Discover Philippines: exploring Manila’s best shopping districts

The Philippines is known for its idyllic island escapes, vibrant festivals, picturesque rivers and waterfalls, and its delectable cuisines. But unbeknownst to most foreigners, the archipelago of 7,641 islands is home to the largest shopping centres in the world. It’s no wonder shopping has become a national Filipino pastime. Our shopaholic tendency runs deep, and a new generation of fun-loving Manileños (residents of Manila) influenced a surge in the rise of a more contemporary shopping experience, making the capital the epicentre of cool. From lifestyle cafes, speakeasy bars, indie retail brands, and modish dining, Manila is emerging as one of Asia’s most happening capitals.

Take a peek at three of the best shopping destinations in Manila— featuring local brands, shops, and restaurants to check out— and get in touch with our Filipino Boxer Kryzelle to get a sampling of all things Pinoy!

 U.P. Town Centre, Quezon City

Image source Rchitects Inc

UP Town Centre is not your typical box-type mall. With Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines as neighbours, this shopping destination caters to their student demographic by installing an amphitheater and open-air sprawling spaces with lots of greenery— perfect for hanging out after a day’s hustle. Bursting with trendy retail stores, specialty stationery shops, and crowd fave comfort foods, UPTC, as it’s colloquially known, provides a high-end shopping experience within a student budget.

Hey Kessy

Image sources Sunday Scoops and Status Mag

Undeniably cute and quirky, this art and crafts store stocks everything you might need for a crafternoon of Pinterest-inspired DIY projects. It’s hard not gush over their selection of printed washi tapes— some are even exclusively designed by local artists. Hey Kessy also holds workshops ranging from sushi crochet to personalised clothing using papercut stencils.

More info:
Lvl 2, Phase 2, Urban Turf, U.P Town Centre, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, Metro Manila
+63 928 838 0038
Mon-Thurs : 11:00 – 21:00
Fri-Sun: 10:00 – 22:00

The Penthouse

Image source The Penthouse Facebook, Instagram, Primer Ph

The Penthouse is an avid online shopper’s fantasy. This lifestyle and concept store is home to a multitude of online brands from women’s and men’s apparel, stationery delights, cosmetics, accessories, and other gadgets and gizmos aplenty. You can shop trending online-only brands such as Hue Manila, Coco x Fifi, Manic Vintage, and Onymous, without the dreaded wait.

More info:
Lvl 2, Phase 2, Urban Turf, U.P Town Centre, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, Metro Manila
+63 943 060 7254
Mon-Sun: 11:00 – 22:00
Fri-Sat: 11:15 – 23:00

The Tannery Manila

Image sources The Tannery Instagram, Primer Ph

There are a few things in life that compare to the smell of a new leather bag— especially if it’s expertly crafted by leather artisans using modern and traditional techniques, proven and tested since 1901. The Tannery’s leather totes, bags, and satchels ooze with timeless style and sophistication that can add an extra sartorial spark to any #ootd. They are 100% Filipino-made, customisable, and made from genuine ecologically-sourced leather.

More info:
Unit 246, Lvl 2, Phase 1B, U.P Town Centre, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, Metro Manila
+63 2 534 2520
Daily: 11:00 – 21:00

SM Megamall, Mandaluyong

Image source Mapio

Being one of the largest malls in the Philippines and the world, one should treat SM Megamall as a full day’s trip. This five-storey mall boasts of bowling alleys, an Olympic-size ice skating rink, an IMAX theatre, and a Mega Fashion Hall, with a three-storeyed flagship H&M store, rivalled by a three-storeyed Uniqlo outlet. Whoever said shopping doesn’t count as cardio hasn’t stepped foot in Megamall’s 474,000 square meters chockfull of boutiques, vibrant eateries, and endless entertainment.

Kultura Filipino

Image source Kultura 

Highlighting unique Filipino artistry and craftsmanship, Kultura is the best place to buy your ‘pasalubong’ or souvenirs. They stock locally-made products, created from indigenous materials, that are quintessentially Pinoy. These include fresh water pearls, Philippine icons made into keyrings, anklets, and magnets, shirts, modern Filipiniana and barong Tagalog (national costumes), home décor, and exquisite delicacies from various regions.

More info:
Upper Ground Level, Building A, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
+63 2 667-3975
Daily: 10:00 – Midnight

Red Ribbon Bakeshop

Image sources MsarillaJoy GurtizaSephierojas, Noelrondero

Two words— my childhood. For Filipinos, Red ribbon is a deliciously nostalgic bakeshop that has seen millions of Pinoys through countless birthdays, graduations, sneaky midnight snacks, and added that extra sweetness to date nights. Proudly Filipino-owned, founded and ran, this bakeshop provides cakes and pastries to suit any palate. Their coffee crunch cake, ube-macapuno cake, and triple chocolate roll are a must try!

More info:
Unit 158-B, Building A, SM Megamall, EDSA Corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
+63 02 633 4976
Daily: 10:00 – Midnight

Happy Skin

Image source Happy Skin

From the über cute packaging to the cheeky names, Happy Skin exudes positively girly vibes. This home-grown brand promises that their products contain only skin-friendly ingredients such as Japanese tea leaf and argan oil. With a range of colours for every skintone, their Shut Up and Kiss Me lippy line and lip and cheek mousse selection have earned a permanent spot in many beauty gurus’ purses. Their Disney collaboration enthralls teeny-boppers and Disney fanatics alike.

More info:
Lvl 2, Mega Fashion Hall SM Megamall, EDSA Corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Daily: 10:00 – Midnight

Greenbelt, Makati

Image source Flickr

Surrounded by well-kept gardens, greeneries and various flora, Greenbelt is a welcome change and much needed respite from the highly urbanised Metro Manila. Situated in Makati, Metro Manila’s swanky business and commercial district, Greenbelt exudes a modern, cosmopolitan vibe, populated by expats and young professionals. It houses upmarket, luxury brands such as Hermes and Louis Vuitton; however popular local and international brands such as Forever 21, Bench, and Uniqlo steal the limelight.


Image sources Serious Studio, SatchmiIggibee, LMTP

Vinyls, vintage interiors, great music, and a good cuppa joe = pure hipster bliss. With walls dotted with old records, vintage memorabilia, and retro décor— Satchmi is a lifestyle café hiding in Greenbelt’s shopping freeway. From your Frank Sinatras to your Ed Sheerans and Adeles, this hipster utopia can make any music lover swoon.

More info:
Lvl 3, Greenbelt 5, 1228 Legazpi Street, Makati City
+63 2 729 9809
Daily: 11:00 – 21:00

Manam Comfort Filipino

Image source Manam

The epitome of classic Filipino dishes with a modern twist, Manam offers a delightful dining experience accompanied by sleek, contemporary interiors and excellent service. Their house crispy sisig (pork jowls, cheek and ears, finely chopped, grilled and served on a sizzling plate), kare-kare (oxtail and tripe stewed in house-made peanut sauce, served with shrimp paste on the side), and iced buko pandan sherbet will keep you coming back for more.

 More info:
Unit 105, Ground Floor, Greenbelt 2, Esperanza Street,  Ayala Center, Makati City
+63 2 625 0515
Daily: 11:00-22:00

Renegade Folk

Image sources Spot, Renegade Folk, IBTI

Renegade Folk’s artisan crafted footwear is an exquisite amalgamation of modern trends with classical styles. From humble beginnings, and their continued vision and mission of providing comfortable, simple yet stylish sandals, this Manila-made and based brand has piqued the curiosity of sartorial celebs.

More info:
Lvl 2, Greenbelt 5, Legaspi Street, Makati City
+63 2 729 9323
Daily: 11:00 – 21:00


Featured Image: Jelito Deleon

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    June 27, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Thanks Kath for this awesome post!! I would definitely buy few of them and would also recommend to my friends. There is loads of extra information here- , well worth a read.

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