Ukay-Ukay Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 21 April 2016


The researchers would like to express our deepest gratitude to the following that helped us make this research possible:

First, to our Almighty Father who gave us wisdom, motivation, power and guidance to empower ourselves to do this research. For the good weather and the energy to do the said research.

Second, to our dear and most beloved parents for their support and unconditional love.

To the respondents who gave information the researchers needed to finish the research. Thank you very much.

To the members of this group who willingly helped in making this research a success and for the determination they showed in wanting to complete and finish the research, thank you.

And lastly, to Mr. Sam Abueva, our English Instructor, who gave us this opportunity to work with our classmates and familiarize ourselves as to how to do a research.

Thank you!

Chapter I


What often comes into the minds of the Filipino people when we hear the term “UK”? It is ukay-ukay right? The term “ukay-ukay” was derived from the Visayan term “halukay” which means the act of digging. Ukay-ukay shopping is like treasure hunting, but instead of looking for a treasure, you are literally digging from the piles of clothes which are mostly vintage and of high value. The ukay shopping phenomena all started in Baguio. Ukay stores sprouted like mushrooms which later became one of the must-visit places in Baguio.

Ukay-ukay may be considered a “special” type of good available in the market. First, it has a different marketing and sale process. Second, how it enters the market is unique. When such goods are brought into the country, records would show that some were not really intended for sale: The government would maintain that these are either donations or aid from foreign countries. Others are recorded as pasalubong for Philippines-based relatives. There are various reasons consumers still buy these goods. One is their low prices when compared to substitute and complementary goods.

According to hearsay, it’s origin started way back in the 80s. Due to the frequency of calamities happening in our country, a certain humanitarian group called the Salvation Army used to ship second-hand garments and other goods as forms of help to the filipino victims. As the goods piled up, business-minded people decided to buy them at a very low cost and sell them to the public. Thus, ukay-ukay business was born.

The most popular destinations for ukay-ukay is in Baguio, Cebu, Cubao, Anonas, Bluementrit Espana, Mandaluyong, Sta.Mesa and Pasig.


This study is designed primarily to know the nature of Ukay-ukay industry particularly in Tacloban City. It sought to answer the following questions:

What is the history of ukay-ukay?
What is the profile of the respondent?
For the costumer’s viewpoint, what are their different perspective about the advantages and disadvantages of ukay-ukay? Where did the ukay-ukay owners get their stocks?
How much is the weekly income of an ukay-ukay business?


The objective of this study is to widen the knowledge of all men about Ukay-Ukay Business.

To explain the meaning of Ukay-Ukay.
To determine some facts about Ukay-Ukay and the industry itself. To determine how much profit does an Ukay-Ukay business earns. To inform people about the advantages of Ukay-Ukay.
To inform people also about its disadvantages.



The study will be conducted among the Ukay-Ukay stores in Tacloban City, Leyte to the chosen costumers and sellers of Ukay-Ukay.


The researches limit the study in the Ukay-Ukay stores which will focus on the information and the knowledge of the costumers and sellers about Ukay-Ukay.

The researchers are limited to:

1. The lack of knowledge about the Ukay-Ukay.

2. The time in conducting this research may be limited for each member has a different time schedule and priorities.

3. The information in the research may only be limited to the extent of information being reviewed and cited by the researchers.


1. Halukay- the act of digging
2. Ukay-Ukay- secondhand clothes, bags, hats, shoes and etc. imported from other country. 3. UK’s or UK- other term for ukay-ukay 4. Limitation- are the statements which alert the reader of the research report to certain constraints which the researcher has no control. 5. Scope- coverage or boundaries of the study in terms of the area or locality and subjects of the population covered during the study. 6. Bibliography- can be find at the last page of a book and can be used as references of a researcher. 7. Method

8. Primary Data- are the data that are collected to help solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity on which a decision is pending. 9. Secondary Data- are the data collected for some other purpose before the study, such data are also called “historical data”. 10. Questionnaire- a list of planned, written questions related to a particular topic, with space provided for indicating the response to each questions, intended for submission to a number of persons for reply. 11. Research-the collection of information about a particular subject 12. Researcher-the one who conducts the research

13. Study- a state of contemplation.
14. Survey-to examine as to condition, situation, or value
15. Data- factual information as measurements or statistics used as a basis for reasoning. 16. Interview-a formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications.


Although R.A. 4653 was ratified on 1966 to prohibit the importation and selling of cheaper second-hand clothes in the Philippines, the impact of the said law has diminished over the years until Filipinos have finally learned to patronize the business as if it’s something legal. They strongly believe that Philippines will be better if ukay-ukay will be legalized.

This study is designed primarily to know why people are really drawn to ukay-ukay and how it can be a great advantage for the people and what are
the disadvantages of ukay-ukay. The findings of this study will be beneficial to the following:

1. To the respondents, they will be able to realize how useful and beneficial of an ukay-ukay products particularly on their needs on clothing’s and etc. , especially that nowadays, the prices are getting higher and higher.

2. To the students, they will have an option on buying some of their needs especially if they want to save and budget their money.

3. To the government, they will realize that even though ukay-ukay imports and sells cheaper second-hand clothes, still it has a great help especially to the citizens who are in the poverty line.

Chapter II

There’s more to ukay-ukay than the democratization of fashion. The industry that sprouted out of second hand clothes generates millions in income for sellers, and saves millions more for the people who buy from them. In a thesis titled Economics of Secondhand Retail Trade: An Analysis of the Market for Ukay-ukay by Luisito Abueg, the history of the ukay-ukay, the policies that govern the underground industry, and what it all implies for the Philippines as s struggling economy are painstakingly discussed and dissected. The author completed his Master of Arts in Economics from the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE), Diliman, and a preview of his thesis was published in the Philippine Journal of Development.

According to Abueg, the market for secondhand garments flourished from its considered capital, Baguio City, province of Benguet despite a law that prohibits the wholesale of second hand clothes. Although Republic Act number 4653 (ratified July 1966) has been enacted, there is no clear implementation of this law (e.g., confiscation and/or burning of such imported commodities).

“It is clear that people see this market as an alternative to counterpart goods burdened with soaring prices; however, with the invocation of laws that prohibit importation and sale of secondhand garments, consumers of such commodity have different reactions and suggest alternative solutions so as not to be affected negatively (in terms of the economic dimensions of their lives),” said Abueg. According to Abueg, ukay-ukay is a very affordable source of fashionable yet durable clothing material for those with relatively low incomes.

“Some people would resort to buying ukay-ukay items because the latter are relatively homogenous with the brand new garments and accessories that may be bought in relatively high-class stores and shopping malls.” He also explains that Philippine-made textiles and garments are said to be 30 percent more expensive than their counterparts in the market, due partly to the inefficient local production and technology processes as well as their relatively low productivity. Though the thesis was written in 2005, what he wrote remains valid: “The textile and garments industry still needs adequate provisions for the training of as well as incentives for workers, technological efficiency, development in market production, and creation of regulating bodies,” he said.

In 2002, the Macapagal-Arroyo banned the entry and sale of ukay-ukay items in the market. This created discontent among its patrons, who look at ukay-ukay goods as the most affordable in the market. “This entailed some implementation cost on the side of the government. While authorities had every legal right to confiscate and even bum such items, ukay-ukay stall owners managed to remain unscathed by relocating outside Metro Manila-to locations not usually monitored by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),” he said.

In the meantime, Filipinos everywhere protested against the ban, saying that it is anti-poor on so many levels. Those who sold ukay-ukay decried that many will lose their jobs and main sources of income – those who man the stores, who sort out the clothes, those who are into the transport of goods. Those who buy clothes from ukay-ukay cried out against the threat of losing a much cheaper, alternative provider of their wardrobe needs. Silverio,Ina
Alleco (

In 2001, the Philippines imported US$2.29 billion or PhP116.7 billion worth of consumer goods-approximately 6 percent higher than the previous year’s imports of US$2.25 billion (or PhP104.4 billion). Both values were based on the prevailing exchange rate at that time (Philippine Star 2000). Although the values already show a significant amount, they do not yet include other foreign commodities illegally entered into the country. Ukay-ukay is most commonly used to refer to the industry that caters to the sale of secondhand imported garments. It originated in Baguio City, where it has been typically called wagwagan, and was later adapted in other places. The industry first began with stalls at the sidewalks, and in a span of two years, reports account that the ukay-ukay business already generates a gross income of PhP1.2 million daily. Later on, wagwagan became the colloquial wagwag, which has the same meaning as ukay-ukay (Cabreza 2001).

Wagwag items, which usually originate from Hong Kong and the United States, enter the Philippines in a manner different from that of traditional imports. These goods are actually transported to different stores in Baguio City as well as places in Metro Manila via balikbayan boxes. Contrary to authorities’ notion that these commodities are donations from foreign countries, wagwag items are actually purchased from Hong Kong-based Salvation Army’s rummage sale sites. Those from the United States came from neighborhood home garage sales (de Castro 2001).

Once in the Philippines, these are then sold at prices lower than those of “traditionally” imported goods. Since these are used garments, they are sold at less than half their prices (Cabreza 2001).

Chapter III


The researchers will conduct a research among the Ukay-Ukay stores in
Tacloban City, Leyte. The respondents will be chosen at random, both male and female.


The researchers will use descriptive design which is a commonly used research method. It aims to describe the nature of the situation as it exists at the time of the study.

The researchers will use questionnaire and personal interview.


The research instrument to be used in gathering primary data is the questionnaire. Primary data are data that are collected to help solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity on which a decision making is pending.


The respondents of this research study are at least 20 customers and 20 sellers of ukay-ukay clothing. The male and female respondents will be chosen at random by the researchers to answer the questionnaire during an interview. The respondents chosen are those who have an ukay-ukay business and those who buy ukay-ukay clothing.


The researchers gathered data by using structured questionnaire to be answered by the respondents.

Tabulation and analysis of data gathered was done after collecting all questionnaires. The researchers prepared the necessary data measurements from the entire interview in the structured questionnaire.

Chapter IV

Graph 1: Distribution according to Age of Respondents

Out of 20 respondents (costumers), 3 respondents corresponding to 15% were 15-20 years old, 9 respondents corresponding to 45% were 20-30 years old, 3 respondents corresponding to 15% were 30-40 years old, 2 respondents corresponding to 10% were 50-60 years old and 2 respondents corresponding to 10% were 60-70 years old.

Graph 2: Distribution according to Gender of the Respondents

Out of 20 respondents (costumers), 13 are female corresponding to 65% and 7 are male corresponding to 35%.

Table 1 : What are the advantages ukay-ukay?
(Maximum choices of 3)

Based on Table 1, most respondents (costumers) corresponding to 31%, believe that the advantage of ukay-ukay is that it is cheap and affordable and the least chosen advantage of ukay-ukay corresponding to 4% is that shopping for it can lessen their expense on clothing and also a least advantage is that shopping for it is fun.

Based on Table 2, most respondents (costumers) believe that the disadvantage of ukay-ukay corresponding to 35% is that sometimes when buying ukay-ukay it has holes, broken zippers, dirt and etc. in it and least respondents (costumers) believe that the disadvantage of ukay-ukay corresponding to 1% is that some are not branded.

Graph 3: Where do they get their stock?

Out of 20 respondents (sellers), 17 of the respondents corresponding to 85% said that they get their stock in Cebu City, and other respondents corresponding each at 1% said that they get their stocks in Manila, Korea and Samar.

Graph 4: How do you price your product?

Out of 20 respondents (sellers), 6 of the respondents corresponding to 30% said that they price their stock based on the brand of an ukay-ukay, 2 of the respondent corresponding to 10% said that they price their stocks based on the type garment, 11 of the respondents corresponding to 55% said that they price the ukay-ukay based on the quality and 1 of the respondent corresponding to 5% said that they price their stocks by piece.

Graph 5: How much is the weekly income of your business?

Out of 20 Respondents, 8 of the respondents corresponding to 40% said that
their weekly income is from the range of 2,000-6,000, 5 of the respondents corresponding to 25% said that their weekly income is from the range of 6,000-10,000, 4 of the respondents corresponding to 20% said that their weekly income is ranging from 10,000-15,000 and 3 respondents corresponding to 15% said that their weekly income ranges from 15,000 and 20,000.

Chapter V

The researchers decided to conduct a research which concerns about the nature of ukay-ukay industry. This study aims to let people understand all about the ukay-ukay industry specifically about its nature.

The researchers gathered their data through primary data (interviews and survey questionnaire) and secondary data (internet).

After the finalizing the questionnaires, the researchers decided to go to the place where they will conduct their interview and survey. Wherein that place, we interviewed 20 costumers and 20 ukay-ukay store owners.

The result of the survey was tabulated. Every questions was answered by the said respondents honestly. According to the survey, most of the costumers of ukay-ukay industry ranges from 20-30 years old and the least ranges from 50-60 years old. Most of the costumers are females. In their viewpoint, the topmost reason why they prefer to buy some clothes in an ukay-ukay store because it has cheap and affordable price. However, the topmost reason why some of the respondents don’t prefer buying in an ukay-ukay store because some of stocks are not in good condition.

Mostly, ukay-ukay store owners answered Cebu City for the question “where did they get their stocks?”. According to the interview most of the ukay-ukay store owners price their products based on the quality and the brand of the stocks. Most of them had a weekly income that ranges from 2000-6000 pesos.


Based on the study, many people are drawn into ukay-ukay or others call it as UK. In the Philippines, this addiction first started in Baguio or the “Ukay-Ukay Capital of the Philippines”. Despite of the law, the Republic Act 4653, this law prohibits the selling of ukay-ukay. But many people would love it if the government will abolish the law.

We conclude the following based on our study:

1. Many people are drawn to ukay-ukay the fact that is cheap and affordable, this a great advantage to the shoppers. 2. Ukay-Ukay business a very profitable business because it can earn 2,000-6,000 per week and within a month you can have a profit up to 30,000. 3. People ages 20-30 years old mostly likes to shop in the Ukay-Ukay stores and stalls. 4. Mostly, women are the ones who like to shop for ukay-ukay over men. 5. Most people said that the most common disadvantage of ukay-ukay is that sometimes it is not good condition, because of the holes, scratches, dirt and etc.

6. The ukay-ukay stores price their stocks mostly by its quality. There are different classes of Ukay-Ukay. There is class A, B and C and their prices differ according to its class. Class A contains high quality stocks. 7. Here in Tacloban, mostly, the ukay-ukay stores get their stocks from Cebu City. 8. And lastly, buying or selling ukay-ukay is an illegal activity. Only few, Filipinos know that ukay-ukay is illegal. But they don’t mind if it’s illegal or not, they just want to buy ukay-ukay because it’s cheap and affordable.


Buying or Selling Ukay-Ukay or UK is ILLEGAL. Little we Filipinos know about it. But many don’t mind about the law that prevents from selling ukay-ukay. Ukay-Ukay had been a great help to many people not only the vendors but also the ones who buy it. The Filipinos don’t care how dirty or unsafe ukay-ukay is, they will just wash it properly with soap and disinfectant, and after that you can wear you branded shoes, clothes, bag and other ukay-ukay products.

We recommend the following based on our research:

1. We recommend that the ukay-ukay vendors or store owners must be careful because they might be sued. Even if the government isn’t very active in regards with this law.

2. That the costumers or ukay-ukay fanatics won’t prefer buying ukay-ukay underwear because you might get reproductive diseases.

3. Even if ukay-ukay is washed and disinfected before it is sold, we should wash it again thoroughly because we are not sure if it’s safe or not.

4. We recommend also that the government should abolish the R.A. 4653 because even if there is law, still many ukay-ukay stocks are imported in our country from Japan, Korea and etc. due to the corruption in the government.


Silverio,Ina Alleco.The Economics of Ukay Ukay., 18 April 2011.

Cabreza, V. 2001. Wagwag fashion pushed for Pinoys. Philippine Daily Inquirer. 16 September 2001: B1,B3.

Anonymous. 2002. Consumer confidence in RP down. Philippine Star. 07 February 2002:7





Advantages of Ukay-Ukay:

It is cheap and affordable.

Some if the clothes are branded.

There are many kinds of clothes that you can choose from.

I can buy a lot of clothes in a small amount.

I can lessen my expense on clothing.

It is fun.

Disadvantages of Ukay-Ukay:

Some clothes are not in good condition.

Most of the clothes are not branded.

Some clothes are dirty.

It needs time and effort to find the clothing that you want.

It’s exhausting.

It smells bad.

I don’t have any idea where it came from.

Name of the Store:

Where do they get their stock?


How do you price your product?

By brand.

By the type of the garmet.

By quality.

By color.

How much is your weekly income?

500 – 2000

2000 – 6000

6000 – 10,000

10, 000 – 15, 000

15, 000 – 20, 000


Mr. /Ma’am,

First of all, we’d like to greet you a good day! We are students from Saint Paul’s School of Business and Law, Inc. and we would like to ask for your permission if we could interview you about your “Ukay-Ukay” business. We are doing a research as to the advantages and disadvantages of the business

We are hoping for your kind ad most favorable consideration.

Yours truly,
Venice Macasera
(Leader of the Group)

Sir Sam Abueva

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