Know Before You Go: Divisoria

Divisoria has long been a bargain hunter’s haven for people from all walks of life. It is really one big market in one of the busiest districts in Manila. The bustling commercial district has a bevy of malls that dot the area, alleys and byways are teeming with stores and mobile vendors that sell their wares. Everything you need is there from hard-to-find items to heavy machinery. You should have lots of time and tons of patience in finding your kinds of stuff. Brace yourself against the sea of humanity, it’ll take a while to hop from one area to another.

The Good News is that your One Thousand Pesos can buy a lot of things compared to the medium to high-end malls in the metro. And you can buy the replica of a designer item at a miniscule amount. A galore of food awaits your hungry tummy, trendy clothes and accessories for the fashionista, house fixtures and appurtenances for a home remodelling, while your kids hawk on gadgets and toys.

But before you go, remember to take note of these things on your shopping spree.

  • A foreigner should never go to Divisoria alone, tag along with someone who is familiar with the place. There is a myriad of pathways that crisscross, you might get lost and may lead you to danger. A pair of extra hands will come in handy, yours might not be able to handle all the things that you bought.
  • It’s better to commute than to bring your own car, there are many public transport services that ply the route. If ever you’ll bring one be sure to come early, parking spaces get filled-up pretty fast. Check if your car is secured and there are no valuables inside.
  • Prepare a shopping list. This will keep you focused on things that you need and want which is why you are here. It’ll also give you a ballpark figure before you start your spree and will help you stay within budget. There will certainly be items that will strike your fancy, go ahead and be tempted and overspend a bit.
  • Dress light and leave your valuables at home. Divisoria is a busy place and full of people you might need to squeeze your way through the crowd while shopping. Beware, there are malefactors that will take advantage of the situation, so it’s better not to bring any valuables.
  • Be careful of dishonest vendors. Once you touch their product, they will intimidate you to buy it. Try to stay at realistic prices and do not get sweet-talked by a salesperson. Be sure to count your change don’t let the vendor count this for you.
  • Keep your shopping money close to your body, avoid showing large sums.
  • Don’t expect to receive an official receipt (OR) from the salesperson. Expect makeshift ones made out of ordinary paper or notepads. If ever they will give you an OR, they will charge an additional 12% for VAT.

Going around Divisoria while shopping is tiring, with the sore foot, your body covered with perspiration, and the pooped arms from carrying all the bags. But as the day come to a close, you’ll end up with a smile on your face from all the money you saved, items that you’ve never seen previously, and the human traffic that you’ve never experienced before.


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