The World Bazaar Festival Makes Shopping Festive Again

The 17th edition of the longest annual charity bazaar in the country provides enough gift ideas for every Filipino narrative.

by Emil Hofileña, art by Andrew Panopio


Holiday shopping in the Philippines is a task that our culture has transformed into something akin to an endurance test; it’s become more intimidating than gratifying. As early as September, Filipino families from all walks of life crowd into malls and markets to stake their claims on whatever discounted items they can find. Amid the haggling and the fatigue, it can be easy to forget that the worth of the season shouldn’t—and can’t—be measured by the prizes one wins.



Under the slogan “Diverse Stories, One Journey,” the 17th World Bazaar Festival (WBF), organized by Worldbex Services International, reminds us to place the Filipino families themselves back to the center of the occasion. By offering what is regarded as the widest selection of products and goods at one time—from clothing, accessories, and cosmetics to food, electronic supplies, and Christmas décor—the festival hopes to allow each Filipino to take their time in finding the things they need, as opposed to the usual ritual of rushing through a limited selection of items.


In addition to the bazaar itself, WBF has again organized various events and activities to run alongside it. Apart from celebrity sightings and live musical performances, WBF hosts a street dance competition, the children’s singing contest Woobie’s Kid Idol, the church choir competition Himig ng Pasko, and Bloggers United 14, a one-day gathering of various local online celebrities. The idea behind WBF’s complementary events is to make the act of shopping feel like its own form of celebrating. The various activities also serve a practical purpose: kids accompanying their parents should be able to keep themselves entertained throughout, and shoppers don’t have to relocate to another venue to unwind. WBF is designed to be an all-day affair—in a manner that doesn’t reduce Christmas to a necessary chore, but reaffirms the cheer the holiday should inspire.



The 17th World Bazaar Festival will be held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City from December 3 to 22. Follow @WorldBazaarFestival on Facebook and Instagram, and visit for more information.