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  • Everyone heads to bargain city Divisoria for Christmas shopping but the hassle of travel made me skip the experience for years. Lately I discovered the convenience of taking the Metro Commuter Train of the Philippine National Railways (PNR).    

    The Metro Commuter Train serves 17 stations in Metro Manila from Alabang to Tutuban, with trains scheduled every 30 minutes (every hour at noontime). Travel from Makati to Tutuban is only 30 minutes; one hour if coming from Alabang. Trains are clean and air conditioned, the fare is cheap and it drops you exactly where the shopping action is. What's really great is that the maximum size of allowable carry-ons (be it a bag, a trolley or box) is 18x18x15 inches, a size not usually allowed in other public trains and vehicles. For train schedules, route and fares, visit PNR's facebook page.

    It is advisable to do your shopping on weekdays and take the early train that arrives at Tutuban between 7:30 and 9:30 AM. If you can, skip the 8:00 to 9:00 trips as these are usually packed with students who get off at the Sta. Mesa station.

    The PNR Tutuban Station is just a few minutes’ walk to the heart of the Divisoria shopping district. I personally recommend shopping at the ground floor of Cluster Building of Tutuban Mall facing C.M. Recto for nifty gift items and party favors. This is only a few meters away from the train station and items are cheaper than offered in nearby malls and by street vendors.

    For good eats, visit the food court of the new 168 Mall. It is best to finish your shopping at around 2 or 3 PM to avoid the train's peak and crowded hours. With the Metro Commuter Train experience, Divisoria is at everyone's easy reach.

    On where exactly to find items in mind, security measures and other Divisoria tips, do read this related article.

    Photos by Jazer Basan

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