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Pinoys love to shop, and it’s definitely one of the most fun and challenging things to do in Manila especially during a sale. But if you’re not a fan of mass-produced items in the mall, the best place to score some unique and great finds—from clothes to antique furniture—is at the various “ukay-ukay” shops now found in the metro, where students, professionals, stylists, and even celebs go to shop!
by Nigel Santos, 26 August 2017
As Macklemore put it, “One man's trash, that's another man's come up.”
“Ukay-ukay” or “UK” is the abbreviation of halukay or hukay, the Filipino word for “dig.” Ukay-ukay first became popular in Baguio City—the “mecca” of all ukay lovers. A trip to the Summer Capital of the Philippines is never complete without dropping by Session Road to scour its ukay-ukay shops that offer designer clothes, bags, and shoes—from Louis Vuitton to Chanel, if you’re lucky and extremely good at it combing through racks and piles of items. As we all know, ukay-ukay stores can also be found in Manila and there are places in the metro that stand out from the rest and offer a gold mine for fashion-lovers, music enthusiasts, and even bookworms. So always be on the lookout and don’t forget to bring lots of patience! We listed down some of the best ukay-ukay places worth a visit on your next shopping spree.
1. Anonas Ukay
Best known for: Clothing
Anonas Ukay is every bargain hunter’s heaven: vintage dresses, bed sheets, old toys—you’ll find them all here. It stands four floors high and for as low as PhP20 you can actually get a branded top! What ukay experts love about this thrift store is that everything looks so clean and well-organized.
Location: Beside Anonas LRT 2 Station
2. Remnants Thrift Shop
Best known for: Vinyl collections
Cubao Expo aka Cubao X is not only the best and quietest place to drink and chill in the bustling Cubao area, but is also a small paradise where you can discover rare items in vintage shops, art galleries, and music stores. For music lovers and vinyl collectors, Remnants Thrift Shop has stacks of records that cover OPM, soul, funk, and mashups for only PhP500 and below. This shop is a trip down memory lane as it also offers vintage collectibles like old WWII newspapers, comics, toys, and books.
Location: 175 Gen. Romulo Ave. Cubao, Quezon City
3. Dapitan Arcade
Best known for: Home decor and furniture
Dapitan Arcade is popular among event organizers and interior designers. This is a hub that offers quality decor, furnishings, kitchenware, chandeliers, plastic plants, and other accent pieces. You can find new and secondhand items that are available at very low prices. If you’re looking to find a piece worthy of an IG or Pinterest post, or if you’re already planning your new theme for Christmas at home, then you’d better visit this decor hub and score for some unique pieces starting at PhP40.
Location: 37 Dapitan cor. Kanlaon St., Laurges, Quezon City
Best known for: Books, magazines, and comics
If you’re a bookworm who lives in Quezon City, then you’ve probably heard of Bookay-Ukay. This place has a diverse collection of books with authors ranging from Stephenie Meyer to James Joyce. Its shelves are filled with fiction, nonfiction, self-help, and reference titles that come at low prices (starting at PhP100). Bookay-Ukay also sells magazines, CDs of local artists, and DVDs of Pinoy films.
Location: 78 Maginhawa St., UP Village, Quezon City
5. Hidalgo Street
Best known for: Photography equipment and accessories
If some cannot live without logging in to their social media accounts for a day, there are some who cannot live without their cameras to capture every moment of their lives. If you’re wondering where you can buy DSLR cameras and other photography equipment at discounted prices, then the answer is Hidalgo St., Quiapo, Manila. There are so many reliable stores here—some started as far back as the ’60s—that also offer camera repair for as low as PhP1,500. If you’re into film photography, you can also score some film rolls that are cheaper than any you can find anywhere else.
Location: Hidalgo St. Quiapo, Manila