Shopping and Cheap Bargains at Tutuban Center

Shopping and Bargain is on everyone’s list when you hear of Tutuban and Divisoria in Manila. It is where you can buy the cheapest and unique shopping in this side of Metro Manila.

As early as September , the shopping and entertainment destination right in the heart of the City of Manila is offering the widest variety, quality holiday items and yet affordable.

If you are planning to design your home with festive decors, check out the wonderful Yuletide garlands, colorful lights and all types of Christmas tree trimmings available at Tutuban Center. From the simplest Christmas balls to the biggest parol, you are sure to find the best holiday ornaments that you need.

Christmas gift shopping for family, friends and colleagues is fun and easy with Tutuban Center’s complete offerings – from jewelry, designer shirts, fashion finds, fragrances, shoes, novelty items, even electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops, cameras or tablets.

Just walk through the hundreds of stores inside and around Tutuban Center with wide array of merchandise and you can surely find what you need in one of the country’s most visited shopping center. Whether buying by piece or in bulk, there’s no need to worry because this much-admired retail destination is your perfect Christmas shopping solution.

Apart from the budget-friendly items, you’ll be amazed with the festive holiday mood as Tutuban Center unveiled its holiday display to help keep your mind off the stressful Christmas rush and for the enjoyment of the shoppers.

There’s also the “Christmas Wonderland sa Tutuban” where the young—or even the young at heart—can go to and enjoy with its amazing rides and other well-loved attractions.

If you suddenly grow hungry, explore delicious food fare at the Tutuban Center Food Bazaar. Meantime, for those who want to avoid the shopping frenzy at daytime, the Tutuban Center Night Market offers a comfortable shopping experience even after the regular shopping hours.

Lastly, if you want to take first crack at shopping and avoid the mad rush both in time and traffic, you may check-in at Orion Hotel, Tutuban Center’s swanky yet right-in-your-budget accommodations located right inside the center. This allows you to shop fresh and fabulous in the morning.

All of these and more in Tutuban Center, located along C.M. Recto Avenue in Manila. Operating hours are from 9 am to 12 midnight, from Monday to Sunday.

Here is my article link on the lighting ceremony held last year:

For more updates about their activities , please try to visit their website: :


Mrs.Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes Stamp Launching

Old Senate Session Hall , National Arts Gallery – Padre Burgos street, Manila- Philippines

Doña Engracia Cruz-Reyes together with Mrs. Teresita ” Mama  Sita” -Reyes -photo is courtesy of Mama Sita foundation

Life  : Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes  was born on May 11, 1917 . She is the third of  Aling Asiang and  Mr. Alex Reyes’ 13 children, and was the one who got her mother’s features. She is  well known for her extraordinary gift with food- cooking, incorporating even selecting ingredients that really make our favorite food taste even better.  She is the eldest daughter of Doña Engracia Cruz- Reyes . Food wasn’t her only interest. She was also very business-minded. She would wake up early in the morning and would go to markets such as Divisoria and Nepa Q-Mart now ( Mega Q-Mart) to check out the items they offered.

Doña Engracia Cruz-Reyes was featured in a definitive stamp series of the Philippine Postal Corporation in 1992 ( Decade of Filipino Nationalism IV)  to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth .  Litho is by Amstar Printing Company . Perforation of 13 3/4  x 13 1/2 , Watermark .3 . 

Her mother, Doña Engracia Cruz-Reyes, is known as the “Mother of Filipino Cooking”. Through her parents, Mama Sita first learned that nothing could compare to the goodness of Filipino cooking. Her family ran the restaurant Aristocrat, which is why at an early age, her life already revolved around the world of food.

This is a  se-tenant strips of 5,  Sheets of 200 with total of 5,280,000 or 1,056,000 pieces per ( featured Filipino icon )

The set also includes President Manuel Roxas, Mrs. Natividad-Lopez,  National Artist Fernando Amorsolo and Mr. Roman O. Ozaeta (He was a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (June 24, 1941 – May 16, 1950). Justice Ozaeta was born on February 28, 1891 in San Jose, Batangas to Julian and Florencia Ozaeta. ).  The stamp was issued on June 1, 1992

Highlights of Mrs. Teresita Reyes achievements was posted near the main entrance of the old session hall of the Senate during the stamp unveiling ceremony

Businesswoman :

When it came to buying things, Mama Sita was number one. As soon as someone would offer her products at a discounted price, she couldn’t stop herself from buying them. From sacks of rice to a dozen cans of evaporated milk, or ten baskets of mangos, she really would not let the opportunity pass. As long as she was able to buy something, anything at all, she would go home satisfied, and with a smile on her face.

Mrs. Amelita Cunanan , Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus  and Ms. Macaria J. Leonardo ( Chief ) Postage Division -Philippine Postal Corporation

Passion :

Her hard-working efforts were not only seen in her traveling to so many places just to gather delectable and reasonably priced food. It was also apparent in the kitchen, of course.

traditional Filipino kitchen utensils and handicrafts

Mother : Mama Sita when she married Mr. Fidel Reyes and bore 11 children. She was able to come up with countless recipes and innovative ways of preparing food, due to her productive ethics. She never got tired of experimenting with different ingredients. Writing her new found recipes and discoveries on her diaries and journals also became a hobby of hers, which lead to us finding out fascinating secrets and tips on cooking!

The daughters of Mrs. Teresita -Reyes were introduced to the crowd

Another thing that stood out about Mama Sita was her character. Those who were fortunate enough to have met her can still remember her laugh. They also recall how she would pick on lansones and butong pakuan ( dried watermelon seeds)  even her habit of going to places that were far, just so she could taste the food they were well known for.

Postmaster General Maria Josefina Dela Cruz caught in a light moment  was shaking hands with Dr. Bartolome B. Lapus ( looking in the middle ) is Atty. Constantino de Jesus

Stamp Unveiling Ceremony:

The preparations of the stamp unveiling ceremony was initiated by the Mama Sita Foundation and the Reyes family clan members after the approval of the stamp design by the stamp advisory committee sometime last year.  The author got an invitation via  email from the foundation more than a month prior to the stamp launching.

National Museum Assistant Director Ana Labrador in her welcome address

Preparation was meticulously handled by the foundation .  Finally, on February 11, 2013,   the stamps and First Cover were issued by the Philippine Postal Corporation , the stamp unveiling ceremonies is set at  at the old session hall of the National Arts Gallery. The unveiling ceremony was set  for March 14, 2013 . Coincidentally , March was declared ” National Women’s Month ” .

Mr. Victor Reyes ( lone surviving brother of Mama Sita ) and Postmaster General Maria Josefina Dela Cruz

Mr. Victor Reyes together with Postmaster General Josie Dela Cruz after the ceremonial unveiling of stamps and commemorative First Day Cover

Invited guests , media and vips came dressed in their best Filipinana outfit. Then a short program was initiated by the intimidate family members of the Reyes clan. There is a table set up of traditional utensils and native crafts , rondalla playing traditional Filipino music .

ceremonial signing of Mama Sita’s First Day Cover

after the ceremonial signing of the First Day Cover , Mr. Victor Reyes and Mrs. Josefina Dela Cruz  shakes their hands and showed the media and writers the signed copies

The organizing committee of the stamp launching event was led by Mama Sita group of companies and part of the Reyes family running famous restaurants such as Aristocrat, Chateau 1771, El Pueblo, Reyes Barbecue and Serye Cafe. Mama Sita Foundation led by Mrs. Clara Reyes-Lapus organized the event in cooperation with the National Museum and the Philippine Postal Corporation.

The Reyes family clan capping the night with traditional Filipino songs and medley


Mama Sita is known for her passion of spreading the art of Filipino cooking not only in the Philippines but also the rest of the world.  Mama Sita’s “Mga Kuwentong Pagkain” is a nationwide contest launched to encourage everyone to share authentic, one-of-a-kind and little known stories on Filipino cuisine and cooking. These stories correspond to Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes’s own commitment to celebrate the cuisine and culinary heritage of the Philippines. Another cooking festival,  Kulinarya at Saya Local Food Cooking Contest was also sponsored by the foundation and was held in Puerto Gallera , Mindoro.

Mama Sita’s famous mixes, sauces , condiments and samalamig

Natural Ingredient

Mama Sita’s policy to use only natural ingredients has also led to helping small agricultural -industrial business in the countryside. MCC through its Mama Sita Foundation assists farmers in planting crops that can be dried and processed. Thus, the abundant produce of the season like chilis, tomatoes, onions are not wasted and instead can be sold to companies like MCC.

sumptuous late afternoon meal provided by Mama Sita’s Foundation, Aristocrat and Reyes family  to all the invited  participants , vips, guests and media

Farmer Project

Mama Sita Foundation is also helping small farmers thru their several projects  like producing Siling Labuyo ( chili peppers) for Marigold Commodities, The maker of the famous Mama Sita sauces and condiments. Siling Labuyo is one of the the smallest among hot peppers grown in the country. It has the hotness and the  flavor desired by Mama Sita.

Ms. Chuchay V. Andrada  together with Mr. Renz Emmanuel Raquion ( writer contributor of Manila Bulletin and a stamp collector )

Mama Sita’s First Day Covers ( FDC) and stamps  issued by Philippine Postal Corporation last February 11, 2013

Technical Description of the Stamps

Kind of Issue : Commemorative

Printer: Amstar Company , Incorporated

Printing Process: Litho- Offset ( 4 colors ).

Perforation : 14

Paper : Imported Unwatermarked

Singles,  Souvenir Sheets of One 10p   Teresita Reyes – Portrait  (105,000)

Sheet composition : 40 (10x 40)

Size of stamp : 30mm x 40mm

Size of souvenir sheet: 120mm x 85mm

Souvenir sheet Php 10 with Php 40.00 premium (8,000 pieces )

Mama Sita face illustrator :Ms. Chuchay V.Andrada

Design coordinator: Susan Ada Veneracion

Designers: Ms. Criselda Santos , Mr. Ian Aycocho and Mr. Christian Molina

 Note: My heartfelt ” Thanks” to all the people behind Mama Sita Foundation for the warm accommodation extended to me during and after the stamp launching . All the photos are taken by the author during the event, for those who wanted to use the photos for any purpose , please try to link this page .  The stamps are from the personal collection of the author.

References and Bibliography:

Artistocrat Restaurant :

Engracia Cruz- Reyes, Filipinos in History Vol. III. Manila, Philippines: National Historical Institute. 1996. pp. 228–230.

Mama Sita Foundation :

Philippine Postal Corporation :

1997 Ngo’s Catalogue of Philippine Republic Stamps & Postal Stationaries . page 137.

2012 Scott’s Stamp Catalog of Philippine stamps

Souvenir Program / Presentation pack : Mrs. Teresita ” Mama Sita ” Reyes

%d bloggers like this: