Jessie spent most of Monday at SM Mall in Cebu City. She was  looking for a dress. A member of her family is going to get married in December. She went back and forth on buying a dress or just wearing what she already had. I encouraged her to go buy a dress. She said she’d have to have new shoes and a purse too. Okay, okay, I don’t get all that but fine buy that too, spend P5000. She bought shoes and a dress for less than P1500. She bought a really nice dress for under P1000.  She should have got different shoes, they look good but are killing her feet. They are not for everyday. My guess is they will be worn once then thrown deep into a closet. haha So she bought a nice dress and nice looking shoes for less than $47.00. Suitable to wear to a wedding. You want to tell me it cost more to live in the Philippines? There is no way the cost of living in the in the Philippines should be higher than in the USA. For some though, they some how manage to do it.

SM Mall In Cebu City is Not Third World

Golden Courie in SM Mall in Cebu CitySince we forgot my passport when we left for Cebu City, Jessie went back to Bogo City to get it on Tuesday morning. Amazingly it took her less than two and half hours to get back to Bogo City from Cebu City. Her ride back though was closer to the normal three hours. Over five hours on a bus and what does Jessie want to do when she got back to Cebu City? Well go to SM Mall. 🙂

I suggested we go see a movie and eat at Golden Courie. Golden Courie has really good baby back ribs and I wanted some so off we went. So after she spent most of Monday at SM Mall she was back there on Tuesday. This time with me too.

We left Cebuview Tourist Inn about 5pm and took a taxi to SM Mall. Most taxis will have aCebu City Taxi religious symbol or two on the dashboard. It is rare that there are not any religious symbols at all in a taxi or Filipino owned car. This one though had a mini shrine on the dashboard.

It is a short ride from Cebuview to the SM Mall. It cost about P70 for the taxi ride to the mall from the hotel in downtown Cebu City.

SM Mall is huge and is part of a huge chain. Filipinos like to talk of how the business started with one small shoe store and grew into the largest chain of malls in the Philippines. The Mall of Asia in Manila is one of the largest malls in the world and is owned by SM Properties. The mall in Cebu City also ranks as one of the largest in the world.  It is very large and easy to get turned around in. A couple of years ago they opened a new wing in the Cebu City SM Mall. It is a bit more luxurious than the older side. SM mall has four levels with kiddie rides on the lower levels. There are at least two Pizza Huts in the mall. There is a Star Bucks,  McDonald’s and Kentucky Friend Chicken in the SM Mall in Cebu City. There are two theaters, a bowling ally with automatic score keeping, hundreds of places to eat, tons of electronics, sporting goods, jewelry stores, clothing stores and specialty stores like Kultura Filipino and Duty Free. There is nothing about SM Mall in Cebu city that appears to be “third world.” This is a fully modern, well air conditioned mall. The only difference between this mall and one in the USA are the Filipino employees.  I suppose there are a few minor things. The seating in the food court probably isn’t quite up to American standards.

Inside SM Mall in Cebu CityOn Sunday’s it seems that every Filipino in Cebu City must be at SM Mall. One Filipino told me they don’t go to shop, they go for the air con! Maybe, I don’t know. Jessie is often cold in Sm Mall and I’m sure many Filipina feel the same way.  It is the only place I know of that I don’t get hot in. It is a very nice mall. If you’re into malls, this is the place to be.

Prices are higher than the smaller shops of course but it is cool and if it is available in Cebu, you are likely to find it in SM Mall. I have bought cigars, spam, eye glasses, cell phones, clothing for Jessie and a host of other things in SM Mall. There are no clothes for me in SM Mall and that will likely be true for most Americans. You might find a few clothing items in Duty Free but they don’t carry very much clothing. I don’t remember any but they do have accessories in Duty Free. They carry a good bit of jewelry, watches and sun glasses. Designer brands that are rather expensive. Sometimes you can find some of your favorite American foods in Duty Free that other places will not have. Duty Free in Cebu City usually has sugar free candy as well but so does SM Supermarket.

When we arrived at SM Mall, I noticed that Christmas decorations are already out and most of the piped in music consist of familiar Christmas tunes. I didn’t see any large Christmas displays in the mall but the place is large and I may have just not seen them. Christmas is in full swing in the Philippines. Most people do not celebrate Thanksgiving in the Philippines. So there are no major holidays between now and Christmas that I can recall.

Dinner and A Movie at SM Mall In Cebu City

We headed up to the fourth floor to find out what times “Real Steal” is playing. I was surprised to find out that it was still playing. Many times, even popular movies run for about a week in Cebu City. This one has been in the theater for about three weeks. We saw it was starting in less than an hour so we headed to Golden Courie for dinner.

Jessie’s friend from high school stopped by while we were eating at the Gold Courie. He now works for the Bureau of Immigration. I didn’t know if we would make the movie or not. When he showed up, I thought it might mean a night of drinking for Jessie and Sheila. Sheila is another of Jessie’s high school friends that is visiting us for a couple of months.

We did manage to get to the theater just as the movie started and watched what I thought was a highIMAX in Cebu City tech “chick flick.” It was okay. The plot made on sense but kept my interest. I had no idea what to expect from this movie and I didn’t really care. The tickets for the movie were more expensive than normal at P200. They usually run around P160 or so. The theater in the Cebu City SM Mall includes one theater with an IMAX projector. It was added a couple of months ago. Our movie was playing in a “digital theater” though and not on the IMAX screen. I lived in Memphis when the IMAX was still new, in fact, if I recall right Memphis got the very first IMAX theater inside a museum known as the “Pink Palace.” Back then the only IMAX movies were documentaries. I’m a big fan of IMAX. I don’t know if the screen in the SM Mall will be the same size as the three story screen that was erected in Memphis.  I’m sure I will eventually see an IMAX movie in Cebu City though.

I enjoyed the movie. After it was over, I had hoped to go to the Canon Store in SM Mall. It was too late though. It was approaching 9pm and the mall was closing. I need to get another flash card for my camera. It only uses CF Flash cards which are expensive so I probably wouldn’t have bought it anyway. I had already bought a second battery and a UV filter for one of my lenses on this trip.  This Canon Store in the mall doesn’t repair cameras. I have found a place that will do it in Cebu City but they are not in the mall. I need to get by there and get my popup flash fixed. It doesn’t popup. 🙂

Unlikely Best Friends In Cebu CityAfter the movie, we hopped in another taxi for the ride back Cebuview. We are not back into a fully Philippines experience that is typical of most places in the Philippines and away from the glitter and bling of SM Mall in Cebu City. Once back at the hotel, I noticed the dog and cat that are often hanging around the hotel cuddled up. They are the best of friends but sometimes the dog does get playful and irratates the cat. He seems to be doing it intentionally. The cat takes a swat or two at him but usually stays close to the dog.

For a list of other things to see in Cebu follow this link. I have been to most of those places but not all of them.

Our next day in Cebu City we hired a taxi to see some of the sites of the City.  On Wednesday we went to several sight seeing locations. The first of which was Fort San Pedro. My next article will likely be about our visit to Fort San Pedro which is much more interesting to me than spending time in the SM Mall in Cebu City.

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