Saturday, May 20, 2006

Going to the opening of the massive SM Mall of Asia on the outer fringes of Pasay City was the highlight of this day. The mall officially opens to the public tomorrow but that didn't those who knew about the soft opening today (invitations came via my younger brother who works at the main office). Although everybody was looking forward to this one the fatigue of waiting after having the date of the opening moved three times (December, February, and finally, May) the adrenalin rush of stepping on its polished floors was almost gone. Still, the wonder of seeing the whole building up close and the question of its ability to live up to its promise of bringing in the crowds was something that occupied our minds.

The inside of the main entrance is really spiffy looking. The first thing one would notice when you get inside were the statuesque greeters dressed in tie-dyed diaphanous gowns standing beside the red carpet that had been rolled out from the door down halfway through the floor. There was also a registration table at the right side of the red carpet where we're supposed to surrender our invites but since we missed it by a good two hours already we just signed our names. Apparently that was just for formalities since you could also get in in one of the multiple entrances they have in the building and still get in.

The airport from THE FUTURE!!! TURe-TUre-Ture-ture...


The first thing we hit was the foodcourt. The place is so huge you'd be overwhelmed first and lost second if you fail to take note of some landmarks on your way around. I was impressed with the size of the ice skating rink the first time I saw it. It had a huge picture of (what I think to be) Mount Everest as a backdrop, a hockey scoring board at the corner near where they keep the zamboni, and a built in step/seats surrounding the second level view surrounding the rink. Be wary of using the cellphone inside the food court though, you'd hardly get a signal inside and you have to walk a long way towards one of those big skylights dotting the main hall to get one. That's what happened when I tried to get in touch with my sister who we're supposed to meet a couple hours later when she gets off from work (she's also working in the main office of SM). Afterwards we went towards the back and got a glimpse of the cinemas. I don't know if has something to do with the size of the mall but my parents were understandably overwhelmed as they walked more slowly than they usually do. At least I think they did. We walked along the back of the mall and came upon the entertainment area where a lot of executives and their guests, who were dressed to the nines, were having their own cocktail party while a lot of hula dancers were performing on stage.

Fire dancers

Hula dancers

In case you don't know it yet, hula dancing was originally part of a religious ceremony in honor of the Hawaiian gods. It was a means of mythological storytelling and were primarily performed by male dancers, until the early 1820s when the first missionaries arrived and promptly forbid the new Christian converts from participating in this pagan practice. The ban was upheld by the Hawaiian royalties because it looks lascivious and because of its pagan ties until the late 1800s when it was brought back by King David Kalakaua as a legitimate symbol and expression of Hawaii. This time they brought in the girls to dance and that's how it is until now.* While watching the elegant moves on stage I began to think, what if these dances were brought back to its religious aspect and instead of honoring pagan gods what it were performed in honor and as a form of expression of praise to God? Amazing.

After the show we continued our walk toward the department store. When we arrived there, there was this refreshingly fragrant smell of everything new. There was hardly any crowd inside, the place was well lit, and the department store people placed close attention to you every need. I hate crowded areas. I hate the idea of lacking space in a place where I need to see the panorama first before diving in to details. Then there was also the 10% discount they offered that was applicable only today. My mom then started trying out some shoes while I wandered off to the backpack section. I got this nifty bag with multiple pockets and compartments for folders and such. But the main clincher was the compartment provision for a laptop (which I'm aiming to get by the end of this year). This is a good bag and it's the same large size I'm looking for too. It was around that time when my sister caught up with us and gave a short tour of the department she's in charge of. We then went down to the ground floor and browsed around some more before heading back to the main building and making a last stop at the Surplus Shop before we leave for home. My sister got the surprise of her life when she saw one of her bosses, Harley Sy. She was flabbergasted and fumbled her words in between a lot of nervous laugh as she made small talk before introducing us. The Sy scion looked definitely down to earth and accomodating, he even introduced himself to my dad as my sister's officemate. We were like, "WHAT?" in our heads before having a good laugh among ourselves on the way to the parking lot.

The Big Cheese itself.

We got our first glimpse of the IMAX theater at the parking lot. This is the next big thing that will change the way people in this country views movie watching. It's been a long time since we watched something on it and it was mind blowing. Now it's here and we can't wait to see what movie we'll be able to see there.

* Reference lifted from: In Step Studio - Polynesian (hula) Dance.

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