05 Sep2007


I found myself wandering the aisles of the homestore of Shoemart Makati this morning and was pleasantly surprised by several finds. As much as I write about loving my visits to Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma, and I haven’t even written about my favorite store in Paris called Dehillerin or Bridge in New York, I also troll through Divisoria and have a fairly keen sense for that great bargain buy. In Manila, I visit Landmark and SM Home Departments maybe twice a year and I always find something useful. I also found a lot of items that readers have been asking me about, so I thought I would do a quick post here for your benefit. First up, were these wonderful polyester placemats. Some of you may recall that I had similar placemats in a post I wrote last year, here. These original placemats are featured in the Museum of Modern Art of New York’s design shop, and I LOVE them. They don’t absorb any sauces, they look very sleek, and despite the woven feel, they are utterly practical and durable. In New York, they run $15 or more EACH, unless you happen to get them on sale. That is PHP600-700. Today, at Shoemart, I found very similar, made in China knock-offs for just PHP79 a piece ($1.75)!!! That is nearly 85% off the original item. The problem was many of the shapes were SQUARE and not rectangular and their colors were just slightly OFF, if you know what I mean. At any rate, I bought 3 pieces so that I have more choices for backgrounds when I shoot a dish for the blog.


Also at the home store, I found this nice white and grey bowl and plate at 50% off, on an odds and ends table, and paid just PHP150 or so ($3.20) for the two pieces. Also, in answer to questions over the last few months… I spied a PASTA MAKER at the home store (sorry, I didn’t look at the price), I spotted nice teflon pans on sale, including an oval or fish pan shape, there was a chocolate fountain at PHP4000-8,000 (ridiculous price, but at least I finally found one, didn’t buy it) and finally, for the reader asking about cupcake holders, I saw two sizes of cupcake stands by Wilton at PHP1,700-ish for 23 cupcakes or PHP3,200-ish for 36 cupcakes. There is a lot of crap at SM as well, but if you look with an eye for quality and value, there are definitely some finds. And the place is brightly lit, nicely airconditioned and spacious, so it’s worth a visit. Now if only the cashier and bagger didn’t talk so bloody much about their personal lives while they wrap your purchases at the slowest possible pace recorded for human beings… I was tempted to describe in detail to no one in particular what a regurgitated clam looked like at the witching hour but decided to shut up instead… :)



  1. Maria Clara says:

    The pasta maker machine is great for spreading out your dough for pies or tartlet and puff pastry if you’re making it from scratch instead of rolling pin. There is always good finds anywhere just let your sight do the navigation and creativity kicks in you come home with trunk load of goodies at a fairly decent price.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 12:44 pm


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  3. cc says:

    MM … your varid coverages continue to draw me to your blog, including this one and your observation of the largest retail dept. stores in MLA. I personally don’t understand why there appears to be more sales people than customers, typically, yet service is at its slowest pace. One looks at the item, then passes it on to the next clerk to ring it up, who only passes it on to another person that puts it into a bag, then passes it to someone else that confirms the # of items agrees with the receipt, who then passes it on to yet another sales person standing next to them, who then staples the bag & receipt. Finally, after 5-6 sales staff handling your item, it is handed to you. Not very efficient if I had anything to say. Gosh, through it all you wait patiently :(. This high man handling is perceived in the US as inefficient not to say too costly.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 12:54 pm

  4. mojito_drinker says:

    hi mm– there are great finds in sm & landmark. was walking thru landmark one day and found the exact same plates i used to own in the US for a fraction of the cost. the ones i owned in the US were purchased from an outlet so were slightly less than perfect. as a result, these were comparable to the china-overruns i found in landmark. i ended up with 6 dinner plates and 6 salad plates for less than PHP400.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 1:27 pm

  5. Blaise says:

    These placemats remind of those I bought years ago when I was still a (preschool-day care) teacher.. I bought them for my students, and since I was already leaving, I made that our artwork for that day (I had them decorate their placemats with colorful sticker paper cutouts), and then of course I sealed them nicely.. Hopefully they used it after I left (those students are notorious for not bringing their placemats to school)..

    Sep 5, 2007 | 1:55 pm

  6. Teresa says:

    MM, I share your adoracion for WS and Sur. These stores are deffinitely to die for. Don’t you like Crate + Barrel? Where is Bridge in NY? Antropology at the Rockefeller Center in NY has a small kitchen section with very very good finds.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 1:59 pm

  7. bernadette says:

    thanks for the tips, MM! I hope the pasta maker will still be there when I go to Manila ;-). Thank you also Maria Clara for the other hints of using it. The only times i do not go to SM and Landmark are during the X’mas season. I guess the staff make up for lost time (in terms of narrating their life stories) when those busiest times occur. The only thing that irks me about shop assistants is when I get to be the one to find the goods I had inquired for instead! Some don’t seem to know the ins and outs of their own store!

    Sep 5, 2007 | 2:00 pm

  8. Blaise says:

    Well, speaking of irks about the staff of SM and Landmark, besides their nonstop chatting about their lives within earshot of customers, I also don’t like it when they smother me with their presence, and then when you actually need their help about some stuff, they seem dumbfounded..

    I’ve walked out several times because of those instances..

    Sep 5, 2007 | 2:20 pm

  9. joey says:

    I love trolling SM and Landmark for stuff…I’ve gotten plates for P5 each — odds and ends so I couldn’t really but for place settings but great for props :)

    Sep 5, 2007 | 3:55 pm

  10. edee says:

    the last time i was home, SM became my favorite store because of their helpful staff! :)

    Sep 5, 2007 | 4:25 pm

  11. Katrina says:

    SM is great! Especially after they renovated, I’ve enjoyed going there. When I was stocking up on kitchenware (not that I’ve used any of it), I was there all the time. As long as you have taste, the place can be a treasure trove.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 4:57 pm

  12. Jennifer says:

    Hey MM! You go to Divisoria? We live here! Maybe we’ve passed each other on the street? Which parts of Divisoria do you normally go to?

    Sep 5, 2007 | 5:12 pm

  13. marie says:

    I always pity the salespeople of SM… Sometimes they are helpful, sometimes they don’t know anything. If you were in their shoes, you’ll probably be as unhelpful as they are, because they’re hired purely on contract, with no benefits, no future in the company, etc!! Henry Sy saves a fortune but these poor employees’ll surely have long term psychological problems from all the worrying about their future and their family’s future!

    Sep 5, 2007 | 5:32 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Hmmm, this sounds like a separate post on the evils of contractual hiring for service businesses here in the Philippines… Jennifer, I go to Divisoria at least 3-4x a year; with two visits before the Christmas holidays. Everywhere from the wrong side of the tracks for veggies to Tabora to 168; I get my packaging materials there and lots of other stuff. Katrina, WHAT?! you have a well equipped kitchen and you are still resisting cooking up a storm? Joey, gosh, P5 trumps any of my recent finds! :) Teresa, I should have bought stock in crate & barrel, that’s how much I spend there…

    Sep 5, 2007 | 6:15 pm

  15. edee says:

    yeah a separate post as well on why do the cashiers in the groceries, landmark,SM, etc. don’t have seats????!!!!….i can’t understand it…..

    Sep 5, 2007 | 6:35 pm

  16. tings says:

    Hi MM,

    If you happen to pass by Ortigas or Megamall again, try going to Podium. They have a store on the thrird floor called Living Well. They have good stuff there that are on sale. That’s where I buy my flatware (by Gourdo’s) and glasses. Most of the imported stuff are on sale and it’s really worth a trip. I love their stuff toys, the quality is good yet it’s really cheap!!

    Sep 5, 2007 | 6:40 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    tings, yes, I have been to the Living Well store before, I think they have the same owners as Gourdo’s or are related somehow…

    Sep 5, 2007 | 7:14 pm

  18. Risa says:

    Yes, I think Living Well and Gourdo’s are related. If you want to spy more bargain items from both stores, try Swiss Deli at Pioneer corner Madison (I think, or Sheridan). This used to be Morita’s. The second floor has a room full of stuff on sale from both placed. I got a knitted 100% cotton bed cover for a steal. I think the three are related stores :D

    Sep 5, 2007 | 7:57 pm

  19. nang says:

    these same placemats are used by a local japanese restaurant that my husband and i frequent. we were actually wondering where we could find these placemats and were told that these are available at japan home center. that’s another store where you can find really great stuff if you look hard enough.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 9:23 pm

  20. ccb says:

    Hi Marketman. Yup Living Well is operated by Gourdo’s Inc., and so is Sleepcare. Gourdo’s (the store) sells kitchenware and tabletop items, Sleepcare sells bedroom and sleep related stuff, while Living Well has a more rounded concept offering all the above mentioned items plus bathroom stuff and other things for the home. The second floor of Swiss deli was rented on a temporary basis to sell discounted items. Hope this info helps.

    Sep 6, 2007 | 12:13 am

  21. The Steak Lady says:

    What a fun post MM =) Good luck on your diet!

    Sep 6, 2007 | 12:38 am

  22. Socky says:

    Japan Home Store and 88 rock! Best source for kitchen and shelf organizers. Same stuff would cost ten times the price in Make Room. And I like going to SM since they renovated. I saw stuff (small kitchen appliances and cookware) I bought in Rustans that were at least 100 pesos cheaper in SM.

    Sep 6, 2007 | 10:05 am

  23. Didi says:

    I think I am one of the few who love SM Department stores! My mom adores the Home/Houseware section! We can both stay in the store for hours just walking around and looking at stuffs! :) You just need to be patient if you’re looking for unique finds! :)

    Sep 6, 2007 | 10:17 am

  24. Risa says:

    Hi MM, what’s the approximate size of the mats? You said that these were easy to clean and looked like natural weave? I have half a mind to sew these all together, edge it with cloth and make it an area rug. Natural weaves are really nice, but I am thinking of the headache with a 3 year old in the house who loves chocolate milk, candy and all kinds of gooey things.

    What do you think?

    Sep 6, 2007 | 4:22 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    Risa, some were standard placemat size, others squares that were smaller… no, I don’t think they would make a good rug really… but you should check them out if you are interested…

    Sep 6, 2007 | 4:56 pm

  26. sister says:

    The original Chilwich placemats are available at Bloomingdale’s in the USA and I got yours at Bergdorf’s. They are used in the Joel Robuchon restaurants, I noticed. They are still plastic but eminently practical and hygienic as they can be easily rinsed off. Great for casual dining. They should be a dollar apiece, even the knock offs, but typically they are never quite right.

    Sep 12, 2007 | 6:20 am

  27. CecileJ says:

    For SM lovers, the SM store in Quiapo was converted to their discount outlet. Almost all items there are on sale and one can find gold among the dross if one is patient enough.

    Sep 13, 2007 | 9:55 am


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