I have a few local shopping destinations that I prefer, and I find each offers a different experience. Some are best for unplanned leisure, while others have been designed to make my Goyard wallet lose weight.
Your shopping narrative Your grandmother, your
Regulars know The fashion and beauty floors with Natori, Tiffany&Co., Chanel, and La Prairie are wonderful, and an equally satisfying experience is found upstairs, where homeware, including Christofle silverware, fluffy Ralph Lauren towels, and all the flowers you need to make an enchanted forest (the theme for your next party), are found.
The 2 p.m. pick-me-up A plate of pad thai or
Best time of the year When the sparkling Christmas decor goes up.
Greenbelt 4 and 5
Your shopping narrative You are a busy woman with expensive taste and prefer to shop at that glossy strip where your friends—Gucci, Burberry, Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Cartier, Prada, and Louis Vuitton—are found.
Help from above Now that you’ve filled up your closet, it’s time to replenish the soul at the open-air, tree-covered Sto. Niño de Paz
Best things come in threes And don’t forget Greenbelt 3, where Hermès is found. Lately, I visit for the wallpaper, plates, and knickknacks. And the saddle, a surprise gift for my nephew.
The SM Store Beauty Department
Your shopping narrative Your stubbornly frugal mother still believes that there are shirts that cost less than P500. And you always ask, “Where? Tell me where these magic shirts are found!” “Shop at the store that's got it all.” She heard that nugget from a billionaire who became a billionaire because he knew exactly where to shop. Every penny saved helps. Bargains—they’re here.
More than meets the eye If you haven’t been inside a Shoemart, I mean the SM Store (my age is showing), lately, then you will be pleasantly surprised to see its wide offering of premium goods. Also, in typical SM fashion, in the beauty
The splurge There are things that are worth your hard-earned coins like, for example, the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. In Makati, this is found, not on the public floor but inside a pretty boutique with its own mini-spa. Heaven.
Alabang Town Center
Your shopping narrative Here, time is suspended. Every day is like the weekend. When you make your way to the palm-lined courtyard and the shopping avenues of “Town,” you are on a very important mission of finding leisure. Closed shoes optional.
The itinerary for the day 7 a.m. session with your personal trainer at the gym; errands at 10 a.m. (this is code for shopping); and you’ll see how it goes from there.
I’m not here That was not me that you saw at 158 Designer’s Boulevard and Tutto Moda hoarding all the past-season Guccis! And that was only not me buying tubs of chocolate rounds at the Marks & Spencer food sale!
Power Plant Mall
Your shopping narrative Unlike your friends from the south who shop at a snail’s pace while sporting bare legs and sometimes rubber slippers (horrors), you like your upscale community leisure a little more snappy and definitely more dressed.
What you secretly like It’s walking distance from your Rockwell apartment or gated community. This is the only place in Manila that makes city walks convenient. No need for a driver to get to the mall.
Residents and VIPs know 8x8-1xx1 is a number you’ve memorized and always call. “Power Plant Mall Cinemas,” the ever reliable Sarsi picks up. Cinema ticket reservation is easy, breezy for Rockwell residents—no lining up required!
Shangri-La Plaza Mall East Wing
Your shopping narrative You shop here because it is oh so quiet. Other destinations may see a crush of people, but this place allows for a sort-of private shopping experience with the luxury brands your heart desires. The multi-floor emporium is huge and, on most days, peacefully uncrowded.
And why you’re really here The food! Quezo de bola
Univers, Homme et Femme
Your shopping DNA Your critical eye leads you to precious objects that are cut from a different cloth. Your daring spirit makes you wear the directional creations from not-so-popular designers (here).
Ding! The only time you get excited about a text message is when it comes from NOUS, the disembodied announcer of sales at Univers.
You shopping narrative You are the frugal lady who believes in the power of positivity and inexpensive stuff. And this attitude you apply to the racks of shiny,
Down, down, down To the massive grocery. After buying pairs of nude stockings and a pack of breast petals (they have those here!), you must also do your three-cart per week grocery haul at the Landmark Supermarket (aka frugal ladies' HQ).
Your shopping narrative Adora is familiar but different, classic but new. It’s a curated department store experience where you can pick out obscure goods.
My personal list The Loewe puzzle bag in yellow, the Valentino caged flats in black, Penhaligon’s The Revenge of Lady Blanche perfume (I get this for the intriguing bottle), and the deliciously smelling Malin + Goetz grapefruit cleanser.