Last Saturday, I finally had some spare time to take a trip to Ylaya Street in Divisoria and buy some cloth.
I had been meaning to buy some cloth for a while now. I wanted some gingham, or, as we more familiarly know it as, checkered, tablecloth for outdoor table because the monobloc table was looking worn and who wants to look at aging plastic furniture when you’re trying to chill?
But my last few trips to the home sections of department stores were disappointing – I couldn’t find any picnic-inspired tablecloth. I wanted real cloth tablecloths, none of those vinyl or foam-backed things that you can’t just throw in the washing machine.
We’ve been led to believe that plastic coverings on furniture make it easier to clean, but it’s simply not true. It is more hassle for me to wipe down an entire plastic cover (including the sides hanging off the table, which get really dusty!) than to just take it off and throw it in the washing machine. For me, cloth table cloths and furniture coverings are just easier to clean, overall. I also did not want to spend too much on something that I plan to wear out with constant laundry.
So anyway, I carved out a couple of hours to go to Ylaya St. in Divisoria to check out some cloth.
YLAYA STREET, DIVISORIA
Oh my, Divisoria was soooo crowded. And not from people! Recto, from Reina Regente onwards, has been closed and the middle of the street has been turned into something like a night market.
Even though I grew up going to Divisoria often, and I still occasionally go at least once a year, (but more into 168 now than actually walking through Ylaya/Tabora/Juan Luna Sts), seeing what a mess it is now still shocked me a bit.
If you are taking a jeep plying the Cubao-Divisoria or Pasig-Divisoria routes, the jeepneys stop at Reina Regente cor. Recto, and you have to walk all the way up to the corner of Juan Luna. But while I was walking towards Juan Luna St., it felt surreal. I had to walk through endless carts and stalls, everything was covered to keep the rain out, and even though I was walking “outdoors”, I could not see the sky and it was kind of freaky. It was like I was in the middle of a sprawling tent city and I thought a post-apocalyptic movie could shoot a market scene here and it would be right at home.
For the love of your sanity, don’t drive to Divisoria. If you must, park somewhere like a mall that’s on the way, and just take public transportation to Divisoria instead. You won’t find a safe and easy place to park at all in Divisoria. You can park at Lucky Chinatown, but parking there is almost always full. You can also try parking at SM Manila or Robinsons Place Manila.
It took me a long time to actually get to Ylaya St. What would normally be a 10-minute walk turned into what felt like 30 minutes because the whole place was a just a maze of stalls and carts. If people stopped to look at things and buy things, the people behind would have to stop walking, too. It wasn’t really that crowded. It was traffic caused by people and lack of cart planning. I also could not get my bearings but just trusted my instincts that I was going in the right direction. When I looked up to see where I was, all I could see were makeshift tarp roofs. I couldn’t see the familiar buildings and landmarks.
Anyway, I eventually arrived at Ylaya St. – this is the street to go to when you want cloth! So I was walking and since I was in a hurry, I just resolved to buy what I needed and go. I didn’t even go into the pasilios and made do with the carts on the street selling bolts of cloth.
The first cloth / design that caught my eye, I asked how much, and it was only P20/ yard! Yes, 20 pesos per yard (top left cloth on the haul picture near the end of the post). It was a 60″ width, too, just what I was looking for! It’s supposed to be used as a curtain, I guess, but I plan to make a tablecloth with it.
Our tablecloth size is 60″ x 90″, so I bought 3 yards, and even I can’t quite believe it myself, it was only P60 for 3 yards. And all I had to do was hem it. I can sew a straight line on the sewing machine and that’s practically all the work I need to do to turn it into a tablecloth. A tablecloth of this size normally costs around P400 at a department store! And here it was only P60 + a little work, AND the most compelling reason for me to do this myself – I CAN CHOOSE MY OWN CLOTH DESIGNS.
It was almost 6pm and people were starting to pack up and close shop. I also picked up this striped cloth that I think would make nice place mats, because, I like my place mats washable, too. This was P45 per yard.
I also saw another vendor selling thread for P20-30, he gave me 4 for P100 even if I picked some worth P30.
I saw this design and liked it, I can’t remember, but I think it was P50 per yard? I thought it would make a nice tablecloth but I think I made a mistake and only realized it was a bit too thick and heavy when I was carrying it. Damn thing weighs kilos! I might turn it into place mats or a table runner, instead.
I was also able to buy my gingham / checkered cloth (blue) for P60 per yard.
This is my final haul from my latest Divisoria trip:
Divisoria is a messy place where you must always be vigilant and keep your bag hugged in front of you. It is not for the faint of heart, and getting there and getting back can be a trial, but some times, it’s worth the trip because of the bargains and selection you won’t find elsewhere.
Ylaya Street is still the best place to get your cloth needs – they have so much to choose from, it’s like cloth heaven! They also have the best bargain prices, too!
Hope this post helps if you are looking to buy some cloth for your projects
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The Barat Queen
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