Wednesday, July 02, 2008


It isn't exactly the most photogenic part of town but Divisoria has got to be the hub of commerce serving the entire country. Many dry goods, farmed produce, seafoods, and all sorts of locally-produced and exported merchandise pass through here.

I've decided to feature photos of items sold right along the streets because the various malls in the area do not allow the use of any photographic equipment inside. The main reason: smuggled pirated and counterfeit products from China and other Asian countries are allegedly sold in the stores inside those malls -- such as fake iPods and iPhones, DVD movies, various designer fashion accessories, top brand athletic footwear, and etc.

I rarely venture into Divisoria. I find it as nothing more than one gigantic tiangge or marketplace congested with people, shoulder-to-shoulder. However, many of Manila's savvy shoppers -- young and old alike -- always make it a point to make Divisoria their first stop whenever in the market for something.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 10:46 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm i wish to go back there again. Mura ng mga clothes dun. Mainit ang traffic nga lang. But I would visit Tutuban again soon.:)

July 02, 2008 3:50 PM  

Blogger Photo Cache said...

i always liked going to divisoria. it is only there that my money went a long way. the fact that shopping wasn't really my favorite thing to do, divisoria can let me breathe "fresh" air while shopping.

July 02, 2008 11:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm planning on visiting here on my trip. Thanks for posting these. Looking forwrad to riding a calesa again!

July 03, 2008 4:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

From what I heard, Joy, not only individual shoppers but many small-to-medium-sized business owners buy their stock in Divisoria because of the cheap prices.

Yes, the traffic can also be horrendous.

July 03, 2008 5:54 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Photo Cache, many people swear by the incredibly affordable prices in Divisoria.

Incidentally, some parts of the area are open and thriving 24 hours a day!

July 03, 2008 5:56 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You may want to venture up to Tutuban Center only, Heidi. Walking into the inner sections of Divisoria may be too much for a balikbayan. But nonetheless, enjoy!

There's plenty of calesas in the area, by the way :)

July 03, 2008 5:59 AM  

Blogger gypsy soul said...

next to ukay-ukay, divisoria is heaven to bargain shoppers like me! no need to go to hk's ladies market - andito na rin lahat, all the bargain and tiyangge stuffs that u want..!

July 03, 2008 11:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

during my college days (90's), divisoria was practically my second home since my best friend lived in the building which is along one of the cross streets of recto the name of which i could not recall. her building looks exactly like the one in the picture. it's amazing that there is a good number of scrupulously clean and orderly apartments inside those residential buildings in spite of the filthy streets outside. many, if not all, are occupied by filipino-chinese whose roots are in binondo. as a non-chinese, it was fascinating to be immersed in the the culture of a sub-group of our population.

living in antiseptic united states, i miss the sights, sounds and smells of divisoria. the calesas, whiffs of sandalwood incense and filipino-chinese homecooking can never be replicated here.

do they still have the tutuban night market? the food stalls make it worth a visit.


July 03, 2008 11:33 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You are among the many folks I know, Elay, who shop at Divisoria for practically anything!

If not mistaken, I think most of the products sold in other tiangges -- from Quiapo to Greenhills - come from Divisoria; hence, better go directly to Divisoria for even better prices :)

July 04, 2008 6:28 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

By chance, Gemma, I happen to pass by Divisoria one late night and was surprised to find the place buzzing with many street vendors and customers. I was then told by my friend that Tutuban is practically a 24-hour commercial center, even though most of the main stores are closed and only open during regular business hours. The street vendors and their customers keep Tutuban going non-stop.

The closest I could compare Divisoria to with a place in New York would be the Lower East Side near Chinatown -- with its market, smells, and incredibly low prices. However, I wouldn't be surprised if that has been gentrified by now as well ... hehehe.

July 04, 2008 6:35 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

Me..Me..(raising my hand)!! I'm one of those savvy shoppers that frequent Divisoria. I used to go as far as New Divisoria Mall and that Warehouse(toys) until they opened 168 Mall. Nowadays, I just go to 168. I'm a fan of 168. In fact, I'm planning to go again for my Christmas shopping soon. And their foodcourt is one of the cleanest, cheapest, and has the yummiest food!

July 07, 2008 10:10 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You remind me of my cousin's wife, Cookie -- a die-hard Divisoria and 168 Mall shopper.

Actually, if one has the patience and determination to learn the ins and outs of this shoppers' mecca, it can be an exhilarating experience, no doubt. My cousin's wife had eventually set up a couple of stores in the province that sell products she finds in Divisoria!

I will try the food court at 168 Mall. Thanks for the tip!

July 08, 2008 7:17 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

Finally, you have experienced the sight and sounds of Divisoria at dark. Masaya na nakakatakot dahil nasa gitna na ng Recto lahat ng vendors.

July 09, 2008 10:55 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Actually, Reyd, I'd like to go back and take pictures of Divisoria's night scenes.

July 09, 2008 11:00 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

^^ That would be an expreience of a lifetime to catch the hustle and bustle of the night market in Divisoria. During x'mas season, we used to get out of Divisoria late at night and we just have to wait for awhile before they close down Recto and all the vegetable dealers would take their spots.
May mga suki kami that's why we can get some good deals. But that was then and this is now.

Have a goodtime and be with some friends... I mean big, hunky friends. :lol:

July 09, 2008 2:08 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Indeed, an interesting documentary it'd make, Reyd, but as you said, a couple of big guys for security would be a good idea ... hehehe!

July 09, 2008 4:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi i read your blog. i remember going there a lot too esp. during xmas season. i am wondering if you know the process of getting a space there for vendors. coz i am thinking of putting up a stall/shop.

pls email me if you have some info

thanks enrique, your blog was really helpful


November 29, 2008 10:02 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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