Ukay 101

What is “Ukay-ukay”?

It was derived from the Visayan term “halukay” which means the act of digging.   Ukay-ukay shopping is like treasure hunting, but instead of looking for a treasure, you are literally digging from the piles of clothes which are mostly vintage and of high value.   The ukay shopping phenomena all started in Baguio. Ukay stores sprouted like mushrooms which later became one of the must-visit places in Baguio.

According to hearsay, it’s origin started way back in the 80s. Due to the frequency of calamities happening in our country, a certain humanitarian group called the Salvation Army used to ship second-hand garments and other goods as forms of help to the filipino victims. As the goods piled up, business-minded people decided to buy them at a very low cost and sell them to the public. Thus, ukay-ukay business was born.


Segunda Mano –  means second hand in Spanish.

Wagwagan – means to “shake”.

New Arrival – clothes are newly delivered to the store

Tapat na – price is final. no discount.

Uks / UK – other terms for ukay-ukay.


CLASS A – Brand New signature clothes more often with price tags. Usually came straight from the store factory. These are usually available when clothes are newly delivered or whenever you see the “NEW ARRIVAL” sign at the front of the store. Good Deal: Maximum of Php150 – minimum of Php80

CLASS B – Look like brand new. High quality but without price tags. (slightly used) Good Deal: Maximum of Php100 – minimum Php50

CLASS C – Second hand clothes.  Quality,not so good. With slight damages but can be easily restored. Good Deal: Maximum of Php75 – minimum of Php20

CLASS D – Poor quality with damages. Php 40 – Php10


Baguio, Cebu, Cubao, Anonas, Bluementrit Espana, Mandaluyong, Sta.Mesa, Pasig

To further learn about ukay-ukay, watch this special documentary film:

Thanks to Johanne Oliver Demetria, Ebony Kangleon, Ma Luisa Lansang, Aristotle Mape & Kenneth Dave Matias from UP Diliman for lending me the video.:-)

shopping, vintage fashion, street fashion, thrift shops, sale, couture fashion, clothes, ukay-ukay,bargain shopping, dress,shoes, clothes



Add yours →

  1. Hi Ukay Queen,

    I would like to ask where can I find a good quality bubble jacket?



  2. I like your site, it’s very informative. Ukay shopping sounds fun, wanna try it. Where are the best places to go where you can find class a and b items? Thanks!

  3. Hi ukay Queen,
    Where are the best places to go where you can find class a and branded items.. thanxs

  4. Hi! I really enjoy looking at your site, I would just like to share that I also love shopping at Ukays!^^ I also buy boots, bags etc…and I got really excited one time when I saw a very pretty DKNY dress, so I bought it..^^ I was looking at a friends mag and I saw it there! The exact dress!!^^ I dont know if you’ve been to Kalentong Uks, there are lots of Uks in kalentong, you might wanna check em out!^^

  5. hello,
    gusto ko lang po malaman kong saan kayo na lugar nag bibinta ng ukay?tnx


  6. Hallo Ukay Queen,

    Talagang nakakainspire ka.. 🙂 maliit palang ako mama ko ay mahilig na sa ukay2. Hindi ko pa na appreciate bili ni mama noon. 🙂 Ngayon almost damit ko sa closet ay galing ukay2. I started going to ukay2 nong nasunog ang boarding house namin at halos wala na akong masuot na damit. Kailangan kase mag business casual sa work ko at ang mahal pag bumili ka ng bago sa mall. na amaze talaga ako sa nabili ko. Sayang nga lang at nasunog na nman yong bagong boarding house ko at naubos na naman almost lahat damit ko. Kaya eto nag tatyaga akong mag ukay2 kahit ang busy ko. nakakatuwa talaga website mo. kahit malungkot ako ngayon ay napasaya mo ako. thank you for inspiring me.

  7. hi, ukay queen,

    in bohol, we use the word “ukay” as is; it means the same to “halukay.” people also call these exciting finds as “Oks-oks.” here in tagbilaran city, a big portion of the public market is designated for ukay-ukay stalls. there are ukays in the town public markets as well. sad to say, there aren’t much finds these days. the goodies are not as cheap compared to those in baguio or tagaytay.

    i’d like to know if there are much to see in bambang. please advice where to look for cheaper finds in quezon city where i live.


    • Hi Vida!
      I want to go to bohol too! wahhh! thanks for sharing! Ive been to bangbang several times already but I’m not that impressed with the quality of clothes that they offer. First of all, the street is divided to 2 parts. The 1st part composes of class B-C ukay-ukays na parang basahan na. The 2nd part ironically composes of Branded clothes. However, the sellers took advantage of it, kaya super mahal na ukay ang mabibili mo dun 😀 a 500 bill is not enough ;-D isang blouse lang yun! ;-D

  8. Hello Ukay Queen,

    yes, you are indeed right! Bambang Market sells super mahal clothes talaga. I live near bambang and i used to go their every sundays :] Now, it is newly renovated. I must say, mahal nga po but there are really good branded items there, bags like LV, pants like Levi’s :)) You can still haggle, i guess. i was inspired in you’re site because it is so informative. Hindi lang yun, ntutuwa ako sa mga pictures dahil ikw mismo yung ngmomodel for your site 😀 Great nga nman tlga! 🙂 I just want to be like you, a photographer :DDD Some other time, try to visit Bambang again, you’ ll find new things somehow. And, madami pa akong alam na Ukay Stores just here around my vicinity. I got a cute dress, i’ll send you the picture anyways. It’s for 2opesos only! 😀

    much love,

  9. meron din po ba kayong mga big sizes? 32 na waistline 42 na bust line para sa blouses

  10. i love this site. it became useful for me when i made my article regarding ukay-ukay!

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