Your Guide to the Best Ukay-Ukay Shopping Spots in Baguio City
Know where to score the best deals from this thrift-shopping capital.
A popular local summer destination, Baguio City actually has a lot to offer in the shopping department other than scenic greenery and historical landmarks, sweet delicacies, and cold weather. Over the years, the city has grown to become an ukay-ukay mecca with streets and avenues sprawling with thrift stores left and right. It can be quite overwhelming, so if you have no idea where to shop or where to start, here’s a quick guide to the city’s best thrift spots for the ultimate ukay-ukay experience.
Session Road corner F. Calderon Street
One of the more visible wagwagans (as the locals like to call it), this complex at the corner of F. Calderon at Session Road is about three floors and has a vast selection of items from designer goods to stuffed toys. Its cleanliness is a plus; if you’re allergic to dust and that stuffy smell, this might be the best location to shop. Be wary though; prices here aren’t as cheap as you’d think as sellers are aware of the worth of branded items. This means that a thrifted Marc Jacobs dress could range from P600 to about P1,000 or more. Still, a designer piece for a thousand pesos or less is still a fraction of its original price.
East Park Commercial Center and M. Padilla Building
If you want to sift through a smaller but quality selection with democratic prices, this two-floor building has select shops that offer curated second-hand designer bags and a lot of hole-in-the-wall-type stores with a good selection of clothes. Tip: Always be ready to Google search because there are a number of fakes out there! But the best shop in this complex is the one right in front of Harrison Road that looks a little bit like a hardware store from the outside. This particular ukay always has a sale rack right by the door, another one when you walk further inside, and a fair amount of plus-size overruns. There are also a number of stores that sell children’s toys and collectible figures, if you’re into that.
East Park Commercial Center and M. Padilla Building are both along T. Claudio Street corner Harrison Road, Baguio City (in front of Jollibee).
We're calling it: This is probably be the best ukay-ukay complex in the city. U-need is actually the name of this local grocery found at San Perfecto Street in front of Malcolm Square. Surrounding this supermarket are a variety of thrift shops, and one of them is an entire floor that sells second-hand shoes. A flight of stairs accompanied by a sign that says “Ukay-ukay upstairs” will lead you to this magical store. The floor is divided into two sides: Sale and new arrival items. Sale items range from pairs costing P80 to 150 while the new arrivals would be from around P250 (for sandals) to over a thousand (for rubber shoes). Make sure you wear a mask because it can get pretty musky in there.
Another great spot in this complex is the store right beside the supermarket. But don’t go through the clothes hanging on the racks on the first floor. Instead make your way up the flight of stairs by the left side of the entrance. On the second floor you’ll either see six to eight racks of clothes or a mound of them on top of cardboard on the floor. The price range? P20 to P50! Get ready to dig, but there are some really great finds in there that won’t disappoint, like Uniqlo, Zara, and Jill Stuart. There are a lot of denims and trousers in this store, too.
U-Need Grocery is at San Perfecto Street corner Session Road, Baguio City.
Zandueta Street and Hilltop Street
If you want the OG ukay-ukay experience, go to Hilltop Street at the heart of the Baguio wet market. Located behind the palengke just beside Maharlika Livelihood Center, you can make your way up Zandueta Street until you reach Hilltop, where you can find a mix of hardware stores, wet and dry meats and produce, and thrift stores. But don't forget to enter this small alley at the left of Zandueta Street with a Cebuana Lhuillier branch at the corner. This short alley has ukay-ukays on every side! Since it's located right beside the palengke, the prices are quite cheap and you can buy shoes at P120 and cool-looking vintage jackets for P100.
At night, if the weather is good, a lot of vendors dump clothes on the street on top of banigs or plastic bags and sell items for as low as P5. This area has been renovated and they’ve built a covered shopping space for mini thrift stalls along the main Hilltop Street. But nothing beats bending down, browsing, and bargaining. What’s great is that they never curate their selections so you might actually find a designer steal at an insanely affordable price.
Simply known as Bayanihan, this place used to be a hotel back in the day but is now filled with thrift shops along Shanum Street. Start from the establishments in front of Caltex and then traverse the sidewalk leading to Burnham Park. The clothes may be a little bit pricey like the wagwagan in Session Road, but the quality of the selects here are pretty upscale. There are a lot of shops that sell designer bags, shoes, and clothes.
However, don't let the expensive price tags at the store front turn you off. Make sure to enter each store and make your way towards the back where the sale racks are found. Also, do not disregard clothes inside those cardboard boxes that say P35 or P50 pesos each—they sometimes hide clothes from designer brands like Céline and DKNY so you never know what you'll end up with.
The one rule to remember is to never lose patience and keep a sharp eye out for those special pieces!
Bayanihan Center is at Shanum Street corner Otek Street, Baguio City.
*This story originally appeared on Preview.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Spot.ph editors.