The following morning, we decided to walk around Iloilo city to look for a cheaper hostel. We found one near Robinson’s mall named Family Pension house. The double fan room only cost P450 including breakfast for two which undeniably a good value for our money.
We then explored the city by walking to different nice old churches and to my favourite place, the market.
A lot of people that I met told me that the best way to get a glimpse about the place’s culture is to visit their market. I find it odd but true. Since then I enjoyed visiting different market wherever I go.
One thing that I noticed in the dry market area was that there were a lot of shops selling second hand clothes or locally known as Ukay Ukay.
I honestly don’t know the history of Ukay Ukay, some people said it came from the word “hukay” which literally means ‘to dig”. You’ll definitely do a lot of “digging” because in the usual Ukay stores, the shops were full of heaps and heaps of used clothing, bags and shoes.
I honestly don’t know where the clothes come from. Some people said that it came from Salvation Army, some said it’s supposed to be donations to our poor country, I really don’t know.
But wherever it originated, it became a lucrative business in all parts of the archipelago. A lot of people that I know including myself enjoy finding a nice and unique piece of clothing that suits my style and budget.
I honestly think that it’s not just good for the business, it’s also good for the environment because we’re technically reusing the stuff that the previous owners perceived as not usable for them anymore.
The only worry that I have though is the hygiene. Used clothing may also be a source of some diseases that are easily spread around. I’ve bought and used a lot of shirts I got from Ukay stores and luckily I’ve never been sick though. I usually wash them right away with warm water and antibacterial laundry soap and sometimes I even boil them for a couple of minutes.
Ukay ukay or vintage clothing stores not only exist in the Philippines, but in other countries too. I’ve been to some in Japan and USA and find it really interesting though not always economical. Some stores carry vintage items that are considered as collectors’ items thus making the price way higher even to some comparable brand new stuff.
Wherever you are in the Philippines, you’ll definitely find an Ukay Ukay shop near you.
Are you also a fan of Ukay Ukay stores? If you know some cheap stores with good finds, kindly post it in the comment below.