This summer, Ayala Malls will become a haven for wellness as it unrolls its Love’Em Blooms campaign, in which flowers, some endemic to the Philippines, will drape the trees in its large mall parks.
A real estate subsidiary of Ayala Land, Ayala Malls is the country’s pioneer in creating parks and gardens as the central converging zones of their malls.
Greenbelt in Makati, for example, has a six-hectare park brimming with life—koi pond, wooden Japanese-
inspired bridge over a duck pond, patches of greens for shoppers to unwind and a chapel.
When they built TriNoma in Quezon City, the architects designed the mall around the old trees in the area.
“We are the first developer to integrate parks in malls,” said Ayala Land vice president and head of operations Rowena Tomeldan. “We’ve always focused on sustainability, love for nature, and making art accessible to the public. This time, we want everyone to enjoy the blooms in our malls.”
Headlining the show is the fragrant sanggumay orchid (Dendrobium anosmum). Seeds from Davao have been planted on trees around the malls, with stems expected to dangle more than a meter long. The purple blooms can now be seen in their early bud stage.
The project began a year ago, said Ayala Malls marketing head Maricris Bernardino. Tapping the expertise of the Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society Inc. (PNPCSI), a nonstock, nonprofit organization committed to the conservation of indigenous Philippine plants and their natural habitats, the Ayala Malls team was able to slowly grow the seeds.
“What you see now when you walk are the roots. The flowers are not yet as big, but our intention is for the garden to become the centerpiece,” Bernardino said.
Trained gardeners are already tending to the 12 varieties of blooms that will surround the parks. The varieties, Bernardino noted, were chosen so that they bloom at different times of the year. That way, there will be flowers all year round.
“We’re a tropical country, but there’s no such thing in the Philippines as a mall with flowers. We should also be known to visitors for our beautiful flora,” she added.
Science has proven that surrounding yourself with greens and flowers lowers cortisol levels, the marker for stress. The higher the number, the more stressed your body and mind are.
“We are not only being sustainable; we are thinking of wellness. You feel better, you fight less and you’re generally happier at the sight of nature,” said Tomeldan.
There will be Green Walks, with speakers and volunteers from PNPCSI leading the guided tours, on April 16 at Fairview Terraces, April 23 at Ayala Malls Solenad and May 7 at Alabang Town Center. Brochures about the country’s most popular trees and flora will be handed out.
On May 7-8, Alabang Town Center will hold a Flower Watercolor Painting Session, Van Gogh Paint by Number workshop and Still Life Flower Sketching at the Corte De Las Palmas and Town Plaza. Shoppers can also join a photo contest organized by the Ayala Alabang Camera Club.
Arts and crafts
Greenbelt will also be busy. On May 20-22 there will be art activities like Flora and Fauna Color and Nature Sketch Art stations. Vendors will also be selling arts and crafts materials, healthy eats and organic produce.
TriNoma will have its series of arts and crafts workshops on May 22, 4/L Garden Restaurants.
Gardening workshops are lined up. On May 7, Joey Quintana and the Ayala Garden Club will give an informative talk. On May 8, Mother’s Day, join Greenbelt’s Afternoon Tea by the Garden. Enjoy tea made from herbs grown from Greenbelt’s edible garden, get an exclusive tour of the garden, and meet-and-greet the gardeners. Plus, you’ll get first pick of fruits and vegetables of the season.
“We also have a vegetable garden, a green room, on the roof deck of Market! Market! You don’t see it. Shoppers cannot access that,” Tomeldan said.
A Blooms Market will be set up inside malls, with local growers, producers, florists, designers, stylists and botanical suppliers. Catch them on April 15-17 at Greenbelt, May 6-5 at Ayala Center Cebu, May 7-8 at Alabang Town Center, May 6-8 at Abreeza Mall, May 21-22 at TriNoma, June 3-5 at Glorietta, June 22-26 at Fairview Terraces and June 24-26 at Centrio Mall.
More than a year after its conceptualization, Ayala Malls launched its environment awareness campaign under Love’Em Blooms. Bernardino stressed the importance of children learning to love the environment. According to a forecast by the United Nations, about 70 percent of the world’s population will be city dwellers by 2050.
Hence, there will also be Lego installations in selected malls. This way, said Bernardino, parents can better explain to their children the value of taking care of the environment. Blooms Lego Outdoor Display will be in Greenbelt, Trinoma and Alabang Town Center starting May 16.
Ayala Malls also partnered with Mind Museum, in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences and United States Agency for International Development, for an interesting, interactive traveling exhibit.
Called “Stories of the Sea,” it’s about marine life, highlighting breathtaking views under the ocean and the importance of conservation, specifically for the Verde Island Passage in Batangas, a part of the Coral Triangle that extends from the Philippines all the way to Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and East Timor.
“Coral reefs are like blooms of the sea,” Bernardino said.
“Stories of the Sea” will be in Ayala Center Cebu on April 13-17, Abreeza Mall Davao on April 30 to May 4, Centrio Mall CDO on May 11-15, Alabang Town Center on June 1-5, TriNoma on June 8-12, Fairview Terraces on June 22-26 and Greenbelt on June 29 to July 3.
For more information, log on to Ayala Malls.