For those like me who turn to department stores mostly for middle class necessities like ankle socks, electric fans, and really cheap gifts to give for Christmas (ssshhh!), well, METRO is also just that. And we love it.
“We actually offer our goods at the supermarket at a very low price. We can even have you return it if you find it anywhere else at a cheaper price,” METRO Vice President for Corporate Affairs Anna Marie Periquet told myself and some members of the press last Wednesday at a media tour inside their Market! Market! site.
This, I didn't know.
Many of us do know that the METRO brand hails from Cebu, a spinoff of Doña Modesta Gaisano’s White Gold Department Store erected in 1949. Doña Modesta’s second youngest son Victor took the reins by building the first METRO Gaisano Department Store and Supermarket in Colon. The year was 1982, and the brand has since grown even beyond Cebu. METRO’s Market! Market! site is, of course, one of many across Luzon. It’s the sixth overall store, having built a vast clientele that range from commuters reaching the place via bus or jeepney to the residents sauntering their way from their overpriced condos at The Fort.
For those who haven’t been visiting, METRO at Market! Market! spans five ceramic-tiled floors filled with everything thinkable for purchase. It begins with a supermarket, menswear, and items on special promos at the first floor. Many of the women’s stuff including home and office supplies plus its signature Gift Registry occupy the middle floors. The fifth floor boasts of abundant furniture hotel/restaurant/cafe institutions (horeca) typically buy in wholesale.
Come to think of it, METRO might just as well be like any other department store—not like I survey the rest—until you learn it’s exactly the reason why it’s special.
“Did you know that a many of your teleseryes tape here?” Anna, shaking her usually graceful demeanor, gushed.
“Really? Too bad but I don’t get to watch TV anymore!” I answered—guilty.
Ning Ning, We Will Survive, The Better Half, Oh My G!, Be Careful With My Heart. Many Kapamilya series have shot their “shopping” scenes here in the past, the appearances of some of the country’s biggest stars becoming just another workday for the METRO staff. If not the halls or the stalls, however, the ABS-CBN production units shoot right inside any of the, yes, fitting rooms.
When Anna broke this to us, the rest and I got intrigued. A closer peek at the fitting rooms—well thought of as each had individual themes—only satisfied our curiosity.
Parents out there, for example, never had to worry about their kids squalling if forced to fit their clothes. They'd actually fret if they had to convince their tots to leave this little "nursery" at the third floor.
Ladies could literally lounge here at the second floor fitting room. Spa feels, yes?
Just when you thought disco balls have long phased out, this fitting room near the girls' clothing section shocks with every detail.
Young men into art might appreciate this Warhol-inspired fitting room at the ground floor.
Gentlemen, how about this Wall Street-themed dressing nook?
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Photographs by the author