Divisoria With Kids

December 1, 2010

Divisoria with Kids

Every year, during sembreak, I bring my kids to shop at Divisoria. Divisoria, in the Philippines,  is known as a place where you can shop for all kinds of goods at rock bottom prices. Divisoria shopping means shopping the streets of Divisoria in Manila to get the best bargain in all kinds of goods, from clothes to cellphone accessories. 

This is not the Divisoria shopping I brought my kids to. The Divisoria shopping I'm talking about is shopping at the 168 mall at Soler Street. You get almost rock bottom Divisoria prices without the inconvenience that usually accompanies a trip to the streets of Divisoria.

Why bring kids to Divisoria?  I find that despite the hassle of traffic, parking space and hordes of people around you while you shop, it's still is worth it for me for the following reasons:
1. Christmas gifts for my kids' numerous friends are completed in only one shopping trip. The sheer number and diversity of products sold at 168 mall make this possible. 
2. My kids are able to choose gifts for friends and not be worried about not affording it. 
3. My kids also shop for clothes and shoes at 168 mall. Since kids so easily outgrow their clothes, it is logical to shop at Divisoria for clothes that they will not wear long enough to ruin them. Divisoria clothes are not reputed to be sturdy.  
4. Even after completing their shopping, my kids are amazed  they still have a lot of money left over from the trip.
Why go to the 168 Mall?
If you have kids with you, it's more convenient and safer to shop at 168 mall than bring them to the streets of Divisoria. You still get Divisoria prices, but without all the inconvenience of shopping at Divisoria.
1. Security is tight. They have guards at the doors and guards that roam around the building with German shepherds. 
2. The place is fully airconditioned. 
  • There's no danger of kids getting sick because of the heat when shopping along Divisoria streets.
3. There are numerous toilets scattered around the building that are cleaned almost immediately after use.
4. There are 2 fast food courts that can cater to both adult and children's tastes. 
  • This means you have the familiar McDonalds, Jollibee, Chowking, Tokyo Tokyo, etc. 
  • And for adults like us, who are essentially tired of eating in these places, there are other food options like Thai, Cantonese, and Filipino food.
HERE IS MY STRATEGY for a hassle-free and organized shopping trip with kids at Divisoria
1. Choose a date with less traffic and people.
In our case, we decided to go the Sunday before November 1. Why?
  • Sundays in Manila has the least traffic. That takes care of traffic beyond Divisoria area.
  • We went there during sem break. That takes care of traffic in the vicinity of Divisoria. Several universities are near Divisoria. When there are classes, the streets of Recto are teeming with students trying to get a ride or walking down the streets. 
  •  Since the date is before November 1, there are less people in 168 mall because the money most people have at this time of the year is goes to spending for flowers and candles for All Saint's Day and not for Christmas shopping.
2. Arrive at 168 mall at opening time, so you can leave immediately after lunch when most people arrive. 
3. Organize a buddy system within your group.
One adult should supervise one child, or if the child is a bit older, the configuration could be one adult to supervise 2 children.
By grouping them, the kids can go on separate shopping trips with at least one adult to go with them. Since the adults have (at most) 2 kids to shop with, they can finish shopping in a shorter span of time
The money given to the kids can be taken cared of by the adult.
4. In case you don't have a driver, you can drop off your kids, with their partner adults at the mall entrance, and agree to meet 11am at the food court where McDonalds is located.
Just in case you don't see each other along the corridor between the stalls, you can just proceed to the agreed meeting place and time later. Just in case the kids get lost or separated from their companions, they know they will see you 11am at the food court.
5. Have your lunch 11am or earlier.
This ensures you have  tables and seats that you can reserve for your group. The table and seats will not only be used for dining but can also serve as a rest stop for tired companions or a place to leave your things in case some of the people in your group have not finished shopping by lunchtime. 
6. The kids should leave their cellphones at home or in the car.
7. Make sure to arrive at Divisoria with money broken down into small peso bills.
This saves you the trouble of having to wait for change. I found that having 100 peso bills make it convenient for me to shop in Divisoria.
Location of 168 Mall

Opening Hours in 2010

How to get there
Check out the instructions on how to commute to 168 mall.
Where to park

1. Mall parking

The new automated parking structure at the back of the mall can accomodate at least 180 cars. You can see from the video below how they retrieve the cars from the top level by using a vertical lift.

2. Outside parking
There's a big parking lot along Alvarado Street. See map below

Other Important Services and Facilities
1. ATM machines
The location of the ATM machines

2. Food Court

Food Court 1

Food Court 2