Monday, January 09, 2006

Retail Therapy II

To market, to market to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again jig-a-de-jig.

This kid's rhyme could have been written with the Philippine markets in mind. Most Barangays have one and any self respecting town has one. They are a collection of open air stalls selling every imaginable product all under one roof. They have 2 distinct sections, a wet market and a dry market and some, like the Guadalupe market, have a shopping mall upstairs. It must be a mall, it has armed security guards on all entrances.

In a wet market you can purchase all the fresh produce your heart desires. Rice in all its varieties, of which there are many. I had no idea there were so many and yes, you can taste the difference. All sorts of fish both fresh and dried. All the parts of a pig or a chicken that are fit for human consumption, which in the Philippines is the entire animal, yes all of it.

Pork sisig is a very tasty, slightly dry, crunchy concoction made from the face, the ears and other bits, that I haven’t strenuously inquired about, of a pig. Other animals make it into the sisig stakes with Tuna sisig being a popular menu item in the better restaurants. What they substitute for the ears is anyone’s guess.

The dry market, as the name suggests, sells all manner of dry goods, from clothing and foot ware to furniture stopping by office supplies, toys R us, cell phones, jewellery, watches and all manner of haberdashery. You can get your clothes altered and even get that new ball gown or wedding dress made from scratch.

You can also haggle on price and if you’re a Kano (foreigner of European extraction) you would be wise to do so. There is the real price and the Kano price, because all Kanos are rich, right. Oh how I wish that were true.

That being said, if it’s a bargain you’re after, the markets are the place to go. When we shopped for a set of drawers, we got our first price from The Landmark (a large department store in Ayala) our second price from the mall upstairs at Guadalupe and brought the very same item downstairs at 60% of The Landmark price and at 80% of the upstairs price.

Our usual markets are Guadalupe and San Andreas, both one ride away. For special shopping expeditions, like Christmas shopping, we go to Pasig Market. A 3 story monster, the ground floor is the wet market, the upper floors are the dry market. With the top floor only being open on Saturdays, where the bargains are many, the crowds are biblical.

Then for those obscure items, there is Divisoria. This is a market that takes up several city blocks and sells everything, from designer brands to the best reproductions that can be pirated. If it isn’t at Divisoria, it most likely doesn’t exist and you should make your own. Divisoria deserves and will get a retail therapy of its own.

No comments: