Thrifting Challenge: UKAY in CDO-Divisoria

Bearing the same name as Manila’s market district known for wholesale and retail goods at rock-bottom prices, Divisoria at Cagayan de Oro is a shopping mecca for pre-loved clothes, shoes, and bags. More than thrift garment and trinket finds, this plaza (actually Plaza Divisoria or more formally known as Golden Friendship Park) also boasts of mouth-watering foods, street magicians, and even live music (every Friday and Saturday nights for Divisoria Night Café and Night Market). We went to CDO on a Tuesday; now I’m making a mental note for future trips to CDO to go there on Fridays and Saturdays. Nevertheless, the experience was still fun and worthwhile because I went on to buy a bag and a pair of Keds!

Rows of stalls selling UKAY clothes line your path when you stroll by Divisoria. Some clothes are already hanging by the rack. These are usually the premium ones, branded and in mint condition but of course, pricier. Others are unsorted and just spread on sackcloth for everyone’s picking. This is where the challenge begins. Picture the shopper as a treasure hunter looking for that prized jewel. One should get down on his knees without any bags about him that could hinder his mission. (Leave that bag in your hotel and bring only enough cash if you want to go night shopping). Now in perfect hunting form, he collects and collects then finally selects. If he likes it and it’s good value for money (which in most cases it certainly is), he should pay for it pronto!

It’s a shame I wasn’t able to take shots during our night shopping as my battery was drained and I had to have it charged at the hotel (Casa Isabella). Still, I want to share my UKAY finds with you so I took pictures of them.


A little laundry magic should do!


Total shopping expenses: 150 pesos

Bag- 50 pesos

Shoes- 100 pesos (old and well-worn, but still worth a shot! with lots of character too!)


The art of Ukay: My new travel gear

Thrifting is serious business. I have stumbled upon a lot of good finds in the past but now,  I am confident to say that I have somehow perfected the art that is Ukay.

A good start is Anonas. Once you alight from the MRT train in anonas, one floor below is a big ukay complex that will welcome you. New arrivals are always priced high, nonetheless still affordable than their mall counterparts. You could also opt for Cubao, along the row of ukay shops across farmers plaza. And Monumento too, although I never had the guts to go as far as 2 jeepney rides for my thrifting sprees.

Let me share to you some tips in thrifting, all learned from experience. haha

1. Watch out for sales, not just the percent-off type but the 10-peso, 20-peso items stashed in wrinkly boxes at the back portion of the stores. You could always find one that perfectly fits! I once found a perfectly fitting ribbed cardigan for just 10 pesos!

2. Don’t think twice when you’ve come across an item you perfectly like and perfectly fits you! Chances are, when you come back an hour later, because you want to find a cheaper version of the item in other stores, the perfect item is gone!!!! Ukay is something that has been premeditated by higher powers and if it’s for you, you’ve got to take it before it slips away! Imagine stumbling upon a pair of new Nike trail running shoes that’s exactly your size,  say a measly 5.5, for an incredibly low price of 920pesos! Of course you take it immediately to the counter and pay for it! No second thoughts.

And here is the pair of Nike Trail running shoes that I was telling you about,

3. Look out for quality brands! Once you see how expensive your thifted finds are in the mall shops,  you will feel triumphant and accomplished. I have added to my long list of ukay finds, Zara, H&M, and Marks and Spencer. And for my  latest finds for outdoor gear: Timberland (not photographed for this post, sorry), Columbia and Nike.

I know it’s a screaming PINK bag. But it’s Columbia, enough said.

4. Lastly, be keen on spotting imitations or you’ll find yourself going against the very purpose of ukay – to save money, that is. For example, a lot of ukay shops are selling fake Chuck Taylor sneakers for the same price as the original ones!

I hope my tips may prove useful in your future shopping sprees! Thrifting requires a great deal of effort and patience, so be prepared. Set aside a whole afternoon for a very productive ukay session, and equip yourself with comfy clothes and shoes because a walkathon is in store for you. Just bring the essentials and if you could skip the bag, better do so because you don’t want to keep your hands full with the items you want to try out and still have to worry about your bag. You might lose it to snatchers too, so be ever vigilant.