Shopping, especially at malls, is a passion with many Filipinos. There are huge malls all over the greater Manila area. Although often very crowded and noisy, they are clean, air conditioned and generally safe. For many expats who may not find mall shopping quite as interesting, there are some wonderful book stores, handicraft stores, antique shops, and true "specialty" stores" (need to have shoes made; want a lamp shade custom made; want furniture made to your exact dimensions and specifications? All this and more awaits you).
There are also bazaars, export sales, manufacturers sales, strip malls, independent shops, at-home boutiques and factory stores to visit. Stores mentioned below are but a few of the choices available, but we have attempted to highlight some of the very favorite among expat shoppers. A more comprehensive listing is available in the HIG (Hospitality International Guide) and through "word of mouth" references.
The major Filipino department stores in the Philippines;
- Shoemart (SM)
Of the stores, Rustans is the most upscale with expensive imported clothing, cosmetics and such. All three of these stores have grocery stores on their ground floor. The department stores are found within or adjacent to malls, and are not "stand alone" stores as they might be in New York City or other large cities. There are also branches of the British-based Marks and Spencers. Although there are many, many more malls available to shop at, below are malls grouped in three major geographic areas where expats are most likely to shop.
Expat to Expat tip: Store return policies are very different than in the USA. If you get home and realize you bought the wrong item, it is best to turn around and return the item immediately. Returns are only allowed within the first 24 hours following a purchase and you must have the original receipt. The stores usually only will give you store credit rather than cash back. Buy carefully!
A haven for designer casual clothes, the Ayala Center, at the heart of Makati, houses everything from restaurants, bars, cafes, movie houses, bookstores; as well as shops selling jewelry, apparel, accessories, shoes, and furniture. Among the brand-n