The corner of Mayon and Dapitan Streets in Quezon City is a favorite spot for those seeking to decorate their homes with export overruns.
When I first visited over two decades ago, there were initially no permanent structures—just tiny stalls lining the street with vendors selling an eclectic range of decorative items. There were great ceramic jars, candleholders made of twisted steel, dried flowers, seasonal decorations (Valentine’s, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) as well as a preponderance of gilt objets d’art. The last one was often a misguided attempt to “beautify” already nice-looking things, so you had to get there early enough before the vendors started slapping on the gold paint.
They’re now more organized. There are two covered selling areas, Dapitan Arcade and a smaller one next to it where the vendors and their merchandise are packed like sardines, but the tiny outdoor stalls are still there—holdouts selling one-of-a-kind pieces. Both covered areas have stores that sell plates, so many plates both decorative and for daily use.
During a weekday visit recently, we found that Christmas had already exploded. Practically all the vendors were selling Christmas items: ornaments, rope lights and battery-operated snow globes that played music and kept the snow constantly swirling.
There were decorated trees to give buyers an idea how to replicate them in their own homes using a wide range of ornaments including bottle-brush parol the length of one’s palm, dyed capiz, flocks of angels and copper-colored poinsettias.
One of the more creative vendors eschewed traditional glitz for a slim tree decked out in textured, earth-toned elements like sinamay, rattan balls, fringed raffia and large pine cones. It was a welcome sight after all the saturated colors and high shine in the Quezon City gem.