Put on your Drama Queen or King Hat as timid bargaining will get you nothing but mall-rate quoted items. The major attraction in going to Divisoria is to purchase items at half the mall price, you know! Immediately, quote at half the original price and then work your way up to a mutually agreeable price. Choose your tactic: glowering displeasure or flattering small-talk. Whichever you choose, walk away in a huff if the seller refuses to concede to your quoted price. Expect some wailing, grinding of teeth, and heart-breaking entreaties to come back… In between stalls, makeshift ones made by simply laying sackcloth on the street, and moving shops featuring the ‘kariton’ (push cart), stop and smell the pungency… that’s Divisoria for you!
There are certain rules to shopping in Divisoria though:
1. Be prepared for a lot of walking! Bring a large shopping bag and, preferably, a companion. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
2. Bring plenty of small bills—to avoid the hassle of waiting for change. Count your change carefully, especially if you’ve just bought from a street vendor.
3. Reserve plenty of time for shopping. Divisoria is made up of numerous small malls, not to mention that every inch of street seems to be taken up by a merchant and his/her wares.
4. Beware pickpockets! These could be in the guise of small children bumping into you. Before you could blink, your bag has been slashed and its contents taken. Hold your bag close to your body.
5. Leave your precious jewelry and watch at home. Make sure your cell phone is tucked in close to your body.
6. Try not to drink too much liquid. The lines to Comfort Rooms in Divisoria is notorious for their unending lines and pungent state (this is not really the management’s fault; it is just impossible for cleaners to keep up with the deluge of users).
7. Don’t shop in Divisoria if you’re claustrophobic. Divisoria is congested with merchants, shoppers, and traffic—morning until midnight!
Malls in Divisoria and notable streets:
· Divisoria Mall (Tabora St corner Sto. Cristo St) – best for wholesale buys (at least 6 items); composed of three floors and a basement full of stalls selling knickknacks, gift items, school/office supplies, wedding and corporate giveaways, accessories, kid’s toys and party items, and household items; stalls are arranged into pasilios or rows.
· 168 (entrances at Soler, Sta. Elena and Felipe Sts) – a haven for the cheapest and trendiest clothing and accessories. The name is so named because ‘168’ is believed a lucky number by Chinese merchants.
· Tutuban Center (Recto Ave) – modern mall but still chock-full of bargain buys as well as designer ones; has a good selection of handicraft & jewelry stores and stalls selling delicacies.
· Cluster Mall – for cheap clothing, accessories, and textile.
· Tabora St – crowded with stalls selling ribbons, beads, gift wrappers, bottles, strings, sand, crystals, paint, and Christmas knickknacks
· Ylaya St – shop here for textile, ribbons, buttons, and other sewing needs
· M.D. Santos St – shop here for school or office supplies