Some viewers had been asking about shopping in the Philippines, so Michell and I took some video last week at Unitop (a local department store specializing in cheap, Chinese imported goods) and the Hypermart supermarket located just a short distance up the hill from Robinsons Mall.
Hypermart kind of reminds me of shopping at a Costco in the USA. The aisles are wide and spacious (unlike many Filipino stores which are geared towards Filipino-sized customers and not more rotund foreigners), with the items being displayed on shelves and the stock being above it in their large, cardboard shipping boxes. The place is very clean and well lit and shopping there is pretty much a pleasure. It’s nearest competitor is Robinson Supermarket, but I have found Robinson to be more expensive and possessed of a much smaller inventory.
Prices for goods at Hypermart (or any Filipino supermarket) are generally higher than those in the West. The vast majority of Filipinos still get most of their produce, meats and whatnot from local markets (the bustling “public markets”) that are located in just about every town, so demand for supermarkets is not that high. Most of the customers at these stores seem to be middle or upper class Filipinos (or their helpers running errands) and foreigners. The cost of imported “specialty fare” from the US is also very high, but I really don’t miss Oscar Mayer hot dogs or Peter Pan that much and am perfectly pleased with the local varieties.
Don’t forget that you can get fresher produce at the local produce market for a much cheaper cost. Proteins are still more expensive than in the West, but with the low cost of veggies, fruit, and rice, it still balances out far to the expat’s favor.
A good resource for checking prices is numbeo.com. Just plug in what city you are interested in. My home town of Dumaguete is there!
Gotta go as Michell and I have been invited down to attend a friend’s birthday party in Dauin. I’ll try to write more later and maybe put up some photos.