A Place of Worship Inside Shopping Malls

We were at Greenhills a few weeks ago and I casually mentioned to the girlfriend how much I don’t understand the existence of chapels (or any place of worship for that matter) inside shopping malls.

Okay, I get that it’s there for the convenience but really???? Seriously, people go to malls to unwind, get away from the scorching heat that is called Every Single Day in the PH, and of course, to do some shopping. So the “convenience” is really so people can just hear mass or worship and unwind/shop without even going through the “trouble” of switching locations???

I mean, how fucked up is that, really? Are we seriously condoning the laziness of Filipinos?

Plus, doesn’t this whole thing defeat the whole “sacred place of worship” because who the fuck thinks of a mall as a sacred place? So you happen to put a crucifix, a few statues of saints, an altar — et voila! We have ourselves a so-called place of worship!

As a Catholic (since I only actually see Catholic chapels inside malls) who really has an enormous amount of faith in your religion and your god, do you really think that that’s okay or are you just perfectly fine with it simply because “hey we can hear mass and then go shopping afterwards, without even worrying about looking for another parking spot or going through the hassle of commuting to a different location”???

Muslims treat their mosques as a seriously holy place, thus not allowing them to be built just merely anywhere (edit: not talking about the prayer rooms that are apparently built on a lot of places — including shopping malls — in countries where there are 86% Muslims). Buddhists look at their temples as an actual extension of Buddha so they are situated only in places they feel is worthy of their Buddha. Even our local religion Iglesia ni Cristo don’t just have their place of worship anywhere because they see it as a very important and blessed place.

Let’s face it, a lot of church-goers “hear” mass every Sunday for the sake of being able to say that they went to church or they were forced by their elders (parents, aunts, etc.). Sometimes — and this is mainly for teenagers — use going to church as an excuse for their parents/guardians to allow them to go out with their friends. But there are only a handful who actually go because they’re devoted to their faith.

I have therefore concluded that a lot of Catholics are just “religious” because it’s something that we’ve grown accustomed to and is somehow already part of our culture (to the point where separation of church and state in the government is just close to impossible). Majority don’t really think of going to church as something holy but more of a rut; a tradition, even.

Don’t fight me on this. Places of worship inside malls are really just something that I will never ever understand as it’s merely there for the convenience of the lazy-ass citizens of this country.


  1. I’ve never in my LIFE ever seen a chapel inside a mall in Canada! 😮
    I do agree with your observation – I think often religious activities are more about the sense of community and social interaction. It’s not about the faith. I was brought up religious (I even taught Sunday school) but it was mostly something to do on a Sunday and originally forced when I was too young to have a choice. 😛


    1. I think it’s only here in the Philippines — which is a shame since we consider ourselves a very “religious” nation. And I absolutely hate that idea of being forced into joining/going to the church. Like, isn’t faith and religion supposed to be choice not implemented? Oh well.


  2. Looking at it another way, I think it’s a form of marketing strategy. Shopping malls advertise themselves as “having it all” – with facilities where you can dine, shop, pay bills, and avail of government services at the same time. Having a “place of worship” also adds to the “having it all under one roof” tagline.

    More people who hear Mass in malls for the convenience means more foot traffic and a captive audience.


    1. But then again, “having it all” doesn’t have to equate to also having a chapel inside the mall. You’re right, it’s for the purpose of foot traffic. Because they know that a lot of Filipinos would opt for their establishment on a Sunday as opposed to a mall that doesn’t have a chapel inside. I understand why they exist. What I don’t understand is why people of such “faith” and religious stance are allowing them to exist when their existence actually goes against the whole teaching of the house of god supposedly being a place that is sacred and holy.

      Liked by 1 person


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