June 12, 2011

Nag-shoshop sa Manila!

For the our second weekend here Lady Hiva and I went exploring several markets around the greater Manila area. Having seen several malls last week similar to malls in the United States, we wanted to see what the markets were like.

We started the day shopping at Cartimar Market that is not far from our house. We had fun exploring shop after shop. We saw them selling everything from freshly chopped meat to shoes and hand tailored clothing--when I say fresh, I mean that you get the pleasure of watching them skin the meat and hack away at it right as you order. Not the most beautiful site, although I would have been alright if not for the overpowering smell of dried blood and old discarded meat parts. My mind just screamed 'fresh air, fresh air!' Luckily the next store in was a shoe store with several large fans to calm the olfactory system. It was mesmerizing to watch several seamstresses use old black humming machines to agilely piece together clothing that someone had requested. Down at the other end of the market was the pet shop, or shops I should say. There were all kinds of fish to put in your tank from sharks to koi and small betas. Or if you wanted a cat, dog, rabbit or rat and mouse multiple colors, shapes and sizes were available. If a bird suits your interest then pigeons, parrots, little colorful chirping birds, chickens, roosters and cockatiels can be found. Darkly I hoped that these animals did not eventually migrate to the other side of the market and leave in a bag instead of a pet...ok, next market, I was suddenly done looking at Cartimar.

We then drove to Makati--one of the really nice areas of Manila--and walked around the farmers market they have there every Saturday. The smells of food are abundant and enticing. Sadly, my allergy to shellfish kept me from trying most of it, but it was still fun to look at the creativity of each dish. The flowers for sale were beautiful and the fruit delicious. As we tried to decide what to buy, the seller would give a slice of melon, or a small sample of whatever was on their table. We ended up having too many bags of fruit and vegatables so we went home to unload and went to Greenhills.

Greenhills is out in Quezon city, about an hour drive from our house. Quezon is where the temple is and it was neat to look out over the houses and see white steeple sporting Moroni over everything else. Moroni is actually quite famous here in Manila, twice I have had people who find out we are LDS refer to Moroni by name as the 'guy on the temple,' and the taxi cab driver understood exactly what building I was referring to when I asked if he knew where there LDS temple is. He answered, "Yes, yes a beautiful white building with a steeple and golden warrior!" (all in Tagalog of course). SO warrior, protector, or trumpet player, whatever Moroni is known by he is definitely a symbol that is recognized.

Greenhills is a large warehouse type building that is sectioned off into hundreds of small cubicles all selling something. Clothes, bags, decorations, furniture, pearls--you name it, someone at Greenhills is selling. There are many phases of emotion as a Greenhills shopper: At first the busy-ness was a novelty to the senses, then bartering becomes an addicting game to see if you can get a better price from them or the next store down that is bound to sell the same merchandise. I must say the Filipinos give in A LOT easier than the sellers in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong they would lower the price, but not until you were actually walking out of the store and they would chase you down or hold onto you until you bought. Here I would merely look like I was going to set the item down or turn slightly to the door and they would lower the price! Even if I was going to buy it anyway. Lady Hiva bought a new hand bag that was originally priced PHP2000 (USD $46) for PHP800 (USD $18) because every time she looked at me for approval that it looked good with her skin tone or hair color, the saleslady mistook the non-verbal gesture as Hiva asking for approval to spend the money and would lower the price!

Hiva found some great snacks of course, her favorite being fried dough into a cylinder and filled with chocolate ice cream. We ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen--yes, I know, that is not very exotic, but after a day of chaotic shopping, it was nice to sit in a quiet place with a clean bathroom for a few minutes while we regrouped.

We finished the night off at Mall of Asia, close to our house. Every Friday and Saturday they have fireworks over Manila bay. We got there early and watched everyone coming and going on the boardwalk until the firework show started. When it did, we suddenly found that they were being let off directly OVER OUR HEADS! It is a bit shocking at first, the noise is so loud it pops your eardrums and the small burning cinders look like they will land on your head before they cool! It is something that I guess you take for granted in the States with safety restrictions that makes you stand so far away from the explosions--it added a whole new dimension of adrenaline to the show though!

The thing that impressed me the most about the malls here in Manila is that they have chapels in all of them. Yes, I said chapels. At first I mistakenly thought there was a store called "Chapel" because all the mall directories listed it. But mall after mall this week I was shocked to realize it is a real chapel with Mass! Incredibly convenient I guess to have Mass in the mall and you can get your shopping done after...


  1. Yay! You guys went to Cartimar and MOA like I suggested -- definitely a busy weekend!

    And Greenhills is overwhelming. I was warned that at first is fun, then suddenly you're like "I need to leave here NOW!" -- and that's exactly how it was for me! But I bought some necklaces at the pearl stands, and my friend bought a HUGE framed painting, so it was worth it! We need to explore more though!

  2. Waaahhh ang saya naman!I'm so jealous! Enjoy our country! more posts! Ingat!:)

  3. This is Hiva speaking: Yay for exploring. Thanks for the tips Carla. I feel like the tour guide leading Dustin along because of all your suggestions.

    Jeremia and Sheila, aside from shopping, we really do enjoy the Philippines.

  4. How Fun..You two are so Blessed to be there!!!! I always talk to Cora and Marybell about the Philippines.....Have Fun you two and stay safe!!!

  5. actually, greenhills is in san juan city :D not quezon city. welcome to the philippines and hope you get to explore more of the 7,107 islands!