Summer shoes

Summer shoes

Every girl's dream. An assortment of coloured shoes for summer (for less than AU$6!)

They call it tiangge, a flea market where you can buy bags, T-shirts and jewellery on the cheap. The one I went to was the tiangge in Greenhills, not necessarily the cheapest place to shop but it is the most popular, most convenient and, for those visiting the country, the most accessible.

I bought children’s toys, T-shirts, bags, several pairs of sunglasses and at least half a dozen turquoise necklaces. That’s not a lot at all if you think about what else I could have bought. Scarves, winter coats, running shoes, Buddha statues, house ornaments, decorated cutlery, oil paintings. You name it, the tiangge sells it.

Gorgeous indoor and outdoor furniture for less.

What I did the most though was take pictures. My camera is heavy with photos of all the things I wanted to buy. I feasted on the rows and rows of jewellery stalls selling pearl necklaces, gold earrings, ruby bracelets, diamond rings – all shining even more brightly under the fluorescent lights.

As a visit to Mindanao, south of the Philippines, is not in my itinerary. This is as close to an experience of Mindanao that I got – haggling with one lady wearing a burqah giving me discounts on her jewellery, as long as I become her suki (regular).

If time permits, it pays to go around each of the stalls and find out the prices first. You’ll then notice a pattern, where many of them sell the same wares but at varying prices. The stalls that tend to have the best “position” or near the mouth of the tiangge charge more than those that are a maze of other stalls away.

Window shop first and haggle second. Don’t break the bank on your first 20 minutes because, trust me, it gets better. My favourite was the tiangge section of oil paintings, which cost anywhere from 800 pesos to 6,000 pesos (including frame), depending on the size of the painting. The frame adds between 15 to 25 per cent of the total cost so make sure you get the discount (as lugging a framed painting all the way to Sydney was going to be impossible).

Cold drink of coconut juice after all that shopping.

Try to allocate half a day at Greenhills, that includes time to eat at the indoor food court where you can drink buko juice, eat turon and have some Filipino fast food.

Excerpt from an upcoming coffee book by Michelle Baltazar, titled ‘Love, Manila’. To order, please email to be added to the mailing list.

Love Manila

Book available in Australia in Nov 2010

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