The existence of this mall confirms that SM City Bicutan is the worst SM in the south.
It also tells me that there’s much to be appreciated in an SM that isn’t the size of a small country. It’s got everything you need but feels like a neighborhood mall – it’s cozy, it’s homey, and as Goldilocks would say, it’s just right.
So in spite of it being totally out of the way for us, and substantially far (14 km away from our Better Living home), an occasional visit to SM Southmall is welcome.
Where to eat
In terms of dining, we’ve tried Buku Buku Kafe:
If the place looks unique, the concept behind it is, too. The usual light cafe fare of sandwiches and pasta is made heartier and anything but bland with Southeast Asian inspired dishes and drinks.
Not only is there a lot of rice, the servings are hefty as well. One meal is good to share.
Macon and I enjoyed the food a lot, although it might have been too filling. Best to go here hungry.
I’m also not sure how other kids would fare with a meal here. Akira doesn’t like spicy or saucy food, so I got her the pancakes. But Buku Buku’s pancakes come with all these fruits and flavored syrups and jams, so she didn’t like it very much. The grownups ended up having impromptu dessert.
There’s plenty of lovable quirks to Buku Buku Kafe – from the magazine page place mats, the photogenic interiors, and lots of books to browse.
While Macon and I agree that it has more of a restaurant than a cafe vibe, it has enough intimate corners to offer for those like us that take work out and stay in coffee shops a lot. It’s something I’ll be sure to try, as well as their coffee and dessert (that isn’t pancakes, hehe) next time.
One time we also ended up staying a while at Bo’s Coffee because Akira had already fallen asleep.
Bo’s here is nice, but it tends to get filled up. It also sucks that they don’t have couches or other comfy seating.
It’s not obvious because she looks like a skinny kid, but Akira’s pretty heavy. Jason and I had to take turns in cradling her.
Good thing that Bo’s delivers on the food and coffee. Better than Seattle’s Best, I’d say. Also, I bought my copy of Black Jack, I couldn’t put that manga down, hehe, so perfect for times like this!
Things to do
In terms of activities, SM Southmall is pretty kid friendly. We always see these kiddie rides in SM malls like Megamall and Mall of Asia, but here, there are no long lines and it’s just more pleasant, overall. We gave the rides a try:
Loved it. Akira is 4 years old as of writing, and she has yet to ride a proper Ferris wheel. Hopefully she’ll be more amazed and less scared with the experience.
Have a mani-pedi
We ended up at Nailaholics one time because I was hoping she’d fall asleep while I have a foot spa. We do that a lot, by the way, it’s a double win.
My pampering session was a success, but the little one ended up more energized, unfortunately, bouncing off the couches and asking for nail polish.
Shopping is also ideal in Southmall. It has all the brands-of-the-moment like H&M, Uniqlo and Cotton On. It has local staples like Bench. It has a Miniso! And it also has the classics like Levis. J’s loyal to Levis. He constantly checks for sale items.
Levis was the jeans of my youth, wore all my pairs till they ripped, bore holes, and got too small. I’m hard pressed to find the perfect pair of Levis again, they seem to be in a skinny phase, and the fit doesn’t quite agree with me. I do miss them, their jeans really grow on you.
Go ice skating
Then of course, there’s ice skating. This is the only SM in this neck of the woods with an ice skating rink. Remembering how Frozen ended with ice skating, Akira wanted to try it. She’s never tried it ever, and I haven’t tried ice skating in YEARS.
The recommended age for kids trying ice skating for the first time is 4 to 5 years old. There’s no rushing this, in fact, delay trying ice skating as long as you can.
For young kids like Akira, they said we needed to also pay for a coach. It’s true, you would need one because there’s a lot of coordination needed to just stay standing on the ice, let alone gliding. As mentioned, I also haven’t done in years, so it helped to have someone tell you what to do.
The coach was super patient and helpful, but after a few minutes, Akira wasn’t even trying anymore, and would just slump. I think it’s a combination of having to stay in an awkward posture (make a v-shape with your feet and then lift a foot to move forward), and having to deal with the heavy ice skates.
I ended up being the coach’s new student, which was a treat. Those few times before when we would go ice skating, it was always as goofs, holding on the rails for dear life and then getting a bit confident and actually managing to skate for a while.
With actual coaching, I learned the correct form. It’s something you can definitely work on and practice until you can channel Moira Kelly in The Cutting Edge (yes, I just revealed my age bracket!).
The sport itself is likeable, but just going to the skating rink for an hour or so is a different story. The skates for rent are in deplorable shape, and they literally stink. I think it’s the laces, they haven’t been washed ever.
Not sure how the situation is in Mall of Asia or Megamall, but if it’s anything like Southmall, there are plenty of other ways to cool down, thanks!
Be visiting often, SM Southmall
Las Pinas peeps got it good with SM Southmall. It’s everything you need and look for in a mall – there are plenty of dining options, there’s a big supermarket, it has the popular shopping spots, there are things for the kids to do, things for the grownups to do.
I’ll see if their movie theater is also good. Till then!