SM Malls -vs- Ayala Malls

Written by Patrick

These two malls are always pitted against each other. Find out the difference in this SM vs Ayala post.

Filipinos love their malls. Proof to that is the number of people coming in and out of the malls every single day. They frequent malls not for the sole purpose of shopping but also for dining, entertainment, and other recreational activities, and of course for paying bills and send or receive packages. Several malls in the Philippines even house medical laboratories and clinics. Truly, malls have become a one-stop-shop to make lives easy.

There are hundreds of malls in the Philippines but there are only a few names that made it big. Two of the largest and most successful mall chains are Ayala and SM. Each of these chains have more than 50 malls under their name and both are always competing against each other. It’s about time we find out which one is really the best.

For this article, we focus on the biggest mall of each management: SM City North EDSA and Greenbelt, which is indicative of each mall franchise.


SM City North EDSA is the largest mall in the Philippines and 8th largest in the world. Currently, it has a gross floor area of 497,213 ㎡. Greenbelt on the other hand is the 8th largest mall in the country with only 250,000 ㎡ gross floor area. 


Both malls can be a challenge to navigate as they have multiple buildings (complex). SM North EDSA has Main Mall, The Annex, The Block, The North Link, The North Towers, and Sky Garden. Greenbelt has Greenbelt 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Greenbelt however has an interesting layout for a mall. True to its name, it has trees and green landscape therefore creating a lush atmosphere for guests.


Due to its gross floor area, SM North EDSA has over 1000 stores while Greenbelt only has just 300+. Nevertheless, both have a wide range of options for restaurants, department stores, grocery stores, appliance stores, hardware, cinemas, as well as clothing, shoes, and bags outlet. For high end goods, Greenbelt has more to offer than SM though.


SM’s Main Mall serves as the leisure hub as it anchors the Foodcourt, an entertainment center, and IMAX Theater. SM also has a Sky Dome with Sky Garden, an events place with 1,500 seating capacity. Greenbelt has an open-air chapel for Roman Catholic devotees. It is located in the center of the complex in the middle of a pond. 


People from all walks of life come to both malls but the well-off ones and even Filipino celebrities usually prefer Greenbelt over SM. The price point is steeper at Greenbelt so the crowd isn’t as large.


Both have large parking areas but since SM accommodates crowd larger than that of Greenbelt, parking at the former can be challenging especially during holidays or when there’s a big sale. However, SM has an organized system so parking shouldn’t be a big issue.

With all these factors, it is definitely hard to determine which one has an edge over the other. It all boils down to one’s preferences and needs. If you are to answer, where would you rather be? Ayala or SM? Feel free to add your answer at the comment section below.

READ MORE: Shopping at Malls in the Philippines: What YOU Need to Know

About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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