Studies show that a majority of the Filipinos, despite their poverty and poor global economic standing, still enjoy and spend long hours in malls throughout the Philippines. Regardless of the status in life, many Filipinos can be found spending their time and what little they have left in the mall nearest them.
Shopping in the Philippines can be quite an experience since shopping isn’t constrained or limited to the various popular malls in Manila, but also to bazaars (“tiangges”) and wholesale public market places like Quiapo and Divisoria. Malls have become the go-to place for Filipinos not only to shop but also to dine, stroll around, relax and “unwind”. Coffee shops are the new additions the sprouting malls all over the country as business meetings, meet-ups and even family gatherings take place in malls.
Malls in the Philippines are one-stop establishments for everything the Filipino needs from groceries to movies, health (there are gyms), beauty (there are salons and spas) and even recreation (there are mini-parks in the newly built malls).
Easily crowned as the most popular chain of malls in the country, SM has 49 malls spread throughout the country.
SM North Edsa is considered the pioneer of Philippine malls because it was the first mall to provide the ulimate “mall shopping experience” to Filipinos. Its accessible, strategic and very convenient location made it such a hit and even a tourist spot back in the 1990s. Neighboring provinces like Bulacan and Pampanga even flock to the mall for leisure. Now it has expanded to include the Cyberzone Carpark, Annex, The Block and Sky Garden. Plans to build an IMAX movie theater is already in progress.
SM Mall of Asia is the largest mall in the Philippines and occupies the 7th position as one of the largest malls in the world. Located along the relocation area of Manila Bay, SM MOA as it commonly called, offers over 600 shops inside its mall building. It is also the first establishment to have an IMAX theater offering. Aside from the vast (and international) dining experience choices they have to offer, SM Mall of Asia is also home to the country’s first Olympic-sized skating rink.
Not to be missed are the own chain of Ayala Malls. Consisting of Trinoma (Triangle North of Manila), Glorietta and Greenbelt, Ayala malls are usually associated with upper class society. Greenbelt for one is known to be the mall where the rich shop and the rest just window shop. Greenbelt has four different malls – Greenbelt 1 is the original building housing the Onstage theater, Greenbelt 2 offers fine dining, Greenbelt 3 boutique shops and cinemas and Greenbelt 4 high end retail and designer stores.