Honestly, I don’t go to to Divisoria. While I heard it is a shopping mecca in the Philippines for all affordable, cheap, amazing shopping finds, I dare not go, ever. Then Tutuban Center invited me over for a shopping challenge. Now there’s a reason for me to go.
You know how Divisoria was notorious for the pick pockets and dirty shopping area. I wouldn’t dare going alone or unsupervised. Since I had a host who will look out for me when I shop, I joined the trip to Tutuban Center. The moment our vehicle turned right to the area, I was pleasantly surprised because the place is spick and span. It was not the Divi I remember, crowded, dirty and confusing!
We came in late because our driver decided to have a joy ride along EDSA and Roxas Blvd, we just came from Shaw Blvd. As soon as we got there, we were handed out a shopping challenge mechanics! It was a 1 hour shopping challenge with Php1,000 pesos budget to spend . The clincher was we should shop for Halloween , Christmas and Home goodies + some photo opp challenge along the way.
At first I don’t want to be left alone by my companions. But after a few minutes of getting comfortable in the area, I went shopping by myself and guess what, I finished the challenge and won the Christmas theme challenge ! I give myself a pat on the back for that!
Here’s my 1 Hour 1K Pesos Halloween + Christmas + Home Shopping Challenge #OnlyOneTutuban Haul
With that said, I can definitely vouch for how Tutuban Center is the bargain hunter’s paradise . The invitation to shop there came after te mall underwent a number of renovation work and building improvements.
How to get there?
- I was told you should ride the LRT Line 1 train station and go down Divisoria. Then ride a jeepney and alight at the 168 Mall area, then walk a few blocks (2 blocks from there) . You can’t miss it as the Bonifacio Shrine is cross its entrance, plus the beautiful hertage building is such a head turner. The heritage building is the original train station built in the 1800’s, it was preserved and restored based on the hertage color palete. The building also retained features like the brick walls and century-old wrought iron pillars that lead all the way to the food court.
- I was not advised to take a Grab or UBER as the drivers may not accept because there’s difficulty going in the mall area and going out.
- If you have your own car then goodluck and use WAZE, there are lots of parking spaces.
- Commuting back is the same as you got there via commute. Take a jeepney to the LRT and LRT out of the area! There is no easy way as the traffic is horrendous!
- Other route for commuting: Take Aurora Blvd. jeepney to Claro M. Recto or Shaw Blvd jeepney to Divisoria.
Tips to survive shopping in Tutban Center:
- Ask the guards for direction.
- Bring eco friendly shopping bags as I think once you start shopping you cannot stop, that is how affordable the prices there and there are lot of good buys!
- Don’t carry too many important and expensive items with you like smartphones, credit cards, or whatever it is that you don’t want to lose. While I did not experience pick pocketers when I was there, you can never be too sure especially this Holiday season, there are swarm of shoppers/ bargain hunters in the area and of course bad elements can mix in with the crowd with bad intentions.
- Wear comfy shoes and clothes when shopping and bring your own water to hydrade. It will get very hot and humid once you get your shopping run!
- Be aware of your surroundings. When you feel uncomfortable or getting bumped a lot or suddenly a swarm of people just suddenly surround you. Leave. You can never be too precautious of your belongings and yourself safety.
- If you have a lot of time go around and check out one shop after the other before buying. Sometimes one shop has different price for the same item.
Where to get Halloween and Christmas Items?
Once you enter the main entrance infront of the Bonfiacio Shrine, take the escalator up, then walk to your left and take the escalator up, that is the Prime Block where you can find toy shops and the general merchandise shop . Level 1 is mostly RTWs, 2nd level are toys and general merchandise.
I got toys (rubix cube, Pokemon Ball, Pickup Sticks) for Php20.00 each, hooded cape for Php76 pesos, Starwars Mask for Php36.00 each, hygiene kit for Php20.00. Christmas ornaments for Php240 per 2 dozens!
If you get hungry while shopping, the new and more spacious food court got you covered. Soon some of Divisoria and Binondo’s best food brands like El Presidente, Kikiam in Ilaya, King’s Bakeshop and Eng Ho will open (some of them are actually open when I was there) Food carts are available and picnic tables are set up so shoppers can comfortably eat.
If you want to see my haul and how I survived shopping in Tutuban commute and all that jazz watch this vid:
Stay gorgeous everyone!