Upon arrival in Manila you may discover how hot and balmy the weather is and how you need to find air con ASAP! In the metro Manila area part of the lifestyle of living here is actually going to the malls to stay cool and get your errands done. Some people go to malls for window shopping or just to browse around while others go to malls to tackle many tasks at one location.
It’s sometimes overwhelming to discover which mall you actually want to visit because there are too many to choose from; SM Manila, Mall of Asia, Robinson’s, and so forth. In the Philippines, shopping malls offer so much more than just shopping. For many people in western countries going to the mall isn’t an everyday habit to “kill time”. We actually go when we literally need to buy something or window shop. But in the Philippines you go to the mall to eat meals with family and friends, pay bills at SM, do some grocery shopping, browse for home goods at Lowes, get a massage or foot spa, mail or send parcels, drop off the kids at kiddy play zones for a designated amount of time, watch a movie in the theater and also for other entertainment purposes.
Families actually walk the mall together to just simply get out of the house because they don’t have Air Con in their dwellings and want a change of scenery. I find this phenomenon and way of living mind blowing compared to the reasoning for malling in the west. But we need to factor my main point of seeking Air Con for the top reasoning for malling in the Philippines. Back home I never go to the mall unless Macy’s is having a sale and I have a surplus of coupons to shop around and buy what I need getting unbelievable deals to show my mom when I come back home. “Malling” in my family happens usually during the holidays when we are shopping for gifts and usually this isn’t done as a family. We usually go on our own and at our own pace. Malling in the Philippines is for multipurpose task running where you can get a lot of errands done in one place instead or driving around the city trying to find parking spots for all of the individual places you need to visit to get your errands done for; massage, mailing a parcel, grocery shopping, eating a meal, buying a light bulb, and finally breaking for a coffee with friends or family.
So whether you’re visiting the metropolitan Manila area before heading to another destination keep in mind that you are going to do some serious people watching here! If you head over to Starbucks or Bo’s Coffee you will find many students with their books open and a frappachino studying for endless hours. Security will greet you at the door and even open it for you with a lovely “Hello Ma’m or Sir” greeting. Back home we usually go to Starbucks to meet up with friends to catch up. Starbucks is usually a good meeting place for business or quick coffee dates. I think that any traveler will be surprised by the security greeting you from all entrances of the mall with wooden sticks briefly checking through your belongings making sure you aren’t carrying weapons. But how carefully are they really checking through your bags?
Be sure to eat some of the snacks such as buko juice, brownies, bibimka bread, and lumpia. I have come up with the conclusion that the reason why you will be paying a quadruple cost for the lumpia (usually 10 php each) in the malls is because you are essentially paying for the aircon that comes along with it! Take note at the salespeople in the store as you browse around. They usually greet you with “ma’m and sir” followed by “what are you looking for today?” as they follow you around the store. One thing that I like about retail in the Philippines is that you are never ignored! I can’t even come up with how many times I actually had a question or couldn’t find an item in the mall and could not find one salesperson to assist me or one that looked like they were interested in assisting me. Get ready for plenty of pleasant greetings, some good people watching, and oh..some Air Con!