The Best Divisoria Shopping Tips for 2018
Here's our ultimate, updated guide on how to navigate Divisoria, the best bargain shopping spot out there
Who hasn’t had a Divisoria shopping experience, with its rock-bottom prices, haphazard stalls, and throngs of crowds? One friend likened shopping in the area to “an action movie, only without guns and thrice the extras.”
Regardless of the chaos, Divi is still the place to get any sort of goods in quantity, for the lowest prices. And especially for those who are building a house on a budget, the costs of their decorative accessories and fabric are unbeatable.
But first, a bit of history. According to this article by Entrepreneur PH, Divisoria finds its roots in the Spanish-colonial period, when non-Christian Chinese traders were forbidden to sell within Intramuros’s walls. The traders then set up shop within Binondo, and the half-kilometer area of Divisoria had immediate access to the North and South Harbors, Pasig River, and Tutuban Central Station (now Tutuban Centermall), making it the ideal spot to sell.
Divisoria remains the drop-off point for all sorts of goods—from fashion to gadgets and everything in between. And the sheer variety of items for sale can be quite daunting, especially for first-time Divi shoppers. Here, stylist and interior designer Dagny Madamba gives us tips on how to navigate the bowels of Divisoria, based on the home items that you need.
Tabora St.: Decorative accessories
Here, you’ll find stalls laden with baskets, colorful hanging lanterns, woven mats, bamboo rods, cardboard letters, hats, abaniko, and others. It’s a great area to hit if you’re a production designer or event stylist, or if you’re planning a fancy theme party.
Watch out for mobile carts and sidewalk stalls laden with unvarnished wood chopping boards, mortar-and-pestle-sets, and rice scoops—these all have a Muji-style feel about them.
Ylaya St.: Fabric and sundries
Ylaya is the premier bagsakan of all types of fabric for clothing and upholstery. And we mean bagsakan—meaning most of the fabrics are in huge, rolled-up bolts or sprawled right on the sidewalk.
But the prices are unbeatable: cotton is P35 per yard, taffeta at P30 a yard, Tulle at only P15 to P20. Upholstery fabric goes for as low as P50 to P70 a yard, and they sell the cheapest blackout curtains at P200 per panel!
You can also find stalls selling ready-made fabric goods scattered along Ylaya, and the prices are also competitive. Throw pillows go for P50 each, curtains of various fabrics go from P200 up, rugs are from P140 to P180, and nicely-made table runners are P320 and up.
Sto. Cristo St.: Baking and cooking ware
If you have a serious food catering or business, this is the street to hit to buy items in bulk. Most of the stalls sell cake decorating tools, fondue fountains, muffin pans, leche flan llaneras, stainless steel utensils, and more. If you buy from the stalls on the street, pots can go for as low as P250 each.
Juan Luna heading towards CM Recto: Flowers and hardware
It seems an odd combination, but yes, this area has some of both. At the corner of Juan Luna is Cherry Berry Flower Shop, which sells exquisitely made, realistic-looking faux flowers. They also sell pots and ceramic or glass vases (photo at the end of this article) that you’ll need for floral arrangements.
Stalls selling various sundry goods and specialty hardware accessories can also be found on the streets. Castor wheels for furniture go from P35 to P250 for the biggest.
Small couplings and other metal hardware accessories like those above go from P45 to P75.
Tutuban Centermall: More fabric
The Prime Block area of the former Tutuban Central Station (it’s been around since 1891!) houses many home fabric stores where you can shop for your curtains or upholstery in air-conditioned comfort.
168 Mall: A cool place to rest and grab a bite
Once you’re done with your Divi street shopping, head over to 168 Mall to have lunch at any of their three food courts, or to do more shopping! All levels have stalls that sell accessories, décor, lighting, and more soft furnishings.
Dagny’s Divi Shopping Tips
To make sure you don’t get stressed out while shopping!
1. “Wear comfortable clothes, and I’d rather wear closed sneakers than sandals, kasi maalikabok. Magdala ng payong, in case umulan or uminit. And don’t forget to wear sunblock and bring bottled water.
2. “Shop early in the morning, when the crowds are thinner.”
3. “Magdala ng extra tote bag, so you won’t be bringing tiny plastic bags as you go along.” According to the stylist, if the tote bag you brought is too small, almost every corner sells large bayong-style bags.
4. “For safety—instead of a wallet full of credit cards that you might lose, bring a purse with small bills and loose change. Also, use a sturdy bag with hidden pockets.”
5. “Dress down, and don’t wear jewelry or borloloy. Minsan, mas mahal ang sasabihin nilang prices judging on the way you look!”
6. “Don’t be afraid to ask for directions, and don’t be masungit to the tinderas.”
7. “Don’t forget to haggle!”
More on Realliving.com.ph