Is the New SM Hypermarket in Iloilo All Hype?

Visited the new SM Hypermarket in Iloilo City this past Saturday. The "Lizard Poop" Crew, my asawa, niece JalAmiel, and myself,  The Kano,  were  anxious to visit this one-stop shopping establishment.   I was looking forward to the new deli and the convenience of pushing one cart to a centralized checkout and not having to hop from department to department and separate checkouts as is the case when we shop at SM City in Iloilo. What was my overall rating of the new store?Hypermarket

I give it a "three" out of five Lizards. Here is what I liked:Collages

  • The overall store staff. Very "Happy to Serve" as is the tradition of most SM establishments. Friendly and helpful. And a BIG plus for me was the fact that the Hypermarket was not quite as discriminatory in their hiring practices as the main SM Department Stores are. I spoke to one young Filipina that was only 4'9" tall, and she confirmed what I thought. She is too short to be hired at the SM Department Store, but is welcomed at the Hypermarket. I also saw a couple of non-management workers in their 30's which is something that is also rare at the the regular SM stores.
  • The centralized checkout lanes and their staff. Very convenient  There was not a huge crowd in the store even for a Saturday, and we did not have to wait at the checkouts. An EXTREMELY helpful cashier that insisted on unloading my groceries from the cart and putting them on the checkout counter. The baggers/boxers also boxed up our groceries for the pump boat ride back to Guimaras and absolutely refused to take a tip when they hailed a cab for us and loaded our groceries. Hands down, the BEST cashier checkout personnel and baggers/boxers in any SM we have shopped at in the Philippines.
  • The bulk goods section. The Hypermarket had a wide selection of goods that could be purchased in bulk, much larger than the supermarket in SM City or any supermarket we have been to in Iloilo.
Here's what I didn't like:
  • The lack of a good air con system. It was terribly warm in the store, and as a spoiled American used to shopping in air conditioned comfort, it lessened the shopping experience for my wife and I.
  • Smaller selection of grocery and non-grocery items. Although, as mentioned, the bulk good items were abundant, there were some grocery items not available in the Hypermarket that we could find at the SM City Supermarket. Of course the store cannot begin to offer all the items that can be purchased at the SM Department locations. Also, I wanted to look at digital cameras in their electronics department, and they did not have any cameras at all.  However,  most items on my shopping list could be found.
  • No deli and smaller bakery. I could not find a deli (maybe it will be put in later.) The bakery is also much smaller than what is available at the SM City Supermarket.
  • Limited dining options. No McDonald's, KFC, or Chow King. They had "Hot Dog on a Stick", and I was able to purchase a pricey Johnsonville brat (75 pesos, approximately $1.73 USD), but there were only about six or seven eating establishments, and the store did not have a special cooking area for Filipino standards such as banana cue which the Hypermarket in Metro Manila have.
Overall impression of the store was positive. Does the convenience of one-stop shopping outweigh the disadvantage of smaller selections and lack of a good air con? Well, my wife wants to return next month when we do our monthly shopping at Iloilo, so we will give it another try. The jeepney we used to travel to the SM Hypermarket in Iloilo was easy to find, look for "Jaro Liko NFA"posted on the jeepney and check with the driver. Only costs seven pesos (16 cents) each for the ride. Next post will relate my encounter with a fellow American I met at the Hypermarket, a feisty ex-Vietnam vet that likes to drink "Dead Horse"!

8 comments

  1. I guess that's really how SM Hypermarket are, there is really limited dining options. Have you tried Paotsin there? We normally dine there 😀

  2. Well at least you're generous. The feedback I have heard from my friends was worse than your review. They gave the hypermart 3 out of 10 stars.

    They were really dissapointed considering the name and the reputation of SM, which is almost "american" in efficiency.

    Anyway, I think the Hypermarket deservers a second chance because it's clear that they rushed the opening for the christmas season.

    Hope the next visit would be better dave.

    It's good to know you're meeting other fellow expats there.

    -Kaltehitze

  3. Exactly, Kaltehitze! Yes, it does have the look of being opened before it really was ready, but I never even thought of the Christmas angle though it is November already.

    Absolutely will give it a second chance. Guess I rated it quite higher than your friends. As I said in the article, the staff was especially helpful, and I'm anxious to see what changes they can make when we visit next month. I think I will see some improvements. Thanks for your comment.

  4. There is also a hypermart here in my area. It's really helpful when you need something asap and it's literally the nearest grocery store you.
    xoxo
    MrsM

  5. Hi MrsM! Yes, having a grocery store nearby is convenient. We have a small market only five minutes away. It certainly is no Hypermarket, but it has a lot bigger selection than our sari sari stores.

  6. You must have cought hypermarket on a bad day or they were running on a generator. My wife and I shop there at least once a week because it’s right up the street from our house and they have a huge parking lot thats guarded. Usually the aircon to me is cool. I agree the selection is not as good as SM or the Atrium Iloilo supermarkets, but they do have a few things I don’t find in other places. I have yet to find a “one stop” supermarket here. You can forget that foodcourt. I have tried all those places a couple times and frankly I would have been much happier going to Joe’s Chicken Ignato next to the big parking area. Their chicken Ignato is great and so is the chop suey. Besides the fact they serve cold SMB 🙂 and reasonably comfortable seats. Prices are good if you bring the crew along. Definately my first choice BBQ here.

    1. Hi, Paul, thanks for the input on the Hypermarket. My wife and I visited the market not too long after they opened. I’ll certainly give them another chance, as the staff were extremely helpful, but will avoid the food court. We’ll check out Joe’s Chicken Ignato, sounds good. I like a good BBQ and cold SMB. Thanks for the tip. We’ll check it out on our next shopping expedition to Iloilo.

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