Malling in the Philippines: Security at SM City Clark

Malling in the Philippines – Clark Super Mall

This post is about the Clark Super Mall and Malling in the Philippines. They LOVE going to the mall in the Philippines. They love it so much so that they made it a verb. I’ll introduce it and then tell you about my malling experience.

“Malling” in the Philippines

“Malling” is a huge Filipino pastime. They don’t just go shopping at the mall – they go malling!

Thus, three of the top ten world’s largest malls are SM’s in the Philippines!  This is shocking to some, since more than 40 percent of the country’s 94 million people live on $2 or less per day.

Despite this (or perhaps because of this), malls are packed at all times. It’s not always about shopping.

Around 80 percent of the Philippines’ population go to shopping centers and around 36 million people visit shopping plazas once or twice a month, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The big draw is A/C. Air conditioning is quite the draw.

Malling is really popular in the Philippines” – Xtina

Just as I didn’t think something as basic as a haircut would be would give me something interesting to blog about, I certainly didn’t think a stop at the mall would be eventful.

Visiting Clark “Super Mall” – Visiting SM

Here’s my experience as I visited the Clark Super Mall. That’s literally the name.

I landed at Clark Airport in the Philippines. It’s formerly the largest U.S. Airforce Base outside of the United States, until 1991.  I had extra time on the layover so I decided to see a bit of the area. After trekking in the wilderness for a few days, I needed a few things so I headed over to the Clark “Super Mall”. Locals just call it “SM”.

SM parking lots

The first thing that you notice hits you before you even get through the parking lot. I’ve never seen so much security in a mall.  There were three security checkpoints in the car where they have you open the trunk for inspection before you can pull up. The procedures to get in were more thorough than some of the airports I’ve been to (Dominican Republic comes to mind).

Each person gets a full pat down upon entering the mall and they spend time going through everyone’s bags and purses. I had my travelers backpack with me. It’s very convenient, but has the unfortunate feature of only loading from the top. This “feature” felt inconvenient throughout my Asia backpacking trip, but it was extra frustrating then. They made me take everything out to go through it.

Malling in the Philippines: Security at SM City Clark

There were also multiple uniformed guards in front of nearly every store. The department store I stopped by might have had 50 security guards sprinkled throughout. It surprisingly didn’t feel intrusive. It felt very routine and friendly.   Interesting place!

Here’s more info.

Have you had a similar experience at a mall? Have you gone malling in the Philippines at the Clark SM?

What do you think? Join the convo, and add your comments here :)