Shopping and Stepping Out

VIDEO | 8 reasons to go holiday shopping at Divisoria’s reopened, historic Tutuban Center

Known as a paradise for wholesale bargains and great retail discounts of every item one can possibly imagine, Tutuban Center is also notoriously recognized for its thriving pickpockets, traffic, and lack of cleanliness.

Newly renovated and revitalized Tutuban Center opens its doors to welcome shoppers this holiday season. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

Newly renovated and revitalized Tutuban Center opens its doors to welcome shoppers this holiday season. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

But that unpleasant image of the iconic establishment has recently changed.  In April, property owner Prime Orion Properties Inc., with investments from Ayala Land, closed Tutuban Center to accommodate building improvements.

In October and in time for the busy holiday season, Tutuban Center reopened its doors and welcomed shoppers to its clean, safe, and comfortable surroundings while it retained its positioning as a bargain hunter’s paradise.

At a press conference and tour held at the mall recently, Rowena Tomeldan, president of Tutuban Properties Inc. shared, “Our vision is to develop Tutuban Center into an organized and efficient wholesale and retail district in the heart of Manila.”

Part of the revival and revitalization was highlighting the rich history surrounding the 20-hectare property.

“Admittedly, we still have a long way to go. (This is a) work in  progress but we started with the basics. The basics ofcourse: cool, clean, safe environment,” Tomeldan told reporters.

“While it may be a challenge, it’s also very exciting for us who have been in the mall business for a long time. This is a new format that we are excited about. It creates jobs; it also gives a chance for the small and medium enterprises. We want to develop, we want to take a chance on all these young entrepreneurs. And also,  we want Filipinos to be able to come here feeling safe, secure, and they know its a comfortable place. That’s the vision,” she added.

From left: Prime Orion Properties Inc. Director Victor Say, Ayala Land Board Director Tony Aquino,Prime Orion Properties Inc. Director Felipe Yap, Tutuban Properties, Inc. President Rowena Tomeldan and Prime Orion Properties Inc. President Junie Jalandoni during the unveiling of a revitalized Tutuban Center. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

From left: Prime Orion Properties Inc. Director Victor Say; Ayala Land Board Director Tony Aquino; Prime Orion Properties Inc. Director Felipe Yap; Tutuban Properties, Inc. president Rowena Tomeldan; and Prime Orion Properties Inc. President Junie Jalandoni during the relaunching of Tutuban Center in Manila. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

In the long run, Tutuban Center is envisioned to become a mixed-use development with prospects of building a hospital and office spaces, according to Prime Orion Properties Inc. President Junie Jalandoni.

Jalandoni said, “I think this area, 20 hectares can use a hospital. It should be (a mixed use development) because it’s at the center of Manila. It’s next to PNR station and once you extend the LRT crossing Recto, it can just be an exciting opportunity for us and it’s really accessible to the public.  So I think aside from the retail aside from shopping, dining, we should also have other products of Ayala like our Qualimed. I think there’s an opportunity to also introduce office (spaces) because there are many universities here.”

Haven’t been to Tutuban Center? Here are 8 reasons why it’s a must-visit place to do your Christmas shopping this year.

1. It is cool, clean, and safe.

Shoppers can see Tutuban Center's improvements, including air-conditioning, and clean toilets. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

Shoppers can see Tutuban Center’s improvements, including air-conditioning, and clean toilets. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

Norie Raniel, Tutuban Center deputy general manager and operations head noted, “Building improvements include upgraded exteriors and renovated interiors, repainting, improved signage, LED lighting, and airconditioning. Visitors will also notice better pedestrian and vehicular circulation throughout the development.”

Shoppers can also experience comfort with the new and clean toilets.

Tomeldan shared that they are working closely with the local government units to ease traffic, and that visitors can notice added members of the Philippine National Police in the area.

2. Easy to find stalls and store categories.

Stalls at recently reopened Tutuban Center are organized according to clusters for shoppers' easy search for stalls and items. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

Stalls at recently reopened Tutuban Center are organized according to clusters for shoppers’ easy search for stalls and items. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

Tutuban’s Main Station holds the mall’s retail shops, restaurants, and service stores. Connected to this is the Prime Block offering the best bargains with improved merchandise zoning.

“We have introuced a cluster of stalls on level 3 of the Prime Block , which is now tagged as the Prime Block Clusters. Merchandise zoning has been improved in the Prime Block building so that shoppers will find everything they want and need in each area,” noted Raniel.

3. You can find everything you need.

Christmas decors can be bought at a wholesale price at the Prime Block. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

Christmas decors can be bought at a wholesale price at the Prime Block. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

From retail brands at the Main Station to various wholesale items at the Prime Block Cluster, Tutuban has it all.

In particular, the Prime Block Cluster is anchored by over 20-year-old Anding’s Toys and Flowers Inc., which offers party favors, garden accessories, holiday decors, toys, and more.

Shoppers can also find trendy RTWs, costumes, sleepwears, different kinds of footwear, bags, and accessories. For those who prefer DIY projects, various kinds of fabrics, patches, beads, and other trimmings can be found at the Prime Block, too.

For your home, general merchandise stores also offer hardware, cookware, school supplies, bath accessories, linens, garden needs, and so on.

For party needs, different gift items, wall and table decorations, toys and games, party favors, and costume accessories are available as well.

4. Find the best of Divisoria’s and Binondo’s food brands here.

Tutuban Center's renovated food court where shoppers can also see the original wrought iron pillars of the original train station back in the 1892. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

Tutuban Center’s renovated food court where shoppers can also see the original wrought iron pillars of the original train station back in the 1892. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

After some retail therapy, shoppers can treat themselves with some good food from El Presidente, Kikiam in Ilaya, King’s Bakeshop, and Eng Ho while seating at picnic tables at the newly renovated food court at the Main Station.

Raniel also shared that will be more food and restaurant brands to be featured at the food court.

5. There are additional parking slots.

Tutuban Center built an additional 150 parking slots into its CM Recto Avenue paid parking. Raniel also noted that they have improved the pedestrian and vehicular circulaton throughout the development.

6. The mall opens early. 

Tutuban Center welcomes shoppers at 9 a.m., earlier than the opening hours of other malls in the metro.

7. It has friendly service.
Tutuban Center has also concierge and service booths with friendly and uniformed staffs to ask your inquiries from.

8. The malls has preserved its rich history and culture. 

Tutuban Center's Main Station. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

Tutuban Center’s Main Station. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

The Main Station was once part of the original Tutuban Railway Central Station Building dating back from 1892. During these times, trains would run from Tutuban to Pangasinan, and vice versa.

The building stands out with its Spanish Colonial Style of domestic architecture inspired by the brick two-storey Ancestral House as well as century-old iron columns with ornate pillar caps that remain to be well preserved until today.

Across the Tutuban Center stands the monument of Andres Bonifacio.

Tomeldan noted, “We are in partnership with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Tutuban Center recently underwent renovation works and building improvements. Some of the work done were repainting based on the heritage color palette; we also improved lighting to highlight facade details, and we preserved the brick walls and century-old wrought iron pillars that lead all the way to the food court.”

The Bonifacio Shrine facing the mall. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

The Bonifacio Shrine facing the mall. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

InterAksyon.com
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