EVEN the holiday crush and rush of the -ber months carry a tinge of nostalgia now, for the restrictions brought about by the pandemic can discourage one from going out to the mall and shopping for Christmas presents. So the Ayala Malls bring the best of the holidays — the gifts — minus everything else, unveiling many initiatives during a webinar on Nov. 4.
First there is Zing, a shopping, loyalty and rewards app that one can use at home — but also at the mall since it helps you navigate through the spaces of the various Ayala Malls dotting the country (such as which stores are open), explained Jenylle Tupaz, President of Ayala Malls, via Zoom. ANA (Ayala Malls Neighborhood Assistant) is another one of these online initiatives, an app for a personal shopper, that also helps the mall group’s displaced cinema employees. Rounding this out is Pasyal TV Live Shopping, where viewers can purchase items in real time by visiting shop.pasyal.com.ph.
Not everything is online though. The malls will also host a number of live events over the holidays too.
First there is the trunk show of the Philippine Fashion Coalition. Designers from Manila, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro to Davao will take part in the project, offering exclusive fashion, accessory, and home pieces, in a live fashion event. The participation designers are Vittorio Barba, Noel Crisostomo, Rhett Eala, Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Randy Ortiz, Carissa Cruz-Evangelista, Gina Nebrida-Ty, Jor El Espina, Dexter Alazas, Jun Escario, Philip Rodriguez, Tatah Costales, Aztec Barba, Benjie Panizales, Emi Englis, Dodjie Batu, Windel Mira, Egay Ayag, and Edgar Buyan.
The trunk show will be held in the following Ayala Malls: Market Market on Dec. 3-6, Glorietta on Dec. 17-20, Alabang Town Center on Jan. 7-10, Ayala Center Cebu, Manila Bay, and Centrio on Jan. 4-17, and Abreeza and UP Town Center on Jan. 28-31.
Connected with these is the seventh annual Designer Holiday Bazaar, curated by Zobel de Ayala family members, sisters Bea Zobel Jr. and Sofia Elizalde. Launching on Nov. 18, 20% of the sales will be donated to partner charities including Steps Scholarship Foundation and Ayala Foundation for APEC Scholarships.
This year’s participating designers include AC+632, Alegre By Techie Hagedorn, Amarie, Bum Bums, Beavaldes, Chocoloco, Chrysara Nest, El Chupapi Rolled Munchies, Feanne, Gifts and Graces Fair Trade Foundation, Gustoko By Paula Figueras, Iraya Mangyan Art, J Makitalo, Jewelmer, Kanya, Kassa, Mabolo, Maison Lourdes, Majordomo Gourmet Food, Manggad, Matthew and Melka, Omo Furniture, Piopio, Riqueza Jewellery, Rurungan Collective, Soumak, T’nalak Home, Tan-Gan X Ha.Mu, Tanglaw Collection, The Bahay Kubo Workshop, What’s Up, Brew?, Yvette’s Collection, and One Of T.
“I was with my designer friends, planning our Artists’ Village in Lio, Palawan,” said Ms. Zobel during the webinar, about how the idea for the bazaar started seven years ago. “I heard that the Ayala Foundation was sourcing funds for their schools. I said, ‘what a wonderful way of raising funds with my designer friends.’ Why not support local designers by putting on a bazaar? We’d be supporting the local designers and the local brands.”
“What Bea started many years ago, it’s now become a favorite I think, every Christmas. People look forward to seeing what’s new.” said Ms. Elizalde.
She is proud of the students from her dance school, which will benefit from the Bazaar. The students of the Steps Scholarship Foundation come from public schools and the Ayala Foundation Centex Schools. She said that one of her students is now an apprentice at the American Ballet Company in New York, while another just entered the Jackie Onassis School of Dance. “These are just a few examples of the magic these scholarships give to these kids.”
The bazaar is a family effort: Paloma Urquijo Zobel, Bea’s daughter, collaborated with Moss Studio and Pino Studio to design the bazaar’s exhibit. One can shop live at the exhibit at Greenbelt with minimum fuss through a card system, while one can also shop through the website (www.designersholidaybazaar.com). The new efforts for the bazaar will also feature personal shopper assistance, same-day delivery within Metro Manila, and even international deliveries.
All of these activities and initiatives are geared towards the Ayala Malls’ vision for the future.
“With new behaviors developed during quarantine, we weighed the challenges brought by fear and restrictions,” said Ms. Tupaz. “Our actions and decisions are guided by Ayala Land, Inc.’s action plan.” These include a focus on financial stability, caring for their people, serving their customers, helping others, and thinking ahead towards recovery. These translate to their key priorities, which include health and safety, merchant and customer support, communication, employee productivity and engagement, and adoption and adaptation.
Some of these are expected, such as the thermal scanners, disinfection, and the maintenance of social distancing within the malls. Other measures they have taken include rent reprieves, waived basic rent, and variable rent rates for retail and food outlets. Ayala Malls has also set up a loan support facility for the 70% of its small to medium enterprise merchants. “These priorities are all meant to provide clarity and direction; to develop resilience, and to demonstrate malasakit (care) as we take care of our customers, merchants, and people,” said Ms. Tupaz.
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and CEO of the Ayala Corp., left a Christmas message. “While there is much uncertainty ahead, empathy, joy, and hope can guide us to continue spreading gratitude, happiness and togetherness this Christmas season.” — JLG