It seemed like a good idea at the time. Why not take a look at the Mall of Asia on its opening day? So off we went last Sunday. It was just us, and about a million other people.
Have you ever been caught inside Megamall, during a Midnight Madness sale? It felt like that last Sunday — except that the new mall’s impressive and accessible design allowed us to grab a lungful of fresh air whenever we needed to. We caught the Everest documentary in the country’s first Imax theater (contrary to what I expected and what PCIJ’s Vinia Datinguinoo wrote, this particular theater did not feature “the world’s largest wrap-around screen;” the screen did not wrap around the audience, but occupied only one wall, albeit a wall several stories high).
There were a few signs of lack of preparedness: woefully inadequate directionals for mall-goers in cars; not enough trash cans (the one outside the Imax exit on the second floor, near the stairs, overflowed with evidence of our disposable consumption culture); not a single ATM in the so-called Entertainment Mall, which is in effect an annex to the main mall. But except for a few stalls we saw at the back of the South Wing, the mall had its fill of locators, and most of the stores were open in time for the launch. The toilets were numerous, easy to spot, and clean. Security was friendly but tight. And yes, there were several ATMs in the main mall.
For my money, the restaurant row at the back is the best thing about the mall; you can eat your dinner or nurse your beer while watching the famous Manila Bay sunset. (Also, I counted five bookstores: National, Fully Booked, Books for Less, Book Sale, and A Different Bookstore, which had a 15-percent discount opening week promo. That alone might be worth coming back for.)