The Filipino Malling Culture

Shopping malls here in the Philippines are not just limited for buying all the things you want and need. Most of them already provide entertainment (either via cinemas, video game centers or even live shows) and even government services for almost all the legal documents you need.

I have already been to almost all of the shopping malls found in Metro Manila due to ease of parking space and commuters’ convenience. They have also been my “waiting areas” before every event I need to attend.

Without further ado, here are some of the most-visited malls in Metro Manila.

  1. SM North EDSA and TriNoma– These malls never get empty, even during weekdays, due to the influx of people from almost all walks of life: CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) residents, Northern Quezon City residents, Bulacan residents and students from nearby schools (mostly from Quezon City Science, Philippine Science and even UP Diliman which is a jeepney ride away). They have got almost everything you need, all in one go.
  2.  SM Megamall – Another SM mall that almost had everything under the sun. Like SM North, this is also one of the most-visited malls due influx of people from nearby areas like Mandaluyong, Pasig, San Juan and even Rizal (Taytay, Angono, Binangonan), as well as employees from nearby Ortigas Center. This mall attracts more people during Three-Day Sales and weeks before Christmas.
  3. SM Mall of Asia – Colloquiallly known as SM MOA (read as “MO-wah”), this is the only mall by the bayside.  Most people who visit this mall do not just enjoy the vast selections of merchandise sold inside the mall, but also the view of Manila Bay. Not to mention, most restaurants here are facing the bayside. Don’t forget to catch the fireworks display every Friday and Saturday nights!
  4. Glorietta – My dad told me that this used to be known as the “Quad”, since it had four cinemas placed in “quadrants”, and it used to have a branch of Makati Supermart (which has a lone branch in Alabang). The present activity center used to be a park with aviary. Now, this mall is quite similar to SM Megamall, in terms of boutique repertoire. Most of the shoppers here are Makati and Eastern Manila (Sta. Ana) residents, as well as employess from the nearby business district. This mall is likewise visited by Makati expats nearby.The first branch of TGI Fridays is located here. International record chain Tower Records used to have a branch here.
  5. Robinsons Galleria – Another hub for EDSA commuters, as well as students from nearby schools (Poveda, La Salle Greenhills).
  6. Robinsons Place Manila – This area used to be the Ateneo De Manila campus before it transferred to its present site in Loyola Heights. This mall serves mostly Manila residents and students from nearby schools (mostly from UP Manila, St. Paul University, Philippine Christian University and Philippine Women’s University; some from farther Taft schools like De La Salle University, De La Salle-College of St. Benilde and St. Scholastica’s College). It is also visited by local and foreign tourists staying in the nearby hotels.
  7. The Araneta Trio: Gateway, Ali Mall and Farmers Plaza – These are also some of the most-visited malls due to the influx of LRT, MRT, bus and jeepney commuters. While Gateway contains mostly international brands (i.e. H&M, Mango, Promod, Marks & Spencer), Ali Mall and Farmers Plaza offer merchandise which are easy on the budget. These malls also provide dining options for audiences waiting for the events held at the nearby Araneta Coliseum and Kia Theater. Don’t forget to see the giant Christmas tree installed annually!
  8. The Divisoria Complex: 168, 999, Tutuban, New Divisoria Mall– The ultimate stop for cheapskates. They sell almost everything here, at ROCK BOTTOM prices. The 168 mall now has more dining options. The nearby Lucky Chinatown Mall used to be upscale but it already has a mini-tiangge for shoppers on a budget.
  9. Greenhills Shopping Center – If Manila has Divisoria, San Juan has Greenhills. Almost similar to Divisoria, it offers tiangge merchandise, only sold in a little higher price. It also houses Unimart, a supermarket that offers grocery items at equally lower prices.
  10. SM City Manila – Similar to Robinsons Place Manila, only a tad smaller and more influx of customers. This mall transforms into a secondary student canteen during lunchtime (including Sundays since it is the NSTP day for most of the schools nearby), due to the large number of schools nearby (Adamson University, Santa Isabel College, Philippine Normal University, Technological University of the Philippines, Technological Institute of the Philippines, San Sebastian College; also Intramuros schools like Lyceum, PLM and Letran). It also provides needs for people transacting business at the nearby government offices (This mall has a DFA Passport Center, as well as an LTO License Renewal Center.).
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