Treasure Hunting in Dapitan Arcade

Eye-catching ceramic plates and hot pads in assorted shapes and sizes, from Php 50 to Php 250 ($1 .21 - $6.04) a piece  (Photo by Dedette Sison-Santiago)

Eye-catching ceramic plates and hot pads in assorted shapes and sizes, from Php 50 to Php 250 ($1 .21 - $6.04) a piece (Photo by Dedette Sison-Santiago)

I couldn’t think of a better place to go for budget-friendly houseware items that would help me breathe new life to a somewhat boring space in my home than Dapitan Arcade. For years, I have enjoyed “treasure hunting” in this little paradise of home collectibles, and each time I visit I am pleasantly surprised to find something new!

Located at the corner of Dapitan and Kanlaon streets in Quezon City ( near the Welcome rotonda ), Dapitan Arcade is your little treasure trove of diverse home accessories and furnishings. Think colorful ceramic cake and salad plates at P40 to P50 ($.98 to $1.22), a set of cup and saucer of the same price range, a small ornate wall mirror at P450 ($11), Moroccan-inspired hanging lamps at P450-P800 ($11 to $19.60), jewelry organizer in faux snakeskin, desk organizers made from indigenous materials, all reasonably priced and marked way below what you will find in most department stores.

Old bottles transformed into flower vases, hanging lamps and candle holders in great colors  (Photo by Dedette Sison-Santiago)

Old bottles transformed into flower vases, hanging lamps and candle holders in great colors (Photo by Dedette Sison-Santiago)

Even restaurateurs snatch up pieces in this “ thrift store” for their restaurant needs of massive plates and salad bowls or colorful and delicate Chinaware and decor. And, oh, those popular and timeless white plates we find in many a restaurant? You’ll find many here.

The prices of goods may vary. It is advisable to go around the arcade first to scour for the things you need and compare price points. Know how to haggle and make the right deal. Chances are you will go home with good bargains especially when you buy wholesale.

Outside the arcade, when you continue down the road, you will find more stalls selling all kinds of native crafts. There are clothes hampers (wicker baskets for soiled clothes) in varying sizes and designs at P500 to P800 ($12.25 to $19.60), shellcraft and wooden kitchenware. More vendors offer faux topiaries, wrought-iron furniture pieces, framed wall decor and clay pots.

A native hamper in dark brown with intricate handmade details (below) and  (top) with embroidered and crocheted bib-like accent  (Photo by Dedette Sison-Santiago)

A native hamper in dark brown with intricate handmade details (below) and  (top) with embroidered and crocheted bib-like accent (Photo by Dedette Sison-Santiago)

Most items are overruns from Philippine exporters who supply well-known homeware stores in the U.S. and Canada. Originally, in 2003, the vendors sold their goods along Dapitan street (hence, it was called Dapitan Market ), each one competing for the domestic buyers’ attention. The place was always bustling with activity especially on weekends and Christmas season, and traffic was chaotic. It later became to be known as Dapitan Arcade when vendors transferred to a three-storey building on the corner of the same street. There is now a concrete parking space for shoppers right outside the arcade. I always pop in early to get the best spot, which is just a few steps to the first stall, and to make sure I hit the best selections when vendors start rolling out their new stocks. The place gets really jampacked with all kinds of buyers during the Christmas season.

Dapitan Arcade comes alive as early as 7 a.m., but most stalls open at 8:30 a.m. It is open Monday to Friday. 

More special treasures can be found outside the arcade where more vendors sell at even lower rates.  (Photo by Dedette Sison-Santiago)

More special treasures can be found outside the arcade where more vendors sell at even lower rates. (Photo by Dedette Sison-Santiago)


Dedette Sison-Santiago is the former Philippine coordinator of  Filipinas Magazine. She is a freelance writer based in Manila.