Expat Living in the Philippines – Where is the Best Shopping?
First time immigrants and travelers to the Philippines are always pleasantly surprised by the quality shopping and bargain – hunting opportunities in the Philippines. From the northern island of Luzon to the southern island of Mindanao, quality shopping abounds and much at a bargain.
Filipinos love their shopping malls, in part due to the ever present hot and humid weather, particularly in the months of May to November, and of course in December due to Christmas. Shops in the Philippines get into the Christmas spirit as early as the beginning of October.
I have visited most of the malls in Manila, and all the malls in Cebu and Davao, as well as many of the specialty bargain shops in these cities. Below are listed where I consider one should go to find the best shopping in the Philippines
Shopping Malls – Manila
The SM Mall of Asia
This is the largest mall in all of the Philippines, even bigger than its sister mall, SM Megamall, and is the third largest mall in all the world in terms of gross floor area. There is even an indoor skating rink. This is a must for not only seeing all indigenous Philippine products under one roof, but also for a complete array of imported goods such as perfumes, clothing, jewelry, and electronic items, often a lower prices than in other countries. Visiting this mall is a must.
This mall if for those looking for the best in signature designer goods, and at the best possible prices. It is located in the upscale and affluent Makati area, which is the financial capital of the Philippines, nearby all the upscale hotels. This is definitely the affluent and hip-hop shopping area of the country.
Greenhills Shopping Center
This is my favorite Manila mall for bargain shopping. It is famous for bargain furniture, clothes, automotive, electronics and computer items.
It is located. It is located in the Greenhills area of Manila, nearby the Shangri La hotel and the Holiday Inn Galleria Hotel.
168 Shopping Mall
For the really adventurous shopper, the real bargain hunter, this is your place. It is only for the daring shopper. It is full of air conditioned stalls, but it is located in a dirty and polluted environment in Divisoria, and is referred to as the “bargainville of Manila”. Items like RTW are 40% to 50% cheaper than the identical items sold in the Greenhills and other malls.
Mananzan Handicraft Shop
This is not a mall, but I have to include it any shoppers list, as this is the place to go for Philippine handicrafts and souvenirs. They are at very reasonable prices and you are never pressured or pestered to buy. Visiting here is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Shopping Mall – North Luzon
If you are in North Luzon, this is the place to shop. It is the best in duty free shopping. It has great bargains for products coming from the USA, Europe and Asia. Subic was a former US Naval base which has been turned into a Free Trade Zone.
Shopping Mall – Cebu City
As close as you can get to Manila shopping, this relatively new mall if full of local Visayan handicraft bargains as well as the latest fashions from the USA, Europe and Asia. It is the upscale area of Cebu City, near the Cebu Waterfront, the Shangri La, and the Marriott hotels. Big, yet comfortable, with lots of good restaurants and easy to get around. One of my favorites.
Shopping Malls – Davao City
New City Commercial Center Mall
This is a newly established shopping mall, stocked with all the latest goods, both domestic and imported. However, Malls in Davao do not have all the upscale designer label, signature type goods you find in Manila.
SM Shoemart Mall
SM Shoemart is a national chain of high quality shopping malls. There are many SM Shoemart stores in Manila, but in Cebu and Davao they have been expanded into complete shopping malls. You can find the best in both soft goods, such as clothing, and in hard goods such as electronics and furniture.
Victoria Plaza Mall
Victoria Plaza is a shopping center with only two floors, yet its floor space is large and it is reputed to be Mindanao’s biggest shopping center. It has all the shops and services one would expect in a large mall, to include airline and shipping ticketing offices, a supermarket, a department store, food shops, boutiques and restaurants, jewelry shops, a business center and movie theaters.