I’m doing a double feature for Vista Pinas this time: Robinsons Starmills Pampanga on this post and SM City Pampanga in the next. I think it’s apt since these two malls of the two largest mall operators in the Philippines stand right across each other in San Fernando City and adjacent to the San Fernando Exit of the North Luzon Expressway. I don’t know of any other pair of SM and Robinsons malls that are closer than these two.
In stark contrast to the pasty white roof architecture of SM City, the Robinsons mall has red roofs and a decidedly irregular shape reminiscent of its flagship mall, Robinsons Galleria, in Ortigas Center. Visible in the satellite image is the unmistakable triangular marking of a helipad on the eastern wing, something I’m surprised to learn a mall could have. Anyway, Robinsons Starmills has a total retail floor area of about 6 hectares and was opened in February 2002. Among its anchors are the requisite Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, and Robinsons Movieworld.
Photo taken from the Philippine Beaches and Beach Resorts website
I’ve always been intrigued by the unique name of the mall. So, if this news article is true, the name “Starmills” was supposedly inspired by the famous Christmas star lanterns (parol) of San Fernando City, the unofficial Christmas capital of the Philippines. All along, I thought that the mall’s building used to be a flour or paper mill with the name “Starmills”. Hehehe.
If you’re interested to learn more, this old article about the opening of Robinsons Starmills contains plenty of information. Two of the interesting snippets from the article are: “The mall also has six entrances, each representing a different geographical region of the country, and a lighthouse behind the building features observation decks for viewing the nearby mountains” and “as a next step, Robinsons plans to expand the site with residential, hotel and office developments within the next few years”. It seems taht the hotel and office developments are still to be developed, and I’m not so sure where the lighthouse is. I’m guessing it’s the white circle near the southern part of the mall and the mountain for viewing is most probably the imposing Mount Arayat.