Best Local Places

Shopping Centers in Iloilo: Where Locals Shop Aside from SM Malls?

Go to the City Proper, see the Iwag Festival of Lights, then bring home some cake this Christmas season!

By: Hyacinth Bangero | December 11, 2016
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Due to changing quarantine measures, the activities, destination/s, store/s, establishment/s featured in this article might be temporarily prohibited or closed under the latest government policies. LGUs might also implement health protocols and travel requirements. Please get in touch with the establishment/s before visiting. Stay safe!

Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the Philippines. It is the season of generosity: o companies release bonuses to their employees, people exchange gifts, and godparents buy their godchildren presents. It is the best time to thank family and friends so many people do not hesitate to spend a portion of their savings and bonuses in buying gifts to make their loved ones happy.

So where can you buy gifts for your loved ones when you are in Iloilo? Aside from the malls such as SM City Iloilo, Robinson’s Place Iloilo, SM Delgado, and Robinson’s Jaro, there are many other places where you can look for gifts especially when you have just enough money or you are on a tight budget.

Here are the places where you can find gifts within a budget for your loved ones.

Calle Real (Iloilo City Proper)

Christmas shopping centers Iloilo

Shop for less in Calle Real Iloilo City Proper. (Image: Horizon Cafe Facebook page)

Calle Real in Iloilo City proper is a one-stop shop for those who are on a tight budget this Christmas season. One can easily identify its location because of landmarks such as the Plazoleta Gay, Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch, and the long stretch of centuries-old commercial establishments that have been renovated.

Shoppers may visit the different stalls that have specialized products such as shoes, bags, clothes, accessories, home appliances, furniture, and kitchenware. Of course, there are many stores that sell affordable toys for kids.

Tourists who want to purchase native pasalubong items should consider coming here and visiting Iloilo Central Market for some native items.

Plazuela de Iloilo

Christmas shopping centers Iloilo

Plazuela de Iloilo at night (Image: Plazuela Deiloilo Facebook page)

Having earned its prestige as a food hub for Ilonggos and tourists, Plazuela de Iloilo transforms into a bazaar, food park, and event area where families, friends, and lovers go and celebrate the joy of the yuletide season.

Small business owners put up stalls where they sell various merchandise such as clothes, footwear, accessories, toys, bags, and trendy items at affordable prices. Initially catering mostly to the teenage market, proprietors have added toys to their offerings since there are a lot of parents with young children who come to visit the place during late afternoons and night time.

Plazuela de Iloilo is located along Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue, Mandurriao, Iloilo City and is just beside SM City Iloilo.

Pototan, Iloilo

christmas shopping centers Iloilo

The Iwag Festival of Lights draws in a huge crowd every year. (Image: Discover Pototan Iloilo Facebook page)

Because of the success of its Iwag Festival of Lights every Christmas season, Pototan in Iloilo is esteemed to be the Christmas capital of the western Visayas. The festival draws tourists, both foreigners and locals, who wish to feel the joy of the season.

Thus, due to the crowd that the festival draws from December 16 to 31, many entrepreneurs and small business owners have decided to put up stalls around the plaza where the Christmas lights are exhibited.

If tourists and locals don’t have the time to shop in the city, they may opt to purchase gifts for kids and teenagers in the area where there is a wide array of choices. All they need is the patience to jump from one stall to another since there are thousands of people visiting the area every night during the Iwag Festival of Lights.

Tinapayan Bakeshop (Iloilo Supermart)

Christmas shopping centers Iloilo

Gingerbread Christmas village in Tinapayan (Image: Tinapayan Bakeshop Iloilo Facebook page)

If you are still wondering what to buy that will surely make everyone happy, then take home something sweet. For one, any celebration seems incomplete without a cake or dessert. This is why a cake is one of the items that is often given as a present during the holidays. This is also the reason there’s a long queue at Tinapayan Bakeshop every Christmas season.

Christmas shopping centers Iloilo

Tinapayan Bakeshop offers cakes in different flavors and sizes. (Image: Tinapayan Bakeshop Iloilo Facebook page)

So how can you bring home the cake of your choice when almost everyone is rushing to buy one? Reserve yours in advance.

If you are a tourist, seek the help of either your tourist guide or relative to reserve for you the cake of your choice. If you are a local, call first or visit the bakeshop a few days ahead.

Christmas shopping centers Iloilo

Assorted pastries and sweets are available at Tinapayan. (Image: Tinapayan Bakeshop Iloilo Facebook page)

But if you are on a tight budget and cannot buy everyone a cake, consider other products such as brownies, chocolate pops, biscuits, tarts, pies, chocolate bars, butterscotch, crinkles, and assorted bars.

Find other bakeshops in Iloilo here.

If you will be shopping for many people, e.g., all the employees in a company, you may consider the wholesale merchandising of Gaisano City Iloilo, Gaisano Guanco, Iloilo Society Commercial, Inc., Unitop, City Square, 168 Shopping Center, and other establishments where you can get big discounts.

This Christmas season, spare some time of your vacation to visit these suggested places to buy something that can bring happiness not only to your immediate family and close friends but also other people who have made a difference in your life this year.

Check out the ShoppersGuide directory of shopping malls in Iloilo on this link.
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About Hyacinth Bangero
She is a young broadcast journalism professor and marketing officer of the University of San Agustin. She's a proud volunteer of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. Hyacinth is geared to educate, experience, and explore.
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