Dapitan Arcade: kitsch-all-you-can.

Polkadot piggy banks, recycled bottle chandeliers, faux patent croc jewelry boxes, sparkling skeletons, bamboo torches, brass trees, sequin-encrusted kiddie costumes, resin Santas skydiving with their resin parachutes, fairy lights twinkling in shoppers’ glassy eyes. Welcome to Dapitan Arcade. At the corner of Dapitan and Kanlaon streets in the maze of Quezon City, it’s a welcome break from minimalism and reason.

Stall after stall of tchotchkes, bric-a-brac, and more under “things called what they sound like when you accidentally break them.” I saw Pampanga-style Christmas lanterns, indoor fountains, nativity scenes, ribbons of raffia and coco fiber tied around porcelain vases, brass cages, mirror mosaics. Prices are reasonable, and near the end of the day there is a lot of room for bargaining.

Between Santa and Buddha, a skeleton can’t catch a break.

The Santa on a swing is 800 pesos. The bigger Santas go for P2,500 or so.

For those who aren’t feeling the Christmas spirit yet, there are straw hats, woven slippers and Boracay-style hanging lamp covers.

I love these, whatever they are. They’re like gummy UFOs.

It became dark really quickly, and rained to boot. So we decided to come back another day. I took a lot of pictures, and will put them up on Flickr in a bit, but this is my favorite one. It was a quick snap on the way to the car. Stacked gilt chairs, waiting in the rain. I hope someone brings them home.