Friday, August 29, 2014

G Mall of Toril - Pleasant Malling in Davao City (Philippines)


First impressions tend to last. That's why when a friend tells me what he thought of the new G Mall of Toril, located south of Davao City (the Philippines third most influential city, south of the archipelago), the thought stuck. G Mall, a hipper version of Gaisano Malls found mostly in Visayas and Mindanao, looks interesting from the outside with a terrace-style facade that recalls Cebu's Ayala Center.

My friend had strong words against the G Mall: ugly, unfinished, tacky. He visited a couple of months after the mall's soft opening when it was all half baked This is why it isn't wise to open up your business when it isn't quite ready because it lends a lasting, albeit unsavory impression. You want good word-of-mouth for your business. On my part, I had to see it for myself. When the opportunity came, I went and saw for myself.

The Philippines lives and breathes with a Mall Culture. Most urban communities patronize several malls in their vicinity. Where else do you enjoy free airconditioning. Not in sweltering parks, that's for sure. So when it's all humid and 35 degrees hot, you can be sure that people would prefer places where it's cool and comfortable. Gaisano's new G Mall has obviously capitalized on the burgeoning conurbation of Davao City, developing this new shopping center at the fringes of the city's border nearing Davao del Sur. In fact, there's not one, but two Gaisanos in the vicinity; the other one is the not-so-grand "Gaisano Grand Toril" a few meters from the G Mall.


My visit left a better impression. I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. The mall has a two-level free basement parking, and a basement-level supermarket. In the same area, there's a Rose Pharmacy and a Mercury Drug, and a classy bread-and-coffee house.

Just above this is a 3-level shopping complex that houses a 4-cinema complex, Robinson's Appliances, Handyman, Watson's, the usual-suspect like Jollibee and even a CD-R King. Gaisano Department store is also open. One of my favorite places would be the food court, though there's a very limited number of food stalls offering inexpensive food (try PhP65 for a plate of humba or a lechon kawali with rice).

AWE-INSPIRING

The food court opens to a veranda-style salon that boasts of an awe-inspiring view filled with coconut trees to the west. Ambient light complements the mostly-white interiors, giving you a sensation of meticulous cleanliness. Every aspect glistens.

There's a cineplex on the same floor where the food court and Robinson's Appliances are. There's a Western Union branch somewhere in the vicinity. There are ATM machines at the side entrance (Metro Bank, Security Bank, etc.)

I have yet to visit Gaisano Grand Mall (though I've seen it from the outside) located a kilometer or so from G Mall, but some questions beg for answer? Why the uncanny proximity of both Gaisano Malls from each other. They're bound to compete with each other, aren't they? There's a Felcris Supermarket north of the G Mall as well. There clearly is a huge market here. Competition is bound to cancel out a few parameters in the consumer equation. The malls are allegedly owned by warring siblings of the Gaisano clan. Who's bound to get hurt? Gaisano Grand Mall could suffer because, to be honest, why would a consumer prefer to be in a place with so much less? Who gains from this sibling rivalry? The people of Toril, of course.

If you're visiting Davao City - and are staying at the city center - Toril is about an hour south so it isn't wise to veer away from where you are. The city has so many malls that offer a lot more (e.g. SM Lanang Premier, Abreeza Ayala Mall, etc.) than the G Mall, but it isn't a bad place to visit, only if you're in the area.

This is the Eye in the Sky!





Dining Hall at the food court.

Very limited choices at the food court - there were only two at the time of my visit. Try the one at the right, a place called "Jumbo" (no signage, which is weird).











Cineplex

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