How Muhammad Ali inspired the Philippines’ first-ever shopping mall

The Ali Mall, located in Araneta Center in Quezon City, was built one year after the epic ‘Thrilla in Manila’

Ali Mall at present (Photo by Araneta Center)

Muhammad Ali, the world’s greatest, has died.

Ali fought one of the greatest bouts in history on 1 October 1975 in the Philippines’ Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, where he triumphed against another boxing giant Joe Frazier in their third match known as ‘Thrilla in Manila’.

As sports fans around the globe remember Ali’s life and achievements, the world must never forget how the boxing legend became part of real estate history.
Not long after the epic Ali-Frazier fight, the Araneta Group constructed the first-ever shopping mall in the Philippines – aptly named ‘Ali Mall’.

According to the Araneta Group, Ali personally graced the shopping mall’s grand opening in 1976, giving a speech how the country’s first major retail complex was in honour of his ‘Thrilla in Manila’.

Thrilla in Manila’ was the third match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and inspired the establishment of the Philippines’ first shopping mall (Photo by Associated Press)

Ali Mall was originally built with a floor area of 62,000 sqm. The four-storey mall was expanded in 2009 with an additional 2,500 sqm space, and further renovations were implemented after that.
The project has been a catalyst for the development of Quezon City’s Cubao District, whose business centre is the Araneta Center, an integrated community with entertainment, leisure, office and residential components.

Ali Mall opened in 1976, one year after Thrilla in Manila, retaining its 70s form for decades before its major expansion in 2009 (Wiki Commons)

Four decades since the opening of Araneta Center’s Ali Mall, the complex has welcomed several other acclaimed shopping malls, including the Gateway Mall, which was named twice by local entrepreneurs as the best shopping mall in the country.

Thrilla in Manila

A banner that commemorates ‘Thrilla in Manila’ in Araneta Center