reach 168 Mall or Meisic Mall.

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