Philippines – Shopping for things you want, and things you really don’t want


Some of the accommodation in the poorer parts of Manila

I was told there is a three tier system in terms of wealth in the Philippines.  Now some may argue that all societies have this but I tend to believe that there are many more tiers in say our system in the UK, than there is elsewhere.  So in the UK I would say you have, the very poor, poor, working class, middle class, upper-mid, upper, and super rich.

After spending a naked hour in a spa with a wealthy Philippine who provided some insight into the culture – well it was his opinion.  He described that you have the upper of which they are very few of them literally a few hundred (from recollection) that have it all.  The middle class are unhappy as being fed US sitcoms they are constantly aspiring to be something that is unachievable outside of fiction and then you have the poor who are really happy as they’ve adapted to live the lifestyle that was dealt to them (and these people are way poorer than anyone in the UK could ever be).

So that’s how he put it to me and to some extent you can see this – whilst I wouldn’t fully agree that all the poor are happy and all the middles are not.  You can easily see this divide when it comes to Makati and especially the Greenbelt mall.

Makati, where I was staying, is a lovely place; but I would describe it as an over the top island of wealth in the sea of poor.  The area is covered with beautifully designed high buildings with views over the poorer parts of the city.

A picture of wealth and growing economy

Of course the wealthy have to be protected and it’s the most guarded area I’ve been too on any holiday, even more so than Egypt.  They are literally armed guards everywhere either with little guns or big shotguns.  And where some may find it uneasy, I feel that it does make you feel safe.

Now to the Greenbelt mall – which is by far the nicest I have ever been too.  The shopping centre housed tons of branded shops in a loop of five greenbelt malls, with the centre of which landscaped beautifully.  Trees, ponds and a modern open air church are lit up stunningly at night.  I did spend a lot of my time when in Manila at this mall.

The mall is covered with landscaping

One of the greenbelt malls behind the trees

Reminds me of my trip to Pamplona and the bull run! 
You could be miles away in a park, but you're in a busy mall instead 
Across the road by walkway is another shopping centre, and more akin to what you see back in the UK.  It was fronted by a shop called Landmark which was a lot like Primark – a vast department store with lots of little themed branded departments.

I bought a few things from both malls, with I would have to say my best buy (and something I recommend for any trip) is a pair of Columbia Pants, which at the hefty price of £50, are the lightest most durable quick drying convertible trousers I’ve seen.  I ended up getting a second pair on my return from Boracay.


  1. Hi Dave ,really good read.The shopping mall looks cool,glad you enjoyed it there.Shame about that Sicko though,suprized you did'nt punch his lights out. We are all well here.Hope you are to.Take Care.Love Mum.Dad n

  2. Were the good in Landmark made in the UK by kids earning 5p an hour? :-)

  3. Olivia Giblin8 May 2011 at 20:48

    Hey David.
    i hope you are having a great time, shame about that man though i LOLED on that last line of that paragraph about the man(: Love your baby sister(: the family gives our love(:<3<3 xxx

  4. I hope you enjoyed your vacation in the Philippines. I guess you tried our exotic foods like Balut and Sisig this are the most famous exotic food in the country.

  5. Thanks I certainly did. However I didn't have confidence to try Balut, but I do believe I did try some Sisig.

  6. Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.Pantyhos

  7. Hey Gib did you happen to visit Kasbah Borocay on the beach? Its a Moroccan bar/restaurant with live old school friend of mine owns it..hope you're having a great time.

  8. Hi Claire - good to hear from you; I did indeed go there - more than once from what I remember! Small world or what!!! Dx

  9. Yeah it is lol, He is called Martin English and he married Madonna, (not THE Madonna, but think she is philippino). From what i remember i think he was from Barnsley area, maybe wombwell....Been reading your blogs...keep up the good work. Interesting read and looks Claire


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