Philippines has a number of malls and shopping complexes in its prime cities like Manila, Makati and Ermita, among others. Bargaining opportunities are available at all the shopping areas in the country.
The most popular souvenirs that can be purchased in Philippines include barong tagalog (hand-embroidered dress shirts for men in delicate jusi material) and Tiffany lamps made with capiz shells.
At the flea markets, traditional souvenirs of the country, including cloth weaves, brass-ware from the south, woodcarvings, painted papier-maché horses of Laguna and others are available.
Other souvenirs of the country are south-sea pearls, silver jewellery from Baguio, pearl accessories, rattan furniture, baskets in different designs, coral trinket boxes, coral and garments embroidered with the traditional callado technique.
Tourists can also purchase woven grass mats (banig), antique wooden figurines of saints, cigars, terracotta, porcelain and Filipino dresses for women (made from banana and pineapple fibres). These can be purchased from Hidalgo Street, Quiapo.
The shops in Philippines are open from 10 am to 8 pm. SM departmental store at the Makati Commercial Centre is open on Sundays. Handicrafts can be purchased from Ilalim ng Tulay market, next to Quinta Market on Carlo Palanca St, Quiapo and Nayong Pilipino. Handicrafts belonging to ethnic minorities are available at General Luna St. in Intramuros and Mabini St., Ermita.
Some prominent shopping hubs in the country are Cubao, San Juan, Ermita, Makati and Manila. The capital city, Manila has a number of shopping malls, including Glorietta Shopping Mall, SM Megamall, Divisoria Mall & 168 Mall, among others. SM Mall of Asia located in Manila is the third largest shopping mall in the world.
Makati Commercial Centre (MCC) in Makati is another important shopping district in the country. Some famous shopping areas in this region include Atrium Shopping Mall on Makati Ave, Makati Cinema Square and Greenbelt Square.
Other important shopping destinations in the country are Araneta Shopping Complex in Cubao, Greenhills Shopping Centre on Ortigas Ave, San Juan, Robinson’s Shopping Centre in Ermita and others.
July is the Shopping Festival Month in the country. During this period, local products and latest merchandise are showcased at all the major shopping destinations in Manila & Ermita. This is also the period of sale, in which all items are available at heavily discounted prices.
The only duty free shopping zone in the country is located at the international terminal of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. The value added tax (VAT) in Philippines is levied on the sale of goods, properties and services in the country. The VAT rate in the Philippines is 12%.
In Philippines, a tourist can claim VAT refund only at duty-free shops. This is because these are the only stores that accept foreign currency as payment. Furthermore, one needs to spend at least 20 USD to claim a VAT refund.