By this time, the Dura Lights should be up on the buildings, and the mall and its environs, decorated in tinsel and thousands of twinkling lights

by Cheche V. Moral | Philippine Daily Inquirer

You don’t have to live in Rockwell to have experienced a Rockwell Christmas. And as any Rockwell resident will guarantee you, the atmosphere is truly special in this community at Christmastime.

“Rockwell is a colorful and festive place every year come Christmastime,” said Manny Caparas, a Power Plant Mall patron. “It’s a unique atmosphere altogether. The animated yuletide decor and piped-in music make one feel [at home]. It’s a place you want to be in.”

When the holidays roll in, Rockwell dazzles from afar, with the outlines of its residential and commercial buildings aglow with Dura Lights. They’re an enthralling sight, a can’t-miss fixture of Makati’s December skyline that instantly puts you in a warm, fuzzy mood—a reminder that it’s time once more for gift giving and get-togethers with family and friends.

Even as the pandemic threatened to derail Christmas festivities, Rockwell promises to evoke that same celebratory mood this year, as the mall and the community stirs back to life to ring in everyone’s favorite holiday in typical joyous fashion.

By this time, the Dura Lights should be up on the buildings, and the mall and its environs, decorated in tinsel and thousands of twinkling lights, already begging for Instagram posts.

Sustainable decor

In deference to the global mood, Rockwell has opted to be sustainable by reusing décor from Christmases past, in traditional red and green, with silver accents that sparkle with the generous sprinkle of fairy lights. 

The mall’s festooned arches and its hallways, as if lit by fireflies, have been a Power Plant tradition, the backdrop of many a happy Christmas selfie, that even as Rockwell wanted to observe austerity, they also wanted to give jobs to their service providers and suppliers, according to Rockwell. 

“We love the Christmas lights and decor of Rockwell,” says Francesca Tagle, a frequent shopper and resident. “So festive, warm, beautiful and full of the holiday spirit.”

The mall has set up its Christmas Corner on the R2 Level, an area where the aromas of toasted banana leaves from sweet holiday treats like bibingka and puto bumbong, and roasting chestnuts are evocative of cool December evenings, a safe and welcoming place to relive post-Simbang Gabi traditions. 

Not long ago, Rockwell closed off a section of Lopez Drive to accommodate al fresco dining for its restaurant row on that side of the mall, as a safer option for patrons. The response has been so encouraging that they’re now looking at other areas that can similarly accommodate street-side dining, especially for holiday get-togethers.

Regina Ugarte, a Power Plant Mall patron and Rockwell resident, shared her thrill at being able to step out with her child again after months in lockdown. “My daughter hasn’t gone out in eight months… Over the weekend, we decided to eat al fresco in Mamou, so we just walked there. My daughter was so energetic, she happily greeted the guards and receptionists with a huge ‘Hi!’ Nakakatuwa.”

Get-togethers

The Ugartes usually travel abroad at Christmastime, but with the health restrictions, they plan to just invite their relatives over for a Christmas Day meal at Mamou.

Caparas, a frequent shopper, said, “I’m sure the shopping experience will still be the best around.” 

Tagle and her family’s also planning to dine al fresco at one of the restaurants on Christmas.

Rafa Rodrigo, also a patron, said he hopes they’ll be able to do the things they used to do pre-COVID on Christmas, especially since they’ll be staying home this year, like having a meal with his mom at Dean and Deluca. 

His kids won’t have a meet-and-greet with Santa at the mall, but Power Plant has Christmas kits this December with gift bags for activities and games the little ones can do online, and, for a minimum amount, they still get to have face time with Santa–on Zoom, of course.

As a safer but no less exciting alternative to holiday shopping and gift giving, The Rockwellist electronic gift cards, available exclusively on TheRockwellist.com, and can be used in all Rockwell retail properties. The eGift Cards, which come in denominations of P500 to P10,000, take away the stress of finding that “perfect” gift for loved ones. A purchase of the P10,000 eGift card also gets an instant eGift reward worth P1,000. 

 Full blast

Rockwell is celebrating its 25th year, and while many of the big plans to celebrate this milestone year have been upended by the health crisis, the company “still wanted to go full blast” with their other efforts. Instead of raffle stubs, shoppers get outright rewards or rebates for their purchases.

Seeing all the stringent safety protocols they’ve put in place has given their loyal patrons confidence to come back. Foot traffic in the mall has doubled since reopening, and they expect this to grow even more as the holiday season rolls in, as many patrons still like to shop onsite. And, of course, there’s nothing like being in the heart of it all, amid tinsel and lights, to put you in that holiday mood.

Residents of Rockwell have the best of both worlds as they never have to leave their neighborhood to enjoy not only these conveniences but also experience that Christmas spirit at every turn.

“My husband Monchet and I used to spend the season out of town. But in recent years, we have enjoyed staying at Rockwell,” said Margie Olives, a Rockwell resident. “The best part is, our friends and family, including those from out of town, love coming to Rockwell because of the festive air of the whole area. I really am one of those who never leaves Rockwell during the Christmas season. I live and work here, and I’m so lucky that my friends love to meet here.”

How could they not? It’s a Rockwell Christmas, after all.

This story was originally published on Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Lifestyle Section on November 7, 2020. View the article here.

Learn more on Power Plant Mall’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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