Neri: Ukay Ta Bai: The Cebuano thrifting scene

Little Local
UKAY TA. Swirl co-owners and entrepreneurs, Danica Sia and Lorenzo Carampatana, proudly hold up their ukay-ukay finds.
UKAY TA. Swirl co-owners and entrepreneurs, Danica Sia and Lorenzo Carampatana, proudly hold up their ukay-ukay finds.

Thrifting or purchasing secondhand items (“mang ukay-ukay”) is a relevant practice in pop culture that has risen tremendously in the past few years. This to the point that buying secondhand items is a definite“in-thing” for Gen Z fashion.

BEST THRIFTS. Finding the best thrifts and deals with Duke Sabinay, Kaila Escalona, Andrea Gamallo and Isa Neri at the “Best Thrifts” stall in “Ukay Ta Bai” at 88th Avenue.
BEST THRIFTS. Finding the best thrifts and deals with Duke Sabinay, Kaila Escalona, Andrea Gamallo and Isa Neri at the “Best Thrifts” stall in “Ukay Ta Bai” at 88th Avenue.
POWER OF THREE. Sellers Etienne Chantal (@etiennechantal), Stephanie Sharpe (@stephaniesharpe) and Dani de Leon (@repeatboutiqueph) immerse in the vendore experience at the “Ukay Ta Bai” pop-up event.
POWER OF THREE. Sellers Etienne Chantal (@etiennechantal), Stephanie Sharpe (@stephaniesharpe) and Dani de Leon (@repeatboutiqueph) immerse in the vendore experience at the “Ukay Ta Bai” pop-up event.

Beyond the trend, it is a good way to reduce waste by giving items people don’t want to use anymore a second chance at life. It’s the manifestation of the saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

One of the testaments to the growing thrift culture in Cebu is a pop-up flea market called “Ukay Ta Bai,” which has recently been making waves in the local scene.

Its first installment happened in February of this year but — with successful bi-to-tri monthly pop-ups happening since then, the market for these sort of happenings has proven to be undeniably present. Let’s face it, people these days like to thrift!

The turn up of both the vendors and their customers has shown an upward trend since the pop-up series started. Not only is it a place to shop, but it has also become a sort of social event where people go to see friends, meet new people, and immerse themselves in the bowels of Cebuano thrift and indie-vendor community and culture. In a way, it has become its own scene.

“Puros Good Finds ug Good Vibes” is the tagline of this buzz-worthy event open for all to enjoy. The “Ukay Ta Bai” experience involves going through a vast variety of sellers’ stalls, listening to music and enjoying the Y2K vibes.

With this kicking up quite the storm, it wouldn’t hurt to drop by a pop-up one of these days to experience yourself what is going on. For those interested, definitely check out and message the “Ukay Ta Bai” Facebook page to learn more.

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