Neighborhoods: Greenfield District is Mandaluyong’s Safe Space

Greenfield District
PHOTO BY Erwin Colcol ILLUSTRATOR: Warren Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Surrounded by food stalls, wooden tables, and colorful lights, Grace Derie walks her 7-year-old shih tzu Yabii on the grassy field at the center of Mandaluyong City’s Greenfield District as she savors the last few hours of the weekend before she goes back to work.

The mother of two, who lives in Barangay Barangka Ilaya just several meters away, brought her kids and her pet to Greenfield’s famous weekend market, where people from nearby cities converge for a night of lively music and delicious and affordable meals. There's no pressure for an OOTD Instagram post, unlike neighboring BGC.

Greenfield District
Greenfield becomes a food and entertainment hub on weekends where visitors can buy freshly-made meals and other products.
PHOTO BY Erwin Colcol ILLUSTRATION Greenfield District
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Actually pang-second time ko na ulit pumunta dito kasi medyo busy sa work. Ngayon lang nagka-free time. I have kids kasi so gusto nila mag-play, then my dog, masaya siya kapag nandito,” Derie told SPOT.ph when asked why she spent her Sunday night at Greenfield.

With its wide open fields and proximity to central business districts, Greenfield has become a favorite hub for city dwellers who want to let off steam before another workweek begins. More than anything, Greenfield has proven itself to be a safe space for people of all identities, professions, and advocacies.

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Greenfield is for everyone

Situated on a 15-hectare land at the corner of EDSA and Shaw Boulevard, Greenfield was envisioned to be eco-friendly and future-ready community where residential developments, offices, shopping malls, parks, and transportation hubs can be built.

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On weekdays, Greenfield hosts thousands of BPO employees and other professionals who work at the offices located in the Greenfield Tower, a high-rise building located at the southern tip of the district. On weekends, the area transforms itself into a shopping and entertainment venue where people can watch live bands and enjoy freshly-cooked dishes.

Such is what attracted Derie to start spending time with her children in Greenfield. Aside from the fact that it’s just near her residence, the open grassy space is also healthy for her pet dog Yabii.

Greenfield District
Grace Derie and her seven-year-old shih tzu, Yabii.
PHOTO BY Erwin Colcol
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Malapit lang yung place ko so pwede ring walking distance from my home. Less traffic, then it’s like this na parang chill lang ng place. Tapos yung food kumpleto, kahit anong gusto mo,” she said.

Pwede madala yung mga pets kasi yung ibang malls hindi naman sila nag-aallow. Dito free silang makapaglaro. Ang advice din ng mga vet ay sa grass ang mga dog,” she added.

For Reg, Greenfield is where he and his fellow friends from LGBTQIA+ community can hang out without fear of being judged by other people.

Kahit nagkukumpulan kami sa isang table and medyo maingay kami, no one really makes a judgy look. We feel safe to be who we are whenever we are in Greenfield,” Reg said.

Greenfield is for hobbyists turned entrepreneurs

More than a place for people to unwind, Greenfield is also for small-time entrepreneurs who have made a living out of their own hobbies. With its growing foot traffic and trendy environment, anyone can earn income by selling their products in the weekend market even without all the necessary tools of the trade.

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Take for example husband and wife Ken and Marian Lascano who, outside their day jobs as doctors, are offering home fragrances and scented hand soaps which they themselves made at home for as low as P49 per bottle.

During the height of the pandemic, the Lascanos had to stop working in the medical field for a while to protect their newborn baby from COVID-19. With their knowledge in mixing chemicals and interest in aromatherapy, they came up with the idea of selling room sprays and hand soaps and called their business “Happi Hormones”.

Greenfield District
Husband and wife doctors Ken and Marian Lascano make a living by selling home fragrances in the Greenfield weekend market.
PHOTO BY Erwin Colcol
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“We thought of items na magiging practical to be used at home. Kasi siyempre apart from yung mga bagay na alam mong magiging passing fad lang, mas maganda yung kahit alam mong tapos na yung pandemic, palagay namin magagamit pa rin ng mga tao,” Ken said told SPOT.ph.

Kaya namin naisip na ‘Happi Hormones’, based doon sa napag-aralan namin sa med school. Yung symbol itself is based na serotonin, happy hormones. At siyempre isa sa mga bagay na pwedeng mag-release ng hormones na nagpapasaya sa mga tao is mga mababango na scent,” he added.

For the Lascanos, Greenfield offers a favorable location for small-time sellers like them as they get exposure to people from all walks of life.

“Malapit lang ito sa kung saan kami nakatira, so madali lang dalhin yung mga products. Secondly, yung crowd dito is a mix of generation namin. So talagang palagay namin may mas bibili ng products,” Ken said.

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Greenfield is for lovers of local products

Aside from hobbyists, Greenfield also provides a space for local artisans to introduce handicrafts made of indigenous materials to city dwellers, aimed at propagating Filipino art and supporting small-time manufacturers.

Mutya Montas-Carilo, owner of “Artcetera Unlimited”, brought ornaments, lamps, coin purses, placemats, and shelf trays made from abaca, raffia, and sinamay to her stall in the Greenfield weekend market. It’s her way of supporting her mother and their family business, as well as the elderly in their barangay in Camalig, Albay who made these products with their bare hands, she said.

Greenfield District
Mutya Montas-Carilo brings her family's handicraft business to Greenfield with her shop "Artcetera Unlimited".
PHOTO BY Erwin Colcol
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Greenfield District
Among the handmade products that Montas-Carilo sells are placemates, shelf trays, ornaments, and even lamps.
PHOTO BY Erwin Colcol

“Since lola ko pa, talagang gumagawa na sila. Humina kasi yung handicraft e. Nagkakaroon lang sila ng income kapag may pagawa si Mama,” Montas-Carilo said.

 “Yung paggawa kasi ng handicraft hindi naman kagaya ng pagkain na everyday, in demand. So seasonal lang siya. Kung merong orders, okay, kung wala, nag-aani sila ng palay. Ganun yung kabuhayan doon,” she added.

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For Montas-Carilo, Greenfield is a perfect place for budding entrepreneurs like herself as the management also puts a premium on the interests of vendors.

Ito yung cheapest rental fee sa lahat ng nagba-bazaar and at the same time, malaki yung tent, secured yung products. Tapos kapag maulan at hindi mo nagamit yung binayad mo, pwede siyang ma-move for the next weekend,” she said.

Hindi lang sila parang kita lang, iniisip din nila yung mga seller,” she added.

In the end, with the opportunities it gives to sellers, buyers, and just about anyone who wants to have fun, Reg can only hope that more cities in Metro Manila will have a safe and relaxing space like the Greenfield District provides.

Maganda talaga na may ganito rin sa ibang cities. Bukod sa makakapag-relax ka na with your friends and family, you’ll also get to meet people and support their business,” he said.

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Learn more about Happi Hormones and Artcetera Unlimited in their Facebook pages.

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