Gaisano City located in the Lapaz district of Iloilo used to be one of the most popular shopping destinations in the area. My asawa and I had only visited the store once since an initial visit after first moving to the Philippines over two years ago. We weren't overly impressed, and the air conditioning (or lack of it) did not make it one of our favorite places. Good air con and the variety of shops offered at SM City is why you will see that particular mall written about numerous times on this website.
However, since our move to a subdivision outside of Iloilo City recently, we need to buy some new furniture. Aside from a sofa bed we hauled on jeepneys and a pump boat from Guimaras, we do not even have a chair to sit on, just a small plastic stool we bought for 82 pesos (1.91 USD Dollars) and only big enough for a duwende. Since Gasiano has a large selection of furniture and appliances to do our Philippines shopping we decided to revisit the mall one Sunday.
But first things first. We had to get our priorities in order. And Number One on the list was a new rice cooker for my spouse. She had left her old cooker in Guimaras for her Mother, niece and nephew. A cute Filipina sales associate, pictured with my beautiful asawa, is shown in the photo above and helped my wife look at the vast selection of rice cookers offered.
You don't hear the choruses of "Good morning, sir!" (even in the afternoon) or "Good morning, Ma'am!" like you do at the SM Department Store at SM City, but the young lady was very helpful and polite. We did not purchase one that day, funds are limited as we wait for our next payday from my retirement account (and with the falling US Dollar exchange rate versus the Philippine Peso, our peso withdrawal will be quite less than last month, at least 1300 pesos at the time of this post.)
We decided to check out the large furniture selection the store offers, in fact if you are going to do some Philippines shopping for new beds, sofas, wardrobes, etc., Gasaino City in Iloilo would be a good place to visit. Take a look at the next photo which gives you an idea of what they have to offer. We need a new bed since the sofa bed we have been using the last two years is not at all comfortable and is hurting my asawa's back.
Found some very friendly and helpful sales associates. My wife was looking for a new wardrobe to hang our clothes. Our new home, like our former place in Guimaras, does not have one single closet. Large wardrobes to hang your clothes is not a necessity but a great convenience. It beats taking your clothes out of open suitcases which we currently do every morning. As my spouse took a call on her cell phone and was chatting with her sister in Manila, I wandered over to the beds and mattresses.
As I entered the bed section I was greeted by a trio of male associates, not a cute Filipina in sight in that area. The guys don't work on commission but still offer great customer service. Took a look at some headboards for 4,000 pesos (93 USD) and a queen- sized mattress priced at 8,000 pesos (186 USD.) This was not some piece of foam which we had been using when we first moved to the Philippines, but was a regular good quality mattress like we had in the States. We were just windowing shopping that day, but I took the price information from the associates as I waved my asawa over from the wardrobe area, her mobile still glued to her ear, so she could offer her opinion.
Did I mention that the mattress had a "Hello Kitty" theme? That did not bother me since I am a "macho" enough guy to not have any issues with that. My wife was a big fan of the kitty anyway, however, she was not over enthused when she saw it, much to my surprise. I advised her that the mattress will be covered with a sheet. She just nodded her head and continued talking on her cell phone (she uses a Sun SIM card sometimes and can talk with her sister in Manila endlessly since her sibling has a similar SIM.)
I was hungry and wanted to check out the food court which opened at 10 am and was able to steer my spouse upstairs. We checked out the limited selection of food offered, just a few dishes sitting in serving containers with no fast food outlet in sight and made a "bee line" to, you guessed it, "Jollibee." You can always count on the well-fed Red bee to serve up some cheap eats.
Fortunately there were no long lines, and I was able to place my usual order promptly, a Champ Burger, hold that sweet mayo please. I politely advised the young lady taking my order that I love the burger but do not care for the mayo topping so if it is on my Champ I will promptly send it back. The associate took my order directly to the line cook and emphasized that there was to be absolutely no mayo. I love great customer service!
My Champ Burger arrived without the sweet mayo (always takes as least 12 minutes but I do not mind waiting.) My asawa chomped down on some spicy Chicken Joy as we weighed our Philippines shopping options. We did not have the cash to purchase any bed or wardrobe at this time and hopefully would be able buy them next month. Gaisano City charges 750 pesos (17.50 USD) for delivery to our subdivision about 30 minutes outside of Iloilo City so it would be make sense to purchase both items at once and avoid another delivery charge. Had to see what the budget would allow and hope that the US dollar would not continue to fall against the Philippine peso.
However, my overall impressions of the mall were considerably better than our initial visit. The air con situation had seemed to improve (or else I was getting better acclimated to the heat and humidity in the Philippines.) While there are not nearly as many dining options available as SM City offers and not as many as stores, we will be returning when we are able to buy the furniture we are looking for. We want to pay in cash and want to avoid racking up any charge accounts if possible. We do not have any credit cards and do not want to fall into that trap as was so easy to do back in the States. So if you are in the area, drop by the mall. It was a nice change of pace from our usual SM City shopping adventures. I just hope that "Hello Kitty" mattress is still available, though, but don't let that get around!