SM City Gen San Opens at Last!

The new SM Mall opened at long last after many months of delay. The 10th August was a very exiting day for a large number of people both from the City and the surrounding areas as they flocked in the thousands to get into the Mall early both to take pictures of the event and of the celebrities and some even went with the intention to buy things!

Its a big Mall!

My dear wife dragged me along as she had never been to a Mall Opening and after today I am sure that she will never want to have the experience again as it was a bit chaotic to say the least.

Lots of people!

Once inside, we wandered around checking on the different businesses which had set up in the Mall and I was a bit disappointed as most of them were the same as can be found in the other City Malls. Max’s Chicken is the first in the City but was pretty full so we gave that a miss. One of my favorites, Ace Hardware looked quite good to a hardware junkie like myself but the tool section was very small with a limited selection of tools, none that I need!

Small Toy Kingdom!

I actually got a bit of a sore throat in the mall as every smiling staff member greeted me and the wife and after 1000 plus replies my vocal chords were put under great strain. The wife seemed to have no problem as females are used to talking all day, and night!

I only visit the upstairs store!

There were live Mannequins on display and caused a few shocks when they moved, I noticed a few people cross themselves when they saw such movements!

I think that most of the City Schools must have had lots of absent pupils as there were large amounts of them still in uniform attending the opening hoping to see the celebrities etc.

The Outside rea of the Food Court, very nice!

When we got a bit hungry we decided to try the food court which is usually good in SM and the food on display looked good but the amount of people in line waiting was far too many so we settled for a quick Batchoy which was easy to get! I wanted a coffee with my snack but there was none available, there was beer, soft drinks and tea but no coffee, sorry for me!

The Masses!

I wanted to look around more but the mass of people made it very difficult to stroll so we decided to try again at a later date. We did go into the Supermarket section and saw what they had but most of the items which we need are available any where. There is a good selection of Cheese if people like that but for me  I am quite used to the Kraft! This area was very busy so we did not bother to buy anything, we will leave that for another day.

Time to not be there when it’s so full!

Just now at 9.30 pm as I am writing this I can hear a very large Fireworks Display from the City, I am sure that this is a part of the opening ceremony and it sounds good and expensive! There is an outside area with a fountain where people can eat and drink but the people of Gen San have already decided that the fountain makes a good swimming pool, we will see how long this kind of behaviour is allowed to last!


Fountain Area in the Day Time!

This now gives Gen San 4 large Malls and for a Small City this seems very over the top but as I have noticed, most malls have there own clientele who buy what they want from their own choice of Mall. I am sure that even by now, some people will not visit SM very often as its not their preferred Mall. One nice thing with the Gen San Malls, they are all within easy walking distance of each other unlike Davao where you have to commute for ages to change Malls!

The Sign Says it all!

I will have to give it a few more walk-throughs before I decide how useful it is for me but that will have to wait until things get a bit quieter and I can walk around at my leisure and I can find somewhere that serves coffee!

One good thing about this new Mall is that it does provide jobs for lots of local people, well over a thousand I am sure so that in itself puts more into the local economy so good for SM and will Ayala be the next mall to move into the City!


Post Author: GenSan Chris (152 Posts)

Chris Dearne, aka "GenSan Chris" is a long term resident of the Philippines. Chris has been living in General Santos City since 1992! Chris owns a hotel in General Santos called Cambridge Farm Hotel, and also the Cambridge Dive Center, formerly Tuna City Scuba Center. Chris' interests include Scuba Diving, Instructing, and Formula 1 Racing.

49 Ways to Make a Living without a Job


  1. Gary Wigle says

    It is nice to know that SM is building in Mindanao… I heard that they are looking to buy land here in Tagum City so they can build a new mall here… That would be great!

    Happy Shopping!!! 😛

  2. Paul Thompson says

    Albeit we in Olongapo had good shopping on the Subic Freeport, SM decided we needed a mall, and they built it on a crowded 2 lane narrow street in the city and with no infrastructure, and have created one large mess. There is pay parking on the roof but queuing up to get in shuts down the road in front. The Ace Hardware we have sounds like the one you described,
    This SM Mall opened just in time for Christmas, but Only the Grocery Store on the first floor was open, the top floors opened in late January. So I guess everyone got food for Christmas last year. A couple of months ago Ayala (I think that how to spell it) opened a mall on the Free Port and it is quite large, with ample free parking, plus easy access. I waited one month to go look at both malls, but now only use one. Sorry SM, it was just poor planning on your part.

    • GenSan Chris says

      Hi Paul,
      Our Malls are all situated near to each other, only about 100 meters between them except for Robinsons which is about 500 meters away but there is room to slip an Ayala Mall in that space!

  3. Marjorie says

    I bet my daughter-in-law and the rest of the family have been there.

    The malls there make Busbys look small. Mind when I was little it seemed huge. I miss not being able to take the Grandkids to see Santa like I used to be taken every year

    • GenSan Chris says

      Hi Marjorie,
      Busby’s, I remember it well, does it still exist! SM has calmed down now but we had a little fight with them as they had a Shark for sale on the fish stand, that did not go down too well so its now gone!

  4. says

    Wow, I sure will be glad when Calbayog gets it’s 1st mall. I may learn from your mistake and not go on opening day though. I hope I can talk some sense into my wife and keep her away. We are suppose to be getting a Robinson Mall here by the end of next year. Also there are rumors of a SM HyperMarket, another supermarket and even a Prince Warehouse. Since this is the Philippines, I’m expecting delays, but I sure hope that we at least get one decent supermarket out of it. I’m sure get tired of having to ride all the way to Tacloban just to get to a supermarket that has a good variety of things that I want.

    • GenSan Chris says

      i John,
      I remember when Gen San had nothing but local stores while now half of the population are employed in the Mall’s. Times sure are a changing here!

  5. Keith says

    Another mall in Gensan…hmmm. I often asked my wife that if the area was so poor, why so many malls. They all seemed to have the same stores in them anyway. She says they like to “window” shop and many without aircon will go to get relief from the heat. Still always seemed like overkill to me personally.

  6. william says

    We too enjoy malls, and Henry Sy’s empire (created in his own lifetime, incl malls, stores, bank etc) is a fantastic story.

    I sometimes wonder why the privately-owned malls are of a generally high standard (eg the newer section of Ayala Cebu is truly splendid and try the ice arena at MOA), whereas public facilities (eg NAIA) are so abysmal. The labour to build is presumably equally cheap in each case, and presumably concrete etc etc is the same cost for SM and for government. Maybe SM has better skills and focus.

    As a comparison, any trip eg to Singapore, HK etc shows just how good public infrastructure can be.

    My inlaws suggest that public funds are usually skimmed off by PI officials on the way through, so the final result is disadvantaged.

    Beats me why people put up with it.

    • GenSan Chris says

      Hi William,
      The people are so used to corruption that they cannot see the wrong in it! if a politician is a total crook, even in jail they will still vote him in next election!

  7. marjorie says

    Hi Chris

    Glad you sorted the fish stall out, hope they learn their lesson.

    Busby’s closed down a long time ago. The building was sold to someone like Tesco and they had to keep the building as it was. Guess what – it somehow set on fire and burnt down. Last year we had a lady who used to work there talking about Busbys at out meeting. She said the last of the family was devastated when he saw the fire.
    I do not know what is there now, we go in to Bradford by train if we really have to go there. I am sorry to say but Bradford is a dump. I was very shocked as how down trodden it looks in the shopping part.

    • GenSan Chris says

      Hi Marjorie,
      Sorry about Busbys but shit like that happens. I agree with you about Bradford, thats why I do not live there any more and will never visit again!

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