The sari-sari store

The sari-sari store is basically a mom-and-pop general merchandise store present in any neighborhood in the Philippines. Sari-sari is the Philippine word for various or many and different. Thus, the store usually sells different kinds of goods, but mostly basic necessities. It is known as tindahan in Tagalog while in Aklanon, we call them as baraka. It could be a very small enterprise, a converted front of a house with a small window through which customers can see what is for sale inside, selling cooking oil, kerosene, canned goods, children’s snack and candies, cigarette, liquor, soft drinks, some medicines, eggs and maybe some fresh fruit and vegetables in season,

A relatively large sari-sari store with more upscale merchandise for sale

… or it could be a big enterprise, maybe a separate structure in front of the house, or a separate storefront somewhere else, that may include wholesale (in some poblacions or town proper, the big sari-sari stores sell wholesale to owners of small stores in the barrios – they no longer have to go to the capital commercial town or city to buy their stocks), imported goods and merchandise, and because of preponderance now of motorcycles, jeepneys, minicabs and cars in the rural areas … gasoline in large coke bottles (!) … and also, of course, cooked food.

Store with a carinderia (restaurant)

A small neighborhood sari-sari store is a life saver … because you can buy piece by piece (tingi), so if you only need a small amount of let’s say, salt or vinegar, you can buy the corrresponding amount that you need. At a low cost.

A corner store in a busy street

It may be the hub of social activity in town, especially for men as some stores may have liquor that they can serve on the premises (usually in my town for example, tuba – fermented coconut sap). Some stores have komiks (Filipino illustrated serialized novels and short stories), magazines and pocket books that they rent out to kids to read per hour so they are a veritable library. Some may have a bakery operation or may have vulcanizing shops attached to them.

Here are more pictures of sari-sari stores in my hometown of Malinao in Aklan province:

Badong Store – selling and buying rice

Gigi Store (same store as the first picture)

Bimboy Store – typical sari-sari store

Gemin Store – upscale sari-sari store

Gil Store – with a bakery and area for ‘tambayan‘ (hang-out) so people could stay and make chismis (gossip)

Isin Store – vulcanizing shop and restaurant (!)

Marina Store – typical retail and wholesale store at the edge of town near the southern barrios

Michelle Store – a friendly neighborhood corner store

Park View Store – store next door to my house

Querubin Store – pharmacy and agricultural supplies

Resing’s Store – another typical small neighborhood store

Rosing’s Store – some baked goods are sold here

Simpor’s Store – gift shop and general merchandise

Sitoy’s Store and Bakery

Rex’s Store – owned by my childhood friend and classmate in elementary school. His family has always been in the retail business.

3 Responses to “The sari-sari store”

  1. Ethel Prado says:

    Pangit man…..

  2. Ethel Prado says:


Leave a Reply