Cebuanos love to bargain. In Cebu, bargain means Tabo sa Banay.
Tabo is a Cebuano word for gathering or the verb to meet or to gather. Banay means family or race. Tabo sa banay for the locals refer to a gathering of the community where selling and buying take place at affordable prices.
For a P500 blouse you get from the malls, you’d get at Tabo for P200 or even less.
Indeed, armed with only a few hundreds of pesos and the readiness to sweat a little, you would be able to stock a wardrobe good for the next season or two: from pants, shorts, leggings, blouses, dresses, and matching accessories. You can even find running clothes and other sporting gears for the athletes and other sport enthusiasts and coats and blazers for the corporate yuppies. There are hundreds of pairs of sandals and other footwear, too.
Located at Manalili Street in Cebu City, it can be accessed through a small alley between Colon’s Jollibee and Best Buy Mart or the one across La Fortuna Bakeshop near USJ-R. From within the city center, ride on any public jeepney with a Colon signboard and tell the driver to drop you off near Metro Gaisano-Colon. Tabo sa Banay is a short walk from Gaisano.
Tabo sa Banay is a type of a bazaar where inexpensive goods from Manila, Mindanao, China, Hongkong, and even Bangkok are sold. It’s housed under an old three storey building where the first two floors are devoted to selling. Shopping inside a non-air-conditioned building is uncomfortable but becomes an essential part of the exhilarating experience. Besides, it is clear additional costs on power will become the buyers’ burden and not the vendors.
It has great outlets for imitations or knockoff brand clothing. It also boasts great accessories and fragrances at a steal.
As Tabo is located in dowtown Cebu, Cebuanos don their most casual attire of shorts or island clothes paired with cheap but comfortable sandals or slippers when they go there. They also put their cash in small purses so as not to attract pickpockets.
A shopping landmark in Cebu, it has over 50 vendors with hundreds of visitors per week.
For the courageous entrepreneur, Tabo sa Banay is owned and operated by the Lim family. At P2,000 to 5,000 per month, one can rent a 2sq meter to 6sq meter stall and sell there.