Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Shopping in Metro Manila

By this time, the first day of December, people should have started doing their Christmas shopping for gifts for their friends and love ones. Gifts need not be expensive because this holiday season is about giving and sharing your blessings no matter how simple they are. In our family, we usually ask or see what does our love one needs the most in his or her everyday life and if we can afford it, then we give it with all our hearts. I heard a lot of people who dread the Christmas season because for them it is such a big expense and they cannot afford it. What I say to them is just give what you can and if you can not afford to give then simply greet them a Merry Christmas, pray for them and wish them the best of health. Prayers are such a powerful gift that people should not take for granted.

Anyway, if you have still time and the budget to shop, here are a few suggestions:

1. Divisoria - by now, shops are open 24 hours daily but you have to have extreme patience to go through the crowds. Items are so cheap that you can end up buying more if your budget is based on mall prices. Security is a bit questionable since a lot of thieves and pickpockets know people go here to buy and spend.
2. Bazaars located at schools, church grounds, offices and parking spaces. Prices are higher than Divisoria but still cheaper than malls. Noel Bazaar at the World Trade Center in Pasay City is a good example.
3. Malls - they offer extended mall hours for the weeks approaching Christmas. No more sale by December and tenants jack up their prices to get more profits. Security is better compared to Divisoria. If you plan to get a taxi, forget it. Just commute, by bus or jeepney because taxi drivers are usually so picky and lines are 3-5 times longer than ordinary days.

4. Greenhills - a favorite among shoppers. The atmosphere is like a mall, tenants are situated just like bazaars and shoppers can actually ask for a bargain. Items are usually imported from Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, Taiwan, etc. and they are a bit cheaper compared to mall tenants. Security is comparable to any other first class malls.
5. Non-government organizations - NGOs such as Haribon Foundation have gift suggestions during holidays. They sell shirts, books, fans, kids activity books and seedlings to anyone. Proceeds go to projects which help their cause. Some organizations pool the funds they get from their merchandise and use them for sponsoring scholarships for children who cannot afford to go to school.
6. Online shopping - sites such as Sulit.com.ph, Ayosdito.ph, Bili.ph are all local sites that posts sellers and the items they sell. If sellers do not have stalls to display their products, they ask buyers to pick up items at their homes or just do meet ups. A word of caution to online shoppers, just like everywhere else, there are people who manipulate buyers to get payment and run away without giving the items which were purchased. Be sure to get the item first before paying or just to "kaliwaan" to be sure.

Happy shopping to everyone and do not forget that Christmas is not about gifts and money but it is the spirit of giving and spending quality time with your family. Have a blessed Christmas to all!

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