Gerald Anderson, Anton del Rosario, Margarita Fores, Raymond Gutierrez, Janeena Chan, Teresa Herrera, Sea Princess, Ruffa Gutierrez, Sarah Lahbati, Richard Gutierrez, Tim Yap, Denise Laurel, Xian Lim –Ryan Ong

We’ve got it all for you!”

Say this line and Filipino shoppers will quickly follow with, “SM,” and point to the nearest mall in the area. Today, SM Prime Holdings operates 70 malls in the Philippines and seven more in China.

SM recently opened its 70th mall, SM City Telebastagan, in San Fernando, Pampanga.

This comes in time for SM’s 60th anniversary celebrations this year. On May 21, SM lit up its landmark Mall of Asia (MOA) globe and kicked off a series of 60 visual attractions and fun interactive activities for the public to enjoy until October in SM malls nationwide.

SM was once known as Shoe Mart, a shoe store that opened 1958 in downtown Manila. Hardworking visionary Henry Sy Sr.’s first landlord was my grandfather Vincent Rufino.

His business grew into a chain of shoe stores, and a department store in the 1970s.

When Mr. Sy was on his buying trips abroad, he saw the shopping center development in the United States from the East to the West coasts. He believed that it would also happen in the Philippines.

The original SM

In 1983, when he started building his first shopping mall, SM City North Edsa, he said people thought he was crazy. There was a political crisis, interest rates were as high as 45 percent, and the location of the mall was in the middle of nowhere at that time.

SM City North Edsa opened in 1985, and, as they say, the rest is history. It was not only a huge success, it also changed lifestyles in the country.

SM spearheaded what is known as malling with the opening of SM Megamall in 1991, and upped the ante even more with SM MOA in 2006, both bigger than anything in the country or the region at the time they opened. The latter was 195,000 sq m, and is still growing. The current expansion will enlarge SM MOA to a total of 67 hectares of retail and entertainment space.

As the growth continues, SM is also pushing architectural design, with its latest malls becoming landmark buildings in their area, including SM Aura Premier, The Podium and S Maison.

Through SM Foundation, the company reaches out to communities with its educational, health and livelihood-training programs aimed at making farmers self-sufficient.

Through SM Cares, SM has undertaken environmental programs by building green spaces in its malls and undertaking sustainability efforts. The malls also have breastfeeding centers and easy access for PWD customers.

At the launch of SM’s 60th anniversary celebration at the SM MOA, I was honored to carry the balloon for SM Accessories. Celebrity doctor couple Hayden Kho and Vicki Belo were also present. The Sy family was in full force, led by matriarch Felicidad Tan-Sy and her children; Hans is chair of the executive committee, Herbert is vice chair of SM Retail, Tessie Sy-Coson is vice chair of SM Investments, and Elizabeth is president of SM Hotels and Conventions.

Read more: Inquirer