After much orchestration, we finally trooped over to the SM Mall of Asia one early Friday just to see what the hype was all about. Said to be the third largest mall in the world (and the largest in Asia), MOA had its filled-to-the-rafters moment when it first opened. Every curious Juan from all corners of the metropolis, including the neighbouring provinces seem to want to see what this concrete giant had to offer.
"Lahat ng tao andiyan. You get your tsinelas crowd and your Greenbelt-going mall denizen all in one roof," said one client. (Expect to see a mix of people from all walks of life.)
"Ingat sa mga Pasay panks," said one friend, who apparently disliked the threat to his security.
Huge. Photo from www.yugatech.com
The steel globe fronting the mall. Photo from www.yugatech.com
Built on 148 acres of reclaimed land, the mall has around 4.3 million square feet of floor space. And that's a lot of space to accommodate people, which was the primary reason why we were a bit hesitant to check it out. With Christmas around the corner, our patience for mall crowds runs thin.
But surprise, surprise. It was a breeze to park inside the mall's indoor parking area (we were there by 10AM). I just wish they gave out plastic parking tickets instead of paper, because, one, it's easy to lose a small piece of paper (it looked like a receipt), and second, it's not very friendly to the environment.
A quick brunch at Jatujak, an authentic Thai restaurant found on the second level of the mall, immediately scored the mall brownie points with us.
Jatujak. Thai Food. Thai Ice Coffee.
Grilled squid, good for two.
You can't not have tom yam kung.
Going, going, gone!
I was expecting a claustrophobic SM Megamall experience, after all, they're owned by the same developer. The indoor perimeter consists of open spaces which eventually leads into the air-conditioned part of the mall. I like how you get a waft of the sea air when you're just walking outside. Having it by the bay is pretty cool, actually.
Haha! So Pinoy.
Guess which planner has a hang over?
A quick respite at Starbucks (there seems to be two of them in there) and we were off exploring again.
Other stores you can find here that's not anywhere else include the just-opened Marionnaud, Philosophy Men (yes, those are pekpek shorts for men, okay?), and a fantastic steak house called Highlands Steakhouse. The Motorola concept store is there as well. I'm just glad they finally have most of the phone models available for tinkering. Can we not have the plastic ones anymore? I don't think it helps. Really. My respondent said so.
MOA also has the country's first IMAX theatre, and an Olympic-sized skating rink that's ready for ice hockey action. We were thinking of getting some people together for a scrimmage soon. Maybe after we learn how to ice skate first.
Some tips to those who haven't been to MOA. Come early, especially if you're bringing a car. By the time we left at around two in the afternoon, there were only a few slots left in the indoor parking area. There's a lot of walking involved, so do wear comfortable shoes. It's not the size of Chatuchak, so get over those horror stories about it being soooo big. The toilets are still clean, but it's not Rockwell, so bring tissues. Right, Gino? Hehe.
We weren't able to exhaustively comb the mall, so we're all set to go for another round at Henry Sy's new commercial project. Especially while the hoopla of it being so crowded hasn't died down yet.