All ye cheap shoppers, Divisoria Mall reopens after 2013 fire

There’s nothing like taking off your designer garb for the day so you can dress down, pretend to be dukha and haggle for cheap stuff in Divisoria.

Look out, cheapos, there’s a new mall in town!

Divisoria Mall has reopened in its old location after the old one burnt down in 2013.

History buffs: It’s in the same area where Manila’s earliest and biggest public market first opened in 1909.

The public market transitioned into a mall in the mid-1990s, when new management that took over the market rebuilt and rebranded it as the Divisoria Mall.

Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was the place to shop in Divisoria. It was among the first to offer amenities such as air-conditioned interiors, cinemas, food court and a basement wet market.

Divisoria Mall before 2013 fire
The ‘new’ Divisoria Mall before it caught fire in 2013.

However as newer and better malls began to open in the area, such 168, 999 and Tutuban Mall, business deteroriated. The mall then closed down after it caught fire in 2013.

The newly rebuilt mall is a vast improvement. Instead of the dull white concrete hulk of the former mall, it now has a modern bright green façade. The wet market is still located in the basement, though it is smaller as a portion has been allocated as parking space for the tenants.

The basement is still the location for the toy, party supply and native handicraft sections. The eateries are now clustered in newer and cleaner eating area in the basement.

Divisoria Mall 2016
Fast-forward 2016, Divisoria Mall now looks like this,

One major difference, though, is management has now moved the ice-making and ice-crushing machine that used to be on the street to the basement area under the stairs so it could be nearer the fish and meat vendors.

Compared to before, the basement is now better lit. There are also more air blowers to bring air to the deep interior space of the basement. (Hopefully the new management team will be able to keep this working in the long run). The wet market appears cleaner and for now it has no bad smell. It also appears now to have better drainage than before. For now the aisle space seems wider than before, but that could be not all of the tenants have moved in yet.

Divisoria Mall
Shopping for toys and party favors? The stalls are still on the basement level.

As it was before, the mall’s upper three floors is dedicated to the shops and the food court. There are no cinemas this time, however. But improvement include better air conditioners, wider aisle space and brighter lighting far. The shop spaces don’t seem to be as cramped as before. There are also more escalators now than before and there are also elevators.

Apparently potential tenants love the new mall as Festina Holding claims that it has leased out all the stall spaces already. It now remains to be seen as to when the shoppers to Divisoria will now include this new mall in their must-visit list.

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