“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Robinsons Place Pangasinan

Last Thursday, March 15, the new mall of Robinsons in Calasiao, Pangasinan, opened its doors for the public.

The mall is called Robinsons Place Pangasinan, as it is the first mall of this kind in the province Pangasinan and the 30th in the Philippines.

There is another Robinsons mall in Dagupan - called Nepo mall - with a Robinsons super market and department store and Handyman, distance between the two 20 minutes by car, but the latter not according to the concept of Robinsons Place.

We were at the mall already 10.00 am to be sure to find a parking place and anxious to see what new shopping possibilities we would get, but only the department store opened in the morning. The rest of the mall was used to serve a lunch for individuals invited by Robinsons and to give staff ample time to prepare for the opening.

At 1.00 pm the guests left and the mall opened. The building has 2 levels and has a triangle shape. There is an atrium when you enter the main entrance.

Ground floor has some small shops, the super market and department store. The second level has also the department store and some small shops again, Handy man and Robinsons Appliances, a foot court and cinema.

Not all shops were ready yet to open the doors, but they will the coming weeks or months.

It seems that each Robinsons Place is based on a theme, but I have not yet found out what the theme is. If I should guess I would say a big city mall concept, but downsized for the province. One thing is clear, this mall generated a lot of jobs in the area. Many guards were recruited in the area by different agencies, including the one we use for our guard.

And of course many merchandisers have been recruited and store support staff, the ladies for the counters and many more functions. It must be several hundreds. A sales lady we spoke with in the department store told us that, while living in Urdaneta, she worked in Baguio and had a small apartment there as it is too far to travel everyday. Now she applied for Robinsons Place and there is no need to rent an apartment anymore, she just could travel by jeepney everyday.

Apart from the recruited staff in the area, also a lot of new businesses are being established in the environment of Robinsons Place. I have seen a new Resort less than a kilometer away on the same road just finished last week, a new gasoline station almost opposite of Robinsons, a new hairstyling shop, some new car brand sales and services businesses like Amianan and Kia, and Nissan is extending their existing building. And of course just opposite of the highway is a new restaurant built a few months ago.

I was afraid that the mall would attract so many visitors that the highway (just a provincial road) would not be able to handle the traffic to and from the mall. And indeed the first day there was a traffic jam from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm. And the next days a similar shit at least during rush hours. I am wandering what they will do to solve this problem. So the bus operations between Dagupan and Manila and will be impacted by at least 15-30 minutes delay.

Major reasons that Robinsons decided to settle in Calasiao were the geographical interesting location, in the center of a quite dense populated area, at the border of Dagupan and the crossing of south-north and east-west provincial roads, and a mayor who is very active in getting new businesses in his town. One of the deals they made was that Robinsons will install a water treatment system for the drain water from the mall and a new drain pipe to a near river, which is almost finished now.

Perhaps it is because of the fact that not all is already well organised and staff not yet well educated/ experienced, that I had some annoyances when we did our shopping.

First of all I wanted to pay my monthly fee for Cignal Satellite in the new LBC office in the mall, but the ladies were sure they could not help me, while I can pay in any other LBC office in the Philippines.

Then in the supermarket it turned out that they didn't have my preferred orange juice from Thailand (Tibco), which they do sell in Nepo mall Robinsons supermarket. And when I wanted to use my BDO debit card, all the card readers we tried - up to 4 - didn't work.

At the bakery they promised me that around 3.00 pm there would be again fresh French bread, but nothing so I had to come back next day.

In Handyman I wanted to buy a new gas regulator for my BBQ, but they didn't have it, so next day I had to go to the old Handyman in Nepo mall, Dagupan.

What I do like is that there is a National Bookstore and some computer stores like Octagon, a dentist and optical shop and a (3D) Cinema.


Department store, Super market and Handyman in Nepo mall Dagupan are bigger and have more choices then in the new mall in Calasiao, so we still have to go there for some items we want to buy.


See also some photo's from the opening in my web album. Then click on "Slideshow" upper left and if you want to read the comments, increase the default viewing time at the bottom from 3 to 6 seconds.


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