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Dig up the Ukay-Ukay 2017.01.01 18:26:26
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"Dig up the Ukay-Ukay"

On the Philippines' favorite year-round clothes sale



          If you look up “ukay-ukay” on Google, you’ll find numerous Map entries dotting the Philippine

lands. That’s because ukay-ukay is literally everywhere in the Philippines. Ukay-ukay is every Filipino’s

go-to retail therapy provider. For Filipinos, ukay-ukay is more than an industry or a place – it’s an

enjoyment, an experience.






          According to thingsasian.com, ukay-ukay (in short UK) is actually gouging in a pile of run

down clothes, the word is derived from the Filipino phrase 'halukay' which literally means "digging" or

"make a mess." Nowadays it is a term used for places that sell old clothes, bags, shoes and other

pre-owned goods at very low prices. In the country, ukay-ukay is a business that is very much alive.

Where others struggle to procure for themselves a source of income that is sometimes all too difficult 

to attain, some content themselves with making money from what they already have. Where others

like their items brand new, some like their things with a little bit of a past life and, of course, a much

lower tag price.



          The concept of an ukay-ukay, if more deeply contemplated upon, reflects much of the

Filipino personality (travellingshopaholic.com, 2016):



     Everybody Loves A Bargain





          Regardless if a Filipino earns a million pesos or ten thousand, I assure you they’ll enjoy

walking into an ukay-ukay — there is just this inexplicable excitement in browsing the racks that gets

everyone going. This shows that Filipinos have a strong sense to help the fellow members of their

community. Despite how much we make, we make it a point not only to give to our friends and family,

but also to our community in the local thrift store.



     “Hinayang” Mentality





          There is a Filipino mentality of which we call ‘hinayang’. Google tells me that it (roughly) means

‘regret’ in English, but to go into that further, it is the kind of regret you feel when you throw

something away even though you know someone else could still benefit from it.


          Because of this mindset, we tend to give our outgrown clothes as hand-me-downs to younger

relatives, or donate them to our local ukay-ukay, in the hopes that someone else would fall in love

with the clothes just as we did when we bought it in the first place.



     Between ‘Thrifty’ And ‘Stingy’





          There are several moments in my life where I have been constantly reminded of how

resourceful Filipinos are. Once in the seventh grade, we needed to make ‘hanging gardens’ (basically

flower pots suspended by rope) out of used 1.5 Liter bottles of Coke. Another time, we used more

plastic bottles to make a gigantic Christmas tree.


          There is a very thick line between being thrifty and stingy in the Philippines, and going

to places such as a thrift store is very much on the thrifty or wise side of the spectrum. Buying from

an ukay-ukay tests a real shopaholic’s open-mindedness in getting clothes from a more quirky,

unusual place.


If you want to encounter the ultimate Philippine immersion, you definitely have to pay a visit to the

nearest ukay-ukay. There is always a .5 probability that you’ll dig up some treasures there.




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