May 11, 2017

Shopping Out of the Box

'For me, specialty shops offer a different kind of shopping thrill.'
Facebook Twitter Google+

Going out to shop in malls and department stores, supermarkets, and regular stores is how it is always done. Everything we need is there, and it’s alright to go to these places for our basic needs. But there is something to be said about small stores and specialty shops outside the big establishments. Many of the things that are not found in the big stores are available in the smaller shops.

Personally, I spend more time shopping “out of the box” because it’s less crowded and, mainly, I love what I find there. I’m sure almost everyone has their own favorite specialty stores, so in this article I would like to share with you just a few of mine.


specialty stores in the Philippines

"We love the roti from Assad Mini Mart, with branches in Makati, Quezon City, Marikina, and Manila."

Assad is a small Indian store along UN Avenue in Manila. Recently, a smaller branch opened on Timog Avenue in Quezon City. This is where I get my incense sticks—I’m such a big incense user! I also love their samosas, homemade roti, and Indian snacks like biscuits and chocolates. If you are into cooking Indian dishes, you can find all of the spices here: milk, paneer, wheat flour, Basmati rice, garam masala, clove, coriander, yoghurt, and many more. It is also known for its extensive offering of Indian sweets like gulab jamun and laddu.


specialty stores in the Philippines

"Sandhi Ayurveda’s refreshing Ayurveda tea has a deep, rich taste. I like to drink it in the morning, as a substitute for coffee or tea."

I come here for the tea. It is the only place I know that sells Ayurveda tea. It is a special creation of the Indian Catholic priest Fr. Jacob Gnalian. Sandhi is actually his Ayurveda clinic and also the location of the Chapel of St. Thomas. The tea is made of natural ingredients and can be taken hot in the morning instead of coffee, or as a cold drink to serve as afternoon refreshment. It costs around a hundred pesos per 250ml bottle, which contains a form of tea “concentrate.”

Daily Veggie n Cafe

specialty stores in the Philippines

"Daily Veggie’s vegetarian and vegan dishes are so varied that I always have a hard time choosing from the menu!"

Aside from being a vegetarian restaurant, the Daily Veggie is also a mini grocery store where you can get your supply of meat alternatives, vegetarian spices, and seasoning, snacks, and other food items. I visit the store to buy frozen meat alternatives like ham, nuggets, and sausages. I also buy their vegetarian siopao whenever I visit. It’s freshly made and tastes so wonderful—we love having it for breakfast, as baon, or afternoon merienda. The Daily Veggie is located on Sto. Domingo Avenue, Quezon City, right beside Siena College.

Baler Chocolate Cake

specialty stores in the Philippines

"Because it is, for me, the best, the moistest, the richest chocolate cake this side of town, I always order their cake whenever there is a celebration."

It is really just a house (and a small school), but the owner is an exceptional baker and sells one of the best chocolate cakes this side of town. So if you’d like to go the usual route and buy your chocolate cake from the regular bakeshops, be my guest. But if you want to do some out-of-the-box chocolate cake shopping, head over to Baler Street in Quezon City, at the corner of Rest Haven, ring the bell, buy a box of cake, and watch how it changes your sweet life. They also sell Blueberry Cheesecake, but I believe you have to order this ahead of time.

Dangwa Flowers

specialty stores in the Philippines

"Dangwa will always be my favorite flower market because of the variety of blooms and the fair price."

There is nothing wrong about buying flowers from the big flower shops, but that can get pretty expensive. If you want to get your blooms from the church front or the local wet market, that is okay too but your choices will be limited. A lot of people go to Dangwa for flowers, even if it’s not Valentine’s Day or All Souls’ Day—they come here whenever they want to get some fresh blooms to liven up their homes, which is the case for me. To save more money, don’t get the bouquets but pick up a variety of your favorites and arrange them yourself in vases when you get home.

Virlanie Foundation

specialty stores in the Philippines

"I am quite happy with the products that I managed to buy from Virlanie—they are pretty unique and beautiful in their own way!"

Sometimes you want to veer away from the usual gift items that you find in the malls and department stores. When a friend or relative is having a birthday, for example, you want to give her (or him) something that is more meaningful, but also very affordable. When it was more accessible to me, I used to get some of my gift items for friends from Virlanie Foundation in Makati. As a child caring organization, they have livelihood programs for street mothers to help these women make some money for their families. They make the earrings, necklaces, and bags and the Foundation sell them at a low price. Profits go directly to the street mothers.

New Frisco Bakery

specialty stores in the Philippines

"I love to stock up on the brownies and caramel bars from this street side bakery."

This small, nondescript bakery is a recent discovery. I go there for only two things: their caramel bars and fudge bars. It just happens to be located close to my son’s school so when I am there to pick him up and there is a little waiting time, I grab a hundred pesos worth and have some for merienda. The rest I keep in the fridge and they are great for breakfast the next day—just heat them in the oven before serving. These rich bars are tasty with coffee or hot chocolate. It sure is an unexpected find but trust me, the bars are so good they don’t taste like they’re only ten pesos each.

Proudly Green

This is probably my main go-to place for organic food. I try to visit regularly even if it’s a bit pricey. The small green store is located along Mother Ignacia Ave. in Quezon City, near St. Mary’s School. They sell brown rice, bananas and other fruits, greens like lettuce and spinach, veggies like carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, eggplants, alfalfa sprouts, and many more.

There are also baked breads; superfoods like chia and maca; special seasonings and spices like non-soy soy sauce, garlic, onions, ginger, and turmeric; and even frozen items like ham, sausages, longganisa, chicken cordon bleu, rellenong bangus, and baboy ramo products—their meats are grown without antibiotics and other chemicals. (Tip: Try their laing and guinataang langka—there are vegetarian options.) You can also find tea, coffee, spreads, homemade mayo, and personal care items like soaps, shampoos, oils, and other products. Just make sure you drop by around lunch time or even after lunch because they usually open very late.

Click the store name links to see their exact addresses and contact numbers.

Photos are from the official websites and Facebook pages of featured establishments.

Also Read...

Ime Morales

Ime is a professional writer, lecturer, and blogger. She is the founder of the Freelance Writers' Guild of the Philippines and the new writers' group FLOW (For the Love Of Writing/For Lovers Of Words). She blogs about Writing for Change on and about body-mind-spirit health and wellness on She can be reached through

Ime Morales

Ime is a professional writer, lecturer, and blogger. She is the founder of the Freelance Writers' Guild of the Philippines and the new writers' group FLOW (For the Love Of Writing/For Lovers Of Words). She blogs about Writing for Change on and about body-mind-spirit health and wellness on She can be reached through

Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of (SG) are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, SG does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.

Sending feedback. Please wait...

Your comment has been sent.

Your comment is important to us. ShoppersGuide is now notified and will review the comment you sent.

An error has occurred!

Sorry for the inconvenience. ShoppersGuide is currently fixing this.