Ukay-ukay or UK or RILIP…that’s what we Ilonggos call the second-hand imported clothes, bags, shoes, bed sheets, and curtains that are sold at Iloilo’s public markets and plazas and street corners. Ukay literally means to make a mess and that’s what Ilonggos do as they dig into towering mounds of clothing for their best find. The term Ukay-ukay can also be shortened to UK thereby lending it a sosi or sosyal (classy) image. The term RILIP is derived from relief (relief goods) . It is said that the first ukay-ukays some years back were originally meant as aid sent from America for calamity victims in the Philippines. Some enterprising people converted them to cash. These days, the rilip comes from countries like the US, Australia, Japan, and Korea. They say these huge bundles are no longer relief goods but truly legit ones.
In hard times like these, Ilonggos and Filipinos as a whole have resorted to buying their clothing from the ukay-ukay. Yet, its not exclusive to the poor. You’d be surprised but a lot of well-to-do Ilonggos have a blast going to the ukay-ukay. (By the way, the pix on the right are assorted second-hand shoes. The black ones are truly leather, mind you. Just a little shoe polish and they’ll look like new. (Most brand new black shoes carried by Iloilo’s shoe stores are mostly synthetic Chinese imports.)
My best finds? A Martha Stewart bedsheet for less than P100. A cool rectangular back of high quality synthetic leather for P120. A cotton tee for P15.00. I don’t go to the rilipan that often having no patience to dig through the piles. But i know of some people who are addicted. Every week, they just have to buy something from the rilipan. Perhaps its the thrill of it!