Dapitan Arcade, as I remember it when we used to go there in the early 90s, was set up as a palengke-style (market-style) place to buy export overruns. The establishment itself wasn't there before; it was just a long row of baskets, wrought iron goods, and paper mache products informally set up along Dapitan Street. My mother even recalled how she and my aunt used to pick up baskets from the street for free. The store owners probably saw potential in those two bizarre women who would make something out of their unwanted goods. So through the years, plain Dapitan Street became well-known for Dapitan Arcade, the establishment built to house
There was this Santa climbing up a ladder, which I imagined would be great if houses in the Philippines have chimneys. Otherwise, this would just look like a Santa who just burgled your placed.
There were Big Santas and Mini Me Santas.
But my favorite Santa would have to be Genie/Buddha Santa. How confusing! How inter-denominamational!
My mother on the other hand was looking for a centerpiece-slash-Advent wreath. There were a lot of designs to choose from, but my mother, being the smart shopper that she is, refused to buy anything that is just a few hundred bucks cheaper than what department stores have. My mother eventually haggled her way to getting one of these 12-inch candle holders for PHP 500.
Dapitan Arcade is also a good place to buy plates and ceramic items – perfect for small restaurant start ups, a quaint coffee/tea shop, or if you have just moved into your own house.
OR if you have a Christmas-themed restaurant (or house!). I regret not getting one of those cute tea pots for myself.
The main reason why people flock to Dapitan Arcade is really for the price. As I've mentioned, export overruns are brought here to sell at a lower price. Sure, some of the wicker baskets are dusty and some of the ceramic plates are chipped, but think of this place as the ukay-ukay of Christmas decorations, Philippine's own version of a flea market, where shabby chic really is shabby (I kidd). We even saw some festoons with SM tags still attached to it!
Home decorating buffs, newly weds, and people who just love knick knacks will definitely love Dapitan Arcade. To get there, from Quezon Avenue, the part going towards Welcome Rotonda, turn right at Kanlaon wherein you’ll see a Burger King branch as a landmark. Going straight ahead, Dapitan is the third street from Quezon Ave. Once you see the baskets along the road, you’ll instantly know you’re there!
If you’re going to commute, to get to Dapitan Arcade, just take a jeep marked Mayon from Burger King along Quezon Avenue and tell the driver to stop at Dapitan Aracade.
*As All Soul's Day as is really a day to venerate the departed; not Halloween.