by Jasmine C. Sison
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
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
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,
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
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
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