Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Filipino Zone

Greenbelt 5 in Makati City is, if my memory serves me correctly, the highest of all high-end shopping malls I have ever been to.

I wandered into the place to see what's new in Manila when I was there two weeks ago (being invited to two Manila weddings conveniently scheduled on consecutive Saturdays is a great excuse to take a weeklong vacation).

It felt like I should have paid an entrance fee just for setting foot on this place, besmirching their floor tiles with my commoner shoes and breathing their air into my lungs.

Being a relatively new place, a lot of the retail places weren't open yet and there were barely any people, compounding the creepy feeling that I had this billion-peso mall all to myself.

Maybe you can't tell from this picture, but this place is crazy extravagant. Handbags that cost as much as a house. Shoe stores you could mistake for art galleries. The people who are capable of shopping here are people of a world I do not know.

It's extravagance that seems, perhaps, socially sinful. And it takes a lot for me to get to thinking like that. It's amazing, but doesn't feel right. Like Dubai, whose economy is based on building crazy stuff for the purpose of making no sense at all. What kind of people come to these shops to actually buy stuff?

And then I saw this:

Oh, ok. The Filipino Zone. It's downstairs.

That's when I knew, for sure, that this is not the place where I belong.


  1. You're not kidding about the handbags that cost as much as a house. I don't know what they're selling in G5, but one of my former students owns a handbag that costs 300k. That's two Gawad Kalinga houses, right there.

    And I also agree with you about some of this high-end stuff being socially sinful. I don't begrudge anyone their pleasures. Let's just say that in my classification scheme, I lump the Philippine Tatler in the same category as dog fights, recreational drugs, and child pornography.