The height of flea-market shopping in Manila is a place called Divisoria. Located in the City of Manila, Divisoria is a sweet and sickening mixture of drop down prices, fashion knock-offs and an ugly mash of people which can get uglier when Christmas season rolls around in the Philippines.
Ugly in a sense that you can’t hardly breathe and you face the danger of being hit on the head by huge cartons of ware carried by sweaty porters.
Right of the heart of Divisoria is 168 Mall–the center of all things Asian-fashion and cheap; of China-made gadgets and where you can buy a Gucci bag, complete with a gold plated marker in front “Guchi”. 168 Mall is also home to smooth-skinned, long haired Chinese guys who–with proper make-over, clothing choices and good publicity–can rival Philippine-made boybands. Think F4–except that the boys can compute in their head in two minutes or less.168 Mall is also the place where Jay Chou ruled the Philippine airwaves and that petite, lithe pretty and innocent-looking girls man the counter. When you stand to inspect the product, they will ask “Ate, pili na…may bawas pa” in complete Visayan accent.
On that day alone, I was able to spot more than 4 guy who reeked potential, and more than 5 girls with killer smiles and to-die-for hairstyles! I wasn’t able to take pictures of these guys since it was hard to angle a camera on a crowded alley, especially in a place where there is a danger of getting mugged. Anyway, as I’ve told the Queen, if I am a talent scout in search for raw talents, I’d make 168 Mall my hunting place. I’d probably cast more models here (those high cheekbones! those androgynous bodies!) than standing one full day in a mall.
Anyway, we were there to get some new clothes for work. In two hours, I was able to buy 2 tank tops (@ PHP50 each), a cute skirt good for the office and for going out (PHP250), cute loafers that were Gucci knock-offs (PHP150) — I planned on removing the gold plated “Gucci” tag at the side, Mixtyle earphones for the Hubby (PHP150), Louie Vuitton cigarette case (PHP150) and a shiny flower head band (PHP50).
My total expenses–around PHP850, not counting the money I spent for a quick snack at my favorite hole in the wall at the 168 Food Court, Chopsticks and Spoons:
Chopsticks and Spoons is this place where I always go to when at 168 Mall. The food is both cheap yet so effing tasty and the place is tops when it comes to sanitation and hygiene. I’ve been eating here for as long as I can remember, even when 168 Mall is still in its infancy. And since the beginning, the Chinese grandpa who prolly owned the place has been there–politely taking orders, patiently answering questions and kindly looking after his staff. He and his wife (prolly?) were both nice people and very industrious. It is not surprising that out of all the places at the food court (counting the fastfood chains), Chopsticks and Spoons remains the only place with long lines from its loyal customers who don’t mind the long wait just for a taste of the great food they serve.
The Queen and I bowed to go back to 168 sometime next month to stock up on new office clothes especially after we discovered this brand, Taylor/Juana which is only available at 168 Mall. I only hope that it isn’t raining yet.