Prior to her stroke, my mom had been a rabid shopper. She wasn’t a spend-thrift, mind you. She was smart. She bought our clothes and what-have-you’s in Divisoria at really low prices. I guess that’s why I always think that if you need to get something cheap, you can get it at Divisoria.
Nothing changed when I was searching for the perfect gown. Although some of my high society relatives insisted on it, I didn’t really see the need for having a designer gown. Besides, my budget couldn’t afford it.
Being the artist that I am, you really couldn’t help but want to have your entourage’s gowns be color-coordinated—and the same. My husband-to-be and I at that time didn’t have much to spend with. I was about to accept the fact that my entourage’s gowns will probably just be similarly colored (but not uniformed), until an aunt reminded me of the gowns in Divisoria.
I totally forgot about it. You see, there’s this one-floor building (the Yangco building, to be more specific) beside Ilaya Street in Divisoria that’s so saturated with wedding and debut gowns, you’d think you’ve died and gone to gown heaven. Each booth is lined with the prettiest gowns. And read this: the gowns can go as cheap as P1,000.
You can get this RTW gown from FNB Boutique (in Pasillo V-II of the Yangco Building), at around P3,000 (not sure though, but I do recall it’s not more than Php5,000). Pretty, isn’t it? How’s that for a $60 wedding gown?
The trick in getting the best deal in Divisoria is knowing how to haggle. I’ve tried to canvass for the best price, but they’re basically the same (not surprising, since these stores probably have a standard price). But if you get lucky (like we did), you’d get a dressmaker willing to lower the price for you. However, in order to do that, you have to “buy in bulk.” Meaning, the entire entourage.
Nice, don’t you think? Even the guys’ Barong Tagalog are aqua blue. It was quite a sight seeing them go marching down the aisle.
For about P35,000 (around $700), I was able to get these custom-made: blue Barongs for my hubby’s bestman and groomsmen, a child’s blue Barong for my ring and coin bearer, gowns for all three of the women secondary sponsors, gowns for my maid-of-honor, bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids and flower girls, as well as the Barong for my dad and the motif gowns for my mom and my mother-in-law. Oh, don’t forget my husband’s Barong Tagalog made of finest piña, and my elaborate cut-work wedding gown with an intricate beadwork. Hard to believe we spent less than a thousand dollars for all these? Well, believe it. That’s Divisoria fashion for you, baby.
Oddly enough, I could have gotten it cheaper. If I opted for the ready-to-wear wedding gown (I’m too scientific to take the pamahiin of getting bad luck if you try on your bridal gown before the wedding day seriously), I probably wouldn’t have spent more than $500 for the entire thing. But I wanted it prettier. And made use of my own designs.
I printed out a photo of my dream gown (which I got from the Net), and have FNB Boutique copy it. Not exactly though, I wanted it to have a Filipiniana touch. I did the same thing for the women in my entourage, but I modified the samples a bit in Photoshop so the printout will look exactly as I pictured them. They’re not designer gowns, but hey, they’re pretty and cheap anyway.
If you want to get in touch with the couturier who made my entourage’s formal wear, you can try FNB Boutique. Look for Nita Blanco (she’s the owner). You can reach her at 309-31-82. You can also talk to one of her assistants, Rona (she’s the one who took care of my account), through mobile 0921-975-42-34. Just tell her you got their info from one of their clients (Gail Dela Cruz-Villanueva), and she might actually give you a better deal.