Christmas shopping at ‘Divi’

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
Christmas shopping at �Divi�
Nothing beats 'Divi' — short for Divisoria — when you’re on the hunt for gift ideas, office and school supplies, accessories, clothes, fabric, houseware, toys, cookware, and anything and everything you can imagine for a budget-friendly price. Photos show (clockwise, from above leftmost) several Christmas village designs to choose from; Christmas trees in different shapes and sizes; stacks and stacks of Christmas wrappers; and beautiful and colorful display of artificial flowers.

If Baguio City is my happy place, Divisoria is my shopping mecca! Nothing beats “Divi” when you’re on the hunt for gift ideas, office and school supplies, accessories, clothes, fabric, houseware, toys, cookware, and anything and everything you can imagine for a budget-friendly price!

When my kids were much younger, I’d visit Divi at least twice a year, weeks before their birthdays in June and November, to buy party favors and prizes for their birthday parties. Now that they’re much older, I still make it a point to go to Divisoria at least once a year to buy supplies for the house and Christmas gifts.

Last Monday, I went to 168 Mall with my mom, sister Penny and son Paolo. Mom hadn’t been to Divisoria since the pandemic and was so excited to go. With Christmas just around the corner, we were all keen to check out what they had in store…literally! As expected, lots of stalls were already selling Christmas ornaments, giving the mall a festive, sparkly mood. We love going to 168 mall because it’s clean (I like they have clean, paid restrooms), airconditioned, and well-organized.

Because I had hosting duties on ASPN until 10 a.m. that day, we arrived in 168 past 11 a.m. and decided on an early lunch at the food court on the third floor. As always, we ended up ordering food from Chopstix, which cooks your selections as you order them, assuring you that your picks are freshly-cooked.

We ordered salted fish fried rice, French beans with dilis, and crispy pork spareribs with salt and pepper. I especially enjoyed the oyster cake, which was as good as the ones lovingly made by my Lola Lolita (my mom’s mom) until she passed away. Penny also bought pork siomai and a bowl of roast duck noodles she got from Wai Ying, which were so good!

After lunch, I was ready to walk off all the “lunch calories” by shopping. On my list were hangers and clothespins for the house, and banana clips and rubber bands for my daughter, Gabbie. Paolo, on the other hand, bought dri-fit shirts for his workouts. I also bought half a dozen pocket umbrellas to give to our house helpers and as standbys for when Gabbie and Paolo lose theirs. And speaking of lost items, I also bought a few dozen pairs of socks to stock up for my kids. Socks always seem to go missing after they go through the machine, so much so that I wonder if there is a socks-eating monster or a blackhole in our washing machine.

Penny, on the other hand, was so happy to find two artificial indoor plants that she said cost a fraction of what they would have had she bought them at a “regular” mall. She was also delighted to buy half a dozen pairs of reading glasses for 20 pesos each! Mom was also busy buying an assortment of items to give as gifts for her friends, from compact mirrors and scented candles to wallets, bags, etc.

After a couple of hours inside the mall, Penny and I went outside and walked to our other sukis. For garbage bags, sando bags, zip lock bags and paper towels, nothing beats Commoners along Ilaya Street. And for gift-wrapping paper, Japanese tissue paper, boxes and ribbons, there’s another store nearby whose name escapes me.

Penny and I also observed that since it’s the BER months already, there are many sidewalk vendors in Divisoria once again. Remember when Isko Moreno was Manila mayor and these sidewalks were cleared and actually used as sidewalks by pedestrians? Now it’s back to being chaotic, and I can just imagine how crowded it will be in the next few weeks leading up to the holidays.

After we were done, we walked back to 168 mall. By this time, we were again hungry and craving for bibingka and puto bumbong from Aldrino’s bibingka, which is also located in the third floor of the food court. As soon as we sat down and devoured these childhood kakanins, I immediately fell into a nostalgic, Christmassy mood. It then occurred to me that Dec. 25 is less than two months away, and I had hardly done any Christmas shopping. Looks like I’ll have to schedule another trip to my shopping mecca real soon.

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