I love Baguio's ukay-ukay because it is where I find funky, fashionable, and affordable pieces that I can't easily buy from malls and bazaars.
Here are 10 simple tips to make ukay-ukay shopping easy and worthwhile.
1. Schedule your shopping to start in the morning. That way, you are still fresh and have the energy to scan the whole ukay-ukay strip and bargain with the many not-so-friendly manangs manning the stalls.
2. Don't shop on an empty stomach. I notice that whenever I shop while hungry I tend to be an impulsive buyer. There are studies that confirm this, too. Being excited while shopping is simply a no-no because it will affect your judgement.
3. Wear body-fitting clothes. This way, you can easily fit what's available by just slipping it over your attire. Yes, do try on the secondhand clothes but always wear something between your body and the used garment. Wear leggings, body-hugging tank tops, and easy to remove footwear--like slippers or flats.
4. Expect that ukay-ukay shopping is not glamorous. Ukay-ukay is a second hand shop. Bawal ang maarte.
5. Start at the top floor or inner-most levels. Prices, and sometimes selections, are better. At the same time, the manangs are usually more friendly.
6. Bring a big bag to easily carry purchases.
7. Be patient and active. Scan through the racks diligently. Your next epic ukay-ukay find may just be hiding among the thick display of tops, pants, skirts, dresses and coats.
8. Don't look for something in particular. Although there are lots of choices in Baguio's ukay-ukay, looking for something in particular is not recommended. It will limit you from getting that epic buy as you might be busy looking for a specific dress, and not notice the perfect pair of pants right in front of you.
9. Make sure to check garments before buying. Look for holes, tears, loose threads and stains. Don't buy when you spot a defect. But if you really like the piece, use that defect as a bargaining chip.
10. Bargain. Bargain. Bargain. Manangs now are very stern and seldom smile. Be insistent and prepare your poker face. Immediately cut their asking price in half and work from there.
Have fun and good luck in your next ukay-ukay adventure!