Last January 13, I made that one big step in making that decision to embark once again on that journey of a lifetime into the hustle and bustle of crowded streets and never-ending traffic that can be found only in Divisoria. The last time I went there was about 7 years ago, in 2003, when I bought my Playstation 2 at this gaming store called Gameline and it is located at the second floor (I think) of the Tutuban Mall. It took me 7 long years to finally make that decision and this time I’m not buying nor upgrading my gaming console to a Playstation 3, but instead I’ll be walking my way a little bit further away from the Tutuban Mall and into this other famous mall called 168 to find me some toy shops there and check out their goods.
Since I’m now into amateur Toy Photography and, as a random toy collector as well who hunts for bargain items that I’ll be using as subjects, hearing stories about these wonderful toy shops at 168 through my friend and fellow toy collector Adi and reading it from one of Azrael Merryland‘s blog posts, I’m confident that I’ll be getting a much better deal when I get to find these shops since their goods, most probably will be much more reasonable than those you find in big malls, and who knows, I might get to look for juicy, rare items that you don’t get to see in circulation anymore, bootlegs or originals, it really doesn’t matter. Shortly after lunch I got myself ready and I was off to my next great adventure.
Though it was a Thursday you can still see a fairly huge number of people walking about and doing their business in Divisoria while the sound of honking vehicles and cheesy music blasting from an old beat box can be heard not too far away from where I was makes you feel that you’re definitely now in Divisoria. I made my way first to the Tutuban Mall and from what I can remember 7 years ago, it still looks the same except for the sea of small stalls that mainly occupied the center portion of the mall… and they were thriving enormously like crazy! I continued my journey further by walking a few more meters until I saw this huge mall-like structure in front of me… and without a doubt this is the legendary 168 mall of Divisoria… the mecca for all things affordable, unique and hard-to-find, and it’s all under one roof! My heart raced with excitement as I entered the establishment and inside there were even more small stalls than that of the Tutuban Mall, it made the tiangge (flea market) in Greenhills look like a sissy! And literally you’ll be walking into a maze that will somehow get you lost and confused if you’re not familiar with the place… and thank heavens I did not went there on a weekend or I’d be grumpy as hell bumping bodies into total strangers, struggling myself to make my way in while I rant and curse like a scorned jerk. I never realized how huge the 168 mall was but I did my very best to locate these toy shops (based on eyewitness accounts), but I guess I wasn’t that focused enough to strive on and find ‘em shops. And as late afternoon arrived, more people were starting to arrive in droves and unfortunately I had to bail out from my mission and go home tired, a little disappointed and empty-handed… well, not really, I got buy for myself a bootleg satchel-type shoulder bag for PHP 220 ($5.00). Nonetheless, the entire journey was worth it!
I am bent on looking for those elusive toy shops in 168 and even though I have failed to locate them, there will always be a next time and when that opportunity comes, I’ll be more prepared and focused… no matter what happens, I won’t go home empty-handed… come hell or high waters! For now I’ll be settling for the usual toy shops that I frequent to and I guess they might have new stuff up for sale and eventually strike a goldmine or two from their loose items section. So until next time, happy toy hunting and have a great day!