City of Manila

Divisoria: Manila’s shopping mecca

Since it’s Christmas, the Urban Roamer presents to you one of Christmastime’s favorite shopping destinations. Then again, this place is an all-time favorite shopping destination

Juan Dela Cruz Band’s “Divisoria”

If there can only be one place that would be named as THE shopping mecca in the metropolis, it would not be some fancy mall or high-end shopping district. For many not only in Metro Manila but perhaps in the entire country as well, nothing equates shopping more than that famed district in Manila that we call “Divisoria.”

But of course, Divisoria itself needs no further introduction. It has become such an iconic landmark destination that every one in the metropolis is familiar with, at the very least. It originally pertained to the area that is part of San Nicolas district, particularly the area near the district’s boundary with Binondo, hence the name “divisoria” which meant division or boundary. In recent years though, Divisoria grew that its boundaries today are no longer clearly defined as it encompassed the southern tip of Tondo and the northwest area of Binondo.

Being near the Chinese community that has been established in Binondo, Divisoria became a trading post of sorts where the Chinese would sell their goods. Commerce in the area would receive a boost in the late 19th century with the opening of the Tutuban train station of the Manila Railroad Company which greatly helped in the flow of goods from North Luzon to Manila and vice-versa. The opening of Manila’s North Harbor during the 20th century also contributed greatly to the commercial activity in the area.


All this commercial activity came at a price of near-unmanageable (if not unmanageable already) levels of traffic in the area. By that mean both vehicular and crowd traffic. Not a day goes by without having to experience braving the vehicles stuck in traffic or be crushed in the midst of the crowds daily, and some unfortunate circumstance be an unfortunate victim of theft that is a danger in areas like this one.


As with the recent trends in the metropolis, Divisoria is not spared from the pervasive malling culture. Only that the malling culture here has taken a different turn as it catered more to the budget shoppers who mainly visit this area.




In the midst of the frenzy bordering on chaos in this part of the city, Divisoria remains Manila’s ultimate shopping haven and will remain so for years to come. One just hopes that proper planning be set up for Divisoria’s betterment. A place as landmark as this one deserves better planning, better accessibility for people to appreciate.

© The Urban Roamer

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