By Zsarlene B. Chua
KNOWN for some of the country’s sweetest pineapples, Ormoc City in Leyte is now the site of the newest mall in Robinsons Land Corp.’s (RLC) portfolio, making it the third mall in the province (and 49th mall overall) which was devastated by typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in 2013
“After Typhoon Yolanda, we thought about what we can do for the people of Leyte so we decided to build malls,” Arlene G. Magtibay, RLC’s general manager-commercial centers division, said during the mall launch on April 19.
RLC currently has two malls in Tacloban. The first mall, located in Marasbaras, opened in 2009 and has since undergone two expansions including its own Summit Hotel slated to open in June. A second mall in Abucay opened last year.
Robinsons Place Ormoc, located along Palo-Carigara road in Barangay Cogon, has 34,900 square meter (sq.m.) in gross floor area and a gross leasable area of 23,700 sq.m. spread across three floors.
The mall is Ormoc City’s first full service mall as it includes four cinemas capable of seating more than 900 people.
In recognition of the city’s most popular produce, the mall’s chief designers ASYA Design included pineapple accents throughout — from its facade to the entrance foyer. Artist Anna Rubio lent her expertise by doodling inspirational images seen in the mall’s second floor.
The place also celebrates local businesses as the second floor food gallery features homegrown dining establishments including May Abohan, Choi’s Sizzlers, Zenaida’s Chateau Bistro, Pare’s Lechon, Pier Capitan and Pepita’s Kitchen.
Pare’s Lechon by Victor Juezan opened only its second branch at the mall, but its roasted pigs are anything but ordinary. Mr. Juezan told the media during the partners’ night on April 18 that he marinates and seasons the pigs himself and uses herbs including rosemary, thyme and lemongrass alongside olive oil to produce the almost crackling-like skin and flavorful meat.
He said the pigs are from smaller piggeries around the neighborhood, although he may have to tap bigger ones as his business scales up with the new branch.
Mr. Juezan disclosed that he used to work at Cebu’s famous Zubuchon — now a chain of restaurants across the country — and after leaving the company, decided to put up his own business.
The influence of Zubuchon’s salty, no-sauce-needed, roasted pig is apparent in his recipe but is improved with a few tweaks.
But unlike his former employer, Mr. Juezan said that he doesn’t plan on expanding to other provinces as he wants to make a mark in the Leyte scene first.
Robinsons Ormoc’s anchor tenants including Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Department store which houses brands like Liberte, Stella, among others; Robinsons Appliances, Handyman and Daiso Japan.