Here's a handy guide to surviving Banawe

It isn't always paradise, you know
by Leandre Grecia | May 18, 2019
PHOTO: Google Maps

Need something for your car? Some people have surely told you: Meron n’yan sa Banawe!

Let’s face it, not everyone’s a fan of buying parts or having work done at the casa.

Whether you need aftermarket stuff, replacement parts, or repairs, Banawe (the street in Quezon City, not the town in Ifugao) probably has what you need—and it’s probably cheaper there, too. We’re pretty sure every car guy knows his way around Banawe, and if you own a car, it’s about time you became familiar with this gem of a place.

However, Banawe isn’t always paradise. Take it from the horror story we featured a while back. And whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned vet, please heed these warnings.

1) Dont go in blind

Not all of us are master mechanics, but that doesnt excuse you from the fact that you should know exactly what you’re looking for. In case you really have no idea about the item you need, then bring a sample of it, or a photo of it, at the very least. Better yet, bring the actual car that needs it. This isn’t your regular trip to the grocery. You probably won’t get anything from a supplier if you can’t even describe what you’re looking for.

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2) Never leave your things—or car—unattended

This applies to all your belongings wherever you go. But you need a little extra care in Banawe.

If you’ve parked your car by the side of the road while looking around, make sure you can still see your ride from a distance. If you have a companion to secure the vehicle for you, then better. A lot of people claim they’ve had something stolen from them in Banawe—badges, wheel emblems, hubcaps, valve caps, and even side mirrors. You name it. The last thing you want is to add another item on your shopping list while you’re there.

In the event that you do need a talyer, be sure to watch the mechanics as they work. You wouldn’t want to send us your own horror story, would you? 

3) Never settle

Unless youre pressed for time, never settle for the first deal you encounter. Also, remember to go directly to the shop’s counter when asking around, lest you end up paying a bit extra for a barker’s or runner’s commission. 

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Always try to get the best bang for your buck. If you find what you need, then good. But if it isnt a one-in-a-million piece, then there’s probably some other shop down the street that has it, too. And cheaper, at that.

If the shop owner knows you’re trying to strike a better deal elsewhere, he might go even lower just to satisfy his customer. Oh, and don’t forget to haggle. We all know making tawad is mandatory in the Philippines.

4) Don’t buy anything without thoroughly inspecting it

In case you’ve forgotten, you’re in Banawe, not at the dealership. There are tons of surplus, fake, or low-quality replacement parts here that go for much less, but will actually hurt your pocket in the long run.

Make sure to inspect an item from top to bottom before buying it. Look for rusted surfaces, dents, and overall materials quality. It’s even better if you can get a second opinion from your car-guy friend or trusted mechanic before you purchase it.

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5) Don’t make yourself a target

A target for what, you ask? Exploitative sellers. This tip also applies when shopping for aftermarket parts. If you let on that you’re a first-timer, then good luck striking a sweet deal. Show them you have the money, then forget about bargaining. But show everyone that you know what you’re doing, and nobody will try and take advantage of you. At the end of the day, everyone in Banawe is simply a business owner—everyone needs to make a profit. You just have to make sure nobody puts one over you.

These are some safety tips for when you do visit Banawe. If you have your own, do share them with us. 

NOTE: Leandre Grecia is Top Gear PH’s new editorial assistant. He has excellent taste in old-school rides (he drives a Toyota Cressida), knows good food (it’s one of his passions), and has only recently returned to social media (it’s part of the Top Gear PH gig, after all). Welcome to the team, Leandre!

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PHOTO: Google Maps
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