If you think you get what a mega-mall is, you probably have yet to visit Manila. During my stay this month in the Philippines’ capital, I quickly learned that this city takes the art of the shopping mall to a whole new level.
To get a good idea of the Filipino mall, think of the largest mall you’ve been to, like a Westfield shopping center, then multiply its size times three, and then connect five more of those malls with a series of covered pedestrian walkways that cross over streets and zig-zag across and around several city blocks. Add to this giant complex a movie theater, cafes, restaurants and a Catholic chapel (so you can run to mass between grabbing your Starbucks frappucino and buying a new pair of shoes), and there you have “mall-ing culture” as defined by shopping crazed Filipinos!
As much as I loved taking refuge in the air-conditioned malls to escape the tropical heat and flash thunderstorms typical of rainy season, it was an even bigger treat to hit up the local markets. There, I practiced my haggling skills, scoped out locally made goods, and found a few great bargains. Check out more of my marketplace finds in a post I wrote today on the Chronicle’s “Unzipped” style blog at sfgate.com.