Thursday, December 07, 2006

Greenbelt



During my second brief trip to Manila, I was able to get some short glimpses of a couple of places to be seen in the booming Philippine metropolis. Greenbelt was one of those sites.

It is one of a handful of high-end park and mall complexes located in the heart of Makati. Teeming with bright lights, especially now during the holiday season, and manifesting a modern and wealthy top-of-the-line aura, Greenbelt is one of the places that will dazzle and impress visitors abound. I was quite surprised myself while passing through the powerhouse area that is Makati and then walking through the remarkable Greenbelt complex.

Quite frankly, I was taken aback to see so many Filipinos and foreigners displaying such Philippine-inordinary wealth. The structure and appearance of the place itself already easily surpasses the quality of Houston and other US park and/or mall complexes that I've been to. The advancement of technology was also apparent as I passed by the shopping areas and seemed to be showcasing more available modern luxuries and capabilities than what can be shopped for in the US metropolitan areas I've been to. Not only that, but the products are cheaper too. The parks were clean and embellished with glorious fountains and embroidered with lights that nicely coalesced with the trees and shrubbery. The high-class restaurants that lined the area exhibited impressive elegance, unique style, and professionalism that strongly rivals the scattered few in the US.

Even the general department stores put to shame the best "Wal-marts" the US could offer. And it's not just that it was cleaner in appearance, but also because of the availability of products they offer. Department stores already had such a wide and detailed selection, that the numerous specialty shops would put any critic to silence who claimed the Philippines lacked the finer and rarer products of the world. And furthermore, the professionalism and discipline of its customer service and staff was already obvious just by observing their appearance and demeanor. This factor is quite important, for me at least, and could really be the deciding factor between a sale and/or customer satisfaction and no sale and/or upset customers. I remember how much it irritated me (and many other customers) to be received by staff in the US who just look like that they don't even want to talk to you, never mind helping you out with what you need if they weren't obligated to do so. And I guess that there is people like that all over the world, including the Philippines. But for the most part, that's where the Filipino people's general disposition triumphs once again compared to the world, for their discipline, friendliness, and will to work makes for excellent employees.

I cannot deny that I was really in awe that evening riding through Makati and walking through Greenbelt. I guess the modern houses I saw passing through San Fernando, Pampanga that looked to be cleaner and more sophisticated than many of the suburban American dream homes in the US was already a foreshadowing of what was to come in the high-end areas of Manila. I just did not expect it to be quite as amazing as it really was.

Unfortunately, my digital camera was malfunctioning that evening due to memory card error, which caused it to produce blurry images. I guess my digital camera was just as surprised and caught off guard by the scene as I was. And my tour guide surprised me even more when he said that Greenbelt is only one of and not even the most spectacular area Manila has to offer.

This brief visit just goes to show the incredible potential the Philippines really has. It harbors such poor people but out of the poverty-stricken areas a booming metropolis is not only able to rise, but to rise above many other modern metropolitan cities around the world. I hope to experience and capture more of the modernities of the Philippines in the future, including the modern housing areas, as I believe this is one significant step in attracting foreign investment and foreigner influx into the nation, which in turn would lead into a stronger and wealthier Philippines.

The Philippines has come a long way in the recent years, and I believe it is best to also showcase these places and achievements as not to deter visitors and also to change the minds and point-of-views of the foreigners and even Filipinos abroad who think that the Philippines is still a completely backward and problem-plagued nation, as not all areas in the Philippines are such. The sick man of Asia still coughs, but his bright eyes signal potential for an astounding rejuvenation.

Greenbelt Mall Complex, Glorietta Park, Makati Pictures / Photos:


















16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loved greenbelt, state of the art technology nito, ive been there so many times pero iba pa rin ang experince kung sa luneta or intramuros ka pupunta mas mararamdaman nyo yong pagiging Pilipino, lalo na sa intramuros dun makikita mo yong culture ng ibat ibang provinces selling there respective products, showcasing there dances ang songs which originated in their provinces. May mga ibat ibang banda pa dun performing na kumakanta ng RnB, love songs at mga classical songs. and you will see some of the old churches and building there. Walking down sa mga walls(separating intramuros and the metro)na pinatayo which make me awe kasi ala pa mga union cement nun at bakal pero matibay pa rin kahit ilan bagyo at lindol na ang dumaan buo pa rin na pinatayo nun 1800 century (Spanish time), pag naglalakad ako dun iniisip ko parang ganito rin siguro sa rice terraces un structures nito. My part dun na gustong gusto ko upuan to unwind kasi ang ganda ng greenery view nito kita mo un manila hotel, manila city hall and many more. And i keep going back to that place for sure i love being a Filipino.

almazanse (:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing the pics..i missed greenbelt , its been 3 yrs since i last saw that place..anywayz ingat nlang sa adventure mo...

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing those pics..

Anonymous said...

Mas surprised ako to know na na-surpass ng Makati ang US Malls. Naniniwala ako na mas gaganda pa ang Pilipinas if only the people would be more responsible when it comes to their trashes and where to throw it.

Anonymous said...

Hei David!

Nice pics and nice article... You really keep us on beat always with your posts! Wishing you for more travel man!

Joel

Mark said...

i love Greenbelt too!

Anonymous said...

Yet again u amazed me with you're writing prowess! This is Johnrey if u still remember in my comment to ur SM North EDSA visit, this time u visited again a favorite place of mine. I'm expecting a post about Manila since reading ur Olongapo post (one of a million chance to see such an explosion!) that's why I keep checking ur blog. Anyways, the 1st commentor referred to "WOW Philippines!" in Intramuros initiated by the then Secretary of Tourism Richard 'Dick' Gordon...expect that no more these days from Intramuros as the project was not continued by the new Sec. Nevertheless, I recommend u still visit the place - a walk in the walls is actually just enough for an experience and adventure. A visit to Fort Santiago is a plus if u want to see Rizal's foot steps. I'm glad that u appreciate modern structures again. If you're worried with the environment, please do not as Greenbelt has won an award for its excellent use of urban area - the only one from Asia.

Anonymous said...

Dave is right, mas maganda ang mga malls sa Pilipinas kesa dito sa US, Im now living in New Jersey and yet I haven't seen a mall as beautiful as Greenbelt. Actually mas maganda pa yung SM Marilao kesa Macy's, Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Garden State Plaza dito sa New Jersey. Totoo din na mas customer friendly and mga sales person sa Pinas kesa dito sa US. Sobrang miss ko na ang Pinas...

Dale said...

hi david, it's nice to hear that you get to visit greengelt and Makati. There are a lot more things to see here in Manila. Did you go to Ayala Museum, it is just right beside Greenbelt 4, you can see a diorama of the Philippine History there and some artifacts during the SPanish Era. Anyway, I hope you enjoy you trips to the other parts of the country as i enjoy reding your post

Anonymous said...

when where you in manila? just wondering.. who took you there? i am willing to tour you around. just dont trust people here in manila, be careful

pinoy at hert

Anonymous said...

aaawww...it's so nice to see a lot of people offering to tour you here in manila.. hehehe.. ME TOO!.. hehe..

I lurv GREENBELT too..specially Greenbelt 4 where I cannot afford any of their products..hahaha

Anonymous said...

Greenbelt is definitely a gem. I have had visitors from all over come and see it and not be amazed by it. I have a Canadian friend who would find an excuse to visit Manila just to go to Greenbelt.

I would suggest that you visit Intramuros, preferably in the afternoon, and watch the beautiful sunset at Baluarte de San Diego (along the Walls of Intramuros). At night you can go to the museum and the night market (if it's still there). If you're even into architecture, visit Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church and the only Baroque church in the Philippines, San Sebastian. Visit Malate if you still have the energy and time, and money!

Vive le coconuter!!!

Gary

Earl said...

Greenbelt among other high-end establishments in the Philippines are indeed comparable to what we have here in US. With lower cost of manpower and materials back home, we're able to come up with better ones out there.
I had always been speaking highly of what we have in the Philippines and my colleagues could hardly believe it when I describe how posh our malls, bars and dining places are. We have to work on expanding it though around metro manila area and nearby provinces rather than have it concentrated in some selected few spots only because it shows the ongoing "class distinction".
I'm glad knowing that some of my "kababayans" share the same thoughts as I do regarding how overrated US is and that we likewise have to appreciate what the Philippines can offer the international crowd.

Proud Pinoy,
Earl

Anonymous said...

i have always loved the ayala complexes. either it be in makati, alabang, or even in cebu...they have managed to make an environment that could surpass those in the US. Rodeo Drive, 5th avenue, Barneys, all the things that could be found on those high end stores can also be found here in the Philippines.

Shopping is way easier here in the Philippines compared to those in the US...

makes me proud to be a filipino.
i so love greenbelt.
kudos to the ayalas!

dodongflores said...

That's the reason Greenbelt is my hang out ever since. There are vast of improvement lately. I hope you see them all. I agree with you. A few friends told me Greenbelt could be better than most of the similar place in the US. Could it be a sign that the Philippines is on it's way to compete for globalization. I hope so. I hope as well for a successful journey of yours in the search for the meaning and purpose in life...

Anonymous said...

David...i like the last line you said...very inspiring. I hope all pinoy's in pinas and abroad (especially who grew up in the US) will have a chance reading your blog. You're truly an inspiration...keep up the good work and stay SAFE! By the way, it's my first time to write a comment - but I already happen to stumble your blog when you just started your blog; I was in Bashra, Iraq working in a US Co. rebuilding Iraq late last year. I told myself and my friends that this guy will really make it BIG -VERY BIG...and here you are...Good Luck...via con dios amigo.

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