Monday, 7 March 2016

Greenbelt Chapel and Shopping Mall in Manila

The Spaniard are good at making interesting and unique cathedrals (or guitars, or paella, or aeroplane tails). And they passed on those legacies to the Philippines (at least the 1st 2).

In fact, the Philippines is the only country in SE Asia where a number of churches/cathedrals have made itself into the UNESCO listing under the category of Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

Equally impressive - ok, flabbergasted - that in the top 5 largest shopping malls in the world, 2 are in the Philippines (of course, this list is changing quite fast. This is the record at the end of 2015).

Why flabbergasted (or using internet subtle lingo, WTF)? Read and wonder. The country's GDP per capita ranks 119 out of 187 in the world while it has 4 within a list of top 11 largest shopping malls in the world.

So when travelling the Philippines, there are 2 kinda places that one may want to check out, churches and shopping malls (if that's your thing). In other parts of the world (especially Europe) where shopping malls are more visited than cathedrals by the locals (the reverse is true for tourists). In the Philippines, both are popular places for the locals. So it's makes perfect sense to put the 2 together in close proximity. A kinda one-stop shop for your needs.

Today I'm visiting both in Greenbelt shopping mall, especially because my hotel shuttle stops here.


Greenbelt park, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
Some of the outdoor sculptural park benches in Greenbelt Park

Greenbelt is small comparing to, say SM Mall of Asia, but it isn't small by any standard in any country with the exception of China and GCC countries (this lead me to conclude that church or mosque goers shop religiously).

park bench, Greenbelt park, Makati, Manila, the Philippines

park bench, Greenbelt park, Makati, Manila, the Philippines


As I mentioned in Ayala Triangle Park diary entry, Xmas decorations and celebrations in the Philippines - like its shopping malls and catholic churches - are unparalleled in SE Asia, possibly in Asia, for reasons that I mentioned in the above diary entry. And so you can expect to see lots of commercial Xmas festivity in Greenbelt (or other) shopping malls.


Swiss village, Christmas display, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines

Swiss village, Christmas display, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines

Swiss village, Christmas display, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
What could be more picturesque Xmas scene than a snow covered Swiss village ?

Swiss village, Christmas display, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
This Swiss alpine scenery somehow seems quite heart-warming...
I guess it's only because we don't have to live there.


And Lego isn't gonna left out in the cold (not that it's ever cold here in Xmas).

Lego Christmas tree, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines Lego toy, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines


Lego gifts, Christmas display, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
Xmas gifts in low-res photography simulation


 Greenbelt Chapel 
The churches and cathedrals aren't so impressive compare to those in Europe. This is to be expected. But I find their modern ones far more interesting. They're either designed by Spanish or influenced by Spanish designs. More to the point, the modern churches, unlike the classical ones, are designed with the practical needs in mind (as supposed to simply a carbon copy or a straight borrowing from the Spanish architecture). The Greenbelt Chapel (aka Chapel of Santo Niño de Paz) is a case in point.

Instead of a typical church with a traditional design with thick enclosed walls, many of the modern chapels/churches here are of open design. It has no walls or only minimal load-bearing walls, and it resembles more like a pavilion than a traditional church. I think this is to accommodate the practical needs of a large Catholic population.

To have churches with enclosed walls, you can either have huge number of them (like the huge number of temples in Thailand. This makes you think "Thai" stands for "temples"), or you can build stadium sized churches to accommodate the large congregation. Both of these solutions are either impractical or costly or both. This open-air pavilion type of architecture will solve this issue nicely.

Greenbelt Chapel, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
The roof of Greenbelt Chapel looks like a traditional Spanish soldier's helmet

main entrance, Greenbelt Chapel, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
Covered walkway leading to the main entrance
Interior, Greenbelt Chapel, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines

Ceiling, Greenbelt Chapel, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines

Christ child, Greenbelt Chapel, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
Santo Niño de Paz, I presume
flaming cross, Greenbelt Chapel, Greenbelt shopping mall, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
Lovely representation of a flaming cross

The park is located in the green surrounding by ponds, grass, plants and sculptures of water buffalo to create an oasis of idyllic peace in the midst of (relatively) hectic commercial activity, a break from a day of busy shopping.

Greenbelt park, Makati, Manila, the Philippines

Buffalo sculpture, Greenbelt park, Makati, Manila, the Philippines

Buffalo sculpture, Greenbelt park, Makati, Manila, the Philippines
You don't need to be buffalo-boy/girl to enjoy the stationary ride



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