Shopping at Hypermart and birthday parties

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  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.



  1. I can’t get the hang of this! Go to all the trouble of writing something & then lose it! 🙂 Must copy & paste. I was saying! Good! I like the everyday things that you publish, I find them helpful. There’s a young English guy I stumbled upon doing something similar with an emphasis on food. Check him out: Nice one. Steve

  2. Hi Ned. Really enjoying your site so far as I found it yesterday. Hoping one day you might do some material on making a life there in Dumaguete. Such as the prices of obtaining some land and potential profit in having a small farm etc. Is it a way to make enough to live there? Later

  3. Hello DreamTeamers,
    I have a subject which I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on. In your “Shopping at the Hypermart” and “One Year in the Philippines” videos, I see a lot of people staring, doing double takes, and even turning around to look at you, frequently with unfriendly expressions on their faces (i.e., no smiles). When I was there on my last visit, this was something that I noticed almost everywhere I went.
    In this country (USA), I think most people generally consider staring at strangers to be extremely unfriendly, possibly bordering on mildly aggressive behavior. (Unless, of course, someone is “checking out” a really hot babe – not part of my inquiry here – haha). Here, when I go for a walk or go shopping, I generally appreciate my anonymity as just another person in the crowd, so the staring when I was there really did bother me.
    Is this something that you get used to after a period of time? And do you think the staring is done because Westerners are novelties, because they are envious or jealous of us, because they are suspicious of foreigners , because of boredom in their lives, or just because you are carrying a camera on a stick and talking to yourself (crazy Kano – haha)?
    I know that you touched briefly on the girl vs girl with a foreign bf/husband subject and I understand that situation.
    I really would appreciate some discussion on this topic, as it is high on my list of negatives for moving there. I don’t consider myself to be superior or inferior to others, and I wish others would just treat me as an equal – just another person trying to enjoy my life. In our culture, we are accustomed to seeing Blacks, Hispanics, and Orientals during our daily activities. And I understand that in many ways, Philippine society is much more conservative that what we are accustomed to here.
    Thanks and please keep the wonderful information and (Mis)adventures flowing.

    1. Even in a town with huge amount of expats like Dumaguete, you are going to get stares. In provincial areas it is even worse. In the videos, I think people are staring more because – like you said – I have the camera out and am sometimes talking to it (like a crazy person). Filipino kids really, really stare – we just look different (I look like Shrek) and they are simply curious. It can be kind of weird at times, but it’s just part of life here. Usually a simple wave or smile will shake them out of it, and they’ll return the gesture – well, except for the kids: If they are really young, they might start crying. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *