The Dimasalang Wholesale Flower Market is the only place to go when you need a lot of flowers or a broader selection of flowers than is generally available in oneâ€™s neighborhood flower shop. The prices at Dimasalang (also referred to as the Dangwa wholesale market due to its proximity to the Dangwa Bus Terminal) are very affordable when compared with retail florists. The market is about 30 years old and I would guess that itâ€™s location sprung from the fact that the buses from the North (Baguio, Benguet, Cagayan, etc.) use to terminate their routes here in Sampaloc and the flowers that were transported from the North were distributed to retailers as soon as they were unloaded. Slowly the market has grown to its current size of over 100 individual vendors that sell flowers, leaves, unusual plant related goods, ribbons, floral supplies, etc. Even large importers of flowers have set-up shop here as this has simply become the recognized epicenter of flowers in Metro Manila.
When I first heard about this market in the late 90â€™s, I first assumed that the best time to go there was about 1-3 am in the morning. There wasnâ€™t much traffic getting to this downtown market and it seemed that I was there when some of the shipments from the North were arriving. Needless to say, I didnâ€™t go very often as the trek and hours were difficult, maybe I got there twice a year. Over the years, however, I have figured out that the trucks (most of the flowers are brought in small trucks now, not sent through the bus companies) seem to arrive around 8-10 in the evening and the best time to shop is in fact around 9-11pm. And better yet, my closely guarded secret, the best night to shop seems to be Thursday nights. Seems that the florists around Manila do strong business on Fridays and Saturdays and they all stock up on Thursday nights!
The offerings in the market can be erratic in the sense that itâ€™s best not to have your heart set on a particular flower and then schlep all the way there and not find it. However, if you have a good eye you can almost always find a terrific bargain or a particularly fresh find. The vast majority of business here is targeted at florists, though many businesses are also set up to arrange flowers for a buyer and this is especially true for wake driven flower arrangements. There is an incredible oversupply of chrysanthemums which are extremely hardy and colorful (but which I do not generally like), roses and dendrobium orchids. But on good days you will also find small naturally colored calla lilies, Casablanca and other varieties of large lilies, hydrangeas, bromeliad flowers, vandas, cattleyas, anthuriums,gerbera daisies etc. If you are in for the unusual I have on occasion found palm nuts and flowers, strange tropical tree fruits, coffee beans on their branches, mini-pineapples and unusual foliage. Importers are also present and their goods make it to the larger wholesalers along the main wholesale (Dos Castillas) street with flowers like cabbage roses, tulips, humongous roses, viburnum, etc. The more unusual imported flowers have to be ordered about a week before delivery date.
Prices are incredibly good. On a good night, two dozen red roses can cost as little at PHP60. Of course these are not what would be graded top quality blooms due to their irregular stems, inconsistent sizing, etc. but if you buy two dozen you can easily get 12 very good blooms. The same dozen in a Makati flower shop would run you at least 4-5 times the price. I generally buy in bulk when I go to Dimasalang so in the end I donâ€™t save much but I do get a whole lot more volume. Check out some of the arrangements that I am going to post in the next few days to see what I mean. The Dimasalang market is open 24 hours a day every day of the week. It is located along Dos Castillas St. near the Dangwa Bus Terminal in Sampaloc Manila. From Makati on a normal Thursday night it can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes to get there by car. If you like flowers, itâ€™s really worth the trek! If you live near there, take advantage of the proximity!