250px-torontoeatoncentre.jpgThis holiday season I took a much needed break just before Christmas and spent a great deal of time lurking in malls – before Christmas to finish the holiday shopping and after Christmas to snap up bargains and good deals. If there was anything positive I could say about my prolonged exposure to mall mania they were the long walks that gave me quite a bit of exercise at this time of year when the outdoors is colder than the freezer. I likewise enjoyed my sedentary moments at the bench, sipping coffee and reading the paper and occasionally browsing the net on my Blackberry. By now you would have figured out that I am not the prolific shopper – just a bodyguard and driver to you know who πŸ™‚

If there were no malls in this part of the world, shopping would be an ordeal, with the cold and harsh winter forcing you to bundle up, the mall is a refuge where you can shop, relax and not worry about the weather. One of the great things this city has done was the construction of the PATH, an underground walkway full of shops and food courts that connects to downtown buildings, hotels and subway stations with a leasable space of 4 million square feet . It is one step above the mall concept but doesn’t qualify as a mall in itself.

One would imagine that the largest malls would be in prosperous first world countries but suprisingly, they are not. The largest malls are in Asian countries and amazingly, 3 out of the 10 largest malls in the world are in R.P. !

Top Ten Largest Malls in the World

1. South China Mall – Dongguan, China : Gross Leasable Area: 7.1 million square feet
2. Golden Resources Shopping Mall – Beijing, China :Gross Leasable Area: 6 million square feet
3. SM Mall of Asia – Pasay City, Philippines : Gross Leasable Area: 4.2 million square feet
4. West Edmonton Mall – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada :Gross Leasable Area: 3.8 million square feet
5. SM Megamall – Mandaluyong City, Philippines : Gross Leasable Area: 3.6 million square feet
6. Berjaya Times Square – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia : Gross Leasable Area: 3.4 million square feet
7. Beijing Mall – Beijing, China : Gross Leasable Area: 3.4 million square feet
8. Zhengjia Plaza – Guangzhou, China : Gross Leasable Area: 3 million square feet
9. SM City North Edsa – Quezon City, Philippines : Gross Leasable Area: 3 million square feet
10. King of Prussia Mall – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA : Gross Leasable Area: 2.8 million square feet

Is this an aberration or what ? Pinas, a middle of pack country ranked 90th in the world according to the U.N. Human Development Index report having the luxury to build 3 of the top 10 largest malls in the world? You must be kidding. Never mind China – its headcount numbering in billions justifies its spacious and gargantuan malls. I don’t think anyone would argue about that. If RP has the money to construct 3 of the largest malls in the world, it follows that there is money to be spent in these malls, let alone money to be invested by the thousands of tenants who will be leasing and constructing their stores in the millions of square feet of real estate inside these malls ! These mega malls thrive and prosper and increase in numbers and the owners cashing in on the windfall – now who says that Pinas is poor? πŸ˜‰


If you find YouTube great with amusing and entertaining you, here’s one that we will be seeing more in future – public service. A storeowner posted this on YouTube, hoping that people would come out and identify two thieves that stole expensive watches from his shop. Here’s the full URL of the video.

He also posted this information on the video clip :

Thief strikes again at Big Sticks Fine Cigars. $1000 reward. This time we got more information. Driving a faded white 1976, 1977, 1978 short box, full size old Chevy/GMC work van. AZ License Plate # 329-NFD. They worked as a team this time; Thief #1 in white shirt and white ball cap, Thief #2 with really short haircut. Thief #2 distracted employee while Thief #1 took watch from display case. Clear face pics of both. Additional information at

It’s really not safe anymore isn’t it folks? I mean talking about our privacy ! With cell phone cams and video surveillance cameras of homeland security all over the place, you can get tagged and featured in cyberspace so better watch out 😎 Here’s the 64 dollar question – where do we draw a line between what’s legit public service and a ruse or scam or personal defamation ?

40 Responses

  1. I completely avoided the malls this year and did all my shopping online. I used to find the best prices and then went from there.

  2. I love to chill inside malls πŸ™‚ Nice place to spend idle time.

    Gosh, I hope they catch those thieves.

  3. 3 malls in a third world country like Pinas making it to the top ten largest is indeed an aberration. It should probably be a source of shame rather than pride…

    Heh, ain’t YouTube great? πŸ˜€

  4. Dylan – online shopping is great if you don’t have time to go out. I am always wary of shipping charges when it comes to online shopping though but sometimes they waive it.

  5. Irrealis – really depends on the kind of mall. If it is packed with people it can be an ordeal too πŸ™‚ But yeah, it’s a one stop shop kind of deal for some folks.

  6. Snglguy- it probably says two things ; there’s lots of money to be spent on these humongous structures and there’s enough people suckered to spend their monthly paychecks to sustain them πŸ™‚

  7. oh no malls again! this is great info, btw, since SM north edsa released the demolition ball on its annex to rebuild it maybe due to stiff competition from Trinoma. the banners say:one of the biggest malls in the world just got even bigger. the crowds now prefer Trinoma here including Tutubi afflicted with mallphobia πŸ˜›

  8. Tutubi – wow, we’re talking of Pinas mall wars now hehe πŸ™‚ Well the SM group have always been the mall savvy folks and they wouldn’t be outdone ! Look for SM North Edsa climbing up a few notches in the top 10 list πŸ™‚

  9. 3 SM Malls are in the top ten largest yet they still overflow with people. Amazing!

    What are those bats/birds in the mall BW?

  10. Toe – SM must have figured out that a metro city of 13 million will have no shortage of bodies to fill these mega malls πŸ™‚ Also notice the strategic location of the 3 mega malls – Pasay, Mandaluyong and QC, spread all around.

    The pic is the pretty Eaton Centre mall in downtown Toronto. It is large, about 1.8m square feet but not large enough to qualify as a mega mall. The birds are fake hanging from the ceiling. If it was real, it would be the fist aviary mall in the world and I would be wearing helmet and goggles hahaha πŸ™‚

  11. Yes, I agree – so little privacy left. I guess it’s only in our own homes that we can declare we are safe. πŸ™‚

    As to the exercise you got from walking in the malls – I’d say it’s not a health exercise because there’s some strain and pressure attached to it – especially when trying to find an item, and therefore you end up more exhausted than exhilarated. πŸ™‚

  12. Rhodora – some malls here have banned using cellphones inside washrooms and keep the entrances open. It’s one precaution to keep people from using their cellphone cams wantonly.

    Re the mall exercise, I am keeping the shopping stress to my better half so I make it a point to walk around while she is shopping. As usual I ‘d be the baggage boy hehe πŸ™‚

  13. the investors have the money…the government? nada!

    that’s a great idea – PATH I mean.

  14. Ipanema – suffice to say that credit goes to the private investors for risking their money in constructing these mega malls πŸ™‚

    Yes, the PATH is an excellent idea. It’s one place where people congregate in the controlled environment of the underground in winter and even summer πŸ™‚

  15. Why not make these mega malls as siphon for all those OFW remittances. Come to think of it, the families who are left here just see it as shopping money. Unfortunately, for one who has been to most major malls in the country, there isn’t just anything new. It has become a generic all-in-one stop that can get stressful at times.

  16. Im not really much of a mall person. Too crowded and i can’t haggle. Lolz.

    Anyways, happy new year and wish u the best in 2008.

    I linked you, hope it’s ok.

  17. I tried to stay away from the malls for my Christmas shopping. I went to factory outlets instead. Parking is much better on this kind of stores, although you have to keep going out in the cold to go to anoher store.

    re: privacy, I better make sure I am always at my best just in case I get discovered in “You Tube”

  18. Estan – perhaps it’s the OFW remittances that likewise help keep these mega malls afloat πŸ™‚

  19. Lawstude – I’m really not a mall person too but if I need a brisk walk around, it’s one place I could use in winter. You would porobably not see me in the malls in summer πŸ˜‰

    Happy New Year to you too amd thanks, I will link you too 😎

  20. Leah – the factory outlets are a great place to shop too but since my better half isn’t known for making quick decisions, we would be circling around the area several times in the cold , so I figure the mall would be safer hehe πŸ™‚

    You bet – if you get to YouTube, better be at your best ! haha πŸ™‚

  21. three of the top 10 malls in the philippines, isn’t that something? di na yata kasi natin kaya ang humabol sa top 10 in terms of economy. so we might as well just build large malls, hahaha πŸ˜€

  22. Edsa from end to end is a mere 15-minute drive without traffic, yet that entire stretch is filled with humongous malls. And that doesn’t even include the “tiangges” in between. Astonishing, isn’t it?

    But yes … there’s an incredible amount of money in the Philippines according to my niece who is a senior executive in the country’s largest banking concern. Interestingly, on the first two days of my first visit in Manila alone, gut feeling suggested it as such. Let’s not forget the OFW dollars, either.

  23. Nell – true indeed, we’re far from the gutter if you really think about it. About 15 years ago someone told me there was only one supermarket in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Sometimes people talk about extreme poverty but they haven’t seen what it is like in the poorest countries of the world 😦

    There’s about 32 SM malls all over Pinas. SM has also branches in China – SM North Xiamen, SM South Xiamen and SM Chuan (soon to open;under construction). There is also SM Guam, in Agana, capital of Guam. Looks like SM has designs of becoming an internaitonal mall enterpreneur πŸ™‚

  24. Eric – definitely agree with you. At the rate the condos and resort real estate show up in the market, one wonders – who are buying them? There’s the OFW dollars, the balikbayan investors and foreign investors that for sure contribute to the economy but I think the spending habits of Pinoys consumers keep the economy afloat πŸ™‚ Just imagine SMART, cashing in on the cellular market windfall and making a ton of money to buy PLDT the national carrier( but retained its name PLDT being listed in the NYSE) ? Now that’s unheard of !

  25. LOL. I found that funny when I found out 3 out of 10 were here in the P.I. I guess it doesn’t necessarily say that the P.I. isn’t poor… I think it says the distribution of wealth here is in extremes! hehehehe

    I personally do not like the whole idea malls are based on, commercialism and what not.. But I do love the whole idea of congregation it makes. There are just times when I wanna get lost in a sea of people, and malls gives me just that. (Plus the convenience of everything in a single place)

    Like you, I do much thinking as well while I’m malling. hehe

    A Prosperous 2008 bw!

  26. What makes malls popular in Pinas? Free airconditioning. πŸ™‚

  27. Alternati – it is quite sad to think that some people find malls a place to spend their idle time rather than outdoor parks πŸ™‚ I rarely go to malls in summer unless I want to shop or eat. If you’re a bit lonely the malls in Pinas will certainly keep you awake hehe πŸ™‚

  28. Abaniko – not only in winter but in cases of extreme hot weather in summer the government here actually advises people to get wet in public beaches and swimming pools or stay in malls to cool off πŸ™‚ I rarely hear of people die of heat strokes in Pinas but here the seniors, the old folks are very vulnerable to it. Large malls definitely help.

  29. Happy New Year! Wish you a wonderful year ahead!

    Those Filipino malls are puzzling me… never thought about the Philippines as poor. Only the wealth is badly spread among its population.

  30. Sidney – Happy New Year to you too ! Welcome back and hope you had a wonderful holiday in Belgium πŸ™‚

    I might be chastised for saying this, but the poor people are a necessary ingredient in the Pinoy society. The haves need the have nots so they have people to serve them. Imagine a Pinas minus the katulongs, yayas, drivers -it won’t be Pinas then !

    Could you figure someone in Pinas having a 5 bedroom house and 3 cars doing his own ironing, cooking and laundry ? Never ! πŸ™‚

  31. Pinas, poor? You wonder.

    Me too. My office is located in Eastwood and every time I’m there, I feel like I’m in a different dimension/time space warp.

    Eastwood is so un-Philippines. He, he…

  32. It is an aberation or a paradox or both. Bakit nga ba. And there are more coming up. 😦

  33. No sheet? 3 out of 10?

    eh kasi nga naman, napakainit sa Manila, so kaya i-accommodate ng 3 na yan ang mga nagpapalamig, o di ba? πŸ˜‰

    bw, hello!!

  34. Jeff – been once to Eastwood only in 2005. That place is posh man πŸ™‚

  35. Annamanila – it is indeed a paradox to me. The haves are trying to build expecting the have nots to spend their money on them!

  36. Thess – hello there πŸ™‚ Airconditioning is probably the only real public service aspect of these mega malls which we have to thank for hehe πŸ™‚

  37. Isn’t it Great! but I wish that not only in building up a mall the Philippines would progress.

  38. Milady – HOPEFULLY 😯 the VAT taxes consumers pay and corporate taxes these mall conglomerates pay are getting into the government’s treasure chest 😐

  39. just meandered in….

    Gotta love google, very neat stuff. Thanks….

  40. […] to do with Christmas time shopping or reflective of a typical day atΒ a mall.Β  In giant malls like Mall of Asia or Mega Mall perhaps, where getting from one store to another can be physically challenging. […]

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