The heart of activity and commerce in San Juan city is Greenhills Shopping Center, one of the country’s most famous destinations for buying clothes and gadgets. The 16-hectare complex claims to be the first of its kind to introduce indoor flea markets in the Philippines. It has over 2,000 novelty stores spread across two main malls, which are connected to theaters and arcades selling all sorts of items: from knickknacks to imported goods and antiques.
(Photo by Ravemaster)
Ups and downs
In 2009, Greenhills won first runner-up in the building category of the ASEAN Best Practices for Energy Management in Buildings and Industries Competition held in Yangon, Myanmar.
In spite of its victories abroad, locally, Greenhills has harbored the reputation of selling pirated CDs and stolen gadgets, most notably, cellphones. To deal with this, the administration behind Greenhills (the same people behind Tiendesitas) claims to have spent P500-million to renovate V-mall, formerly called Virra Mall, Greenhills’ main shopping mall. The 10-month renovation includes a new facelift for the mall, as well as new stores that aim to bring back the center’s legacy as a hub for computers.
Among the new stores here are from the SM group: Toy Kingdom, Our Home, SM Appliance Center, Ace Hardware and Watson’s. These can be seen along with small gadget retailers, sports shops like Planet Sport and Ralph’s; amusement centers like Q-Power Station; book shops like Goodwill Bookstore; boutiques like Cinderella; and stores selling authentic DVDs and CDs like Astrovision.
Apart from V-mall, one of oldest parts of Greenhills is Shoppesville Arcade, a four-level mall containing local and imported merchandise like toys, RTWs, and gadgets. For jewelry, look for The Jewelry department that hosts a plethora of shops selling accessories. At the second floor of Centermall is Bridgeway Shops, a section dedicated to cellphones. There is also the Lifestyle Center, which caters to buyers of furniture, old coins, and antique.
In addition to retail shops, V-mall retains its aura as a go-to place for gastronomy through its Great Eats Food Court, which has several food kiosks offering inexpensive to mid-range treats. Around the mall are branches of the Vietnamese restaurant Pho Hoa, as well as snack bars like Milky Way, Dunkin’ Donuts, Crazy Crepes, and a Chinese deli.
Connected to V-mall is Annapolis Carpark Square, which hosts computer shops along with fast food franchises like Chowking, Jollibee, KFC, Yoshinoya, and Greenwich. Another car park, Connecticut Carpark, features upscale bars and restaurants like Ling Nam Noodle House, Angel’s Kitchen, and Café Mediterranean. More up-market restaurants offering Filipino cuisine are in McKinley Arcade, while The Strip has Chinese and other Oriental restaurants. There is also a section called The Shops, a wide hallway peppered with local and foreign cafés like Cinnabon.
(Photo from Google images)
Inside Greenhills are a Muslim prayer room and a Roman Catholic chapel while just outside the complex are the dining and events venues of Club Filipino and C3 Events Place and Restaurant.
For those looking for beauty parlors and spas, you may find them in Greenhills’ Beauty Central. The Theater Mall beside V-mall contains a few boutiques, restaurants, software shops, and of course, cinemas. For a more upscale film-viewing, there is the Promenade, which also features KTV bars, restaurants, book shops, and a concert hall frequented by young people. If your idea of chilling out is jazz nights or classical music, the Music Museum and its next-door Teatrino could be the places for you.
A bustling Greenhills barbershop (Photo by Paulo Ordoveza)
Opening hours and contact details
Greenhills is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday) and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday to Saturday). Tel. no.: +63-2-721-0572, fax: +63-2-722-6795, website: http://www.greenhills.com.ph/. To know what’s up in Music Museum and Teatrino, visit http://www.greenhills.com.ph/musicmuseum.asp.
Best time to go
The best time to go to Greenhills is from September to January, when the whole complex is enveloped in Holiday regalia, just in time for Christmas. It is during these months that the mall also features sales, discounts, free concerts and attractions to lure more shoppers.
How to get there
Greenhills Shopping Center is along Ortigas Avenue in San Juan. A taxi is your best bet when going to the site (P30 flag down rate).
If you are coming from Manila city, you may go to Greenhills through riding any bus (air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned) from Quiapo or Recto. Look for a bus bound for Cainta or Taytay and then ask the driver to drop you off in Greenhills. A bus ride costs about P20 (ordinary) to P35 (air-conditioned) per person, one way. Take note that the buses move so slowly, in addition to heavy traffic in Recto, so it would take you about an hour or more to get to Greenhills, which is actually just 20 to 30 minutes from Manila city if you were to take a taxi.
Inside the jewelry arcade (Photo by Hans Mayo)
If you are coming from Quezon City or Makati, ride the MRT, get off in Ortigas station, walk going to Robinson’s Galleria past the EDSA Shrine, and ask a traffic enforcer where the jeepney terminal for Greenhills is. Ride a jeepney going to the complex. Ask the driver to drop you off in Greenhills. The fare is only P7, one way, per person.
You may also ride a bus from Makati or Quezon City when going to Greenhills. Look for one that is bound for Baclaran, Pasay or Ayala when coming from Quezon City, or for Cubao and Fairview if coming from Makati. Ask the driver first if he will pass under the flyover of Ortigas before finding a seat in the bus. Do not ride a bus that will pass by the fly over as you will not be able to get off in front Robinson’s Galleria. Once you are in Robinson’s Galleria, ask directions going to the jeepney terminal bound for Greenhills.