Eat, pray, shop: Philippine malls become the new town plazas

South China Morning Post
Release Date: 
July 30, 2015

With their functions expanding from shopping and dining to venues for Catholic mass, Zumba workouts or even weddings, experts say malls are taking on a more important role at the heart of communities.

Filipino life traditionally revolved around a public square, with a church, local government building and market attached, where adults socialised and children played, according to urban planner Felino Palafox.

But while malls have long been a mainstay of urban Manila -- the capital has at least 153 peppering its skyline -- the neon-lit consumer temples are now sweeping across the Philippine archipelago, penetrating even rural areas.

“They have replaced the public plazas as gathering places,” Palafox said.