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Greenhills Shopping Center - Turning Green to Gold

Before the ukay-ukay, there was only the Greenhills Shopping Center (GSC) and its hundreds of tiangges offering a wide array of clothes, shoes and bags -- from designer knock-offs to export overruns -- and jewelry of all shapes and kinds -- from faux pearls to semi precious stones --- not to mention a vast array of toys to choose from to rival, if not exceed, that of Toy Kingdom.

Shoppers, let loose among goodies, can spend an entire day going through the aisles, losing sense of time, only to realize at the end of a frenzied shopping spree that there is more to be discovered as there are other stores to explore such as home and appliance centers, even an entire floor dedicated to the latest cellphones and gadgets. Thus, despite aching heels and less heavy pockets, one leaves with a promise to come back another day, another time, albeit armed with a list. Haggling is and always has been the order of the day, and nowhere is this skill better put to test than within the confines of what was once dubbed as the "shopping mecca" of the metropolis.

But while shopping, tiangge-style, may be the cornerstone of Greenhills' development, it is slowly re-imaging itself in step with the shopping districts from the south where you can do just about anything other than shop, with its spas and health clubs, high-end salons, classy movie houses and trendy cafes and restaurants that turn into gimik places come sundown. Today, Greenhills has grown to include rows upon rows of restaurants, cinemas, even a badminton center -- and, from the looks of it, this is just the beginning.

One of its more recent additions is the opening of The Shops, its newest fashion corridor that houses a cormucopia of stores any true blue fashionista should not miss. This spanking new and brightly-lit area beside Unimart is a welcome respite after the hustle and bustle of cars, cab hawkers and shoppers from behind its glass doors. Here you can find brands which started their business at GSC and have since built a name in the fashion industry, such as Unica Hija, Folded and Hung, Bayo, Sari-Sari and Bench. M)phosis, Gingersnaps, Penshoppe, Memo, Oxygen, Van Heusen, Cinderella and Esprit have also found their new homes in The Shops.

To complement these boutiques are Wade, Shu-bizz, Gift Gate, Watson's, Swatch, Artemex, Tie Me Up, Dazzle Bead Shop and Ricky Reyes' One on One. Leonidas and Cinnabon offer shoppers mouthwatering treats after a run of these stores.

At its recent launch, general manager Manuel Santoas said the Greenhills management is now in the thick of a three-year redevelopment plan that includes the re-designing of Unimart, the addition of three cinemas and a parking building and, ultimately, the construction of a theater for the performing arts. "In fact, in the past year, we had more than P1 billion invested already. We want to bring back the former glory of Greenhills and to attract more people. We see Greenhills as being the next happening venue and because we expect an upsurge of people, the planned parking building will add 600 more parking slots."

A very pleased JV Ejercito, mayor of San Juan, was also present at the launch. With the recent developmentsof GSC, he has this to say, "Greenhills has always been a goldmine. Many have tried to copy it, but Greenhills will always be Greenhills."


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