Malls + Markets Shopping

9 Spots in Downtown Cebu Where You Can Score Cheap Finds

Cop your next wardrobe finds in Cebu, the paradise for the practical!

By: Peter Parcon | March 11, 2020
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cheap shopping in Cebu City

Cebuanos are known to be frugal people, in that they always get their money’s worth. They make it a point to really look for high-quality products at a reasonable cost.

That’s why downtown Cebu thrives; it caters to people who are keen on finding the best value for their money. The area has unbelievable places which make cheap shopping in Cebu City definitely achievable, and Yoorekka lists nine of the best downtown places where you can shop to your hearts’ content.

1. Downtown Cebu

cheap shopping in Cebu City

Consumers can check out products offered at every nook and corner in Downtown Cebu.

Downtown Cebu has been the center of trade and commerce in the city for the longest time. It is home to numerous business establishments selling a variety of home and office products. Here, you can buy nearly anything you can think of, from every article of clothing to furniture and appliances.

2. Colon Street

cheap shopping in Cebu City

Colon Street is synonymous to trade and commerce in Cebu City.

The whole stretch of Colon Street is the most prominent place for business in downtown Cebu. Aside from being the oldest street in the country, Colon Street also hosts some of the oldest business establishments in the area. Some of these establishments serve as the pillars of trade and commerce in Cebu, including Gaisano Main and Colonnade Supermarket.

Colon Street also has a number of ukay-ukay stores (thrift shops) that cater to the thrift needs of Cebuanos. Osmeña Boulevard is another major street in the downtown area, where a number of business establishments hold ground. The boulevard stretches from the Capitol Building up to Plaza Independencia. The stores that reside in the boulevard sell high-grade products at reasonable prices . Among these stores are Unitop, Happy Mart, and Metro Colon.

3. Gaisano Main

cheap shopping in Cebu City

Gaisano Main, one of the institutions in the Cebuano retail industry of Cebu

Gaisano Main is one of the biggest establishments along Colon Street. It offers an assortment of products for home and office use. Long before major malls opened for business in the uptown area, Gaisano Main was the go-to place when Cebuanos wanted to go shopping. The store offers just about everything one would possibly need in their homes and offices. What’s more, the prices of items sold at Gaisano Main are usually 10 to 20% cheaper compared to the stores in the uptown area.

4. Unitop

cheap shopping in Cebu City

Good quality products at reasonable prices can be bought at Unitop Cebu.

The Cebu branch of Unitop started off as a small store along Osmeña Boulevard. It is popular among Cebuanos because of the notoriously cheap finds it offers. In fact, the prices of their products are around 50% cheaper than the price set by other major malls in the city. To give you an idea of the prices at Unitop, their long sleeve shirts start at PhP199 while dresses start at PhP139. They also sell shoes at PhP219. This is why patrons often flock to Unitop when they need something but are short of budget.

5. Colonnade Supermarket

cheap shopping in Cebu City

Colonnade Supermarket is a one-stop shop for Cebuano consumers

Colonnade Supermarket is a one-stop shop for consumers looking to buy groceries at a cheaper price. In fact, many of their customers are owners of sari-sari stores (neighborhood convenience stores) looking to buy products in bulk that go for retail prices. While their prices hardly vary with neighboring supermarkets and groceries, what keeps them afloat is that most of the customers of Colonnade Supermarket are volume buyers. Years ago, the supermarket used to have a dreary ambiance that is not quite conducive to shopping. However, recent renovations modernized the place and brought back its edge among the competition, able to sit side-by-side again with other major malls in the city.

6. Ukay-Ukay Store (Thrift Shop)

cheap shopping in Cebu City

Ukay-ukay stores (thrift shops) can be found in nearly all corners of downtown Cebu

The term ukay-ukay is derived from the Tagalog word hukay, which means to dig. In an ukay-ukay store (thrift shop), you can never really predict what you will dig up among the piles and piles of secondhand goods and outlet surplus. In the past, items sold in these places are used clothing donated by the US Salvation Army. But now, you can even find surplus clothing from the biggest brands from Korea and Japan in some ukay-ukay stores. They remain the great equalizers, in that you can possibly find quality clothes that would usually sell for a thousand bucks, for only a tenth of the price in ukay-ukay stores. When buying at these places, though, patience is the most important virtue to have, since it may take some time to rummage through enormous piles of clothing before you can find the treasure you long to add to your wardrobe.

7. Metro Colon

cheap shopping in Cebu City

The imposing structure of Metro Colon greets consumers as they enter downtown Cebu.

Another major store in the downtown area that has been around for decades is Metro Colon. When it first opened its doors to the Cebuano market-goers in 1982, Metro Colon only had three floors. However, through time it was able to pique the interest of Cebuanos with great quality items offered at economical prices. Business boomed, and in just two years’ time, they were able to add four more floors to its existing structure.

8. Happy Mart

cheap shopping in Cebu City

Long-time Cebu residents always associate Happy Mart with two local comedians who served as the endorsers of the store

Teban and Goliat, who were known for their antics in a defunct local television show, was the first thing that came to the minds of Happy Mart’s patrons. Happy Mart is located along Osmeña Boulevard and mainly sells shoes and apparels at affordable prices—music to the ears of most Cebuano buyers. Their collared shirts start at PhP99.50 while dresses start at PhP 79.00. They also sell shirts at 3 for PhP100.

9. Sidewalk Stalls

cheap shopping in Cebu City

Sidewalk vendors are a familiar sight not only in Cebu but in most places in the Philippines.

Aside from the established stores in the downtown area, there are also instances when someone would be able to find what they need from a stall located on the sidewalk. Normally, people wouldn’t go for sidewalk stores if they can buy the same from established commercial centers, but sometimes, they sell things which are hard to find in other places. Moreover, the items at these stalls are really cheap. For instance, a pair of slippers is sold at PhP50. Fruits normally sold at PhP25 to PhP30 in supermarkets are sold at PhP10 each.

In the past vendors were located at Colon Street and Osmeña Boulevard. Now, you can find them at “Tabo sa Banay” on F. Gonzales Street.

Shopping Tips and Things to Remember

cheap shopping in Cebu City

First and foremost, always be aware of your surroundings.

• Don’t bring expensive jewelry and gadgets while shopping. These items have the tendency to attract the unwanted attention of thieves and pickpockets. While the area is patrolled by police officers and barangay tanod (neighborhood watchmen), it is still better to be safe than sorry.

• If you need to bring a bag, it is wise to put the bag in front of you, and cling to it tight while walking through the area. Through this you could avoid thieves opening your bag’s zipper without you knowing.

• Note that there is a drainage problem in the area. It tends to get flooded easily, and floodwaters can reach up to knee level. Due to this, it is prudent to avoid trips to the downtown area when there is a heavy downpour. Since it will also be difficult to get a ride back home after rain has flooded the vicinity, if you get caught in the area during a big rain, stay indoors for a while at some of the bigger stores in the area and wait for the rain to subside.

• Shopping in downtown Cebu entails a good amount of walking so it would be necessary to wear a comfortable pair of shoes. Since many of these stores are far from each other, it may require you to do a whole lot of walking if you want to visit them all and check out what they are offering.

• When you do decide to shop in the downtown area, it is recommended to go to the area after the morning rush. This will allow you to avoid the traffic and the throng of commuters heading to work. You can even go there on weekends since some stores occasionally hold promotional sales then.

Getting to downtown Cebu

It is not difficult to go to downtown Cebu, especially Colon Street, since most of the jeepneys in Cebu City pass by there. When riding a jeepney, simply ask the driver to drop you off at Colon Street. You may opt to walk from one end of Colon Street before moving on to Osmeña Boulevard, to really get to see what every merchant offers.

Cebuanos have a discriminating taste when it comes to products sold in the market. This prudent attitude when it comes to shopping simply shows that Cebuanos always look for the best value for their money. Because of this, Cebuano consumers are always on a lookout for the best deals in town—most of which are typically found in stores located in downtown Cebu.

Make sure to visit Yoorekka to learn and find out more about the best spots in downtown Cebu.

All photos of downtown Cebu were taken by the writer.

Prices may change without notice.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 25, 2018.

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About Peter Parcon
After leaving spending 16 years of his professional life in the academe, Peter decided to try his luck in the world of online freelancing. For the past eight years, he has been creating content for clients all around the world. He can work on just about any topic - from tattoos to technology and food to finance. He dreams of visiting every island in the archipelago some day.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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