By JOHN LEGASPI
Images by NOEL PABALATE
Known as the Garments Capital of the Philippines, the town of Taytay, Rizal has made a mark on the clothing industry through its famous Taytay Tiangge.
A shopper’s haven filled with clothes for as low as P25, Taytay Tiangge rose to popularity back in 2014. “Before, Taytay was known for two industries. There was the woodwork factory where men created windows, handicrafts, and furniture,” Eleno Tolentino, assistant to the mayor on Political and Economic concerns, tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “The other is the garment industry where the women sew and produce clothes.”
Taytay has a long history of doing commerce and trade. Its name was believed to have come from the words tayutay, hintay-hintay, and itay-itay, which arose when the village or barangay was doing business with Chinese traders as did other lake towns around Laguna de Bay. Chinese sailing vessels would dock at Manila Bay to conduct trade with the thriving barangays of Maynilad and Tondo, and go up the Pasig River to do more barter with lakeshore towns looping Laguna de Bay.
Rizal’s flea market
“Tiangge” is a Filipino term that translates to “flea market” or “bazaar” in English. Back then, garment producers in Taytay supplied clothes to sell at other popular retail spots in Manila, such as Baclaran, Quiapo, Divisoria, and the Central Market that used to be located near the University of Santo Tomas. It was when a problem occurred at Pasig Tiangge, another distinct market in the metro, which led the local government of Taytay to build its own space where local producers could sell their products.
Now, Taytay is home to many tiangges such as the Bagpi Garment Center, Igpai Garment Center, MySeoul, Freedom Bazaar, All Star Tiangge, EMF, Octagon Fashion Strip, and the Taytay Mega Tiangge. Housing more than 6,000 sellers, whose ages range from 19 to 68, Taytay aims not just to provide a safe place for local business owners to create sustainable means of livelihood, but to be the leader in the garment industry of the country.
Celebrating the town’s gifts
Every February, the municipality of Taytay holds an annual festival of thanksgiving called the Hamaka Festival. The name of the festival, which is celebrating its 45th year, is derived from three words: hamba (wooden frame), makina (machine), and kasuotan (garment), the three prime products of Taytay.
We owe it to the great sewers we have in our town. It’s just right for us to be proud of our creations, give thanks to the gifted fashion designers, makeup artists, and hairstylists we have here
The festival runs for three weeks, with activities beginning with a colorful parade complete with decorated floats and marching bands. It also recognizes local talents through its musical competitions and pageants. A Mayor’s Night is hosted by the town’s leaders. The most stylish part of the festivities is Fashion on the Street, where designers from Taytay showcase their creations.
“Last December, the Taytay Tiangge was visited by 1.7 million shoppers during the holiday season,” says Mayor George Ricardo Gacula II. “We owe it to the great sewers we have in our town. It’s just right for us to be proud of our creations, give thanks to the fashion designers, makeup artists, and hairstylists we have here.”
This year, the municipality unveiled its new emblem, part of the municipality’s rebranding, which says “Best Taytay.” This aims to promote local tourism, revitalizing the woodwork and garment-making industries. Along with the development is the creation of an exhibit area or trade hall to boost the town’s economy, which also enables the proper issuance of permits for legitimate garment producers in the town.
Here’s what you need to know when going to Taytay’s Tiangges:
- Know the tiangge’s schedule. According to the local government and market sellers, it is best to visit Taytay on Mondays and Thursdays, as most of the stalls are open on those days. Every tiangge has its own schedule. Most are closed on Wednesdays, and weekends are expected to be full of customers, so schedule your shopping accordingly.
- Prepare the budget you’re willing to spend. A little money can go a long way at the tiangges. With low prices, and a variety of stores to choose from, one might get overwhelmed with the shopping and might end up overspending. Proper budgeting, as well as planning what items one needs, is among the measures necessary to have a smart shopping experience at the tiangges.
- Debit card or credit cards are close to being useless. There are no ATMs near the tiangge. So if you’re not the type who like to walk under the sun, then better prepare your cash before going there. And yes, merchants only accept cash, not credit cards.
- Carry only the essentials. Must-bring items at the tiangge are ecobags (let’s keep our shopping green), wallet and cellphone in your bag, water to quench your thirst, and umbrella to protect you from the sun and sudden rain. The tiangges are safe and guarded by the Philippine National Police and the Municipal Public Safety Office. But it doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious, and protect things that might get stolen from you.
- Don’t haggle too much. Most of the sellers at the tiangges are locals of Taytay, and the products they’re selling are priced fairly. Let’s support these small businesses by paying them their product’s worth.
Special thanks to the Roderick Santos of Tourism Office, Mark Jay Valdez of Public Information Office of Taytay, and the office of Mayor George Ricardo Gacula II.