Discover Divisoria Street Market - Manila
If you're into budget shopping and haggling and are not easily deterred by teeming hordes of people, Trip Guru suggests a trip to the Manila's famed Divisoria Street Market. Touted as the "Mother of All Markets in Manila", the Divisoria Street Market originally started when the Spanish authorities forbid non-Christianized Chinese merchants from living or trading within the walled city of Intramuros. The merchants then made their own community in nearby Binondo and Divisoria was established as the market district. Centered on the intersection of Claro M Recto (CM Recto) and Juan Luna, the labyrinthian street market is augmented by several shopping centers.
The moment you first set sight on Divisoria, you will be confronted by the chaotic mass of people thronging the vibrant market. The stalls are chock full clothes, bags, toys, knick knacks, cosmetics, school supplies, fruits, housewares, and other merchandise. The hubbub of people is constant as haggling is expected with every purchase. Expect filth on the streets, strange smells wafting in the air, and loudly talking locals. Roll up your sleeves and dive in, shopping is serious business but a lot of fun. Divisoria Street Market is not just a place, it's an experience.
It is recommended to leave your gadgets, jewelry, expensive possessions at home. Bring only a small bag and keep it close to your body at all times. If you have a knapsack, carry it in front of you. Use your cellphone or camera as sparingly as possible. Pickpockets are known to take advantage of the chaos of the market. This is a sea of humanity, so expect to have your foot stepped on or to be shoved many times - especially during Christmas season. Haggling is expected, don't be afraid to ask 50% of the stated price, and don't be afraid to walk away - the same item may be sold much more cheaply at another stall. Be careful of what you buy as there is a "no return no exchange" policy in Divisoria. While there may be branded items sold in some of the stores, their authenticity is questionable.
To get to Divisoria, take the LRT Line 1 to Doroteo Jose and take a jeepney to Divisoria or walk there. If coming from Makati, take a bus or jeepney to LRT Line 1 Buendia Station and then either take the LRT to Doroteo Jose or ride a jeepney to Divisoria. Note that taxis may refuse to go to Divisoria or ask for additional fare due to the awful traffic in the area. Street vendors normally start selling at 6:00AM.
What our experts tell about this experience.
The market here is over flowing with the many goods you can buy. The prices are cheap and there’s a wide variety of what you can choose from to purchase. I feel like the shopping you do here is “business” You don’t just buy buy and go. It’s a matter of bargaining and getting what Is best for you. It’s more than just shopping about, it’s an experience to be in the mother market of markets.
I’m not saying that this market is full of theft but it’s a smarter if you leave your luxurious and expensive possessions back in your room where it’s safe. A lot of haggling says to be expected in Divisoria. I’m not a serious guy at all but I did feel that I had my back pack yanked at grabbed a few times that I had to has to wear it like carrying a baby. The market here on Divisoria exceeds of all the things you’d like to buy with the best prices around. I had a lot of fun spending my shopping hours here. The prices are very reasonable and I felt if I was king. I can purchase almost everything here that my heart desires! Best market in Manila!
The only thing I didn't enjoy about my visit was too many people. Aside from that, finally visiting the "Mother of All Markets in Manila" was something I just couldn't pass up. There was something amazing about how the people shopped, the air was full of the sounds of people haggling.