Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Divisoria! Divisoria!

For one person who finds going to malls too stressful and not at all relaxing, isn't it ironic if I tell you that Divisoria is my topmost destination in this part of the globe? Before you start raising your eyebrows and howl at me for being the walking paradox that I may be, let me tell you that I have long asked myself this question:

Divisoria, why do I love thee?

Believe me when I say I did some sort of soul searching there one fine Saturday while accompanying my sister to buy giveaways for the baptism of our niece. Armed with only a few survival bucks--since never did I intend to go on a shopping spree-- and a digital camera to capture the sights, I allowed myself to drown in the sea of people with my sister totally clueless of what I was up to. And as I sank deeper and deeper into the crowded streets, I found reasons, profound or otherwise,  why the place fascinates me to no end.

Divisoria puts one's survival skills to practice. Finding my way to the next street or building means bumping into mortals of all forms and sizes from different walks of life--shoppers carrying oversized plastic bags, vendors pushing karitons, policemen shoving the vendors off the sidewalks, kargadors with tons of big boxes on their backs, children and manangs selling shopping bags etc. etc. You feel a certain sense of fulfillment if you arrive at your next destination in one piece with all your valuables still intact. I love the challenge!

Divisoria is a shopping paradise, all in one. Aside from people, Divisoria has all goods one can ever think of buying and selling from toothpick to battleship. While the sidewalks have the merry mix of everything, there are streets known for particular kinds of goods, say, Ylaya for textiles and Tabora for craft materials as well as home decors, and shopping malls for clothes and more but with the advantage of having airconditioning systems. Most famous of which are 168, Juan Luna, Divisoria Mall and Tutuban situated only a few blocks away from one another.

Divisoria offers value for money. The cheapskate in me is most likely to grin from ear to ear stumbling upon good finds with unbelievable marked down price tags. Imagine buying a pair of fashion flats for P250 when you can find something similar in the high end malls for more than P2K! My sister even got her pair for P100 from a sidewalk stall. Fashion for less? Divisoria is it! But no matter what you are buying, you should learn the art of haggling. Here's the trick: never take the price at face value rather bid for the lowest price and start to negotiate from there.  If the stall attendant doesn't bite try to walk to another store. You win when he or she calls you back.

Divisoria depicts Filipino generosity and resiliency. Christmastime or not, people flock to Divisoria practically for everything (did I just mention from toothpick to battleship?). A mother shops for her kids' uniforms and school supplies. Visiting relatives troop to 168 to buy pasalubongs to bring to their loved ones left in the province. An entrepreneur sells curtains salvaged from the recent floodings for P10/yard just so nothing is wasted. Despite the economic crunch, you can opt not to be deprived of things you may either need or want by scouring the shops or sidewalk stalls in Divisoria. That's just learning to maintain the normalcy of life without feeling the guilt of violating your belt-tightening resolve.

Divisoria is never boring. I have been to Divisoria countless times and every visit offers new treats--the sights, smell, noise, markdowns, items on sale, people etc etc. It is just so full of character and color! I always look forward to going there even if it would mean enduring the Quezon Ave.-Espana-Avenida-and-back traffic, not to mention aching feet from too much walking. Ooops, let me just point out it is extra challenge to be in Divisoria when it rains because chances are you are to wade through the muddy streets or worse murky flood waters.

That's Divisoria for me. If there's one thing which is a bit inimical to me though,  the place provides opportunities strengthening my tendency to weaken my political will. I went home with 21 yards of ribbons to spruce up our baptism giveaways, a shirt, 1/4 kilo of castanas and an inflatable big rubber reindeer toy for my baby niece, all for a little over P300. And that's after intending not to go on a shopping spree.

Until my next trip!


  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure - I would assume one must not be in a hurry to get through to quickly. :)

    Nice to have found you and your blog - through Create by Faith, and to be your first follower.


  2. only if you can put the whole of divisoria on facebook, do the haggling and fleet from shop to shop and inspect the merchandise... or maybe divisoria is a girl thing... just as mayon and tiangges are =)