In response to Ayala’s more upscale shopping centers, Henry Sy, founder of the SM mall chains, retaliates in a way only the richest man in the Philippines would-with uber shiny, modern, gregarious mega- mall, Aura, in Global City, Taguig.
234,892 sqm of retail, business space, IMAX theater, convention center, concert hall, and chapel are enclosed in a beautiful glass structure designed by a Miami based architectural firm with the added benefit of a beautiful “Sky Park” on the roof. It also so happens to be a ten minute walk from our condo. As SM Aura Premier boasts the opening of international fashion lines Suiteblanco, Stefanel, Minelli, TM Lewin, J. Lindberg, B.B. Dakota and River Island, as well as French bakery Paul in the Philippines, it seemed criminal not to see what the fuss is all about. SM flew in Sarah Jessica Parker last night for the official launch of the shopping center, a very telling sign of the haute exclusivity they are trying to exude.
It is exciting that a more diverse shopping space from the rest of the identical malls littering the metro is now in my very own backyard. Many of the stores are yet unopened but the space is undoubtedly beautiful. The SM grocery store selection of international goods was nothing short of arousing. The booze was wickedly cheap. Human cut-outs of store personnel assisted customers out of their hologram mouths. The elevators had smartly dressed female attendants to press buttons for those with fingers too weary to do so.
The only downside: there were way too many people. It was silly how many people congregated at the new mall just to see the reality of the 47th addition to the SM chain. I saw far too many just sitting at the very beautiful un-foodcourt-like tables of the foodcourt sans any trace of bought refreshment, just idling. It was strange. Despite the rows and rows of snacks seen last on some previous trip abroad and beckoning me from every aisle of the supermarket, I just couldn’t stomach waiting in a two hour line for them. So we left empty-handed but determined to return to this shiny new shopping mecca on another day, but rest assured, first thing in the morning.