Somewhere in those heaps of used clothes are hidden fashion treasures waiting to be found.

By Rolando Pinsoy

DAVAO CITY — Shopping malls are aplenty in Davao City. But for those who are on a tight budget or do not want to be caught wearing the same outfit as the next person in the jeepney, there are alternative places to shop. One of these are the ukay-ukay (used clothes) stores.

“Ukay-ukay” is a Visayan term that means to rummage. Thus, it became the term for the used or second-hand clothes that have become popular around the country.

Patience is key when shopping ukay-ukay . Somewhere in those heaps of clothes and among those that are already in hangers are hidden fashion treasures waiting to be found.

You might be surprised to find designer items sold at unbelievably low prices compared to those that are sold in the malls. Haggling with vendors can be rewarding, and for a few hundred pesos, you can go home with several items. (It is best, though, to inspect for damages, missing buttons or stains.)

Here are a few areas ukay-ukay buyers can check out:

Claveria Street . The store is called Baratillo sa Claveria and is located in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw away from the City Hall and the San Pedro Cathedral. (It used to be an office building; it has since been demolished. Beside the Baratillo is another building that has been turned into an ukay-ukay shop; it’s called the “House of Ukay-ukay. ”

Gempesaw Street . Probably the place where the cheapest ukay-ukays can be found because this is where the bundles of ukay-ukays are first delivered to distributors.

Every 3 in the afternoon, retailers flock to this street to buy wholesale and enjoy the privilege of being able to rummage the clothes first and, thus, choose the best ones, which they would later resell.

Agdao Public Market .
On Sundays, the market day in Agdao, ukay-ukay items are displayed alongside fresh fruits and vegetables and other farm produce at the market. In front of the market are stores that display ukay-ukays seven days a week.

Bankerohan Public Market.
At dawn, the Bankerohan Public Market is already bustling with activity. This is the busiest market in Davao City as most fresh produce are first delivered and traded.

As early as 4 a.m., the ukay-ukay vendors already would set up their stalls. This saves buyers time, as they buy ukay-ukay while also buying their daily consumption. Those who hate dust and heat prefer buying at this time in Bankerohan.

Dona Segunda Complex.
Those who prefer a more convenient ukay-ukay shopping experience (though at a slightly higher price) can check out the boutiques here. Choice clothes, bags and shoes of better quality are available. Most of them are already washed, ironed and neatly displayed. There’s hardly actual rummaging going on here. (Rolando Pinsoy/

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