There are very few things that can frazzle the nerves of steel of Josephine Gotianun-Yap, President and CEO of Filinvest Development Corporation.
But 25 years ago, Gotianun-Yap experienced restlessness and sleeplessness on the eve of the opening of Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
“The one night that I could not sleep was when we were about to open the mall. We only had 30 stalls – mostly in the food court – and we had no anchor stores or supermarket, and Festival Mall is a big mall,” recalled Gotianun-Yap, who made history after becoming the first woman to receive the Real Estate Personality of the Year award last year and bagging the first Property Woman of the Year by the Philippine chapter of Paris-based International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) early this year.
“I think 30,000 people came that day. The foot traffic was there so the stores came in. We have a beautiful mall that literally, our competitors would come and take notes because our design was really ahead of its time.”
Festival Mall, which Gotinanun-Yap described as “very close to my heart,” has come a long way since opening its doors in May 1998, positioning itself as the premier go-to lifestyle and recreational destination in the south of Metro Manila.
“We thank our 800 tenants for believing in us. We value our collaboration with major retailers, which has enabled us to bring together SaveMore, Ace Hardware, Robinson’s Department Store, Handyman, Shopwise, H&M, Decathlon, and Landmark all under one roof,” she said.
It is currently the 5th largest mall in the Philippines, housing two indoor amusement centers for people of all ages: X-Site with exciting attractions such as the Xtreme Coaster, Xyber Trax, and Xplo Drive; and the enchanting Pixie Forest with fun rides such as Flying Dwarves, Elfin Waves, and Fairy’s Wheel. It also has in-mall amusement rides such as the iconic Festival Grand Carousel, the whimsical train station-inspired Festival Grand Station, the indoor race track at Kiddo Driving School as well as eight cinemas.
What is next after its milestone celebration?
For Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon, who admits to seeing the mall grow and expand over the past two and a half decades with his family, efforts are in the pipeline to make Festival Mall, along with Filinvest City and the rest of the city, as “smart” areas.
“That is the plan of Filinvest – becoming a smart and liveable business district. It is aligned with Muntinlupa City’s own plan,” Biazon said.
“As we move into the post-pandemic period, the cooperation between the local government and Filinvest will continue,” he added.
Located at the heart of Filinvest City, which is certified with a LEED Gold for Neighborhood Development, Festival Mall actively promotes sustainability by implementing sustainable practices in its daily operations.
These include using energy-efficient lighting, specialized segregation bins, water-efficient solutions, recycling, and waste reduction to reduce its environmental impact.
The mall also installed a 2.8-megawatt peak state-of-the-art solar panel on the rooftop that will supply about 28 percent of its peak demand and save close to 41,000 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing 8,855 cars off the roads of Metro Manila annually.
From local and foreign brands to family-focused amusement centers and choice restaurants to generous outdoor and indoor spaces, the mall remains committed to providing the best experiences to all of its patrons.
“Festival Mall has achieved many milestones over the past 25 years, but what makes me very proud is the way it has become a cherished part of the community in the south of Metro Manila. Back in 1998, we dared to be ahead of our time by opening a regional mall that was not just about shopping, but about creating a place where families and the community could build dreams and memories together,” Gotianun-Yap said.
“We would not be where we are today without the unwavering support of our customers, merchants, suppliers, and employees who have journeyed with us through the years…As we build on its strong foundations for the future, we see Festival Mall continuing to serve as a place where time stops for making memories with family and friends,” she ended.