we first encountered the word "word" ukay during our last trip to baguio six years ago, where we discovered a building with four floors filled with racks and shelves of second-hand clothing, shoes and accessories. we used to go to bambang for this sort of thing. now ukay-ukays can be found anywhere and everywhere, just like your neighborhood sari-sari store or convenience store. "ukay" in tagalog is "hukay," meaning "to dig," which you sometimes have to literally do in order to find the one piece that'll make you the envy of your fashionista friends. on this trip, we weren't so lucky :-( well, we're partly to blame because we weren't in the mood to risk our lives in dusty, smelly, condemned buildings that looked like they were about to collapse when we could be outside! and be surrounded by nature! breathing fresh air! which we don't get in manila! but friends were kind enough to point us to where the digging could be done...
cypress is on abanao street, which is on the end of session road, in between the market and burnham park, and is right across abanao square. it's got rows of ukay stores that go deep inside, as well as up three floors.
hotel bayanihan by burnham park is one of the original baguio landmarks and has been there for decades, and although it is still listed on the internet when you search for baguio hotels, it looks abandoned. it also looks condemned. the "wagwag" (we don't know what that means, but it is used interchangeably with ukay-ukay) stores wrap around the ground floor of the building and go in deep. look for rickety staircases that'll bring you into second- and third-floor shops.
prime hotel is your landmark just off session road. walk down the street all the way to the back of this building and you'll find lots of ukays, mostly selling bags... real or fake? take mrs. T with you and maybe she can authenticate right there and then!