ORMOC CITY – Residents here are saying that “siyudad na gyod ang Ormoc” following the opening of Robinsons Place Ormoc today (April 19), the first fully operational mall in the city.

The Robinsons Place Ormoc is 38th in the country, and 13thin the Visayas.

The opening was graced by Robinson bigwigs led by Frederick Go, president of Robinsons Land Corporation; Robina Gokongwei-Pe, president of Robinson Retail Holding, Inc.; and, Arlene Magtibay, SVP and General Manager of Robinsons Land Corp.Commercial Centers Division.

Also present were Mayor Richard Gomez and Vice-Mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin, Jr. and other city officials, and provincial board member Mesias Arevalo representing Leyte Gov. Dominic Petilla.

Mayor Gomez expressed his elation at the opening of Robinsons, saying this was not only a new experience for Ormoc but has generated employment for its residents.

“I told Robinsons that we do not have an ‘entrance fee’ in Ormoc. That I will not ask them for anything. And if there is kotong or attempts to ask them for favor by any of our departments. All I ask them is that majority of the people they hire are from Ormoc,” Gomez said.

For her part, Arlene Magtibay said that they are happy to see the response of the locals and investors to the opening of the mall in Ormoc. She added that had they known how successful it would be, they would have opened a bigger one.

She said that as of the opening, 99.5 percent of the mall spaces for rent are already taken. There are more interested tenants who would want to come in, except there is no space anymore.

The Robinsons Place Ormoc has four movie theaters which would start operations on April 25 yet. As of this report, Robinsons affiliates like its Supermarket, Department Store, Robinsons Appliances, Handyman and Daiso Japan are already open.

The mall has its fair share of international names like Shakey’s which is operated by corporation led by Paula Locsin-Bondoc, the vice mayor’s sister. There is also Café Laguna, whose franchisee is Palompon vice-mayor Georgina Arevalo and husband IJ.

There also known local firms which have also joined the mall like Mayong’s Snack House, known for their hamburgers and schublig, and Ikea’s Cakes. Peter Rodriguez of Mayong’s said they would want to try out locating in a mall, and Robinsons Place Ormoc location is ideal.

“We think it is time for us to try a mall setting,” he said, adding that the location is “out of the city” and will not compete with their stores in the downtown area.

Ken Enecio, of Ikea’s Cakes and Snacks, on the other hand, said they decided to lease a space in the mall “because of the department store and supermarket, as well as other national brands selling essentials like National Bookstore, Watsons, etc., and also the movie theater. With all these in one place, then foot traffic is guaranteed.”

An estimated 30,000 went to the mall’s opening to avail of opening sales discounts and promotions, however, a good number were just there to have a glimpse of Robinsons signature star Maja Salvador and Arjo Atayde, her leading man in the recently concluded teleserye “Wild Flower.” By LMJ



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