Revisiting the new Ali Mall in Cubao

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By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – A few years ago, the area of Cubao went into a major revival, due in part to the establishment of the Gateway Mall and the five-building Manhattan Place condominium.

Even the old Araneta Coliseum was given a facelift. But the most iconic of all the structures in Cubao, Ali Mall, has only recently undergone a major revitalization.

From what was barely any change since its establishment in 1976 – making it one of the oldest malls in the Philippines — Ali Mall’s transformation into a modern mall and tourist attraction has been nothing short of amazing.

It is part of the Araneta Center Master Plan, which is anchored on the fact that Cubao’s Araneta Center used to be the “mecca” for dining and shopping in the late 1970s up to the early 1990s. That was until the expansion of other malls and dining areas, particularly in Makati City, Pasig City, and Pasay City.

The renovation started about a year ago and has been fast tracked this year in time for the Christmas season.

Many of the old facades of Ali Mall have been replaced to look more modern. Some of restaurants and clothing shops that lined the outer perimeter of Ali Mall have also upgraded their main entrances to give a more welcoming feel to shoppers. Instead of cement, walkways now have light-colored tiles.

However, it is the interior that has been given a major facelift. Gone are the drab cement walls, which have been upgraded with tiled or aluminum walls. The drop down ceilings are integrated with light fixtures that exude warm light to complement the white interior.

Also, many of the kiosks that lined up the pathways into the mall have been cleared, leaving only a few. These changes actually showed how much space there is inside the mall.

A big change is the inclusion of a “shoe center”, which actually follows the same concept as the one-stop-department store section of SM and Robinsons. This area used to house many of the small apparel kiosks prior to the renovation.

Many of the old tenants of Ali Mall are still present, including two gun stores, a collectible and hobby shop, as well as an art gallery. The Cineplex has also been improved particularly better seats and better airconditioning. They have also added a food court at the third floor of Ali Mall, which uses upholstered seats, giving guests a more comfortable dining experience.

Additional changes will be made later on, including landscaped sidewalks. They will also add more terminals for electric jeeps that allow visitors to travel around the mall as well as other establishments in the Araneta Center.

With the revitalization going as planned (the Araneta Center recently launched an art contest to help drum up interest) , it is hoped that the Ali Mall will again become the centerpiece of shopping and dining experience for Filipinos and visiting foreigners alike.

(Additional photo taken from

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