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Multiplexes and malling in the Philippines

The independent film theaters of the past exuded a certain mood and subculture of its own for its audience — in the perspective of arts, culture, and cinema. However, the plight of these theaters proved that changes were truly inevitable. It’s a matter of coping up with the modernity of the fast-paced world.

In line with this, the rising number of multiplexes started to imbibe itself in Philippine entertainment culture.

The multiplexes have been around for more than three decades already. People have grown up with them.

Generally, the film theaters in the Philippines are modern, well-developed multiplexes found inside malls. Those that are around 10 years old already are usually renovated. Most of these movie houses offer luxurious and comfy designs. Some already boasts of curved screens, and stadium seating for moviegoers to enjoy full view and convenience of watching in whatever seat. All theaters are already equipped with any of the following: Dolby, SDDS, and DTS. Some have the technology for projecting in HD and other digital formats and showing IMAX and 3D films. Some even take advantage of the newer technologies of 4DX and Dolby Atmos.

Since most Filipinos go to malls for various reasons, film theaters provide competitive enhancements to lure the audience. From lobby skylight designs, 360-degree murals, high-tech and state-of-the-art lobbies and interior design/exhibit areas, free unlimited popcorn and drinks, many kinds of promotions peak the interest of moviegoers to enhance their film viewing experiences.

Filipinos from all demographics are generally fond of going to malls – it has been part of the culture already. Malling doesn’t exactly mean shopping all the time because there are lots of other valuable and practical things available for mallers. Usually, the family day Sunday is the time for families and friends to go to malls to dine out, watch a movie, and do some other forms of entertainment. There are a lot of diverse fashion boutiques and food stalls, too.

In the country, the mall is one ideal place Filipinos use for most of their personal and professional needs and endeavors. On a lighter note, given the tropical climate of the country, the malls are fully equipped in their provisions for convenience – refreshing, air-conditioned spots to relax and find time for both work and leisure: watch a movie; have coffee; get wifi/internet connection; eat in fast food chains, regular food courts, and even fine dining restaurants; organize meetings, functions, events, and even conventions; bond with the family and go to children’s playgrounds; meet with friends and have fun with games and arcades; play sports and attend seminars, workshops, and certificate courses; have a make-over at the salon, have a trimmed hair for kids on themed kiddie parlors, or have a haircut at a barbershop; do grocery, shop for clothes, buy medicines, gadgets, furnitures, and electric and hardware materials; pay utility, loans, insurance, and credit card bills, and do various banking errands; get a medical check-up at health clinics and hospital extensions; and even buying tickets for lotto – all regardless of class and lifestyle (as there are varying options of malls catering to specific people’s needs and wants all around the country). Generally, malls accommodate all classes of people. There are malls particularly catering to those on a budget and those from the upper class. Indeed, there is really a wide array of choices for various people.

The proximity of malls to both residential spots and prime commercial areas around the various cities (both in Metro Manila and the provinces all around the Philippines) are very ideal in the already fast-paced lifestyle of the Filipinos today. Going to big malls, along with various establishments within the area, is quite practical as working parents and even yuppies can also segue to meet up with friends and colleagues for personal, business, and/or work ventures at the same time. And even during a weekend, banks are open for transactions for people who were unable to do banking/financial errands during the busy weekdays.

The pragmatic character of Filipinos is very much apparent with the malling culture. People don’t have to travel too much since everything could be within one major area already – it saves time and money.

The cultural make-up of Filipinos with regards to “malling” (which has already become a familiar “verb” utilized in the people’s everyday lives) is further proved by the fact that 3 out of the 10 largest malls of the world is located in the Philippines – kind of ironic for a country that is still being termed as “third world.”

Indeed, the Filipinos find the mall a very practical and convenient place to both do personal and professional endeavors.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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