Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shopping for Christmas decorations at Dapitan Arcade

I don't know about you guys, but in our household, decorating for Christmas is srz bznz. Sure, we're not as loony as those who put up decorations as soon as the Ber Months hit, but as soon as November 3 steps in,* my parents become rabid Christmas Decorating Committee Members as they unpack the boxes of lights, ornaments, and, of course, our Christmas tree. Decorating for Christmas with the Ruizes is a process. It really does not stop once the tree is up. And for this year, my mother's crazy furnishing brought us to Dapitan Arcade.

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 baskets that two women used to pick up some of the cheapest and most interesting holiday decorations in the city.

My mother, together with my cousin, were undoubtedly excited as we combed the stores. My cousin was on the look out for Santa Claus-es, and boy were the choices both surprising and unexpected.

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.


KIRA ♥ said...

Hi Mara! I live near Dapitan Arcade. The prices here were much cheaper back when the place wasn't so famous. After several TV features they jacked up their prices which is why sometimes we just buy at the mall. But if you look hard enough and are matyaga, you can still spot some good finds at Dapitan. I personally purchase my jewelry stands there :)

Mara Ruiz said...

My aunt lives in Apo Street that's why we knew about Dapitan Arcade some 10 years ago pa. And I agree that prices were really rock bottom back then. Some vendors used to give us freebies pa. It really was the TV exposure that jacked the prices up. Anyway, when are we going to see each other again? :)

KIRA ♥ said...

I hope soon! Will ask Liz to come up with another mini-reunion of sorts before the Holidays :)

Mara Ruiz said...

Hi Ms. Mara, do you have an idea what time Dapitan Market close on weekdays. My cousin is leaving for the Singapore on Friday and I want to give her the mirror clock which I found in your post. Please Advise.

Mara Ruiz said...

naku!!! 5 years na ako hindi nakaka punta diyan, kahit malapit lang ako... to think your comment is 3 years ago... meaning shit! nag taas na! secret place ko to noon... feeling disappointed right now. will post my past purchase in that store. i bet they don't produce this anymore.

Mara Ruiz said...

nakakainis naman! bakit lahat nalang. pati mga places we used to know wala na. 5 years na ako hindi nakakapunta diyan. now na nag ttry ako mag tipid. grabe wala na! wala ng secret bargain for gift giving.

Mara Ruiz said...

nga pala ha, i know ive wrote this a lot of times already, but i just wanted to share this, after not visiting this place like for 5 or 6 years ago. cause last time i remember, i purchased this big candle holder for like 150 pesos only for gift back in 2008, and i think that was my last visit in there. siguro 300 na ngayon yan. kanina, i tried visiting that place again, for the first time after 6 years, close sila kanina, but i saw this very small candle holder, and sabi ng tindera 100 pesos daw, tapos meron yung parang sa sm north 99 pesos na candle holder, (please check it! 99 pesos may oranga and pink), sa dapitan 130 pesos, kahit pabawas ko pa yan. wag nalang noh. no way! ganun din, baka ilan lang mababawas na diyan. im just disappointed. before, secret place ko to to shop, while i was still studying, and yes, malapit lang din ako dito, basta hindi nalang ako pumunta for many years... i don't know the reason why bigla kong naisip bumalik kanina. mga ilang shop lang bukas, Dec 25, 2013... and i was expecting na mas lalong mark down... but wow 99pesos na candle holder sa sm sa dapitan 130 pesos na????!!!! dati kaya mas mahal pa sa sm... kesa sa kanila... ayun... thanks sa mga bloggers and mga artista daw... nag mahal.

Mara Ruiz said...

to think your comment was like 3 years ago... i bet they marked up more way higher now... i will go back later to check it out when they will open... have not been going back there for 6 years now... and i am really curious if they marked more higher. if they do.... i guess ill just always go to sales, and warehouse sales, my style now is different. i realized that even candles at sm used to be 29, then after 1 year, its 39 for a very freaking small piece of candle.... so what i will do, is buy lots, so kahit mag mark up sila, nabili ko na ng mura nuon pa.

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