What She Wants

What Your Favorite Shopping Store Says About You

How do you shop? And where do you like to go?

I have a few local shopping destinations that I prefer, and I find each offers a different experience. Some are best for unplanned leisure, while others have been designed to make my Goyard wallet lose weight. 

Rustan's Makati

Your shopping narrative Your grandmother, your mom and aunts have all shopped here in the past 65 years. And now, you and your cousins, your children and their cousins all shop here as well. Mom still has her very old (and original) shopping card, which you borrow for the insane discounts. This place is like another home...where you can buy things that need a new home (yours).

Regulars know The fashion and beauty floors with Natori, Tiffany&Co., Chanel, and La Prairie are wonderful, and an equally satisfying experience is found upstairs, where homeware, including Christofle silverware, fluffy Ralph Lauren towels, and all the flowers you need to make an enchanted forest (the theme for your next party), are found. 

The 2 p.m. pick-me-up A plate of pad thai or sumaki at East Cafe or a tall glass of korikohi at UCC.

Best time of the year When the sparkling Christmas decor goes up.

Greenbelt 4 and 5

Your shopping narrative You are a busy woman with expensive taste and prefer to shop at that glossy strip where your friends—Gucci, Burberry, Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Cartier, Prada, and Louis Vuitton—are found.

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Help from above Now that you’ve filled up your closet, it’s time to replenish the soul at the open-air, tree-covered Sto. Niño de Paz chapel. I personally like the hourly confession schedules. I have to tell my confessor about my addiction (to Patek Philippe jeweled watches).


Best things come in threes And don’t forget Greenbelt 3, where Hermès is found. Lately, I visit for the wallpaper, plates, and knickknacks. And the saddle, a surprise gift for my nephew.

The SM Store Beauty Department

Your shopping narrative Your stubbornly frugal mother still believes that there are shirts that cost less than P500. And you always ask, “Where? Tell me where these magic shirts are found!” “Shop at the store that's got it all.” She heard that nugget from a billionaire who became a billionaire because he knew exactly where to shop. Every penny saved helps. Bargains—they’re here.

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More than meets the eye If you haven’t been inside a Shoemart, I mean the SM Store (my age is showing), lately, then you will be pleasantly surprised to see its wide offering of premium goods. Also, in typical SM fashion, in the beauty department in particular, they have a plethora of everything. You will drown in the heady scents of the variety of perfumes here.

The splurge There are things that are worth your hard-earned coins like, for example, the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. In Makati, this is found, not on the public floor but inside a pretty boutique with its own mini-spa. Heaven.

Alabang Town Center

Your shopping narrative Here, time is suspended. Every day is like the weekend. When you make your way to the palm-lined courtyard and the shopping avenues of  “Town,” you are on a very important mission of finding leisure. Closed shoes optional.

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The itinerary for the day 7 a.m. session with your personal trainer at the gym; errands at 10 a.m. (this is code for shopping); and you’ll see how it goes from there.

First stop A table at Bizu. An order of muesli trifle for energy and a box of chocolate truffles (cinnamon and cardamom and macadamia honey only) for home, please.

I’m not here That was not me that you saw at 158 Designer’s Boulevard and Tutto Moda hoarding all the past-season Guccis! And that was only not me buying tubs of chocolate rounds at the Marks & Spencer food sale!

Power Plant Mall

Your shopping narrative Unlike your friends from the south who shop at a snail’s pace while sporting bare legs and sometimes rubber slippers (horrors), you like your upscale community leisure a little more snappy and definitely more dressed.

What you secretly like It’s walking distance from your Rockwell apartment or gated community. This is the only place in Manila that makes city walks convenient. No need for a driver to get to the mall.

Residents and VIPs know 8x8-1xx1 is a number you’ve memorized and always call. “Power Plant Mall Cinemas,” the ever reliable Sarsi picks up. Cinema ticket reservation is easy, breezy for Rockwell residents—no lining up required!

Shangri-La Plaza Mall East Wing

Your shopping narrative You shop here because it is oh so quiet. Other destinations may see a crush of people, but this place allows for a sort-of private shopping experience with the luxury brands your heart desires. The multi-floor emporium is huge and, on most days, peacefully uncrowded. 


And why you’re really here The food! Quezo de bola cheescake at Corazon Hispano, the bacon ice cream at Joseph’s; the cheeses at Epicurios; the salads at Green Pastures….

Univers, Homme et Femme

Your shopping DNA Your critical eye leads you to precious objects that are cut from a different cloth. Your daring spirit makes you wear the directional creations from not-so-popular designers (here). 

Ding! The only time you get excited about a text message is when it comes from NOUS, the disembodied announcer of sales at Univers.

The Landmark

You shopping narrative You are the frugal lady who believes in the power of positivity and inexpensive stuff. And this attitude you apply to the racks of shiny, plastick-y, and vaguely stylish items found here. What you usually unearth is something marvelous like that oversize striped shirt that all the cool fashion kids are wearing now. Your friends think it’s designer, but it is just smart and patient shopping. And also a secret.


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Down, down, down To the massive grocery. After buying pairs of nude stockings and a pack of breast petals (they have those here!), you must also do your three-cart per week grocery haul at the Landmark Supermarket (aka frugal ladies' HQ).


Your shopping narrative Adora is familiar but different, classic but new. It’s a curated department store experience where you can pick out obscure goods.

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My personal list The Loewe puzzle bag in yellow, the Valentino caged flats in black, Penhaligon’s The Revenge of Lady Blanche perfume (I get this for the intriguing bottle), and the deliciously smelling Malin + Goetz grapefruit cleanser.

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