Shopping in the Philippines can be a real delight, with numerous stores and malls offering a plethora of items for eager tourists. If you are visiting this vivacious country for the first time, you have a lot to look forward to.
What to buy in the Philippines?
There’s plenty to buy in the cities of Philippines, from local handicrafts to designer goods in the upscale malls. You will be want to buy it all and ask for more as you find your way through the busy bazaars, local shops and the lively malls.
The country is proud of its exotic handicrafts. For art connoisseurs, there are few other countries in Asia that offer such a rich variety of art works and handicrafts. From ceramic pots to bamboo trays, shopping is an exhilarating experience in the Philippines.
Bargaining and haggling for an item is quite commonplace in the Philippines. Tourists often bargain with the shop sellers before making a final purchase.
Beautifully crafted Philippine baskets have now found international recognition and are used in many countries as a fashion accessory. The baskets are unique in their design and style. Made from natural fibers such as bamboo, rattan and other palms, these baskets are popular items for sale throughout the country. These baskets are not just meant for decoration but can also be purchased for everyday use; they are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
You will find these baskets in tourist shops and occasionally in some street side markets under the Quiapo Bridge, in the centre of Metro Manila. If you want to get to the source, you can visit the Baguio market up in the mountains. This is the place where the cultural designs of the mountain province merge into the designs in the baskets.
Philippine mats stand out in their unique style; they are made from pandan leaves that are woven together. These mats are also used to line the walls of hotels, and could either be naturally colored or decorated with interesting designs. The mats that come from Sulu and Basilan have some complex geometric designs that lend them an exotic look. Philippine mats come at affordable rates and are an integral part of the country’s folk art culture.
The country offers a rich collection of jewelry; the most popular being those made from silver and shell. Mother of pearl is widely popular, followed by tortoise shell and coral. However due to environmental concerns, tourists are hesitant to buy jewelry made of tortoise shells and coral as the industry is slowly affecting the ecology in the coral reefs and neighboring habitats.
For beautifully designed silver jewelry, visit Baguio. You will also find plenty of wood and vine jewelry in the specialty shops at Ermita and Makati.
The Philippines offers a wide range of shopping centers, from high-end malls to department stores, visitors will find everything they need in the country’s numerous shopping areas. Some popular malls are SM City North EDSA, SM Megamall Ortigas, SM City Bacoor, SM City Pampanga, and SM Megamall Santiago.
Other things to look for in the Philippines include shoes and bags, embroidered clothing, woodcarving and a variety of antiques.