Its no secret that I love markets and this blog has had quite a run on them lately. I’ve been back to Divisoria twice since my first visit, and each trip was a completely different shopping experience each time. Divisoria is such a warren, after three visits I can barely say that I recognize anything still. It might take half a dozen visits and a good map before I’m brave enough to tackle it by myself.
Quite different was my trip last week was to Dangwa Flower Market. It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to visit since I first heard about it. Not only is it a market, but wonderfully colorful, selling flowers at really reasonable prices. There’s something about flowers that always lifts the spirits and to see masses and masses of them — a riot of colour — stretching out as far as the eye can see was a great pick me up at the end of a busy week.
For the equivalent of about ten dollars I bought 4 dozen roses, a dozen giant lillies, a selection of interesting leaves and berries, and three dozen pretty orange flowers that I’ve forgotten the name of. Not bad.
The Dangwa experience is very different from Divisoria. Its a 24 hour market which is busy but not heaving because buyers come at different times of the day. The streets are paved, relatively clean and organized. Its much smaller and more civilized. I would totally go back by myself to look around.
Most of the flowers come from Bagio, a cooler area in Northern Luzon, and are brought down to Manila in unrefrigerated trucks in the early hours. Then, depending on the day of the week and the time of year, they suffering differing extents of stress as they sit in the stalls outside waiting for buyers. I was lucky enough to have a local flower arranger take our tour around the market on a Thursday in October. She taught us that shopping there at the end of the week in the cooler months helped with both quality and variety of selection. And she was right, we were there on a good day. Everything looked fresh and good. However, flowers in the Philippines are known not to last so long. The heat, humidity and stress they encounter takes it toll. We further compounded the problem by leaving the flowers for 4 hours (without water) in a hot van while we attended a flower arrangement class. Then mine sat in my office for a further 4 hours before I went home. The flowers were limp to say the least when I got home. By Monday the petals were starting to drop. If I hadn’t been so abusive, I’m sure I would have gotten a week out of everything I purchased. I will definitely return — with a friend — as Dangwa is a great experience to be shared and takes the quality of Manila life up a notch. Blooming lovely!