11 July 2013

How to shop at the sari-sari store

The Dairy is to New Zealand as the Sari-sari store is to the Philippines.  However, besides both being a store where you can buy your basic necessities which does not merit a major trip to the supermarket, there are significant differences.

The Dairy is, in the strictest sense, a store.  The Sari-sari store, on the other hand, is a place where neighbours converge and often hang around for small talk.  It is not uncommon to have a bench - and at times even a simple desk - in front of the store.  You can buy fizzy drinks and chips and consume it right there.  Kids converge at the store after an afternoon of basketball to unwind.  In my old neighbourhood in Manila, you can also use their landline for a few pesos (no long distance calls please!).

Which is why the sari-sari store is one of the trademarks of a typical Filipino life - proudly taking its place with jeepneys and street food.

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