The word ukay ukay is a Cebuano word which translates to “paghanap” or “paghalukay” in Tagalog.
But to us Batanguenos, ukay just means one thing—2nd hand signature products that priced like they’re used rags.
In the 80s, only the average and below average (hampaslupa) families would avail of the said products since there was a stigma that ukays are low class, almost pathetic wardrobes which are donated by humanitarian organizations from all over the first world.
Oh! Little did the 80s know. 🙂
Shoes, pants, blouses, shirts, bags, underwear, hell… everything that you can wear can be found in an ukayan.
Lipa City alone has mounds of ukayan shops scattered everywhere.
Great buys may indeed be seen on an ukayan.
But really, what is the criteria of a great ukay buy?
A great buy is a buy which you could picture yourself wearing. With a smile, that is.
Branded and reasonably priced
Once I bought an Adidas shirt for only 40 pesos which, when brand new, is bought for at least 500 pesos.
Now 40 pesos for an Adidas is only possible at an ukay. Unless if we’re talking about skewered meat.
Also, one must have some bargaining skills for the ukay items aren’t necessarily fixed.
There are also categories of ukay merch:
The quality fabric will not be less than 90 percent and may still smell and feel like it just got out of the factory.
These may come with price tags which intensify their brand newness.
They are the almost rags. Some people buy it though to make them pambahay.
Ukay prices start from 10 to 2,000 pesos depending on it’s dignity. hehe.
I do frequent ukay shops whenever I have the time.
One thing I have learned is that shopping at the ukayan is just like love.
One shouldn’t expect anything great. Great finds will come if the timing’s right.