The long wait is finally over!
Those who reside in the East can heave a sigh of relief now that the operations of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) extension is already in full swing. Imagine, what was once a three-hour (bus or jeepney) ride to and from Manila to Antipolo, Rizal, is now reduced to just 40 minutes.
The two new stations — the Marikina Station (in front of Robinsons Metro East) and Antipolo Station — are also good news to existing commercial establishments in the area, which were not only hit hard by the pandemic, but have also suffered for years due to the heavy traffic in the area.
“Traffic was a major turn-off among shoppers and tourists who used to frequent our mall,” laments Myron Yao, operations director, Robinsons Metro East.
And since the five-level shopping center is situated at a major crossroad along Marcos Highway in Pasig City, expect public utility vehicles to load and unload passengers in front, making the already bad traffic condition worse.
But with the opening of the LRT-2 extension, Robinsons Metro East’s location proves to be beneficial as it makes the mall more accessible to commuters/shoppers.
“Talk about making the negative into a positive,” adds Myron.
Now Robinsons Metro East can fully claim that it is, indeed, the gateway to the east for people — say from Marikina proper and lower Rizal (Cainta, Angono, Taytay, San Mateo, Rodriguez and Antipolo — going into and out of Rizal province).
IT’S ALL IN THE LINK
It’s Christmas in June for east residents and commuters as the LRT-2 extension also makes way for The Link, the direct connection linking Robinsons Metro East to the LRT Marikina Station.
To give you an idea what The Link is all about, think Hong Kong and its mighty malls that are connected directly to the MTR in most districts. Or London’s “hop-on, hop-off” retail experiences by train.
With a total area of approximately 4,000-sqm., The Link, which gives commuters direct access to the mall, will feature “grab and go” shops that highly support the residential market with their basic needs. “Located on the second level, The Link will have a mini-grocery, drugstore, optical shops, bank, grab-and-go food kiosks and pasalubong shops for your last-minute shopping,” notes Myron.
And since this hub is the commuters’ linking point between work and home, a quick grocery run can help ease your mind from the heavy workload or your toxic work environment. As they say, shopping is therapeutic.
Also watch out for incoming new concepts such as the popular Korean store, No Brand and Pet Lovers Center.
“Knowing that Robinsons Metro East will soon have The Link, it’s definitely worth revisiting,” enthuses Jan of Marikina, who used to shop at Robinsons Metro East when she was still a student and when heavy traffic wasn’t an issue. “But with The Link, I can’t wait to visit Robinsons Metro East again!”
Just like Jan, people living in the area will greatly benefit from the LRT-2 extension and The Link.
For one, the money and stress you save on traveling by rail — avoiding costly gas and parking and weekend traffic — means that you’ll have more shopping money for your essential needs and cheap thrills. Since The Link manages to pack a universe of products under one roof, you can hop through these shops or pick one (like No Brand) that check-off all the items on your to-buy list.
“With the addition of the mini-grocery, drugstore, No Brand and Pet Lovers Center (PLC) in The Link, we are making essential stores more accessible to our customers,” adds Myron.
Open from 5 am. to 10 p.m. daily, The Link will also have medical and wellness facilities on the mezzanine area. Thoughtfully designed, persons with disabilities will have easy access as there will be an elevator, exclusively for them.
Oh, and because you’re not driving, you’ll be able to enjoy a bottle of ice-cold beer, or a glass of wine at dinner.
And so, when the delights of online shopping aren’t providing the buzz they once did, it might be time to seek out some new form of retail therapy. Start by hopping on and off — the train — to The Link.