Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Greenbelt in Shopping

We have explored Makati City's Greenbelt series of shopping malls and find ourselves blown away. Very often women tell me they have earned a black belt in shopping; none has ever mentioned a green belt.

The Green Belt of Makati City is an artificial park laid through the center and surrounded by small fancy malls, each with a number. Greenbelt 5 is the most chic, but Greenbelt 4 houses Hermes and plenty of big name designers, so it is right up there in the fancy-smancy department. The attitude seems to start as you get into the higher numbers, Greenbelt 1 is actually the beginning of the complex and consists of the five-part Glorietta Mall. This is decidedly real-people with a branch of Marks & Spencer and Krispy Kreme.

The InterContinental Hotel-- the first hotel built in Makati City -- is located across the street from the Glorietta buildings as well as the famous Rustan department store and its separate Fresh! Supermarket. There's also a National Book Store in the area, various fast food joints (as mentioned in another blog entry), the SM department store (Attention Walmart Shoppers) and a bevy of the exact same stores you will find in Greenbelt 5. The difference, besides a few miles, is that Greenbelt 5 is extremely fancy. Even the M&S there seems like a different store from the branch at Glorietta.

Greenbelt 5 is closer to The Peninsula end of the Makati City area and also close to the Shangri-La, another luxury 5-star hotel. Most of the hotels have free shuttle buses that make the circuit. Shoppers note: shuttles usually begin at 10:30 AM and run every two hours. Stores do not open until 11AM in most cases.

The Green Belt itself is a meandering park with its own chapel and various art works. Cafes edge the park and sidle up to the malls; there's not only Starbucks for coffee drinkers, but several local coffee brews.

Greenbelt 5 hosts an entire floor (2F) of local designers; jsut go from store to store to see the most amazing fashion and accessories at everyday low prices. Sarah and I each bought handbags for under $100 a piece-- very chic handbags. Mine is glazed golden linen with embroidered beads and Sarah's is navy rattan with navy leather trim.

If you feel you cannot walk between the various malls, you can take a taxi from any of the luxury hotels here, it costs about $1 to be dropped at the Greenbelt of your choice. You just have to make sure you know how to get there. Our last taxi driver said he knew where the Greenbelt was, but not where the various numbers began or ended. Sheesh!

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