While in Davao, something brought the entire city to a standstill. Traffic was truly awful the entire day, being backed up for miles in every direction. The jeepneys (Filipino public transportation) were full. Absolutely full.
What could cause so much chaos?
Some accident? Lady Gaga selling durian on the side of the road? The animals escaping from the zoo?
No. The opening of a new mall.
Yes, Filipinos love their malls. Heavily influenced by American culture from colonial times, malls here are a refuge from the hot, rainy, tropical cities.
With air conditioning a luxury, malls are a cool environment to pass a few hours or the entire day. Similarly, parks aren’t really big here at all. Perhaps it’s partly the security concerns, but malls serve as a public meeting place as well as a place to walk around and burn some calories. Sadly, all malls here have security guards that probe your bags with drum sticks to ensure you don’t bring something bad inside, and pat your back and sides to ensure you don’t have a weapon.
I went to the mall on its second day being open and there was a concert going on inside. Malls here generally have some kind of spectacle going on to attract customers. Unfortunately, it sometimes makes it impossible to have conversations due to the loudness!
The interesting thing is that, in general, all the malls here have the same stores. And most have a dedicated “Cyberzone” for electronics. Also a food court, of course.
So, although I don’t like malls.. at all.. I actually get physically sick when I go to malls in the US.. it was interesting to see how they are used here in The Philippines. I just wish there were other more healthy outlets available for the people here to meet and hang out in.