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Gateway Getaway
by Jasmine C. Sison
September 2005

I recently visited the new Gateway Mall in Cubao.  This 5-level shopping, dining and entertainment complex sits beside the historic Araneta Coliseum.  It has access to the LRT (Aurora Boulevard line) and the EDSA MRT through the Araneta Coliseum and Farmers Plaza.

One striking feature I immediately noticed was the "Oasis", an air-conditioned floating garden in the center of the mall enveloped by lush greens and waterscapes.  Dining in one of the restaurants beside it is relaxing and makes one momentarily forget the traffic and congestion all over Metro Manila.

The Dining Experience - Local and international casual dining restaurants and coffee shops are found around the "Oasis" in all levels, and this part of the Gateway Mall is called the Gourmet Tower.  Let me name a few of the restaurants and coffee shops you will find at the Gourmet Tower: Mandarin Oriental Café, Pizza Hut Bistro, Figaro, Cibo, Burgoo, Superbowl of China, Mocha Blends and Sweet Factory.

Festive outdoor dining is readily available at the ground floor where Café Havana, Café Adriatico, Italianni's and Starbucks is located.  Outdoor dining here may be a bit warm on hot windless afternoons though.  To cool diners, there are big fans that generate cool water sprays.

One interesting sight in the ground floor is the first, and until recently, the only Taco Bell outlet in the Philippines since it stopped operations in the early 80s.  A second outlet has since opened in SM South Mall in Las Piñas. It's still a wonder why one of America's largest fast food chains can't seem to make much inroad to our rice-eating palettes!

Shopping - The Gateway Mall hosts stores of major upscale brands (from our third world perspective, that is) like Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, Fornarina, Marks and Spencer, Esprit, Naturalizer, Florsheim, U2, and the likes.

Lazy Movie Viewing - On Level 4 of the Gateway Mall, one would find a magnificent cinema lobby skylight accentuated by a 360-degree stylized modern mural.  Cineplex 10 is said to be the country's largest cinema with the widest screen.  It has Dolby Digital EX Ultra Sound and beat this: La-Z-Boy reclining leather chairs and bottomless drinks and popcorn!


This unique viewing experience costs P299 ($5.50 USD) per person.  Quite steep by Manila's standards, but nevertheless, a unique proposition that may appeal to the niche market.

The Cineplex 1-9 is for free and reserved seating. Ticket price ranges from P99 - P120 ($2.00 - $2.50 USD). It features imported seats, wall-to-wall carpet, and stadium seating for unobstructed viewing.

Paid Relief - Following Ayala's lead, the mall features clean rest rooms with necessary provisions - for a fee.  P10 (20 US cents) lets you buy hygienic and restful relief.  Toilet paper, facial tissue, disposable hand towels, liquid hand soap, mouthwash (and disposable cups), powder, lotion and even cologne abound.  And beat this again - there's no "tabo!"

Overall, I found the Gateway Mall experience very pleasant. I hope it begins Cubao's transformation into a world-class residential, shopping, entertainment and business center.


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