Best Night Markets in the Philippines
A trip to The Philippines would not be complete without a trip to one of the country’s infamous night markets. The Philippines is host to many vibrant and colourful markets offering both visitors and locals an unforgettable experience, selling anything from the latest fashion items through to the tastiest local cuisine. Whether you’re interested in finding out about local culture, buying souvenirs or haggling a bargain on locally-made goods, the markets are often the best and cheapest places to go to. Here are three of the best The Philippines has to offer.
Divisoria Night Market
Divisoria night market is situated in The Philippines’ capital, Manila, between China Town and the North Port. It is considered one of the most diverse, vast and physically large markets in the whole of Asia and is Manila’s longest-running market.
Stalls open at around 7:30pm and stay open late into the night, often past 2am. The Divisoria night market is open all year round, unlike many other markets in the country. Stalls are mainly situated out in the open and are arranged around the Tutuban Mall. Vendors sell a mixture of clothing, crafts and food.
The atmosphere at Divisoria night market is extremely fun and lively. Visitors are met with an array of colours, smells and sounds as stall holders fight for the attention of potential customers. Divisoria provides more than just a place to buy goods – there are also plenty of activities for visitors, including games, open-air street restaurants, massages and other wellness services. One trend that is currently sweeping The Philippines is that of therapeutic “fish pedicures”; the Divisoria has recently seen stall owners offering this service to visitors
Divisoria is also a great place to buy clothes and accessories (you’ll definitely need to ensure you have home contents insurance after a trip here – you’ll come away laden with goodies!) Stall holders sell many branded goods at a fraction of the prices offered in shops. The market is also a great place to buy music and DVDs, with many stalls offering a wide selection of the latest releases, often in a variety of languages and with subtitles.
Banchetto Night Market
Banchetto night market is situated in Ortigas, mainly on Robinsons Road between the mall and Cybergate Center Tower. With ‘banchetto’ literally meaning ‘feast’ in Italian, the market naturally specializes in food; you will literally find hundreds of stalls offering many of The Philippines most infamous and delicious dishes.
The market is a great place both to buy fresh local produce and to get a late meal – it opens at around 12 midnight – and stays open throughout the night until 11am the following day. The best night to visit is a Friday.
The market was originally set up to serve workers in the Cybergate Center Tower area; mainly call center workers as they often work long hours through the night. However, in recent years the market has become popular with tourists as they search for experiences that offer an authentic insight into Filipino lifestyle and culture.
The Banchetto night market offers a wide selection of lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), both popular traditional Filipino dishes. Food is available at very cheap prices. Be sure to also try some of the following Filipino treats available at Banchetto: Sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables in peanut sauce), lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls), and crispy pata (deep-fried pig leg).
Food Bowl Night Market
The Food Bowl is the newest night market in The Philippines. It was recently set up by the government – with support of the Department of Health – as a marketplace for buying and selling fresh, organic and healthy products, including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. All stall holders comply with a fair trade code of practice, and include farmers from the local area and further afield. The Food Bowl was originally created as a trade market, set up for local business owners to bulk buy from others; many national farming associations and businesses have since signed up to join the market. However, the market also offers tourists a unique insight into Filipino culture and trading; visitors will also be able to find an unrivalled selection of natural, unprepared food offered at trade prices. To further cater for tourists, the Food Bowl Night Market is now also home to many restaurant operators, wellness organizations, herbs producers and eco-friendly product manufacturers. Launched in March this year in Quezon City (Quezon Avenue), The Food Bowl now opens every Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 12 midnight.