Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Manila Malls!

Malls, and more Manila malls! Looking back, I realised I have been to so many malls in Manila in my trip - most probably the most I've ever done!

Already, I've covered 3 rather different malls - Greenhills, Greenbelt, and Eastwood City... and here's a few more that I went to.

Bonifacio High Street

bonifacio high street
The first one I'd like to introduce is this high end enclave - which is like a work-play city. And like the name, it's pretty high end with high end shops and residences. Btw does the 2nd pic look foreign like in USA, by chance?

bonifacio high street cafeWhat I fancy here is the many shops and cafes around this area. They really take pains to decorate the shops - and really, it does feel all foreign here. I happen to have the opportunity to go into one of the cafes and just awe and admire the interior, while having a good cup of hot chocolate the night before.

Market! Market!

market marketIt may seem seem a lil surprising as just opposite the high end Bonifacio High Street is a mall which may just seem like the opposite, Market! Market! Though of course, it's not really that opposite.

Anyway, the first thing that caught my attention is this 'banana tree'. It sure gives a good start to the 'market'.

market market food courtThe food court here is much more reasonable compared to the restaurants at Bonifacio's. Just look at the prized piglet!

Another interesting thing here - the many local delicacies from all over Philippines - from Pahlawan to Bohol and more. Oh ya, I noticed that the Philippines is quite popular maker of peanut butter!

SM Mall Of Asia

mall of asiaThe one mall which I really wanted to visit - the biggest in Philippines and 3rd largest in the world is non other than this Mall Of Asia. The feel of the mall is nice.

It's just a pity I didn't have much time to cover the mall much - only going to one of its wing. But this mall which is by the bay is a nice hangout and I believe has everything there... this is one mall which I'll definitely come back - apart from Bonifacio of course.

SM Marikina

sm marikinaThe SM Malls seem pretty good - and one other one I visited is this boutique like mall... it's roughly the typical Philippines mall, maybe a bit middle-upper shops/ brands.

Anyway, the interesting thing I saw here apart from its airport-like high windows & ceilings is a drawing manga class held right in the middle of the mall.

Going to all these malls has given me a very positive outlook on this country which I have hardly heard much of before... I now understand the craze behing 'mall-ing' in the Philippines, and at the same time how big this country is, plus its potential.

Btw one more final mall to come - Megamall.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Greenbelt Philippines

makatiMall-ing continues to this rather high end shopping mall, Greenbelt. As I've mentioned, many friends have told me the wonder of Manila/ Philippines malls, so there I was in this award winning mall located in the new business district of Makati.

greenbelt shoppingThe exterior of the mall looks similar to the likes of Pavilion KL in some ways. I knew that I was in for a 'high end' experience.

greenbeltAnd true enough, the interior of the mall is rather high end... with a fair bit of branded shops. I enjoyed the music & bookstores here, which had a good selection of both local and international mix.

greenbelt cinemaI think space is one thing that this mall boasts - there's lots of open space, plus a garden as well (if not wrong, the mall won some international award for this).

greenbelt 5It was a pity I didn't have much more time to explore this beautiful mall for time constrain. But the time I had there, this mall sure gave one unique experience... something that one will be coming back for more! :)

The mall series continues...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Eastwood City Philippines

Malls, malls and more malls - well that is what I did in Manila... partly because I've heard so much about their malls from both local Filipinos and even other tourists who have visited there.

Plus the fact that my friends keep saying that "the malls in Manila are very nice" - not so much for the shops, but the whole way the malls are designed.

eastwood philippinesSo, there I was in one of their another mall, which is actually more like a commercial cum residential enclave - Eastwood City.

To some who has seen malls with space (a fair bit of it actually), this may just be another mall. But there's a few things that makes this mall area stand out.

eastwood concert areaThe space for outdoor concerts and the place for flea markets/ bazaars.

eastwood fountainThe musical fountain - though not very big, but I thought it was an effort by the management... it reminded me a bit of a Macau hotel and other tourist destinations, though this area is more for the locals than tourists.

eastwood puppetThe human statues which were quite a hit by passersby who like to take photos and tease a lil. Frankly, a mall don't need to do this... so when one does it, it's a nice touch.

eastwood puppet showAnother human statue - the more colourful one inside the mall.

eastwood restaurantThe mall area comes alive in the night... with lots of eateries and bars all catering to the working executives. And I think this is what makes such areas nice - its both work and play.

eastwood walk of fameAnd they also have the walk of fame. Out of curiousity, I was checking if it's updated or a has been - and true enough, it is updated... popular boxer Manny Pacquiao's Star is there too!

These are all small things, but like I said, most malls don't do such... in fact, not many malls have such small details to 'entertain'. But it's the small things when added together that makes Eastwood City cool!

eastwood pet for saleBtw, one of the things I saw here - a dog/ cat for adoption booth. Like how they 'market' it with the posters.

*I also like the cinema here where for about 400 peso, one can go for the full experience eat+drink all you want in their lazy-chair theatres.

*I had initially wanted to just combine this mall with all the other malls in my review, but then decided I won't do justice to this mall if I had done so... haha! Anyway, bigger malls on the way!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Greenhills Philippines

Franky I don't know how to start sharing my Philippines trip. There were so many things I saw and admired... (many times going Wow!).

Looking through my pics there are so many to share... and so I'm deciding to share - all. Yes, the many aspects of Philippines... which some will find unique, I'm sure. Whatever it is... here goes.

One of the first malls I visited was this rather popular mall called Greenhills.

greenhillsThe mall don't look like the rest of the swanky modern malls around Manila... but it has its own uniqueness. Interestingly, this mall is more locally visited though its now having more tourists.

greenhills manilaThe mall is quite well known for some 'designer goods', affordable paintings and souvenirs... it sure does look like one big 'market'. Just look how many stalls there are - and this is just one part of it.

greenhills tshirtAnd of the many tee shirts, was many yellow and white tees paying tribute to Cory Aquino, Philippine's former President. Now, that was fast... and of course very memorable tees.

greenhills foodApart from tees, the food stalls got me quite interested as well... there were quite a fair bit of Philippines food souvenirs one can buy home. And also, different coloured eggs - I wonder why :)

I realised I didn't take photos of the art paintings here - I must have been busy looking. Btw, I think were quite nice... lots of village scenery. Some of the paintings looked like home, and rather affordable (some may say cheap).

greenhills supermarketAnyway before departing, I did a quick stop at the supermarket - and am quite amused to find such a big trolley... which to me is just the start of all things interesting in Philippines... where, like much of Asean/ Asia - is a place of all things possible!

*There were also many different shops on the other side of the mall - like the usual shopping malls, selling goods like original DVDs, branded clothes, cinema, restaurants and more.

*Greenhills is located at Ortigas Ave., San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Wow, Philippines!

It's been a few days now that I'm in this country of many islands... and what a beautiful experience it has been so far! Yes, really - Wow, Philippines!

This is really amazing because my prior knowledge before coming here was quite little - minus the fact that I have heard statements that Filipinos are 'the friendliest people in the world', is very modern with very big malls, and have very scenic & beautiful beaches.

But like the saying goes, seeing is believing... and I can now agree with all the statements above.

Here are the few things I've noticed about Philippines and simply awed by:
1. Friendly people - and Happy too!
On the whole, the people here are friendly - to the likes of say, Thailand. And they are usually so happy & in many ways, carefree - making any local or tourist feel so comfortable and at home. Truly, I have not seen happier people in the world!

2. Good service
The greetings of "Hello, Sir", "Thank you, Sir", etc just gives such warmth feeling - something I believe many tourists will just feel like coming back. Add that with most Filipinos able to converse in English just makes the trip perfect.

3. Mega malls & more
Frankly, those who do not know much about the Philippines will not think much about their modern structures. But that's where I think most of us (pardon me) are wrong!

The malls here like Mall Of Asia, Mega Mall, Green Belt are huge - and the shops in them, very nice. (Btw, Philippines has 3 of the biggest malls in the world!).

Actually, it's not just the malls that are modern & big. Philippines too have many modern buildings in the metro Manila area - something my Pinoy friends are so proud of, and I think they have the right to. For example - the many enclaves like Eastwood & Serendra which also houses many nice shops.

4. People power & freedom
I am in a way fortunate to be here in the Philippines to witness such a grand stand off for their former President, Cory Aquino, the lady who gave the people its freedom & democracy rights.

Though not from the country, but I am touched with her spirit, her vision and her contributions to the country... just like my friends said - that's what makes Filipinos happy: freedom(!)

5. Entertainment power
We all know about Hollywood, Bollywood, and Korea and HK entertainment industries. But what most of us most likely don't know is how big the entertainment scene is right here in our neighbouring country.

Here's the big news: a friend mentions their top celebrities can earn up to 20million pesos (USD 400k)/ month! Never have I imagined this - for though smaller to say USA, but, in their own money, this is huge and a big deal!

Celebrities endorses everything here - from clothes to fast food... any consumer good possible. That's the star power!

I've also noticed that they have ratings, similar to that of USA... meaning, they are on the right track, practising from the best.

In fact, I believe their entertainment industry is already one of the top in the world, and is only time it will go beyond their shores (in fact, it has already - our very own Carmen Soo has already starred in their TV drama and is starting to make her name here).

I believe their free spirit and love for entertainment makes the Philippines entertainment industry a huge one. This is something we really should look up to - both in spirit & the works!

6. Beautiful & scenic places
As with many other South East Asian destinations, the Philippines is simply beautiful... so far, I'm proud to have experienced the beautiful Boracay & the chill Tagatay... and of course bustling Manila (more of these to come!).

I still have a few more days here in Philippines, after a good few days of business and leisure. Already I have so many good memories, but there's definitely more Wow experiences to come! :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Inspiring Friends

friends sitcom Recently, I just opened and started playing my DVD box set of one of the most popular TV series - Friends.

friends It has been such a long time since I first got glued to one of the most popular TV series of this group of 6... And though the show is somewhat old now (Season 1 premiered in 1993), however, just watching them again now makes me somehow connected all over again.

What I love bout the series:
1. The warmth of the 6 friends. It shoes how close friends can really be - this reminds me very much like friends in school.
2. The wit of the characters - especially Phobee's! The script is really perfectly crafted, and every series is a joy to watch!
3. Urban culture - the characters are facing what most Gen Y faces... growing up, surviving, dreams (eg Joey)... and a journey of friendship.
4. American culture - set in NY, this series do protray the American dream in some sorts, though not in the most ideal, but very much in the area of happiness & contentment.
Watching the series again gives quite a fair bit of good memories... for this is the series that in a way influenced me especially introducing me to the good of America.
Anyway, apart from just liking the series for it is, I'm also very inspired with the cast themselves. Though some of them has done some acting prior, however, before that - most of them are relatively not-so-known or unknown... more like 'struggling actors' wanting a breakthrough.
But in they came for the audition, got the roles, and see how their real lives are changed! From just another actor, they became one of TV's biggest starts, and apparently received USD1m/ episode in their final 2 seasons! More importantly, they are part of one of the most successful sitcoms ever.... something most actors would only dream of.

Now that sure is inspiring :)