Through the years, many malls and shopping complexes have emerged in different parts of Metro Manila. Yet Ali Mall, with its rich history and accessibility, remains among the preferred go-to destination of shoppers and diners of various generations.
In celebration of Ali Mall’s 46th year, we take a trip down memory lane to revisit the colorful and interesting legacy and firsts of one of the oldest malls in the country.
- Opened on June 30, 1976, Ali Mall is forever marked in history as the first enclosed, fully-airconditioned, multi-leveled shopping mall in the country. This made the historic mall one of the OG hangout destinations back in the days.
- Mall movie dates and hangouts in Metro Manila first started in Ali Mall, as it is the first mall to open cinemas: the Ali Mall Cineplex. It used to have two cinemas, then it was upgraded to four digital theaters.
- Mallgoers who can’t choose where to eat (or just want to have a quick bite) can thank food courts for being an ideal dining go-to. Did you know that it was Ali Mall that opened the very first mall food court in Metro Manila, the Food Gallery?
- Ali Mall also pioneered the integration of amusement to its shopping experience through the Skatetown, the largest indoor skating rink at the time.
- In summer of 1979, Disc Corporation (aka DisCorp) rented one of the theaters at the Ali Mall to exclusively show “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park”, a 1978 American television film starring American hard rock band Kiss. The theater was packed with fans in kabuki make-up, and wild black outfits and leg-high boots.
- Being a pioneer shopping mall, Ali Mall also served as the first branch of well-known classic brands such as Papemelroti, Blue Magic, and Rusty Lopez. Fortunately, shoppers can still see these shops existing in this mall!
- Upon learning about the proposal to name the mall after him, boxing champ Muhammad Ali (who just won the famed 1975 Thrilla in Manila) was overjoyed with the idea that he didn’t ask for a royalty fee. The mall was completed within just a year, and Ali even went back to Manila to officially inaugurate the mall.
- Wondering why SM Cubao and Ali Mall are connected by a Skywalk? The bridge way was constructed to serve as a reminder of the rich history that they’ve shared as iconic shopping centers in the Philippines.
With its heritage and distinction, Ali Mall carries a legacy of introducing a shopping experience that puts a premium on customer comfort and convenience. The mall’s physical look may have changed through the years, but its soul remains the same: it will forever be a fitting backdrop to new milestones, endless possibilities, and first experiences that many more will enjoy.