My mom was a Divisoria zombie. She’d find excuses to travel to Manila to shop at this paradise for virtually anything. Topping her list would be tela (fabric). Though she’d also snatch up cheap talangka-rich alimango (crabs) and suahe (prawns). I’d tag along and we would find ourselves savoring fresh native ube halaya-laden halo-halo and the yummiest palabok in a random stand on grungy Ilaya Street. Everything, except the wares, was crude back then. I got my Sanrio from Japan from a hidden stall long before they were even available at National Bookstore. Pedicabs were still imaginary. We’d often go home on a calesa, passing Quiricada and I would start thinking Indian pana kakana kaka.
Today, Divisoria is still The Shopping Destination in the Philippines. Specialty items are harder to find, but there’s nothing one can’t find in this shopper’s haven unless you’re dreaming real luxury.