Ukay Queen


What can you buy in the department store for Php 950? Probably a sun dress or a polo shirt, or a nice pair of jeans.

But what can you buy in an “ukay” store with Php 950? Let me show you…


The word “ukay” came from “hukay,” which literally means dig. Just like the word, old ukay stores require you to dig
through boxes filled with second hand goodies from other countries. These items were usually donations (to third world countries like us) from charitable institutions, family of the deceased, or factory overruns. From what people told me, Ukay businessmen buy boxes of clothes for a sum of money, not knowing what the contents are. From there, they sort them out and seggregate them according to brand names, useability, and style. Bags, bed sheet, shoes, and toys are also available. As buyers, we are really not sure where the items came from so we should disinfect all purchases before using them.

A lot of people are sqeamish about wearing items that came from who knows where. Not me! Rather than buying clothes that are affordable but poor in quality (like the ones from Divisoria), or spend a huge amount of money buying quality and branded clothes (like botique stores in malls), I would rather spend a small amount of money buying quality and branded clothes!

Let me brag a bit and show you my various purchases:
Five polo with long sleeves for fil: Arrow “wrinkle free” made in Indonesia, Pierre Cardin made in Indonesia, Van Heusen also made in Indonesia, Kenneth Cole from New York, and Geoffrey Beene “wrinkle free” made in Mexico.

And the rest are for me 🙂

Old Navy shorts made in Sri Lanka

White Stag Tee stretch blouse from Vietnam

Calvin Klein tank top made in Hong Kong

Mossimo pants from Indonesia

Disney Shopping jacket from Vietnam

Faded Glory Stretch Tee made in Nicaragua

Soo short dress probably from China or Korea,

Disney Store jeans made in India

Eight items of clothing for me, and five for Fil. A total of 13 items for only Php950!!! The jacket cost php200. Other than that, you can average the rest at php 60 per item!

My favorite ukay shops aside from the ones in Baguio are the stores located in Quiapo (where I went this afternoon), and in Tagaytay (where items are nicer but aren’t as cheap). Of course, precaution is needed when shopping in such places. For one, some ukay shops do not have dressing rooms, so you either memorize your sizes well or try the items out by wearing them on top of your clothes, in front of everyone.

In going to such places, you have to also make sure you dress down and bring as few things as possible. You also have to have a pair of keen eyes and a determined spirit. Let your sense of adventure allow you to pretend that there are treasures to be found amidst the piles of garbage. If you look well enough, there usually are!

Since 2008, almost all my clothes (aside from evening gowns) are either hand-me-downs from my fashionable aunts or from ukay. If you like, you can ask me where my outfit came from the next time you meet me 🙂

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Latest Ukay Finds and Tootsie’s « Shanda's Happy Deals

  2. it’s good that you are saving money and also helping the environment. buying in ukay is like treasure hunting, it’s fun.


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