ROBINSONS Land Corp. (RLC) has once again expanded its mall portfolio with the opening of its second mall in Tacloban, Leyte bringing the total number of malls under its umbrella to 47.
“This mall is the symbol of Tacloban’s resilience, we want it to be a happy place,” Arlene G. Magtibay, general manager of the commercial centers division of RLC, told the media during the launch on Dec. 13.
Located in Abucay, Tacloban, the new mall sits about 15 minutes from the company’s original mall in Marasbaras.
“People have asked us why we put up a second mall when the first is so near, but the two malls are actually serving to different markets,” said Ms. Magtibay.
The first mall, Robinsons Place Tacloban, opened in 2009 and serves the people living mainly in Tacloban while the second mall, by virtue of its location — it is right across the New Tacloban Terminal which handles transportation from other Leyte towns as well as Northern and Eastern Samar — serves people who lives in nearby towns and in the province of Samar.
The second mall was also a testament to how much trust the company has in the resilience of Tacloban, which was devastated by typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in 2013, Ms. Magtibay added.
But unlike Robinsons Place Tacloban which has undergone two expansions — it now has a new building, a Go Hotels, and a soon-to-be-opened Summit Hotel — North Tacloban mall will probably not be expanded as Ms. Magtibay pointed out the space they currently have is limited.
The three-level mall was designed by LG+V Architects which also designed other RLC malls such as Robinsons Naga. It took design cues from the province’s yearly Sangyaw Festival which is celebrated on June 29, and as such the walls and fixtures of the mall feature a combination of fiesta colors like red and yellow.
“We were given a free hand to design the mall, [so we opted to] feature festive colors while the triangular designs are for the San Juanico Bridge,” said Dennis A. Villanueva, managing partner of LG+V Architects, referring to the famed span which connects the provinces of Leyte and Samar, during the launch.
But unlike Robinsons Naga whose interior design prominently uses Bicol region’s prime produce — the gabi leaf and the pili nut — as accents, Mr. Villanueva said they decided to make North Tacloban “not very fancy but elegant” as evidenced by the scalloped ceiling accents.
“It’s timeless but not outdated,” he explained.
The 34,000-square meter mall contains Robinsons Malls anchor tenants such as Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Daiso Japan, and Handyman hardware store.
It also has four Robinsons Movieworld cinemas and one 3-D cinema.
Homegrown Tacloban brands comprise 25% of the total number of tenants including Shimanami Japanese Restaurant and Marco Pollo café, among others. — Zsarlene B. Chua