Meet Manila: 8 Markets To Get You Acquainted
Bonus: I have recently added the Ultimate Guide To Cartimar as well.
‘I believe that Manila can be a reflection of your state of mind. Being a city of extreme contrasts it's easy to see how it can become an intense personal experience. Manila can be chaotic and spiritual, dirty and divine, gritty and gorgeous all at once. If you don't find beauty and poetry here, you will never find it anywhere.’ Carlos Celdran, Filipino Historical Walking Guide.
If you don't see Manila in the right light she can come off as the intimidating bully at school who doesn’t slow down to let you catch your breath. However, once you get to know her, an endearing side reveals itself and a whole new friendship is to be discovered. If you are struggling with life in Manila my tip would be to lean into life here, don't resist it but lean into it. You can start by visiting local markets.
Local markets allow you a true Filipino experience that cannot be fabricated anyplace else. Interacting with locals and hearing market-talk in the native language while sampling local delicacies is sure to win even the most apprehensive of rookie. Always show up early, with cash, a sweat towel and reusable bags. Keep your wallets tights and your minds open.
Here are eight markets help you sink your teeth into Manila.
The most famous of Manila markets and located in the heart of the city, Divisoria is an enchanting land of cheap everything. Need fabric? An entire labyrinth of vendors awaits you. Looking for party supplies? There are so many that the supplies will practically plan the party for you. Cell phone accessories? Embroidery floss? Rain gear? Papier Mache letters, numbers, and symbols? Divisoria has it all. - Marie Peralta wrote a full comprehensive post for AMA, even with booth numbers, go read it!
Location: Commercio and Recto Streets, Binondo, Manila
Please see detailed post for an index of items and maps here.*
Quiapo is Divisoria’s little sister who despite being smaller, still has a plethora of options. Quiapo’s specialty is jewelry making supplies and accessories. Lining Palma Street across from the Black Nazarene Basilica you will find a sea of stores offering everything from sequins, beads, fasteners, gems and everything else in between. Also, don’t forget to go shopping for Christmas decor ‘under the bridge.’
Location: Bautista, Quiapo, Maynila
Please see detailed post here and here for Quiapo.*
In the chaos of gritty Manila there is a blooming flower market, unsuspecting and unassuming but it exists. Dangwa Flower Market is a diamond in the rough. Lined with brick road and a pedestrian only foot path, it will charm your hearts. Dangwa Flower Market is the place to visit if you are needing a bit of nature, the positive energy and vibrant colors will pick you right up. Plus, the prices cannot be beat (as long as you don't pay the 'foreigner price' for an arranged bouquet.)
Location: Corner of Dos Castillas and Laong Laan Rd
Please see detail post for Dangwa here.*
The biggest treasure trove if there ever was one. Measuring in at only one city block (and a small one at the end) but will eat through your hours like no other. Dapitan caters to home goods, so if you have a knack for interior design or are settling into a new home, this is the place to come.
Location: Corners of Dapitan Street and Kanloan.
The most Filipino of all the weekend markets, Sidcor is the place to be. Unpretentious and no frills, Sidcor has everything a weekend market should. They offer handicrafts, produce, plants, native dishes and delicacies, sea food, clothing, toys, accessories but most importantly, community. Sidcor has a different vibe than any other market I have been to in Manila.
Location: Eton Centris North, EDSA, Diliman, Manila
Tips found in this post.*
6| Greenhills Shopping Center
The Philippines is well known for their pearls and Greenhills is the mecca of the pearl markets. Upstairs you will find an amazing home goods section and will surely not leave empty handed. If you are into ‘peke’ or fake purses/watches/glasses this is the place to come. Greenhills is the only ‘market’ that is actually inside of a mall. Don’t make the mistake and go to Greenhills Promenade, enter Greenhills Shopping Center.
Location: Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan
A few tips can be found here.
Farmers Cubao is your neighborhood palengke but a lot cleaner and more organized. Farmers is a great place to take your visitors if you want them to have an authentic visit to a wet market. It also has hard to find produce items like yellow raisins and lemon basil.
Location: General Araneta, Cubao, Quezon City
Full post found here.*
Salcedo and Legaspi weekend markets are the safest and well manicured of all the markets. Think of a yuppy farmers market in Austin Texas, now put a Filipino twist on and call it good. You pay a premium for comfort but that isn’t always a bad thing. These weekend markets are the regular hits for Makati residents and heaps of expats.
Location: Salcedo Saturday Market is located at James Velasquez Park, Salcedo, Makati. Legaspi Sunday Market is located at Legaspi Park, Legaspi, Makati.
Salcedo Market tips found here.
Cheers to leaning in and loving life in this city.