While I was back in the States, first planning my trip to move here, until I began my online research I really didn’t know ANYTHING about the Philippines. I had some general idea that it was tropical. I knew there were islands and coconuts. But my general impression was that it was more or less like Gilligan’s Isle with an airport. So I began doing my Google searching, reading blogs and checking out photos.
The first mall I entered when I arrived on Mactan was the local Guisano Grand Mall. Nothing special, four floors with a grocery store, food court and the usual shops. However, a month later I went to the Ayala Mall and passed by the Robinson’s Mall in central Cebu and.. wow! These two malls were MUCH larger, up to five levels, about six city blocks large, nicely designed and surpassed any mall I’d been to in Southern California. I’ve yet to visit some of the other Super Malls in the area but from all that I’ve heard they even surpass these two malls. State of the art movie theaters, countless places to eat from simple to upper-scale dining as well as many American food franchises such as Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, KFC, McDonald’s.. too many to list. High-end clothing stores, jewelry, computers, kid’s activities, indoor-sim roller-coaster.. it made the Ontario Mills mall seem like a strip mall by comparison. I usually go to the big malls to catch a movie at the multi-movie-plex and always get lots of exercise exploring the malls. Often there is some kind of entertainment going on at one of the public stages.. bands, singers, dance competitions.. always something new going on. Currently under construction is the SM Seaside City Mall.. designed to be about the largest mall in this part of Asia, almost a mini-city within itself built along the coast.
So.. while there are some areas of the islands that are pristine, green jungle and white sandy beaches, the modern comforts of beautifully designed air-conditioned Super Malls are not usually more than a cab ride away in Cebu.
After 49 years living in Southern California, USA, I decided to move to the Philippines despite never having been here before. In July, 2012, I took a leap of faith and transplanted myself to the amazing Philippines. I am a single man taking an honest look at all that the islands here have to offer, one day at a time. I hope you find my LBTSea site informative, entertaining and hopefully a bit of each. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Forum and other parts of what the site has to offer. Browse around and be sure to sign up for updates via email. Enjoy!