Luckily, they're not the only ones where you can whet your shopping appetite in Makati. If you poke outside the Makati Central Business District, you'll find places like Cash and Carry, which offer a different — but not necessarily inferior! — experience from the Ayala Malls. Let's take a closer look at the former.
There's only one Cash and Carry Mall in Metro Manila, and it's located on Filmore Street in Barangay Palanan. It may look isolated compared to its flashier counterparts, but it actually has a strategic location.
See, Cash and Carry Mall is near the intersection of two major roads: Senator Gil Puyat Avenue (more commonly known as "Buendia Avenue") and South Superhighway (also known as "Osmeña Highway"). That means it's easily accessible from anywhere in the metro, and if you want to meet up with a friend at Cash and Carry, you won't have a hard time specifying directions.
Also, if you ride the Philippine National Railways (PNR), you can walk straight from the Buendia PNR station to the mall. You can even live in one of the many condominiums constructed — and being constructed — around the mall, so you can shop to your heart's desire without having to endure the infamous Metro Manila traffic.
Cash and Carry's supermarket section opens at around 9 AM every day. Some establishments — like the restaurants and Starbucks — open at around the same time. However, you'll have to find another entrance into those establishments other than inside the mall, because they're partly closed to the public until 10 AM. Once the clock hits 10, you can go in and out of those places without much trouble.
The supermarket is pretty well-stocked. You can buy almost everything in there — fresh food, Asian ingredients, household cleaning supplies, kitchen tools and even affordable clothes. If you're looking for something in particular, you can ask one of the supermarket's friendly staff. They'll always be more than happy to assist you.
Even on busy days (e.g. weekends and late nights), Cash and Carry's supermarket never feels too crowded. You can navigate the aisles without having to say too many "Excuse me's" to passersby. It's a great shopping experience, overall.
The only complaint you'll probably make is how the checkout counters aren't always staffed. Although the counters number over 20, there are times when less than half of them are open — leading to some very long lines (and, perhaps, a disgruntled shopper or two). Otherwise, the checkout counter staff are just as friendly and helpful as those within the supermarket.
Cash and Carry may be a low-profile mall, but that doesn't mean it's unattractive to major retail brands. Some of the big-name stores you can browse inside the mall include Bench, Penshoppe, Fila, Folded & Hung and Giordano. Other less-known stores are placed side-by-side with the abovementioned, giving you ample opportunity to check them out for hidden gems.
Granted, those stores don't have as many offerings as their larger counterparts in the more well-known malls. But if you're only looking for the most basic products they offer, why not give them a try?
Going up to the second floor, you'll find Cash and Carry's Cinema 1 and 2. Considering this limited number of theaters, the mall can show only two or three ongoing movies at a time. However, if you don't mind watching movies in 2D (because Cash and Carry doesn't have a 3D theatre at the moment), and you only need to update yourself with one or two box-office hits, this cinema will satisfy your needs.
After you're done with the movie, you can quench your hunger by heading straight for the Food Circle — Cash and Carry's own version of the food court. Most of the outlets there serve Filipino food, though you'll also find a McDonald's dessert station, and a couple of Japanese stalls (Samurai and Sumoyaki).
Computer and Gadgets
If you're into gadgets, the second floor has a lot to offer too. You can surf the Internet at Netopia, or browse the Power Mac Center for the latest Apple products. For your computer needs, Octagon is there to meet them.
Looking for beddings, tables and other furniture? Head for the third floor. There, you'll also find more clothing stores like Bread n Butter and Chesca. Walk around a little more, and you'll see a music store, a shoe/bags repair store and even a (legal) weapons outlet!
As you walk along the second and third floors, you'll notice several clothing stores on the side. Many of them sell beautiful garments at reasonable prices, so they're worth a closer look. Keep in mind, however, that the product quality varies considerably in every store, so shop carefully!
Also, if you take an escalator near Cash and Carry's Mercury Drug Store, you'll be taken to the Mezzanine area. Many specialty stores are located there, along with ATMs for banks other than the ones on the second floor. The area has a somewhat seedy feel, but don't let that put you off.
Cash and Carry is a good alternative to the more high-end malls in Makati. It offers a variety of products that meet almost every need, at some of the most reasonable prices in the city. Give this mall a visit, and have a different shopping experience for a change.