Travel location: Manila, Philippines
When I went: October 2014
Before I went on my trip to the Philippines, I heard from my friends that there are a LOTS of malls in Manila. My friends weren’t kidding, there were several malls throughout the city, and mega malls including SM Mega Mall and SM Mall of Asia. To put into context how large they are, the SM Mega Mall is over 500,000 m² with over 1000 stores. Canada’s largest shopping mall is the West Edmonton Mall, and that is over 350,000 m² with over 800 stores. In most cities in Canada, we don’t have a mall close in size to either of these mega malls in the Philippines. You can go to these mega malls every day of the week and discover a new store or restaurant.
Now, how much do customers love their malls? There were often line ups outside the malls in the morning before the shops were opened…and no, they were not employees.
The 2 malls that really stood out to me on my visit weren’t Manila’s largest shopping malls, but they were unique and worth a visit including:
- Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan in Metro Manila.
It was a tight market with many stalls, selling jewelry, knock offs, souvenirs and toys. It reminded me of markets I have visited in Beijing but with less aggressive store owners. I had to get use to vendors calling out “Hi Sir…hi ma’am…how much ma’am?” over and over. I felt pretty old when they call me ma’am. If possible, do travel in groups to this mall as I have heard from friends who have visited of stories of tourist being targeted…or in in other words “robbed”. There were tons of restaurants outside the shopping center to get your eat on.
- Greenbelt Mall in Makati City.
Greenbelt was the nicest mall I have ever been to in my life! It reminded me of a cross between Shops and Don Mills and Yorkville in Toronto but 10 x more beautiful with an outdoor luscious park and restaurants with plenty of patio space. Make sure to visit the Greenbelt chapel, which was also recommended by Time Magazine as a “must see” destination in the Philippines.
In both malls, the most happening place was the food court or the restaurants. The variety of the food was incredible with many inexpensive options for tasty food. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog posts about my food adventures in the Philippines.
Tell me about any cool malls that you have visited during your travels in the comments below. Happy shopping!
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