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Pearls in Sabang?

Discussion in 'Philippine Paradise Divers' started by WOODMAN, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. WOODMAN

    WOODMAN Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Minneapolis area, Minnesota
    883
    173
    I have been to Sabang a couple of times, and I usually buy a set or two of pearls (strung necklace and 2 earrings) from someone or other (sidewalk vendor, roving peddler, etc.) while down there for my friends, and I am going back this April and was wondering about doing the same thing again. I am no pearl expert, but the sets I bought for around $20 US (three years ago) look okay and the recipients of them were thrilled right out of their shoes. So tell me- are these pearls just a big scam, or is there really some value to all this? I know the price is insane, and I am a firm believer in getting what you pay for, but I can't help thinking these same sets would be way more expensive if they were available back home. So tell me, is this a smart thing to do? Thanks for your help, and any advice is most appreciated.:coffee: Woody
     
  2. FT

    FT Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    300
    141
    Yes, they would be more expensive back home if they are genuine freshwater pearls, and they probably are. I bought mine in Greenhills or Market Market, where the quality and choice were better than the streets of Sabang. You can test the pearls by rubbing one against another. If a bit of the nacre comes off, kind of dusty looking, leaving a temporary scratch that you can then smooth over, they are genuine. Plastic doesn’t mark. Some people claim they can taste a grittiness in real pearls.
    You can pay more for pearls if they have high lustre, are more perfectly spherical, or are very well matched in colour along the string.
    That was more than you wanted to know, wasn’t it.
     
  3. bill22

    bill22 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Guam, USA
    856
    112
    Good advice for anyone traveling to the Philippines because chances are you will run into these people.... they're everywhere :wink:
     
    Blueringocto_73 and D_Fresh like this.
  4. dlofting

    dlofting DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    526
    435
    Taking a quick look at them I would say that @FT is right. They're less expensive because they're mismatched, not perfectly shaped and perhaps a bit dull. If you don't mind that they're probably a reasonably good deal for the money.
     
    Blueringocto_73 likes this.
  5. D_Fresh

    D_Fresh ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    846
    529
    And add to this: Let's be realistic, nobody is going to buy Gold, Diamonds, or Rubies from a street vendor expecting them to be something *inherently* valuable. If anyone purchases the aforementioned and pearls from a street vendor, it's because they're looking for a little trinket/souvenir for themselves or a friend. And for that, they're great! Just don't over pay...

    Pro tip: If you're not interested, tell them "Hindi po, meron ko na" (No, I already have)...
     
    aviator8 and Blueringocto_73 like this.
  6. Blueringocto_73

    Blueringocto_73 Banned

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: NorCal
    7,185
    12,254
    Yes true. I noticed you used the common Tagalog word meron for the dictionary word "mayroon". :wink:
    I'm currently a Tagalog language student.(informally)

    Then of coarse bkt. bakit Hehehe

     
  7. FT

    FT Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    300
    141
    It was my experience that even the $20 necklace and earring sets at Greenhills would be roughly $200 in Canada. And the $60 sets of their quality pearls, hooo boy. It must be admitted that after 10 years the silvery finish on the $5 fun necklaces, a few pearls on a chain, has worn off.
    Now, if I could just stop paying top dollar for friendship bracelets and baskets from the ladies in front of El Galleon...
     
    Kupu, D_Fresh, dlofting and 1 other person like this.
  8. D_Fresh

    D_Fresh ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    846
    529
    :rofl3: I know, right?
     
    Blueringocto_73 likes this.
  9. WOODMAN

    WOODMAN Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Minneapolis area, Minnesota
    883
    173
    I see that I am being referred repeatedly to Greenhills market in Manila for pearls. I have of course heard of the place, but have never been there. Is it much of a cab ride from Ermita? I have been to the nightmarkets in Sydney, which was somewhat like what this must be like, but I'm not sure we will have enough time for this. We will get back to Manila after leaving Sabang in the morning, and we are usually at our hotel at about noon or so. Perhaps we could cab over to the place and give it a try? :popcorn:
     
    Blueringocto_73 likes this.
  10. FT

    FT Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    300
    141
    It’s an indoors mall on Ortigas Avenue in Mandaluyong, with sections that include electronics, clothing, handbags (I really don’t suggest trying to bring a $15 “Louis Vuitton” purse back through your own country’s customs), handicrafts, general jewelry and pearls. Google maps suggests it would be a half hour drive from Robinson’s mall in Ermita, but as you know, predicting driving times in Manila is a mug’s game. The pearl shop are tiny booths, about 100 of them. 380F3C85-4216-49E2-88F6-8A63218CE129.jpeg
     
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