Filipinos are known to be mall rats! Goodness, I cannot even help it myself. Wherever I go, Malls interest me. Yes, I also love beaches, bars and other hang out or relaxing places. But, hey! Filipinos has a unique way of relaxing! Going to the malls!
In the Philippines, we are proud to have Mall of Asia by SM, that claims to be the largest shopping mall of Asia. I am not sure, though. Because Mall of Dubai opened its doors this November and it is now claiming to be the center of the world, being the largest shopping mall.
I am of course, fascinated by the grandiose sizes of the malls nowadays. However, probably because of my personality and the nature of my work, size is not the number one consideration for me. I adore malls that provides quality services, in terms of amenities and personal touch.
I remember being a fan of Alabang Town Center. It is very small compared to the sizes of SM and Robinsons in Mandaluyong. ATC has its personal touch that makes you feel at home. Aside from its nice comfort rooms and of course the theatre. Maybe, ATC has the familiarity of NE Pacific Mall and NE Shopping Mall, the first mall I have worked with. Fact is, that mall is the first building to have escalator in our province! It's not really big, almost similar to Guam's Micronesia Mall, very airy and kinda have the tropical atmosphere.
Talking about restrooms, I am amazed by the posh facilities of Dubai Festival City Mall. Being a promdi, it is way way beyond my own words. Eye-dropping earth color inspired with elaborate tile designs. It is too luxurious for me. Far, far better than even the five star hotels I've been to.
Just like how I liked the mall in my home country, I adored the malls in Dubai - and there's a lot! I've visited Mall of the Emirates that boasts of the second largest indoor snow activities and with nice ceiling and roof designs. The same goes with IBN Batuta Mall which has major contemporary designs of Asian influences in each wing areas such as Egyptian, Indian and Chinese courts. The intricate and elaborate designs of IBN Batuta is so amazing - even ceilings and chandeliers are so adorable as well as its tiger fountains. Others are the City Center Mall in Deira and Al Ghurair Mall and the one by Jumeirah Beach Park. Some of the names of the other malls escaped my memory already.
Of all these malls, i prefer Madinat Jumeirah. The old and ancient architecture of the shopping center makes it unique, as well as being just beside the creek - overlooking Madinat Jumeirah Hotel and the Burj Al Arab (a 7-star hotel). Oh, it is really relaxing having coffee in that mall at night, while looking at the play of lights of distant buildings as people of about twenty nationalities bumped into each other. One, that I also love visiting is Mercatto Mall, maybe because of its shops and the people who frequents the place. The mall's design is like a palace and, probably, it has an effect on the people that visits the place. It is like shopping amongst dignitaries and royalties!
That reminds me of one shopping strip in California that is unique mainly because of the customer base and the mixture of shops and dining place. Santana Row of San Jose, California is better visited at night in order to enjoy the place. I remember having fun with my friends while (window) shopping in the very expensive shops in there. Food is reasonable and there are dining areas if the cravings are geared towards Italian, Japanese, Mexican,.. Name it, you'll have it. I remember one night, I rendered a slow rock song in an Irish Pub! Well, that's one hobby I'm kinda proud of.... singing.
Back to San Jose, the biggest city in California, there are also some good shopping malls within and nearby cities. Great Mall, The EastRidge are generally okay. The biggest mall there is Valley Fair (which is very near Santana Row). The City also has this Flea Market that offers cheaper merchandise in various stalls covering, maybe a hectare-the largest open flea market in USA! Outside San Jose, there is Oakridge Mall and some good malls in Los Gatos and Palo Alto.
It also very near San Francisco. Macy's in Union Square is a must visit as well as the Cheesecake Factory on the upper floor! Of course, shopping must be completed by dropping by China Town which is just a few minutes walk from San Francisco Shopping Center.
The list goes on and on .. and it will continue like forever. As a Filipino, who, undeniably is a mall rat, I know I hope to visit other malls in various parts of the world!
New shopping malls are sprouting like mushrooms here and there. Different concepts, different sizes and different appeals to the buying public.
Wait for the Promdi Pinoy and see how these malls will be rated!!