Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bargain Finds

Last night, I started cutting some fabric to make a dress for my niece. So while we wait to see how that turns out, I will share some of my thrifty finds here in Manila.

My mom and I went shopping for accessories last weekend. I took her to Quiapo, where I used to buy my materials to make jewelry before and accessory pieces at really, REALLY low prices. I limited by shopping budget for this trip to P1000 (US$23). Please excuse the quality of my photos... my SLR camera went on vacation so I had to use my camera phone for these photos.
Stainless steel Dragonfly pendant, P160 (US$3.75), 18-inch stainless steel chain P120 (US$2.80)
A closer look at the pendant.
Let's start with my favorite purchase... a stainless steel Dragonfly pendant. When I saw it, I fell in love with it immediately! Stainless steel is a cheaper alternative to silver. They do not tarnish and when they do... they are easy to polish. In the past couple of years, I began seeing stainless steel jewelry being sold at malls for around P400 - P700 (US$7.00 - 16.25). Although still cheaper than the price once it hits the international market, nothing beats the price of getting it direct from the source. Sophie Fashion Jewlery, a store in Villalobos St. in Quiapo, has a wide array of stainless steel jewelry (bracelets, pendants, rings, bangles, chains) at affordable prices. The catch? They're a wholesale store, you need to buy at least 6 items (any item) from their store to be allowed to purchase. But once you're there, it's actually not hard to find 6 items you WANT to buy. I always hit this store first when I go to Villalobos and I blow half of my budget on this first stop. Luckily, since my mom was with me, 6 items was a breeze. There were other pendants there, like the puppy and the elaborate butterfly... I didn't buy them because I didn't want to spend a lot of money on accessories... I already have enough, but now, I can't get them out of my mind! I also bought gold-plated stainless steel star studs for Andrea but forgot to take a photo. I think they were around P120 (US$2.80).

Jewelled Peacock cuff in emerald green, P100 (US$2.32)

details of the Peacock
My second favorite. I forgot the name of the store I got this from... but it's about 2 or 3 stores away from Sophie's. They have several designs for chunky cuffs like this and I had a hard time choosing just one. All cuffs from that section cost P100 (US$2.32).

Pucca stud earrings for Andrea (she loves Pucca!) P20 (US$0.50)

I bought 2 pairs of these Pucca earrings: one for Andrea, and one for my niece. I got them from the same store where I bought the Peacock cuff.

Carved Coral Roses bracelet, P180 (US$4.20)
This is another favorite... ok I seem to have a lot of favorites but seriously, I just love everything I bought last weekend! I was shocked when I saw this. Because I've been looking at necklaces with one carved coral pendant at a store selling Filipiniana items at the mall and the cheapest one was P1400 (US$32.50). Maybe because those necklaces use real silver. But still, I just wanted the pendants anyway so when I found this bracelet at Pot of Gems with lots of carved coral roses, and at that price, I got really excited. I plan to pry them out of their silver-plated metal parts and use them in some accessories I plan to make. This is also available in cream... and I am now kicking myself for not buying that too.

By the way, my mom wanted me to add that she still thinks those roses are made of plastic and not coral *rolls eyes*. I asked the store owner's son who was assisting customers and he told me they were made of coral but my mom doesn't believe him. When I got home, I compared the texture of the material of the roses to the texture of some carved coral bangles I already have and they feel the same... I'm no expert though. You know, maybe I'll just sacrifice one of those roses tonight and hit it with a hammer to see how it looks like when it shatters.
Necklace made of wood beads and beads made from coconut shells, P50 (US$1.15)
Elastic cuff made of wood beads, P25 (US$0.60)
I forgot the exact store in Villalobos where I got these last 2. I just remember my mom bought several bead necklaces and I was enticed to pick up a couple.

Brass tone cage pendant ( pack of 2 pieces), P40 (US$0.90
I also wanted to buy some materials for making jewelry but my favorite store to buy those things from was closed on Sundays. I visited another store, Chains, Beads and Components (store name is so specific don't you think?), and was able to buy these the bird cage pendant. The bird I just included in the photo... I already have it :)

Total cost: P815 (US$18.95). I did not exceed budget!!! :D

By the way, Villalobos Street in Quiapo is a great place to buy accessories and beading components when you want to buy in bulk.  I don't think it's worth the effort to go if you only plan to buy one or 2. You have to be ready to brave this:
Villalobos Street in Quiapo. Photo from Metro Manila Revisited . To see more photos of Villalobos, click here. Go on, check it out before you go if you are planning to go.
The stores I'm talking about are on both sides of this street which also doubles as a street market where vendors sell fruits, vegetables, shoes, dried fish... and a whole lot of other things. The crowd is worse on Fridays (because of the Black Nazarene mass at the Quiapo Church? I'm not sure... I'm not Catholic... but believe me there was a time I didn't know and went there on a Friday. Never again) and Sundays (because of Sunday Mass).

To get there, if you have a car, we usually park at Isetann Recto. And then we walk to Quiapo church. Behind Quiapo Church is Plaza Miranda and Villalobos Street is the street directly in front of Plaza Miranda. If you have to commute... I usually take the LRT, purple line and exit at Recto Station. Recto Station is directly in front of Isetann Recto.


lisbonlioness said...

Oh my gosh! I would have bought every single piece that ended up in your shopping bag. I should never be let loose in Quiapo, just in case I ever make it to Manila. Let the authorities know to NOT allow me in, I'd go shopping- crazy!

Kelley said...

Thanks for making me miss Quiapo! I'll be in Manila again by July. Yay!

Lindsay said...

The peacock bracelet is AMAZING!! So pretty and unique.

Delighted Momma

Diane Writes said...

Hello Janelle! I love the dragonfly necklace and the peacock bangle. Both are perfect for a casual and formal attire.

I wanted to laugh when you said that you intend to sacrifice one of the roses in the charm bracelet. As in you will hammer it? Sayang kahit nag-iisa lang ;-)

LambAround said...

I loved your Quiapo photo. It reminds me of when I visited the Seychelles :)

Janelle said...

@Diane Writes

I haven't tried yet... I wanted to because I really want to know if it's coral... if it is, I will go back to buy more! But I'm wearing the bracelet as it is right now... and it's beginning to grow on me. I don't think I'll be able to deconstruct this bracelet anymore. Definitely go back to Quiapo to buy more... sana meron pa :)

Janelle said...


I didn't even make it to the rest of the street... we turned back after the 'Chains, Beads and Components' store (on the map). Later when we were on the cab, we passed by the rest of the street, there were several more stores selling locally made handicrafts and raw materials for handicraft projects (baskets, woven balls)... my mom and I wanted to stop the cab and get off again :)

Virginia said...

where can i buy a peacock cuff like that?!!?!?! I need one!!!!