Now that the Christmas bells are ringing, malls are about five times more packed than usual. If you decide to go to one for gift shopping, you have to battle through chokepoint traffic, impossible parking (or ridiculous surge prices), long-ass checkout queues, and swathes of people—it’s a horrific sight sometimes.
If you’re someone who loves to bask in the spirit of retail therapy—or just a regular person who needs to shop from time to time—but abhors crowds, shopping in a place that allows you to breathe, relax, and stumble upon unique finds without getting elbowed every five minutes is the ultimate dream. You can always online shop, but actually fitting things and holding stuff in your hands is still hard to beat—so here are ten places where you can do just that—whether it’s for your Christmas shopping or just about any time of the year.
1) Tropa Store
We all know that tropical clothing isn’t something exclusive to the beaches alone. In fact, even in the rainy season we can still rock tank tops and shorts. Bringing that lifestyle together with a fresh approach and Filipino craftsmanship is what Tropa Store emodies.
Tropa’s product assortment ranges from clothing, home items, accessories, to personal care products. They serve as stockist for local brands such as Araw, Eairth, Cosi Collective, Pranca, and many more. Tropa also has a line of their own which boasts of laidback pieces you can wear on lazy days while not literally looking lazy—it’s a seamless transition from beachwear to streetwear.
117 Aguirre St. Legaspi Village, Makati
2) PURVEYR Post
In the quiet but slowly budding neigborhood of Bangkal, Makati is PURVEYR Post. PURVEYR has been long advocating the local creative culture online and their branching into a retail space of their own is a way to (literally) solidify this.
They carry local streetwear clothing and accessory brands such as Revere, Ever Since, Proudrace, KLTRD, Tenement, Elevate, and even a selection of local reads and zines. And if you feel like getting a haircut or being groomed, the barbers from Slick Barbers Co. will take care of you.
1403 Apolinario St. Bangkal, Makati
3) HUB: Make Lab
Located on the historical street of Escolta, HUB is a space for budding entrepreneurs and creatives. They have a wide variety of concessionaires which nicely represent the gentrification going on in the area.
Some of these businesses are Denuo—for vintage and eco-conscious clothing; General Merchandise—for home furnishings and old-school comics; 372 Designs—for hand-crafted journals and sketchbooks made from recycled materials; Basic Commodity—for woodcraft, plants, and home accessories and; Garahe Produce—or your dose of chocolates and cacao nibs. It’s pretty much a perfect gift trap. If you’re feeling hungry after scouring over the merch, you can grab a bite at the much talked-about Bao Bar or a cup of coffee at The Den. Or, you know, all that OG Chinese food of Binondo.
First United Building, 413 Escolta St. Binondo, Manil1
4) Suez and Zapote
A gallery, retail shop, and events place are what you can find in Suez and Zapote. Established as a design studio aiming to explore the diversities of art and design mainly through silkscreen, their store’s repertoire places a lot of emphasis on graphic shirts and streetwear from brands such as Team Manila, The Daily Grind, Enimal, Deadways, BRKLSS, among others.
The art galleries and exhibits change from time to time so every visit will give you something different and inject some culture into you. They also hold events and design workshops in the space—and if you’re an Eraserheads fan, be sure to head over there to check out the Eraserheads merch they have in store!
2631 Suez cor. Zapote St. Makati
5) Cubao Expo
In its early days, Cubao Expo was known as the Marikina Shoe Expo, where the famous Marikina-made shoes were sold. Then it became a hotbed of hipsteran, which is the iteration you’re probably familiar with. It’s more low-profile nowadays but it still stands as a community of independent businesses, a bustling creative hub, and a museum of subcultures.
You can score vinyl records at Gold Digger, clothes from stores such as Medisina, THE, and Uvla, locally-made ukuleles at The Four Strings, skateboards at Kick Engines, among many others. You can also find art galleries, creative studios, antique shops, stores that sell trinkets, collector’s items, and artworks. And if you want some downtime or to get work done, you can visit Kendo Creative, a multidisciplinary studio and co-working space that serves specialty coffee, too.
3 General Romulo Ave. Cubao, Quezon City
Regiment is a clothing store that is rooted in history, heritage, and the spirit of vintage Americana. Products carried by Regiment can be divided into three style categories: military wear, workwear, and vintage Americana—so that’s from the 1900’s to early 1960’s.
They’re not necessarily items you see in the trends (except maybe that lumbersexual look) but they’re simple and authentic, designed to transcend times and built to last—perfect if you’d really rather shop less than more!
Unit 102C Windsor Tower, 163 Legazpi St. Legazpi Village, Makati
7) The Penthouse
The Penthouse is a multi-brand concept store that focuses on emerging local online brands. So if you’re the type who gets his fitspos from the gram, the Penthouse probably has some of the most popular brands you see on your feed. Think of it as an alternative to your otherwise mainstream department stores and malls.
They have an extensive list of brands (more than 40!) in store spanning from clothing, sunglasses, shoes, swimwear, watches and accessories, bags, and even onesies if you’re into that sort of thing.
162 Chloe Building, Aguirre Ave. BF Homes, Paranaque City
If south kids have The Penthouse, the north kids need not fret—they have a counterpart right along Maginhawa Street—because we all know north people will never go down south short of being kidnapped. Aside from clothing and accessories, Zaril also has brands that sell local and international skincare and makeup products, succulents, and even home decor.
97 Maginhawa St. Teacher’s Village, Quezon City
9) Common Room PH
If you’ve already had enough of clothes and want to indulge your creative and artistic side instead, better visit Common Room PH—it’s filled with materials and products that will satisfy any enthusiast’s art and aesthetic needs.
You can find art supplies from Craft Central, paper products from Paper Chic Studio, home decors from Tween & Twine, succulents from The Greenhouse Project, Filipino comics from Meganon Comics, and so much more. It’s also loaded with all sorts of twee items that chicks will love.
325 Dela Rosa St. Katipunan Ave. Quezon City