When we would travel from the Philippines to Jakarta and back (we were posted in Jakarta for 4 years), we would take budget airlines Cebu Pacific because we can buy up to 45 Kilograms of weight per person. 90 Kg for the two of us was plenty and worth it, because it is cheaper to shop with a wider variety of goods in Manila. We make sure to go to Rustans Supermarket with a balikbayan box and have them pack our favourite goodies. I also do some last-minute shopping in my favorite stores/stalls in NAIA 3 before take off. Below are my favorite shops and things to buy.
For capiz and other fabulous Filipiniana items. They have really cute clutch bags and shoulder bags. Pictured below are the capiz balls in blush (small Php 299, large Php 519) and gold (large Php 519). Remember my gold capiz picture frames and gold mini-christmas trees made of lansones peeling dipped in gold? (So environmental!) I bought them at Tesoros too! They wrap items very well in bubble wrap so it doesn’t get ruined while you are carrying it on the plane.
I find the quality of capiz/mother-of-pearl superior and much cheaper than the ones I’ve purchased in Bali or Jakarta. Price for one ball below.
We usually buy Tanduay Rum, a local rum that is good to mix with coke, to share with our Diplo Friends. They can’t believe that this is really cheap rum because it’s quite good considering the price. Alcohol variety and stocks are limited in Jakarta and very expensive because of the sin tax. For example I bought Patron XO Cafe USD 32 before it was available in Duty Free Tama store. When it did become available in Duty Free Tama, it was gone in a few weeks. I never saw it back after that.
They also sell dried mangoes for USD 4.20 per piece or in packs of 6 for USD 32. I find this too expensive considering when I buy it in the province it only costs me about 1 dollar per pack.
I already wrote about some of my favorite junk food from the Philippines before. The super large Boy Bawang Garlic flavor (Php 200) and the Oishi Marty’s vegetarian chicharon (Php 50) are available in NAIA 3 too. The vegetarian chicharon was from a stall right after Duty Free which also sold dried mangoes per pack. The Super big Boy Bawang was from the resto in front of the San Miguel shop.
I usually like to get a few books from the National Bookstore stall before boarding because English books are hella expensive in Jakarta. So if you are a bookworm like me, I highly recommend passing by on your way to Jakarta. Best part of it is that it is not weighed as part of your check-in and carry-on allowance!
Are there any stores you love to browse before take off in NAIA 3? Do share them in the comments section below!
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*Please note that prices & stores may have changed. Kindly check with original sources/stores for the updated prices. If there are any errors in this post, please drop me a comment below and I will try my best to correct it.