Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Now I'm not sure whether I should be afraid or excited, but at the very edge of Pasay City on Manila Bay, Henry Sy's gargantuan Mall of Asia is on it's final stages of construction. Rising up on land reclaimed from the sea, this gargantuan temple to consumerism boasts of a 20 hectare footprint and 381,000 feet of commercial space. Undoubtedly, the biggest in the land and arguably the biggest in Asia as it's name suggests. But aside from the bothersome issues of instilling first-world consumer habits on a third world society, inappropriate and garish architecture, and negative environmental impact (ie. garbage and pollution management, CO2 emissions from air conditioning systems and the utter lack of trees in the plan), what really makes me think twice about this place is the huge globe/sculpture right at the entrance driveway of the mall. Although China and the United States and Africa are well represented, I couldn't find the Philippines on Henry Sy's map. Bizaare. It really makes one wonder whether he really cares about the society he earns his money from. Don't forget, it was his SM Mall of Baguio, with it's ugly boxy frame and oppressive nature, that locals blame for the decline of their downtown and the ultimate demise of Baguio as a tourist destination.