Author Topic: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News  (Read 51633 times)

Offline PinoyBroker

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CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
« on: January 13, 2015, 11:04:58 AM »
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Saturday to Monday, January 10-12, 2015
Stronger economic growth seen in next 2 yrs
Infra, election spending to provide big boost

Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:59 AM | Monday, January 12th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–For the Philippine trade chief, 2014 was “a good pause” for the expected “strong charge” in the last year and a half of the Aquino administration.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said that while 2014 was a good year, it was also beset by difficulties caused by the Manila port congestion, rising power rates, controversies involving the government and underspending, among others. These difficulties, he said, might have tempered the economy’s growth.

In the third quarter, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 5.3 percent, the lowest since 2011. This brought the average growth for the first three quarters of 2014 to 5.8 percent. For the full year 2014, the government was looking at a growth rate of at least 6.5 percent.

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Metro Manila property sector still attractive to investors

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
6:21 AM | Monday, January 12th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–Metro Manila’s property market remains attractive to global institutional investors this 2015 even as overall interest in Asia-Pacific’s emerging markets has somewhat waned ahead of the expected rise in US interest rates.

This was based on Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ latest annual research “Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2015,” which ranked the Philippines’ capital regional eighth highest in terms of city investment prospects and likewise eighth in terms of development prospects for this year. There were 22 markets monitored in the ninth annual survey.

Metro Manila’s ranking in the latest survey slipped from fourth place last year in terms of investment prospects but still stood better than other major Southeast Asian cities such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok. In terms of development prospects, its ranking was unchanged from last year.

In particular, the Philippines was noted to be still among the “best bets” in the residential property segment alongside its Southeast Asian peers.

John Fitzgerald, chief executive of ULI Asia-Pacific, said in a forum last week that while foreign estate investors had been looking at emerging market opportunities for the last three years, in practice they found limited scope to buy.

The three main risks that stood out this 2015, Fitzgerald said, included an economic hard landing in China, which could have a “knock-on” impact across the region, uncertainties on “Abenomics” or Japan’s economic stimulus program and the looming interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve.

“Fast-growing emerging markets like the Philippines and Indonesia remained on investors’ radar, but the attraction has dimmed somewhat this year as investors become cautious over the potential for capital outflows in the wake of upcoming US interest rate hikes,” the report said.

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NGCP completes school bldg proj in Leyte

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
January 10, 2015 - 12:00am
PALO, Leyte, Philippines – The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has completed 21 school buildings it earlier committed to build in Leyte to help the province recover following the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

In a ceremony here, NGCP formally turned over a new three-classroom school building to Palo 1 Central School. The other schools were turned over in November.

The 21 beneficiary schools are spread out in nine local government units (LGUs) of Leyte namely, Palo, Tolosa, Ormoc City, Tan-auan, Sta. Fe, Alang-alang, Barugo, Carigara and Capoocan.

Around 10,000 students are expected to benefit from the new school buildings.

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MPIC allots P17B for 3rd Mactan bridge

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
January 11, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) would spend as much as P17 billion to put up a third bridge connecting the city of Cebu and Mactan island.

Ramoncito Fernandez, president of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), said the company is just waiting from the issuance of the Notice of Award from city government of Cebu.

“Our estimate of the start of construction of the project is anywhere between six and nine months from notice of award,” Fernandez said.

The original cost of the 7.9-kilometer bridge when it was first submitted to the government was P15 billion.

“Cost of the project is about P17 billion at today’s prices,” he added.

With the third bridge, it would be easier for motorists from Cebu City and the rest of southern Cebu to go to Cordova and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

There are about 82,000 vehicles per day using the two bridges that currently connect Cebu City and the island of Mactan.

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Decision on SM Prime’s reclamation plan up to next gov’t

By Daphne J. Magturo, Reporter
Posted on January 11, 2015 10:53:00 PM
SM PRIME Holdings, Inc.’s plan to reclaim and develop a combined 600 hectares of land along Manila Bay into a central business district may have to wait until 2017 before the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) acts on it, as the regulator said it looks to commissioning a lengthy comprehensive study that will serve as a “benchmark” for all reclamation projects involving the country’s major hub.

“The study is intended to be a comprehensive study for the whole Manila Bay area from the northern most tip in Pampanga down to the Southern part in Ternate or Maragondon, Cavite,” PRA Assistant General Manager for Reclamation and Regulation Joselito D. Gonzales told BusinessWorld in a phone interview.

“It will serve as a benchmark study where we will countercheck proposed projects,” he said, noting that the study is already “long overdue.”

To identify who will conduct the study, the PRA will launch within the year a bidding among consultancy firms with experience in reclamation and environmental study.

After that, the winning consultancy firm is expected to finish the study within 14 months, according to Mr. Gonzales.

“It is logical that the study is finished first before we move ahead with the processing of the LGUs’ (local government units) recommendations,” he said.

Last year, the cities of Pasay and Parañaque both awarded to the SM Group separate contracts to reclaim and develop around 300 hectares each in Manila Bay under their jurisdictions for at least P54.5 billion and P50.19 billion, respectively, and also recommended the same to the PRA, which in turn will endorse it to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for final approval.

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Township development seen as growth generator for property firms

By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Township development has become the biggest generator of growth for the major private real estate developers in the country today.

This type of property development features not just office towers. It brings together in the location residential condominiums,  lifestyle malls, retail and commercial strips, open parks and even a transport hub.

Most of the big players have outgrown their original shells  –  stand-alone towers, one-off projects – and explored various sectors, creating new communities, Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services Inc. said in a report.

The report cited Megaworld  which is developing Bayshore City in Pasay City, Uptown Bonifacio and McKinley West in the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) area, Woodsite City in Pasig City; Alabang West in Muntinlupa City, Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; Iloilo Business Park in Iloilo City; and Davao Park District in Davao City.

Under the banner of Suntrust Ecotown, the group is also developing Southwoods City in the boundaries of Cavite and Laguna; Boracay Newcoast in Boracay Island; and Twin Lakes in Tagaytay City.

Megaworld envisions Woodside City as an “environment-friendly” mixed-use development. A main “green” feature of the township is the approximately 1,000 trees that will be planted around the development. This greening feature will help provide an outdoor thermal comfort for the future residents, workers, tenants and visitors of the township.

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Property firm speeds up dev’t in south

Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:15 AM
Monday, January 12th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–The leisure estate arm of property tycoon Andrew Tan-led Megaworld Corp. has rolled out the third phase of its upscale village, Alabang West, after the first two phases generated P5 billion in sales less than three months after its launch.

In a statement, Megaworld unit Global-Estate Resorts Inc. said it remained bullish on its residential projects at Alabang West, citing brisk sales and strong demand for the high-end horizontal residential development.

From an initial price of P47,000 per square meter in October, the price rose to P48,500 in December.

Rachelle Peñaflorida, vice president for sales and marketing of Megaworld Global-Estate Inc., said the group had started selling lots under the third phase in view of the fast take-up of the initial two phases.

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SMDC eyes horizontal development in P18-B expansion this year

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines -  The residential development arm of the Sy family’s property conglomerate SM Prime Holdings Inc. will undertake a more aggressive growth path this year, allotting as much as P18 billion to double the company’s new project launches and potentially make its foray into horizontal housing development.

SM Prime chief finance officer Jeffrey Lim said SM Development Corp. (SMDC) is earmarking a capital ex-penditure budget of P15 billion to P18 billion this year to fund new projects as well as expand existing developments.

For this year, Lim said SMDC would hike its new project launches to about four or five from only two last year.

The new projects would add 12,000 to 14,000 units to SMDC’s portfolio and would generate sales of as much as P14 billion, Lim said.

In addition, he said two more existing projects would be expanded this year through the addition of new towers.

“We see a lot of demand continuing and there’s a lot of demand in terms of afford- able residential condos,” Lim said, when asked regarding the firm’s more bullish plans for the year.

SMDC also intends to push through with its planned maiden venture into low- cost horizontal development.

“We’re working on horizontal development, but that is still in the planning stages. Hopefully we can launch one project within the year to serve as our pilot,” Lim said.

Lim said SMDC is still finalizing the location for the horizontal project, but it would likely be in the province, either north or south of Metro Manila.

He said the move to venture into hori- zontal development arose from demand coming from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) looking for units at the P800,000 to P1.2 million range.

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FBDC to build performing arts center in BGC

By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines -  Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. (FBDC), the main private developer of Bonifacio Global City, is embarking on a P450-million performing arts center project in Taguig following the success of the country’s first world-class science museum.

The performing arts center, which would cement the city’s stature as a premier science and arts hub, will be undertaken by the Bonifacio Art Foun- dation Inc. (BAFI), a corporate founda- tion of FBDC.

In an interview, BAFI managing direc- tor Manny Blas II told The STAR that construction of the 500-seater performing arts theater will commence by the end of the month and would be operational by the middle of next year.

“The next project of the foundation is to build a performing arts center in BGC so we will have both arts and science facilities. So the Mind Museum would be for the sciences and now there will also be one for the arts in BGC,” Blas said.

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This news aggregation service is brought to you by CCGA Real Estate Services & Advisory.

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Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2015, 11:06:10 AM »
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Saturday to Tuesday, January 13, 2015
MPIC’s proposed Cebu bridge proj subject to Swiss Challenge

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 13, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The proposed of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. to build a P17-billion bridge connecting Cebu City and the municipality of Cordova will be subjected to a “Swiss Challenge.”

MPIC said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that the proposed Cebu-Cordova bridge project of Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. will have to go through a “Swiss Challenge.”

 “MPTDC can now start negotiations with both Cebu City and the Municipality of Cordova. Once done, a Swiss Challenge will have to be conducted before award,” the company stated in the disclosure.

Under the “Swiss Challenge” approach, the government would give other private sector participants a chance to submit competitive counter proposals. If the counter proposals are more attractive than the unsolicited or original proposal, the government would give the original project proponent the opportunity to match the competing counter proposal and win the project.

The unit of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) is looking at forming a joint venture with the city of Cebu and the municipality of Cordova for the design, construction, implementation, operation, and maintenance of the toll bridge for a period of 35 years including preparatory work, design, and construction.

The project includes the construction of the main bridge structure, viaduct, causeway, and roadway.
In an earlier interview, MPTC president Ramoncito Fernandez said the construction cost of the toll bridge is estimated at P17 billion.

About 70 percent of this will be sourced from debt while 30 percent will come from equity contributions.

Assuming that all awards and approvals are secured by the first half of 2015, the MPIC unit intends to complete the project by 2020.

The proposed toll bridge spanning 8.3 kilometers linking the island of Mactan to mainland Cebu through the town of Cordova would decongest the traffic in two existing bridges and provide seamless access between the two islands.
BCDA bidding out small lots

Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:38 AM | Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is bidding out seven so-called “small value properties” along C-5 Road and in the Fort Bonifacio area in line with the agency’s asset privatization program.

In a notice, the BCDA said it was bidding out two lots in Fort Bonifacio—the 165-sqm Kalayaan Villa which is being offered for a minimum bid price of P4.95 million and the 225-sqm Summit Housing, which is expected to fetch bids of at least P5.062 million.

Also up for sale are lots located at the East of C-5 Road in Taguig City: the 96-sqm Lot 12515-E, which has a price tag of P1.78 million; 262-sqm Lot 3 (P4.85 million); 438-sqm Lots 2A and 2B (P8.103 million); 976-sqm Lot 1250-B (P18.056 million), and 4,040-sqm Lots 2 and 25-E-3 (for P72.6 million).

According to the BCDA, these lots are being offered on an “as-is, where-is” basis. The properties listed are being sold separately, which means interested parties may opt to bid for any or all of the lots being offered.

Interested bidders have until Feb. 11 to purchase the bidding terms of reference for a nonrefundable fee of P10,000.

A pre-bid conference will be held on Jan. 23 to allow interested parties to thresh out any concerns or issues regarding the bidding.

For this year, the BCDA is expected to also bid out for long term lease and development portions of the 9,450-hectare Clark Green City in Pampanga, which is envisioned to become the “international business hub of the Southeast Asian Region.” The first phase will see the development of 1,300 hectares.
First LGU PPP project gets go signal
Posted at 01/12/2015 4:47 PM | Updated as of 01/12/2015 4:50 PM
MANILA – The first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project of a local government unit has been approved by the Investment Coordination Committee–Cabinet Committee (ICC-CC).

The ICC approved the P400 million Tanauan City Public Market Redevelopment Project, which involves the construction of a commercial mall building and separate wet and dry public market facilities.

The project will be a 25-year concession including one-year construction period.

The redeveloped public market aims to create jobs for the local communities in the city and nearby municipalities as well as improve storage and market facilities for local business.

It is also expected to reduce traffic in the area by significantly improving the turnaround time for transporting goods and wares to and from the public market.

“This is the first LGU-PPP project approved by the ICC and we look forward to more local PPP initiatives facilitated by the Center’s PPP capacity building strategy for local governments,” said PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao.

The Tanauan City government plans to start the bidding process within January and expects to award the contract to a private partner by March this year.
CREBA proposes package to address 5.5-M housing backlog

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated January 13, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA) is proposing a package of reforms to allow the country to address the 5.5 million housing backlog in the next 20 years.

 “With the backlog estimated at 5.5 million, we have set our target production of 500,000 (housing units) per year for the next 20 years,” CREBA national chairman Charlie Gorayeb said during the group’s Developer’s Forum yesterday.

To achieve the annual housing production target of 500,000 units, Gorayeb said the group has identified a five-point agenda or package of reforms aimed at providing benefits to the government, homebuyers and the private sector.

Among the reforms pushed is the availability of long-term and affordable funds for socialized and economic housing.

The group is proposing a Centralized Homebuyer Financing Program (CHFP) which would involve initial contributions from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Pag-IBIG and unused agri-agra funds of banks invested in housing bonds pursuant to different laws, to be made available as home financing assistance to individual home loan borrowers with no component for development financing.

In addition to the CHFP, the group is proposing the operation of a long-term mortgage-backed securitisation program which would involve securitisation, capital and secondary market operations for home mortgages and other housing-related receivables, conveyances and financial instruments to be managed by a secondary mortgage institution organized by the government, to increase funds available for housing and home development.
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Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 08:41:31 AM »
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Ayala Land to open 8 new malls until 2016
Posted at 01/19/2015 7:08 PM | Updated as of 01/20/2015 3:21 PM

MANILA – Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is expanding its mall network with 8 new malls that the firm is planning to open until 2016.

“On projected malls, ALI aims to open a total of 8 malls within 2015 to 2016. On total malls so far, we have 16,” Suzette Naval, Ayala Land’s corporation communications manager, said on Monday.

One of these malls will be located in Legazpi, Albay through a partnership with Bicol-based LCC group. The mall is expected to open within the year.

"Bernard Vincent Dy, ALI president and CEO confirms the Legazpi Mall project which was reported in Philippine Daily Inquirer," Naval said.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, ALI also said it is looking to spend P100 billion in capital expenditures this year to support the firm’s “aggressive growth trajectory” as part of its 2020 Vision program, which aims to achieve a 20 percent annual growth in the next six years.

“This will be supported by our recent P16 billion equity placement and a combination of cash, cash flow generated from our operations, dividends from our subsidiaries and an estimated P10-P15 billion in borrowings. The plans on the borrowings are still being evaluated based on market conditions to ensure that we maintain a healthy balance sheet position,” the firm said.

ALI is the firm behind the Glorietta and Greenbelt malls in Makati, and the Trinoma mall in Quezon City. The firm also has malls in Alabang, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Subic, Bacolod and Pampanga.
Sta Lucia to expand mall presence outside Metro

By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 21, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Property developer Sta. Lucia Land Inc. (SLI) is eyeing to expand its mall presence outside its domain in Rizal, citing the country’s consumption boom as its growth driver.

“The company plans to replicate its success and expertise in its current 120,000-square meter mall in Rizal by building    new malls in commercial areas it already owns,” SLI said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday.

SLI said the size of its commercial areas across the country currently stands at  around 33.93 hectares and are located in over 20 cities and provinces.

SLI president and chief executive officer Exequiel D. Robles earlier told The STAR in an interview that the company is eyeing Iloilo or Davao as possible locations for its new mall developments.

To date, SLI’s only mall under its portfolio is the Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta, Rizal. 

Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall was the first shopping complex which catered to the communities of Pasig, Cainta, Marikina and Antipolo in 1991

In September last year, the listed property firm completed IL Centro, a two-level expansion mall of its East Grand Mall.

As one of the country’s largest subdivision developers with presence in 10 regions, SLI said it is poised to capture the country’s remarkable economic performance in the coming years as growth continues to accelerate in areas outside Metro Manila

“With multiple projects already present in the key cities and provinces, the company will be the beneficiary of increased purchasing power and the renewed influx of commerce as businesses starts to flourish in emerging cities and provinces,” the listed property firm said.

David dela Cruz, SLI executive vice president and chief finance officer, said market value of the company’s properties in Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga and Bulacan has appreciated in recent years is expected to do so in the coming years.

“Even during the property crisis that happened in the past decades, property prices in these areas did not have violent swings, but instead have had a steady trajectory of increases in values over the past years,” he said.

The company has launched a total of 38 projects in the past three years in areas such as Rizal, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao.

SLI was able to more than double its earnings in the third quarter of last year behind soaring real estate sales.

The company’s net income climbed 112 percent in July to September 2014 to P426 million from P201 million the previous year.
8990 Holdings launches P1.1-B Gen. Santos project

Doris C. Dumlao
1:00 AM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

MASS housing developer 8990 Holdings is breaking into the residential property market of General Santos with the launch of a P1.1-billion housing project, thus expanding its footprint in Mindanao.

The launch also marks the establishment of 8990’s seventh hub.

In a briefing on Tuesday, 8990 Holdings president and chief executive officer Januario Jesus Atencio said the company still had a lot of room to grow, noting it was in only seven of the country’s 14 regional growth centers.

Upbeat on prospects for the housing market, he said 8990 expected to sustain a growth of 20 percent each year.

In 2014, he said 8990 was on track with its guidance of generating around P8 billion in revenues, out of which 40 percent in margins would likely be unlocked.
About 8,000 residential units were completed last year by the listed company.

This year, 8990 is setting aside P3 billion for capital spending, mostly for land acquisition.

Meanwhile, the new project in General Santos came about following an opportunity to acquire an existing project started by a local businessman, whose core expertise is in tuna fishing and thus decided to divest from mass housing.

8990 acquired the project called “Rosalio Bayview” from Safi Land-GSC Development Corp.

8990 will initially build on the 18.82-hectare portion of SAFI’s 67.53-ha landbank, but it has the exclusive rights to acquire additional land in case of strong market demand.

The project will be renamed Deca Homes GenSan Bayview, which will start offering within this quarter 1,271 house and lots ranging from 80 sqm to 150 sqm as well as parks, playgrounds and other community facilities.

8990 plans to set aside about 20 percent of the development project for socialized housing units at 40 sqm each.

The price of each housing unit will likely range from P450,000 for the socialized segment to as high as P750,000.

The P1.1-billion project estimate refers to the sales value of new units to be brought to the market.

“GenSan is a progressive city with a big housing demand,” Atencio said.

“We are happy about opening our new branch in General Santos City because it allows us to expand our reach to new areas and extend our housing products and services to more working-class Filipinos,” he added.

The company has vowed to step up efforts to provide affordable houses to help the government address the massive backlog in housing units.
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Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 08:41:59 AM »
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Thursday, January 22, 2015
Green architecture helps mitigate effects of climate change

January 21, 2015
Climate change is taking its toll in our country. Rainy seasons have become unpredictable, bringing severe flooding and other dire conditions that scientists predict will become more frequent as the planet continues to become warmer.

In response to environmental threats, Filipino architect and green architecture advocate Albert Zambrano encourages architects to do their roles in limiting the effects of climate change in the communities. He said that architects are in a position to take a lead role in climate action by promoting green designs.
Green building designs can help ease negative effects of climate change.

Green building designs can help ease negative effects of climate change.

“It has been estimated that 40 percent of all fossil fuels consumed are attributed to the construction and operation of buildings. If architects design buildings that are energy efficient, then the carbon dioxide emission, which is one of the leading causes of climate change, can be significantly reduced,” he said.

To help mitigate the effects of climate change, according to Zambrano, architects can do three things: employ green building principles and processes to their projects; educate and convince clients, building users, other building professionals, and stakeholders to go green; and create examples or templates for easy replication on a mass scale for higher impact.

Locally, architects and their respective organizations are quite active in addressing the issue of climate change by pushing for green building designs. The United Architects of the Philippines, for instance, encourages its members to design green.

A number of academic institutions have also expressed commitment to promoting green architecture so future architects will be equipped with the knowledge and skill set to deal with climate change.

Zambrano, who is teaching Urban and Regional Planning and Building Information Modeling courses at Mapúa Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture, Industrial Design, and the Built Environment, involves his students in social housing projects he spearheads to expose them to real-life situations.

One of his recent projects is the vertical sidewalk-medium rise building, a multi-story structure designed to mitigate floods, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and create livelihood opportunities for the urban poor. Together with renowned architect Felino Palafox, Jr., he also spearheaded the Estero de San Miguel Project, which was unveiled recently.

The buildings use natural light and ventilation, have green walls made from steel matting suitable for growing pechay or spinach, and have rainwater and grey-water catching system useful for collecting water during the rainy season and recycling of household water. Both were also designed to be conducive to the development of micro, small, medium, and home-based enterprises.

While it can be said that architects can take the lead role in mitigating the effects of climate change, environment-friendly practices can start at homes and in schools.

“The government has enacted laws addressing climate change. What needs to be done now is instill green living in the future generations. Simple things like practicing the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) at home and work in every opportunity can have an impact,” he concluded.
Delay of the land

Conrad Banal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:29 PM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
SM Prime Holdings, owner of the 50 or so SM malls all over the country, issued a statement saying it was resuming an expansion project in its property in Baguio City, which was derailed by court cases for more than two years now.

Thus, the SM group last Saturday started groundwork at its eight-hectare property in one of the busiest areas of the city.

It seems the construction workers uprooted pine trees in the private property, some 60 of them, according to unconfirmed accounts on the Internet.

Uh-oh, the guys down here in my barangay could almost hear all the noise from the self-proclaimed “environmentalists” against the resumption of the SM land project.

Actually, at the onset, the SM group called the Baguio mall expansion a “green” project, owing perhaps to its LEED certification. LEED was nothing but the “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” recognized all over the world for standards on “green” construction.

Let us put things in perspective here: Those environment friendly construction standards did not just come from out of nowhere, because the US Green Building Council developed them. Meaning, there was “science” in them.

Really now, the signal for the SM group to resume its much delayed “green” project came from the Court of Appeals a couple of weeks ago. The CA affirmed an earlier decision made by the Baguio City Regional Trial Court.

(A long time ago, the regional court already lifted a “temporary environmental protection order” issued against the project, obviously upon the insistence of so-called environmental groups, which then went to the CA to appeal the lifting order.)

And so for more than two years, nothing happened in the P1.2-billion expansion project of the existing mall in the SM property that the Baguio City government hailed as a big help in solving some big problems in the ever-growing urban Baguio.

You see, the SM group even aimed to provide green facilities in the eight-hectare mall property, such as walls and rooftop filled with live, breathing plants, which genuine environmentalists would only love to have in all construction projects anytime.

Ornamentation and aesthetics aside, however, and this may be unknown to many, the expansion project had—from the beginning—other environmental features invisible to the public eye. Among them was the sewerage treatment facility that the entire Baguio City, not just the SM mall, direly needed.

To think, if you would ask genuine environmentalists, sewerage treatment was always a “must have” in urban projects, precisely to avert the total destruction of natural waterways from human water wastes.

Also included in the SM construction blueprint was the provision for impounding and storing some 6 million liters of rainwater, which a water-deprived city like Baguio could definitely use to water the plants—and the pine trees—in its various parks.

That—or for cleaning the streets of mud created by soil erosion in most parts of the city.

Above all, the SM expansion project, from the very start, boasted of allotting space for parking that can accommodate—at any one time—more than 1,200 vehicles and more than 250 for motorcycles or… well, bicycles.

As I said in the past, biking and hiking in Baguio were always refreshing back in our younger days when we used to go there for short summer trips.

Nowadays, nobody would want to bike and suffer the thick smog in the city, exacerbated surely by the worsening traffic condition all over the city, mainly due to the critical lack of parking space.

Question: How could the Baguio City government solve the smog problem without solving the traffic congestion by providing parking spaces for thousands of vehicles?
For so many years, in large parts of Baguio City, the streets were converted into parking lots by all sorts of commercial establishments.

For example, one of my favorite restaurants in Baguio has always been “Cafe By The Ruins.” I heard that it opened a branch recently by the sidewalk beside another favorite place called “Mario’s.”

Guess what—their customers would double-park on both sides of the road. You can just imagine the result.

As I said, the CA just affirmed the decision of the regional trial court, dated April 2012, to dismiss the case against the SM project that was filed by three groups claiming to represent the thousands of residents of Baguio City.

The RTC ruled back then that the mall project within the vicinity of the Luneta Hill “will not cause irreparable injury to the environment or the constituents of the City of Baguio.”

From what I heard, the same groups were still planning to file a motion for reconsideration before the CA.

Still, the SM group announced that, with the CA decision issued last month, it could finally proceed with the “Sky Park,” which was the mall expansion project, featuring green walls and roof deck, sewerage treatment and water impounding systems, and parking facility with floor area bigger than the Araneta Coliseum.

After all, the group claimed it had already secured the final approval and necessary permits for the project, even holding dialogues with various community groups.

But aside from legal voodoo and all that mambo-jumbo, it would be hard to see the project as anything but beneficial to Baguio City. Let us not even talk about the economic impact of the project, considering the taxes it would bring into the city coffers.

For instance, in 2012 or two years ago, even the notorious DENR, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, ordered the SM group to plant 6,000 trees in and around Baguio City.

But the SM group went against the DENR order, because instead of planting 6,000 trees, the group actually planted 60,000 trees, or 10 times the number ordered by the DENR.

Here is more, in its representations with LGUs in the Baguio metropolitan area, the SM group had committed to plant 500,000 trees in the next five years.

No other group—whether genuine or pseudo environmental group—could claim to have committed such a grand tree planting scheme in Baguio and surroundings.

Well, in its own eight-hectare property, SM already cared for about 1,200 pine and alnus trees, with 41 of them replanted (i.e. relocated) in the same site, under supervision of the DENR and the LGUs.

Besides, other establishments cut trees in the city, such as the Toyota dealer expansion for its show room, or those 700 or so trees that the developers of condos in the city also cut down.

Like it or not, Baguio City for a long time now suffered from various problems such as mass squatting—nicely known as illegal settlement —such as in the Busol area. And so what used to be mountainsides full of trees were converted into squatter colonies full of garbage.
Why BSP is tightening rules on real estate investments
Posted at 01/19/2015 10:12 AM
MANILA – More developers have been enticing buyers to purchase properties by no longer requiring them to pay the 20 percent downpayment.

However, financial adviser Salve Duplito said that what most people don’t realize is that the 20 percent downpayment rule is their protection from foreclosure, lightens mortgage, and reduces pressure on cash flow.

The downpayment requirement is also a litmus test of whether you’re financially ready to buy a house.

“Without a 20 percent downpayment, buying a house seems more achievable. But there’s a high likelihood that’s an illusion buyers will discover as the years go by. And the result of that illusion—foreclosure—can be very painful,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

The aggressive selling strategy of waiving the 20 percent downpayment requirement is one of the factors in the US financial crisis in 2008.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is tightening its regulations regarding this strategy as well as other aspects of real estate lending in efforts to keep the country’s financial sector healthy.

“That is part of the regulatory review we are doing because we want to be sure that credit underwriting standards are being maintained,” said Dr. Johnny Ravalo, BSP assistant governor.

The BSP is also reviewing contract-to-sell financing deals of real estate developers.

Contract-to-sell financing is a scheme that involves removing downpayment, and allowing buyers to pay in installment but with a balloon payment within a couple of years.

The developer then sells the receivables to the bank.

Ravalo said the BSP has set a minimum standard of 1 year before a developer can sell the receivable to a financial institution.

“We are undertaking a new review whether it needs to be tightened a little bit more, given what we are seeing as the supply side of the market. An individual cannot simply go to the developer, get a unit, and then the developer next day turns around and sells it to the bank. It has to go to an aging process so there is track record that the individual has a capacity to pay. Only then, there’s a minimum period for that, can the developer go to a bank and try to sell,” he said.

The BSP is also tightening regulations in terms of prioritizing cash flow and capacity to pay rather than collateral in credit evaluation.

Ravalo also said that the regulator is tightening disclosure rules as well as monitoring data and compliance.

He added that demand for real estate seems to be less an issue now than before due to the country’s demographic.

The important signs that the BSP is looking at in real estate is the capacity of individuals to pay their loans; how well banks can find good borrowers; and what recourse a person has when he falls into financial distress.

“If you want to keep the economy healthy, stay away from those no downpayment deals, which make it harder overtime for you to pay off your property,” Duplito said.
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Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
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BSP to release new resd’l real estate price index by Q3

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 19, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas may release the new residential real estate price index by the second quarter of this year, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said last week.

Guinigundo told reporters the central bank is currently collecting first quarter data for the property index, which will serve as an indicator of house prices in the country.

“We’re collating data… first quarter data so maybe it will come in in the second quarter,” Guinigundo said, adding construction materials and building permits will be the main components of the index.

The BSP executive last year said the index will initially cover Metro Manila and nearby provinces but there are plans to expand this to other key cities in the country.

The central bank aims to build at least 20 years of data for the new property index aimed at also helping regulators spot any potential asset bubbles in the sector, Guinigundo said.

The BSP has been continuously monitoring banks’ exposure to the housing sector given the sustained robust growth of the sector and rising prices of houses, offices, and lots.

Latest central bank data showed banks’ real estate exposure jumped 23 percent to P1.159 trillion as of end-September last year.

The bulk of these were real estate loans, which grew 24 percent to P977.05 billion, while the rest were investments in the property sector which also increased 25 percent to P384.119 billion.

The central bank has deployed policy actions to better guard banks’ exposure to the sector and ensure there are no inflated prices in the property sector, in line with its financial stability mandate.

Last year, the BSP has required banks to undergo a separate stress test to assess the impact of their exposure to the real estate sector in case borrowers fail to pay their loans.

Banks need to maintain a common equity tier 1 capital ratio of at least six percent and a minimum risk-based capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent even if 25 percent of their exposure to the sector has been written off.

Back in 2012, the BSP also enforced stricter rules for banks’ reporting of their exposure to the real estate sector.

The system was amended so banks would also report loans to developers of socialized and low-cost housing, and to individuals, and credit supported by non-risk collaterals or Home Guarantee Corp. guarantee.

Banks were also required to report their investments in debt and equity securities that finance real estate activities.
BCDA seeks bids for 9 prime lots in Bonifacio Global City, C-5

By Chrisee J. V. Dela Paz, Reporter
Posted on January 19, 2015 10:02:00 PM,-C-5&id=101137
STATE-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is selling P115-million worth of prime lots along C-5 Road and Bonifacio Global City and yesterday published a bid bulletin seeking offers from investors.

The properties would be sold on an “as is, where is” basis, which means that the winning bidder for each lot will get everything that comes with the property, at its present condition.

Through the bid notice, BCDA has opened the floor for prospective bidders to participate in the auction of nine prime lots: a 165-square-meter (sq.m.) lot in Kalayaan Villa, Bonifacio Global City; a 225-sq.m.

lot in Summit Housing also within the upscale center; and seven prime lots along east of C-5 road with lot sizes of 96 sq.m. to 4,040 sq.m.

The properties will not be bid out as one bundle so “an interested bidder may opt to bid for any or all of the properties,” the BCDA said.

Interested groups may buy the terms of reference for each lot at the BCDA headquarters in Bonifacio Global City until Feb. 11 for a non-refundable fee of P10,000 each.

The BCDA has set a pre-bid conference for Jan. 23 at its headquarters in Bonifacio Global City.

The BCDA was created by Republic Act 7227 to convert former US military bases.

The state-run agency also engages in public-private partnership infrastructure deals such as tollways, airports, seaports, as well as major real estate developments.

Since it was established in 1992, the BCDA has earned P62.78 billion from the disposition of former Metro Manila camps, its Web site showed.
Why BSP is tightening rules on real estate investments
Posted at 01/19/2015 10:12 AM
MANILA – More developers have been enticing buyers to purchase properties by no longer requiring them to pay the 20 percent downpayment.

However, financial adviser Salve Duplito said that what most people don’t realize is that the 20 percent downpayment rule is their protection from foreclosure, lightens mortgage, and reduces pressure on cash flow.

The downpayment requirement is also a litmus test of whether you’re financially ready to buy a house.

“Without a 20 percent downpayment, buying a house seems more achievable. But there’s a high likelihood that’s an illusion buyers will discover as the years go by. And the result of that illusion—foreclosure—can be very painful,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

The aggressive selling strategy of waiving the 20 percent downpayment requirement is one of the factors in the US financial crisis in 2008.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is tightening its regulations regarding this strategy as well as other aspects of real estate lending in efforts to keep the country’s financial sector healthy.

“That is part of the regulatory review we are doing because we want to be sure that credit underwriting standards are being maintained,” said Dr. Johnny Ravalo, BSP assistant governor.

The BSP is also reviewing contract-to-sell financing deals of real estate developers.

Contract-to-sell financing is a scheme that involves removing downpayment, and allowing buyers to pay in installment but with a balloon payment within a couple of years.

The developer then sells the receivables to the bank.

Ravalo said the BSP has set a minimum standard of 1 year before a developer can sell the receivable to a financial institution.

“We are undertaking a new review whether it needs to be tightened a little bit more, given what we are seeing as the supply side of the market. An individual cannot simply go to the developer, get a unit, and then the developer next day turns around and sells it to the bank. It has to go to an aging process so there is track record that the individual has a capacity to pay. Only then, there’s a minimum period for that, can the developer go to a bank and try to sell,” he said.

The BSP is also tightening regulations in terms of prioritizing cash flow and capacity to pay rather than collateral in credit evaluation.

Ravalo also said that the regulator is tightening disclosure rules as well as monitoring data and compliance.

He added that demand for real estate seems to be less an issue now than before due to the country’s demographic.

The important signs that the BSP is looking at in real estate is the capacity of individuals to pay their loans; how well banks can find good borrowers; and what recourse a person has when he falls into financial distress.

“If you want to keep the economy healthy, stay away from those no downpayment deals, which make it harder overtime for you to pay off your property,” Duplito said.
NEDA-ICC approves subway, 5 other projects

Posted at 01/15/2015 11:22 PM
-- ANC Business Nightly, January 15, 2015
Watch the video here:

A Cabinet-level NEDA committee approves the Philippines’'first subway, a Manila-Bicol-Laguna railway, and four other projects, paving the way for final approval by President Aquino.
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Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Philippines' urban density getting worse - World Bank
Posted at 01/26/2015 3:45 PM | Updated as of 01/26/2015 6:00 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The country's urban areas, particularly Metro Manila, is getting more populated and is showing no signs of slowing down, according to a recent report by the World Bank.

The World Bank’s East Asia’s Changing Urban Land Escape report showed that the Philippines has the fifth-largest populated urban areas in the region, increasing at a rate of 3.3 percent annually to 23 million in 2010 from only 17 million people in 2000.

The country’s average population density in urban areas is second only to Korea, reaching 10,300 people per sq. km. in 2010 from from 9,500 people in 2000.

Metro Manila is the country’s densest city with 16.5 million people as of 2010 while the second most populated area in the country is Cebu with 1.5 million.

“The Manila urban area is the Philippines’ undisputed primate city, with no close competitors. In 2010, it had 56 percent of the urban land in the country and more than 70 percent of the country’s urban population,” the report said.

Metro Manila’s land area has expanded in the last 10 years, but the report said the expansion grew at a much slower rate compared with the growth in population.

The report said Metro Manila’s land area increased 2.2 percent per year to 1,300 sq. km. from 1,000 from 2000 to 2010.

However, population grew with a rate of 3.1 percent annually or to 16.5 million people from 12.2 million.

“Like almost all urban areas in the country, [Metro] Manila is becoming even denser. Its population density increased from 11,900 people per square kilometer to almost 13,000 between 2000 and 2010,” the World Bank said.

World Bank also noted that nearly all the new developments for residents or about 94 percent were located Metro Manila’s neighboring provinces of Cavite, Bulacan and Laguna.

The population growth, however, occurred mostly in Quezon City, Caloocan City, and Manila.

“The City of Manila the densest local unit (almost 48,000 people per sq. km.). In total, the administrative area of Metro Manila added nearly 2.3 million additional residents with a negligible increase in urban built-up area (just 14 sq. km.),” it said.

Outside of Metro Manila, Cebu has the largest population, growing rapidly at a rate of 4.1 percent to 1.5 million from 1 million between 2000 and 2010. The cities of Angeles City, Davao and Bacolod, meanwhile, are in the 500,000 to 1 million population range in 2010.
Banks set tighter standards for household borrowers

By Kathleen A. Martin, The Philippine Star
Posted at 01/24/2015 9:27 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Local banks tightened their credit rules for household borrowers in the fourth quarter, according to a survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“The DI (diffusion index) approach… indicated a net tightening of overall credit standards for household loans owing largely to perceived stricter financial system regulations,” according to the latest Senior Loan Officers Survey.

“In particular, banks’ responses indicated reduced credit line sizes for auto loans and wider loan margins for personal and salary loans,” the BSP said.

Household loans pertain to finance auto loans, credit card loans, personal or salary loans, and housing loans.

A diffusion index of 14.3 percent was recorded for the fourth quarter, higher than the 9.5 percent in the third quarter, the BSP survey showed. This is the fifth consecutive quarter the index showed a net tightening for credit standards for household loans.

The diffusion index approach measures the proportion of banks that tightened credit standards versus those that eased them. A positive index means more banks tightened their standards, while a negative one shows there were that loosened them.

“Most of the respondent banks foresee maintaining their credit standards over the next quarter,” the BSP said.

“However, some banks expect overall credit standards to tighten slightly due to expectations of continued strict financial system regulations and banks’ reduced tolerance for risk, among others,” the central bank added.

On the other hand, banks maintained their credit standards for enterprises in the fourth quarter, the same survey showed.

“The unchanged overall credit standards was attributed by banks to their steady outlook on the domestic economy as well as specific industries, such as wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, and real estate, renting and business activities, among others,” the BSP said.

The central bank said the banks still expect to maintain credit standards for enterprises in the first quarter of the year.

Looking at loan demand, the BSP said a diffusion approach showed a net increase in overall demand for corporate and household loans.

“The net increase in loan demand for businesses was attributed by banks to clients’ improved outlook on the economy as well as increased inventory financing needs of borrower firms, among others,” the central bank said.

“Meanwhile, the net increase in overall demand for household loans reflected higher housing investment, lower interest rates, and more attractive financing terms offered by banks,” the BSP said.

The quarterly survey has been conducted by the central bank since the first quarter of 2009 to review banks’ credit standards, demand conditions for loans, and potential risks in asset markets.

For the fourth quarter survey, questions were sent to 35 universal and commercial banks, with only 34 responding.
MPIC to pursue NLEX-SCTEX link project
Posted at 01/26/2015 6:24 PM
MANILA – Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) said it will continue to pursue the infrastructure project that will integrate the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

“We’ve made that proposal many years ago so it is something that we support — the integration of NLEX and SCTEX,” MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said on Monday.

MPIC’s tollway arm, Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) are looking to sign the integration agreement by February.

“We are having the signing of the integration agreement, it is tentatively scheduled on February 5,” MNTC president Rodrigo Franco said.

Franco said around P600 million will be spent for the integration project, which includes the relocation of the toll plaza, additional toll booths, and the deployment of the electronic payment system.

The integration works will begin immediately after the signing of the agreement.

Franco said MNTC is targeting to complete the NLEX-SCTEX integration by November.

Meanwhile, the firm said it will have to carefully evaluate the offers for the operation and maintenance of the 94-kilometer SCTEX under the Swiss challenge process.

Pangilinan said MNTC has the right to match any offer submitted by the interested groups.

“We have the right to match. I think we will just have to wait for the number and look, consider, and assess it carefully,” he said.

The interested firms include San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and a group represented by the law firm of Aguirre, Abano, Pamfilo, Paras, Pineda, and Agustin.

The interested parties were given until January 30 to submit their bids. The contract is scheduled to be awarded to the winning bidder in March.

The companies will be required to match the P3.5 billion offer made by MNTC, and share 50 percent of the gross toll revenues with the BCDA.

The concession is valid until 2043, and will continue the integration of NLEX and SCTEX.
BGC 26th Avenue picked as train stop

By Chrisee J. V. Dela Paz, Reporter
Posted on January 26, 2015 10:28:00 PM
THE COUNTRY’s first subway will count 26th Avenue in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) as a train stop, the head of the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center said.

A committee of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) committee has picked the upscale street as the site for one of the stations for the proposed P378.33-billion Makati-Pasay-Taguig Mass Transit Loop, PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao said.

The decision was made after technical advisors assured the Manila Golf and Country Club that the undertaking will not disrupt the latter’s operations, she added.

But it is the NEDA Board, where President Benigno S. C. Aquino III sits as chairman, that has the last say.

“There’s a preferred alignment attached to the condition for approval, it’s the 26th street [sic] but that’s for the NEDA-ICC (Investment Coordination Committee), it might change in the NEDA Board,” Ms. Canilao told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Makati City on Friday.

“There’s continuous discussion with Manila Golf if it will be felt on the surface. Our technical advisors assured that engineering solutions will be implemented for them not to feel it. They are open to it, the dialog is still continuing,” she added.

The subway system was one of the seven infrastructure projects approved by the NEDA committee last Jan. 14.
ALI to expand mall portfolio

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 26, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Property powerhouse Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) plans to put up a slew of new large-scale shopping centers in the next five years as part of the company’s vision 2020 program.

In an interview, ALI chief finance officer Jimmy Ysmael said the property unit of the country’s oldest conglomerate would pursue growing its mall portfolio as it has no intention of being left behind in the battle for mall supremacy in the Philippines.

Ayala malls of the Zobel family, together with SM malls of the Sy family and the Robinsons malls of John Gokongwei Jr.’s clan, are the leaders when it comes to shopping center development in the country.

“There will be a lot of new shopping center developments which is really aligned with our 2020 vision where we intend to expand the portfolio of shopping centers,” Ysmael said.

Ysmael said Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod and Iloilo are the sites outside Metro Manila where ALI is looking to put up its new mall offerings in the coming years.

Within Metro Manila, he said the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati is a potential location for another Ayala mall.

Ysmael said ALI is not likely to venture into developing small, community malls yet so its upcoming mall developments would continue to be large-scale shopping centers.

 “What we are looking at more now is to concentrate in bigger developments because it actually takes the same effort to actually plan, build, and manage a small mall compared to a bigger one. So if you would want to achieve the scale that you want to achieve, we’d rather do it on a bigger manner and we have the land bank to do that, especially within the Metro Manila,” he said.

Aside from building new malls, Ysmael said ALI would also be continuing the expansion of its existing malls.

ALI’s mall portfolio includes the TriNoma mall in Quezon City, Glorietta and Greenbelt shopping centers in Makati, Market Market in Fort Bonifacio, and Marquee mall in Pampanga, to name a few.

Total gross leasable area of all ALI malls across the country stood at 1.33 million square meters as of end September 2014.

It has an average occupancy rate of 93 percent with an average building lease rates of about P1,134 per square meter a month.

 “In the case of shopping centers, we normally redevelop every now and then, as what we’re seeing in Ayala center in Makati. Redevelopment continues so we really look at retail as more of an interim use at the end of the day. As the community develops, we can redevelop and increase density,” he said.

ALI’s 2020 vision is to grow its earnings by at least 20 percent annually to achieve a net income of P40 billion by 2020.

Aside from expanding its shopping centers, Ysmael said part of the plan is to aggressively expand ALI’s office, hotel and resort portfolio “to achieve the balance growth between development and recurring income.”
Why Sta. Lucia ventured into house construction
Posted at 01/26/2015 4:54 PM

MANILA – Sta. Lucia Land Inc. (SLI) is confident that its house construction arm, Sta. Lucia Homes (SLH), will help address the gap between lot buyers and contractors.
SLI said it has seen that most of its lot buyers face issues such as limited access to contractors and bank financing in building their homes.

“Majority of our lot buyers do have the intention and the initial capital to construct houses, but has limited access to contractors, difficulty in securing the necessary business permits and little or no access to bank financing,” said David dela Cruz, SLI and SLH executive vice president and chief financial officer.

“We have seen this gap and decided to offer our buyers a reliable contractor to address all their construction, documentation and financing needs,” he added.

SLI incorporated SLH in 2014 to offer construction services to its more than 120,000 lot buyers.

“SLH is the company’s contribution to the country’s housing backlog of 3.9 million houses, which benefits not just our current customers but the communities within the area as property values will increase once houses are constructed and communities are developed,” the company said.

SLH general manager Ria Rivadeneira said the firm estimates that more than 60,000 of its lot buyers nationwide have yet to build homes.

She admits that constructing homes for its lot buyers is a challenge, but noted that its agents are still in touch with thousands of lot buyers who have yet to build houses.

“All we need to do is to reestablish these relationships,” she said.

The firm also believes that house construction is not only profitable, but will also give a significant boost to its financial performance.
Larossa building set to bloom in Quezon City’s first botanical ville

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 26, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - A unique residential building with natural lighting and cooling features is set to be topped off and made to blossom in all its glory in Quezon City’s first and only urban botanical village now fast taking shape in a prime and prestigious address in Capitol Hills.

The structural top-off completion in the last week of January has been announced, making the building a grand showcase of nature-based construction technology. Named “Camia,” the building has its lower levels in the finishing phase for its turnover early this year.  Another two buildings, Sampaguita and Magnolia, in Phase 1were also announced to be in full-blast construction for completion towards the end of the year.

The construction and development of the project dubbed “Larossa in Capitol Hills” is being handled by Primehomes Real Estate as one of the multi-billion projects in prime locations awarded to the company for masterplanned development.

Run by the country’s top architects, Primehomes is developing the Larossa as a mid-rise residential condominium community of 10-storey residential buildings with basement parking and roofdecks elegantly designed to complement the playful 3.6-hectare terrain, featuring century-old trees and lush vegetation dominating the open space that accounts for 65 percent of the property.

Larossa in Capitol Hills is envisioned to redefine what living in harmony with nature is all about to “create communities that matter.”  This concept involves the use of natural materials to create the ideal natural environment for aesthetics, recreation and relaxation.

Located in one of the highest peaks of the metropolis in the heart of Quezon City, Larossa is surrounded by the remaining chunks of the city’s natural greenery and just a five-minute drive to the country’s top universities University of the Philippines – Diliman and Ateneo de Manila and commercial hubs UP-Ayala Technohub and UP Town Center.

For more information, visit and Model units are available for viewing at the LAROSSA in Capitol Hills showroom, Capitol Hills Drive cor. Zuzuaregui Road, Old Balara, Quezon City.
How to save on real estate taxes

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 26, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Center for Global Best Practices will hold a special one-day seminar entitled, “Optimizing Tax Savings for Real Estate Transactions” on Feb. 20 at The EDSA Shangri-la Hotel, Mandaluyong City.

This comprehensive program will discuss the legally permissible means of avoiding taxes in real estate transactions. The lecture will also include updates, examples, new regulations and specific situations that will be discussed thoroughly to guide participants in executing their plans or solving their tax problems and issues effectively.

Featured speaker is expert tax practitioner Francisco Gonzales, CPA, and a partner at Ong Meneses Gonzales & Gupit Law Offices where he specializes in tax practice. He is a faculty at the Ateneo Law School since 1997 and a bar review lecturer at the same school since 2002 up to the present. He served as the executive director of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants from July 2006 until June 2010.

For details and a complete list of seminars, check or call the Center for Global Best Practices in Manila 556-8968/ 69, Cebu (032) 512-3106/ 07 or Baguio (074) 423-5148.
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Land values in Metro continue to rise

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 28, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Land values in Metro Manila continued to rise as of end-September last year, boosted largely by the sustained strong demand for office space in the capital, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.

Implied land values in the Makati central business district (CBD) went up 35 percent to P435,000 per square meter in the third quarter from a year ago, the central bank said, citing data from Colliers International.

The latest level is also 19 percent higher than the P366,425 per sqm recorded in the second quarter of last year, the BSP said.

“The significant increase in the Makati CBD land value is primarily attributed to the sale of JAKA Tower, an unfinished office building located along the prime area of the business district,” the central bank said.

In Ortigas center, land values grew nine percent to P154,000 per sqm in the third quarter versus the same period in 2013. It was also three percent higher than the P149,365 per sqm recorded in the second quarter of 2014.

“Implied land values in the Makati CBD were slightly above their 1997 levels in nominal terms, but only about 45.1 percent of their 1997 levels in real terms,” the BSP said.

“Meanwhile, land values in the Ortigas Center were lower than their comparable levels in 1997 in both nominal and real terms by about 79 percent and 34.8 percent, respectively,” the central bank said.

Nominal figures refer to the actual price in 1997, while real terms are nominal values adjusted for inflation.

At the same time, the BSP said office vacancy rate in the Makati CBD slid to 1.9 percent in the third quarter last year from 2.1 percent in the second quarter.

“This was due to continued strong office demand amid limited office supply in the Makati CBD. The office vacancy rate is estimated by Colliers to narrow further to 1.6 percent in Q3 2015,” the central bank said.

Residential vacancy rate, meanwhile, also went down to 8.1 percent in the third quarter from 10.6 percent in the second quarter.

The BSP said there were higher occupancy rates observed in high-rise residential segments although Colliers International expects the rate to go up to 10.7 percent by the third quarter of this year as more units will become available.
SMC, Ayala-MPIC, 2 others to vie for LRT-2 deal

Miguel R. Camus
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:47 PM | Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
CONGLOMERATES San Miguel Corp., Aboitiz Equity Ventures, DMCI Holdings Inc. and the Ayala Corp.- Metro Pacific Investments team yesterday signified formally their intention to participate in the bidding for the long-term operations and maintenance contract for the Light Rail Transit Line 2 in Metro Manila.

The four groups partnered with various international railway operators ahead of the submission of qualification documents for the LRT-2 public-private partnership deal, said Michael Sagcal, spokesman for the Department of Transportation and Communications.

San Miguel partnered with Korea Railroad Corp., DMCI unit D.M Consunji Inc. partnered with Tokyo Metro Co. of Japan, Aboitiz Equity Ventures partnered with Singapore’s SMRT Transportation and Ayala-Metro Pacific-led Light Rail Manila partnered with France’s RATP Dev.

The qualification process is meant to determine which groups will be allowed to submit technical and financial offers. The deadline for qualification documents was pushed back from last month after several bidders sought more time.

“Railway modernization entails improving infrastructure and shifting services toward better customer-orientation. Our projects for LRT-2 will make fast, affordable, and convenient transportation accessible to residents of the densely populated parts of Rizal, such as Antipolo and Cainta,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said in a statement.

The LRT-2 PPP deal calls for the private sector to operate and maintain the existing line for a period of 10 years, extendable by another five years.

The 13.8-kilometer LRT-2 line runs from Recto Avenue to the Depot at Santolan Street along Marcos Highway. It currently traverses the cities of Manila, San Juan, Quezon City, Marikina, and Pasig. The railway line handled almost 200,000 people per day in 2014, latest data from the Light Rail Transit Authority showed.

John Eric Francia, managing director at Ayala, said it made sense for their group to pursue the LRT-2 deal because Light Rail Manila in 2014 already bagged the P65-billion LRT-1 Cavite extension PPP.

“We can leverage our capabilities and provide consistent quality service between the lines,” Francia said.

The transportation department will separately build an “East extension,”  from Santolan to the Masinag market in Antipolo City along Marcos Highway. Once completed, the LRT-2 concessionaire will also operate the extension project.
City of Dreams Manila all set for grand launch
Posted at 01/27/2015 10:22 AM | Updated as of 01/27/2015 11:31 AM
MANILA, Philippines - City of Dreams Manila is gearing up for its official grand launch on February 2.

Developer Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corporation said more than 600,000 have visited the integrated casino-resort during its "sneak preview" period which started last December 14. Around 20,000 visited the casino on its first day alone.

The grand launch will be led by Melco Crown Entertainment co-chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho and co-chairman James Packer, as well as Melo Crown Philippines chairman and president Clarence Chung.

"Our official Grand Launch finally delivers our stated commitment to bring Manila its first international integrated leisure destination offering. The new resort complex will deliver a diverse collection of contemporary leisure and lifestyle brands from all over the world, including Crown, Nobu, Hyatt and the Pangaea Group, who are behind the world's most successful nightclubs and lounges," Chung said.

City of Dreams Manila had generated a lot of buzz for its promotional trailer directed by Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese and featured Hollywood stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

City of Dreams Manila will have an opening concert on February 2, with international R&B star Ne-Yo as the headliner. The concert will also feature Gary Valenciano, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Kyla, and Jed Madela.

The resort complex is located at Entertainment City, which the Philippines is hoping will rival Macau as the region's gaming hub.
STI inaugurates P250M academic center in Batangas

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:46 AM | Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines — Educational network operator STI Education Systems Holdings Inc. has inaugurated a P250-million new academic center in Batangas City in line with its nationwide expansion program.

The new academic center with a footprint of 5,621 square meters along Kumintang Ibaba stands on three floors and houses fully air-conditioned classrooms with LCD projectors and lighting systems, according to the STI’s disclosure filed with the Philippine Stock Exchange Tuesday.

The new center also has a library filled with updated research materials, Internet and WiFi connection and industry-grade simulation laboratories aimed at providing modern and conducive learning environment for its students.

STI said that with classes already ongoing since June 2014, STI Batangas has been ready to welcome up to 1,500 students taking courses under Information and Communications Technology, Business and Management, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Arts and Sciences and Engineering. This academic center is also one of the pioneer senior high schools nationwide with permit from the Department of Education to educate Grades 11 and 12 students.

“As we continue to grow our reach and improve our campuses nationwide, we are also building stronger foundations in education for those who are entrusting their future to us,” STI president Monico Jacob said.

“We believe that as we strive to continually improve the quality of education we have in STI, our commitment to nurture the growth of our students to become competent and responsible members of society remains our ultimate priority. This is also why the whole STI community is always driven to thrive for academic excellence and ensuring that our facilities, our campuses will serve as one of the important tools that will help us deliver world-class education to our students. From the facilities, to the curriculum and to the services that we provide, we are committed in finding ways to bridge the gap between graduates and the requirements of industries in various fields,” Jacob added.

STI Academic Center Batangas is the first of four of such STI centers to debut in the first quarter of this year. The others are in Calamba, Cubao and Lucena.

The Tanco-led network has existing centers in Bonifacio Global City, Naga, Fairview, Alabang, Novaliches, Malolos, Ortigas-Cainta and Caloocan.

The network also operates iAcademy, a college that provides specialized and industry-based Information and Communications degree programs; alongside West Negros University in Bacolod City. iAcademy has likewise inaugurated its eight-floor innovation center in Makati, investing on high-end technology and equipment in classrooms, a Cintiq laboratory for design students, computer laboratories, auditorium and customized student lounge.
Regus to open 4 more centers in PH

Ben O. de Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:15 AM | Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–Regus, a global provider of “flexible workspace,” said it would open four more business centers in key commercial hubs in Metro Manila by the end of April this year.

In a statement, Regus said one new center each in the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Taguig would be opened in the first four months as part of its “unprecedented expansion” in the country, which was “buoyed by confidence in the Philippine market.”

The company did not disclose, however, how much would be spent to acquire or lease the additional sites.

The new business centers, whose office space can be used by individual Regus members as well as client-firms, will be located at the Nomad PBCom Center in Makati City, Polar Business Center in Mandaluyong City, Marco Polo Hotel in Pasig City, and Eco Tower at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

These four upcoming locations will bring to 17—16 in Metro Manila and one in Cebu City—the total number of Regus centers in the country by April.

“The launch of four new centers in the first four months of 2015 marks an unprecedented move for Regus in the Philippines. In comparison, Regus Philippines opened four new centers in all of 2014; and the first four centers in the Philippines took 12 years to establish. This newfound optimism and confidence in the Philippines is primarily due to the growing demand for flexible workspace solutions from business owners, employees and employers,” said Regus Philippines country manager Lars Wittig.

“We are accelerating our growth and with these latest additions, we are reaching a critical mass or a pivot point where we become a business enabler and credible solution to employee retention, enterprise productivity, and operational efficiency for any organization,” Wittig added.

Last year, Regus added over 2,500 workstations to its Philippine business centers as occupancy rates here reached “sky high” levels, he said.

Globally, Luxembourg-based Regus has over 2,000 business centers in 104 countries where it provides “convenient, high-quality, fully-serviced spaces for people to work” to 1.5 million members.
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Thursday, January 29, 2015
Philippine economy to regain momentum in Q4

By Karen Lema, Reuters
Posted at 01/28/2015 1:19 PM | Updated as of 01/28/2015 6:43 PM
MANILA - The Philippine economy likely finished 2014 strong with growth in the last quarter expected to have regained momentum, putting it on course for another year of solid growth that will allow the central bank to leave policy rates on hold in the near term.

Buoyant consumer demand, strong exports and a recovery in farm output probably helped offset a pull-back in government investment, which had been a big drag on the economy last year and is expected to remain a key risk in 2015.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the data on Thursday to show that gross domestic product rose a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent in October-December from the previous quarter, faster than the 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in July-September, which was a more than five-year low.

On an annual basis, the economy probably grew 6.0 percent after expanding 5.3 percent in the September quarter. Growth in the second quarter was 6.4 percent and 5.6 percent in the first quarter.

"A fall in agricultural production and a decline in government spending dragged third quarter GDP growth...These factors should be transitory, and we expect economic growth to rebound in the fourth quarter report," Moody's Analytics said in a research note.

An increase in the production of crops, livestock and poultry sub-sectors in the fourth quarter, helped push 2014 farm output growth to 1.83 percent, faster than the 1.12 percent uptick in 2013.

Exports in the 11 months to November rose 10 percent from a year earlier, supported by shipments of electronics parts which have been benefitting from improving global demand.

For all of 2014, the same poll forecast growth of 5.8 percent, below the government's 6.5-7.5 percent target and the weakest since 2011, but enough to keep the Philippines in the list of Asia's fastest-growing economies.

Analysts' estimates ranged from annual rises of 5.5 percent to 6.8 percent for 2014.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco has said there was no reason to change its monetary policy stance at the moment but authorities stood ready to keep financial volatility in check.

Analysts expect the central bank to keep the benchmark interest rate steady at 4.0 percent in the first half. The central bank meets for the first time this year on Feb. 12.

The consensus in the same Reuters poll was for GDP to expand at a faster clip of 6.5 percent in 2015, but much of the growth this year will depend on the government's ability to spend its 2.6 trillion peso national budget.

State spending has slowed for most of 2014 after aspects of a 145 billion peso ($3.34 billion) economic stimulus fund the Aquino government created from budget savings were declared illegal by the Supreme Court in July.

That has made public officials more wary about accusations of recklessness and have submitted spending decisions to more scrutiny, putting at risk big infrastructure projects.

"We are still flagging the risk of public under spending spilling over 2015 and remaining a dampener on an otherwise robust growth outlook," said Eugenia Victorino, economist at ANZ in Singapore.

Manila has a 7-8 percent growth goal in 2015.
Metro condo prices: Lowest in Las Piñas, highest in Makati

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 29, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Buying a condominium in Metro Manila? Las Piñas offers the cheapest prices on the average, according to global online property platform Lamudi.

In its latest report, Lamudi Philippines said property seekers on the hunt for a reasonably-priced condominium should consider buying in Las Piñas as it emerged as the city with the lowest average condo prices in Metro Manila.

The report showed average price of condominiums in the city stands at P49,849 per square meter, cheaper than anywhere else in the metro.

Makati, on the other hand, has the most expensive condominiums, with units costing an average of P139,012 per square meter.

That would bring the selling price of an average 120-square meter condo in the country’s prime business district at about P16.68 million, Lamudi said.

Lamudi, however, said although Makati’s property market is quite pricey, the city has a wide array of condo properties available which ranges from a very expensive P388,888-per-square meter branded residence in Ayala Center, to an affordable P27,137-per-square meter medium-rise condo in San Antonio Village.

Taguig came as having the second most expensive condominiums with an average asking price of P126,129 per square meter.

The report revealed that condominiums in Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City (BGC) area command the highest prices, with the most pricy reaching about P333,333 per sqm.

The cheapest condo in Taguig is located in the outskirts of BGC, costing P23,333 per square meter, the report showed.

Lamudi said Pasay and Quezon City have almost identical average condo prices at P104,685 and P101,277 per square meter, respectively.

The Lamudi data showed that average condo prices in Manila, Mandaluyong, San Juan, and Pasig are at P95,134, P88,174, P87,294, and P80,329 per square meter, respectively.

The online property platform, however, said no data was generated for Marikina, Valenzuela, Pateros, Malabon, Caloocan, and Navotas due to lack of condo listings in these cities.

Lamudi is a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets, generating about one million visitors per month. Its fast-growing platform is currently available in 28 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with more than 600,000 real estate listings across its global network.

Jacqueline van den Ende, managing director of Lamudi Philippines, said the report was designed to inform Filipinos on property prices and to give a clear picture of how the real estate market was behaving.

“The Philippine real estate market is rapidly growing and what the market needs is hard data to inform Filipinos’ buying decisions,” Van den Ende said.

“In the future, our property price analysis will also include not only of condos but also prices of houses, commercial and office spaces, and industrial properties from across the Philippines,” she added.
Signing of NLEX-SCTEX integration pact set

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 29, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) aims to sign next week with the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) the agreement for the integration of the toll payment of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

According to the BCDA, said it is working with MNTC to speed up the signing of the agreement on the toll integration ahead of the Feb. 12 deadline set by Senate president Franklin Drilon.

Drilon recommended the toll integration by February after he endured an 11-hour trip to Baguio during the holidays.

“The integration of the tollways had always been part of the plan. We are grateful for Senate president Drilon’s interest because it is now gaining momentum,” BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Paciano Casanova said.

 “We are working at signing the agreement in the first week of February,” he added.

The BCDA, he said, is just waiting for the green light from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel before signing the agreement.

After the signing of the toll integration agreement, it would be submitted to the Toll Regulatory Board for approval.

The integration of the NLEX and SCTEX is estimated to cost P600 million.

At present, the operations of the SCTEX and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) are partially integrated, as motorists no longer need to queue separately in La Paz to pay and get new toll cards.

The BCDA said there are currently discussions between SCTEX and TPLEX to make driving through the two expressways more seamless.

 “For the long term, there will be discussions for a unified radio frequency ID (RFID) and other technologies to make it even more efficient for operators and motorists,” Casanova said.

The BCDA, created by Republic Act 7227, is mandated to transform former US military bases into alternative productive civilian use.

It engages in public-private partnerships to promote infrastructure projects such as tollways, airports, seaports, as well as other major real estate developments.
Megaworld on track to complete Chinatown condo
Posted at 01/28/2015 4:29 PM | Updated as of 01/28/2015 4:33 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Megaworld Corp. said construction for its residential condominium project in Binondo Chinatown in on track for its scheduled completion by the first quarter of 2017.

Yuchengco-owned EEI Corp. has been tapped to construct Noble Place, a P4.5 billion project in Chinatown.

"The project is on schedule. The foundation is already done and the contractor is already starting the construction of the residential tower," Wilson Sy, head of sales and marketing, Chinatown group, Megaworld, said.

The 47-storey building will have 460 units, and is located next to heritage buildings of Chinatown. Each unit, ranging from two-bedroom to five-bedroom, will have its own balcony to enjoy views of Manila. There are also studio and one-bedroom units available.

Noble Place is located at the corner of Juan Luna and Dasmariñas streets.

"This residential development gradually reinvents the old and traditional image of Binondo Chinatown into a vibrant modern metropolis by ushering new upscale developments within the area," Sys aid.

The building's amenities include an infinity pool, tai-chi and picnic areas, a clubhouse and tent pavilion. There is a viewing deck on the 47th floor, as well as a badminton court.

Sy said Megaworld has committed to helping in the rehabilitation of Plaza Cervantes.

"We are committed to bring the old glory of Binondo with the restoration of their historical street," he said.

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Friday, January 30, 2015
PH no more the ‘sick man of Asia’

Ben O. de Vera and Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:10 AM | Friday, January 30th, 2015
Posting an economic growth of 6.1 percent last year, the Philippines is no longer the “sick man of Asia,” the country’s chief economist said on Thursday.

“Overall, the Philippine economy’s performance in 2014 and the preceding years starting in 2010 shows how our country can no longer be called the ‘sick man’ of Asia,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

The economic growth in 2014 marked the second consecutive year the country posted the fastest rate in the region after China.

“Our economic growth is becoming more competitive with our East and Southeast Asian neighbors. We have avoided the dreaded boom-and-bust cycle that has hounded our economy for decades,” said Balisacan, also director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In his presentation at the 5th Ayala-UP School of Economics Economic Forum, he said the country’s growth rate of 6.3 percent in 2010-2014 was the highest five-year average during the past 40 years.

In the fourth quarter, the economy grew by 6.9 percent, better than the 6.3 percent in the same period in 2013.

The Philippines’ fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) expansion was the third highest in the region, after China’s 7.3 percent and Vietnam’s 7 percent.

The fourth-quarter GDP growth was the fastest quarterly figure in 2014—the economy grew 5.7 percent in the first quarter, 6.4 percent in the second and 5.3 percent in the third.
State spending up

Balisacan told reporters that during the fourth quarter, the government made strides in addressing anemic government spending on public goods and services, which had slowed growth in the previous quarters.

Government consumption grew 9.8 percent in the fourth quarter, a reversal of the 0.4-percent decline in the same quarter in 2013 and of the 2.6-percent drop in the third quarter, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.

In a statement, the Department of Budget and Management attributed the increase in public expenditures in the fourth quarter to “effective” use of government agencies’ cash allocations, on top of the “timely” release of employees’ bonuses, including yearend bonuses and productivity enhancement incentives.
DAP ruling’s effect

Public spending slowed last year mainly due to the “chilling effects” of the Supreme Court decision that stopped the flow of more money through the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Government agencies had also been more careful in their disbursements amid a more watchful eye of the Commission on Audit.

The Neda chief said the full-year GDP target for 2014 was not met mainly due to the sluggishness of government spending for the most part of the year. For the entire 2014, government consumption rose a mere 1.8 percent, lower than the 7.7-percent increase in 2013.

But “the worst is over” as far as the problem on underspending is concerned, Balisacan said.

“We have learned our lesson. We have identified the nature of the problem. The glitches in the previous quarters have been resolved, although not completely; some work remains in progress,” he said. “We made catch up in the fourth quarter; not all is lost.”

The effects of the uptick in government spending during the fourth quarter would spill over to this year, the Neda chief said. “The funds obligated in the last quarter of 2014 will impact on the economy, to be felt in the first half of the year. We expect a robust performance of the government sector in the first two quarters,” he said.

The government reported on Thursday that the GDP expanded by 6.1 percent in 2014—lower than the 7.2-percent growth posted in 2013 as well as below the 6.5-7.5 percent goal earlier set by the Development Budget Coordination Committee or DBCC.

The GDP growth last year was, nonetheless, within the 6-7 percent range, which Balisacan and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad had said was more “realistic” to be achieved.

The services sector contributed 3.4 percentage points or over half of last year’s growth, while the industry and agriculture sectors chipped in 2.5 percentage points and 0.2 percentage point, respectively, PSA data showed.
BPO, other growth drivers

Balisacan told a press conference that the growth drivers in services were business process outsourcing (BPO), real estate and renting, among other business activities.

In terms of year-on-year growth, the industry sector posted the highest expansion of 7.5 percent in 2014 and 9.2 percent during the fourth quarter.

“[T]he acceleration in industry growth was due to the double-digit expansion in construction, even as manufacturing remained as its biggest growth driver,” Balisacan said.

Despite missing last year’s target, Balisacan said the Philippines remained one of the fastest-growing economies in the region last year, posting a full-year GDP growth just behind China’s 7.4 percent.

In the October to December period, the services sector was likewise the biggest contributor to growth with a share of 3.3 percentage points. Industry contributed 3.1 percentage points, while agriculture had a share of 0.5 percentage point.

The sustained growth averaging over 6 percent during the past few years showed that the country was “maintaining the trajectory toward the path of high growth,” Balisacan said.
More jobs

Sustaining robust growth over a long period of time would bring about an economy that attracts more investments and generate more jobs to ultimately slash poverty, according to the Neda chief.

At the Ayala-UPSE forum, Balisacan said the government “should be spending more” to place the deficit at 2 percent of the GDP.

In the fourth quarter, government consumption contributed only 0.8 percentage point to the GDP growth. Robust consumer spending amid strong flows of remittances from Filipinos overseas and an improving economy in general allowed household consumption to account for 3.7 percentage points or over half of the GDP growth in the last three months.

Despite potential external shocks to be posed by the downward trend in global oil prices as well as a still fragile world economy, the Philippines’ growth target of 7-8 percent for 2015 is “sustainable and achievable,” Balisacan said.

Other economic managers lauded the 2014 growth figures.

“Our improved growth in the last quarter of 2014 is a testament to the soundness of the Aquino administration’s fiscal management strategy … News like this is certainly a good way to begin the new fiscal year, with expenditures making a positive showing in the last three months of 2014,” Abad said.

For Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, last year’s fourth quarter and full-year growth “resoundingly affirm that the Philippine economy is on an upward growth trajectory buoyed by strong macroeconomic fundamentals.”

Peter Perfecto, executive director of the Makati Business Club, said the group was “pleased” with the economy’s performance in 2014.

“Given that the growth is broad-based, featuring expansion in the three major sectors, we believe that this lays the foundations for more robust growth this year, especially in the first quarter. With our hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, the expected increase in public and private construction … will be able to greatly assist in attaining our year-end goal of around 7 percent,” he said.
PPPs to drive construction

“Furthermore, the most expensive public-private partnership (PPP) projects, such as the airports, subway and the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, will be bid out and some even awarded this year, which will drive up construction activities again,” he added.

Edgardo Lacson, Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) president, said the economy would further grow in 2015 due to accelerated infrastructure spending, low oil prices and renewed mining activity.

He said the start of election spending in the fourth quarter, resolution of the port congestion problem in Manila and a stable foreign exchange rate could further fuel economic expansion.

“For 2015, I see major drivers being improvement in infrastructure (ports, airports and roads), power availability, peace and order (the SAF massacre may be detrimental to the ongoing peace talks), stable peso, favorable business climate and political positioning for 2016 elections,” said Dan Lachica, head of Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.
'Philippines escaped boom-bust cycle'

Agence France-Presse
Posted at 01/29/2015 6:58 PM
MANILA - Philippine officials voiced confidence the country had escaped a "boom-bust cycle" as they predicted on Thursday that economic growth would accelerate in 2015, after expansion last year beat international expectations.

The economy grew 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, new figures showed, offsetting weaker growth in the previous nine months to boost full-year gross domestic product (GDP) expansion to 6.1 percent, exceeding forecasts from major international institutions.

The rebound puts the country on a high-growth trajectory not seen in decades that will finally see it shake off its image as the "sick man" of Asia, economic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters.

Balisacan added that the government expected the economy to grow by between 7.0 percent and 8.0 percent in 2015.

"We have avoided the dreaded boom-bust cycle that has hounded our economy for decades," he said.

"What we are seeing in the last five years has never been seen in the last 40 years. The last time we have seen such growth was in the mid-1970s," he said, referencing a period when the Philippines saw annual economic growth rates approaching nine percent.

Despite global uncertainties, the Philippines was buoyed by "solid" macroeconomic fundamentals including strong domestic consumption, ample foreign exchange reserves, a stable banking sector and manageable inflation, finance secretary Cesar Purisima said.

Purisima said in a statement that the country "has more fundamental strength than most peers to fuel long-term growth prospects and buttress against vulnerabilities to external shocks."

On a full-year basis, the Philippine economy grew at a rate second in Asia only to China's 7.4 percent, and narrowly outpacing Vietnam's six percent, Balisacan said.

"With this upbeat year-end performance, the economy is anticipated to gain further traction in 2015," he said.
Megaworld eyes P2-B in sales from Davao condo
Posted at 01/29/2015 2:01 PM | Updated as of 01/29/2015 2:49 PM
MANILA – Megaworld Corp. on Thursday said it is expecting at least P2 billion in sales this year from One Lakeshore Drive, its first residential project in Davao Park District.

The firm said the first tower of One Lakeshore Drive is nearly sold out in less than two months after it was launched by Megaworld’s Suntrust Properties Inc., prompting the firm to launch the second tower this month, way ahead of its original schedule.

“We are very happy with the overwhelming reception of Davaoeños to our first residential project in Davao Park District. Our experience is far beyond what we have expected,” said Suntrust president Harrison Paltongan.

The residential tower is a four‐tower condominium cluster located at the corner of Megaworld Avenue and Lakeshore Drive, and beside a man‐made lake that is about a hectare in size.

“Residents will have direct access to the lake and some of them will have this exclusive spectacular view right outside their windows,” said Paltongan.

The towers, each 21-storeys high, will have views of Samal Island, Mt. Apo, and Davao Gulf.

Each tower offers studio units (up to 27 square meters); executive studio (up to 40 square meters); one‐bedroom (up to 50 square meters); and two‐bedroom units (76 square meters).

Davao Park District, Megaworld’s first township project in Mindanao, is located in an 11.2‐hectare property along the S.P. Dakudao Loop in Lanang, and is envisioned to be Davao City’s central business district (CBD) and a center for information technology and business process outsourcing (IT‐BPO) in Mindanao.

Megaworld is allocating P15 billion in the next five to seven years to build and develop the township project.
8990 Holdings to launch 9 projects this year
Posted at 01/29/2015 12:26 PM | Updated as of 01/29/2015 12:47 PM
MANILA – Listed housing developer 8990 Holdings Inc. is planning to launch nine housing projects worth nearly P4 billion this year to add 4,486 units to its inventory.

Its biggest project is the DH Pavia 3 in Iloilo, which has a total value of P1.5 billion. The horizontal-type project has a total of 2,125 units, 1,680 of which are expected to be delivered this year.

The firm will launch three projects in Cebu, three in Davao, one in Cavite, and one in Munitinlupa.

8990 Holdings said it is looking at a 15 to 21 percent increase in its net income in 2015 and a 22 to 27 percent rise in its revenues.

Net income is expected to be between P3.8 billion and P4 billion while revenue is seen between P9.6 billion and P10 billion in 2015.

In 2014, 8990 Holdings said its net profit grew 52 percent to P3.3 billion, higher than its target of P3 billion.

Gross sales in 2014 also grew by 48 percent to P7.9 billion while net margin increased to 43 percent from the 41 percent in 2013.

The firm cited the country’s strong economy; increase in OFW remittances; BPO sector growth; and the 4 million housing backlog as external factors for the growth last year.

Internally, the company attributed the growth to increased average prices by 18 percent; improved sales incentives to sellers; lower prices for materials; and double-casting to produce more panels.

“2014 made us realize that, more than sales velocity, our capacity to build more and more units is the main determining factor to our long-term sustainability,” the company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday.

8990 Holdings launched its first high-rise condominium project, the P735-million Urban DECA Tower-EDSA, in 2014.
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Monday, February 2, 2015
Property picks for this year

by Rizal Raoul Reyes - January 27, 2015
INVESTING on property stocks will be productive in 2015 as the country is expected to post economic growth, according to stock, market analysts recently interviewed by the BusinessMirror. Astro del Castillo, managing director of First Grade Holdings, said investing in property stocks is a good move to start, as the property sector is expected to continue its growth path this year.

With the demand for more office facilities and tourism infrastructure, major developers,  such as Ayala Land Inc., Megaworld and SM Prime Holdings Inc., will capitalize on the boom and make the sector rosy.  “The outsourcing sector is expected to be a major contributor to the growth of property industry.”

“The business-process outsourcing industry is expected to be much stronger this year, as more outsourcing services will be required by the American economy.  As long as the economy of the US continues to rebound, outsourcing services will grow, which will benefit the Philippine economy.

“The opportunities are there and we must take advantage of it,” he pointed out.

Del Castillo said the government must also consider the potentials of a real-estate investment trust law to encourage foreign players to invest in the property sector. “We need to generate more capital to boost investments in the country.”

In another media briefing, online stock brokerage firm COL Financial Philippines chose SM Prime Holdings (SM Prime) as its top pick for the property section in 2015.

“Despite being one of the biggest residential property developers, it is still predominantly a Philippine mall operator [70 percent of operating income, 64 percent of NAV] making it a good proxy for consumer spending.

“Possibility of a share placement no longer a concern as the company already raised P18 billion through the sale of 1.06 billion treasury shares last November,” said April Lyn Tan, vice president and head of research of COL Financial Holdings Inc. in a recent media briefing held in Mandaluyong City.

SM Prime is one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia that is engaged in the development of malls, residences, offices, hotels and convention centers. It is the largest property developer in terms of asset and income base as of end-2013 in the Philippines. Aside from SM Prime, Tan said Ayala Land Inc. and Megaworld are the other picks for 2015. Tan mentioned that the continuous falling oil prices and the expectations of reforms that will be implemented by the current administration are going to drive the stock market beyond 2015.

“The most important reason the stock market will continue to go up is ample liquidity, both globally and domestically.”  The resulting drop in interest rates makes stocks more attractive compared to other liquid investments despite the Philippine Stock Exchange index’s relatively expensive valuation from a historical perspective.
Renewable energy as the future of property development in the Philippines

by Amor Maclang - January 27, 2015

AS demand for power and energy prices continue to surge, property developers and other industry players are searching for more ways to help promote a more efficient way of sustaining the daily affairs of the Filipino household.

With developers realizing the role that they play in promoting renewable energy (RE) technologies as more viable, long-term solutions to the demands of today’s real-estate market, we can surely expect the emergence of future developments anchored on RE technologies as more players contend with this shift.

“Renewable energy is the thing of the future,” Imperial Homes Corp. (IHC) President and CEO Emma Imperial said. “With the full support from various sectors and organization generated from these technologies, we see it as the real estate of the future.” Imperial surely knows what she’s talking about, having led Imperial Homes to several pioneering milestones in terms of environment-friendly and energy-sufficient developments.

The latest of such efforts involved the unveiling of their project, Via Verde, a solar-powered mass-housing community of 1,000 homes in Santo Tomas, Batangas. The development, which sits on a 4-hectareproperty, is supported by the Department of Energy  and the Commission on Climate Change, and recognized by the World Bank and International Finance Corp.
A worthy investment

Via Verde offers a combination of row houses and two-bedroom townhouses. Every unit comes with free 500-watt solar panels to allow future homeowners to enjoy lower electricity rates through the leaseback program of Enfinity-Imperial, IHC’s partner.

“These solar-powered homes will dramatically reduce the cost of electricity and provide a greener environment for our low-cost housing projects,” Imperial shared. “It does not pollute our air by releasing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide or mercury into the atmosphere like many traditional forms of electrical generations do. Therefore, solar energy does not contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog.”

For developers like IHC, investing on RE technologies for real-estate properties is a profitable initiative that yields optimal returns. “As an investment, the payback period [for RE-integrated developments] is between three to five years, and between 8 and 10 years when getting a loan payback,” she explained. “Also, the property appreciates faster compared to regular house and lot developments. Furthermore, it has a multiplier effect that can generate greater benefits, such as savings in fossil-fuel consumption and carbon-emission elimination.”

The project, Imperial added, aims to help alleviate the country’s backlog on mass housing currently pegged at 3 million, as well as to help provide a greener solution against the worsening effects of climate change.
A more conscious approach to doing business

Solar energy is ideal for communities because it is clean, isn’t easily depleted (unlike gas, oil and coal), sustainable, and thus helps protect the environment where families can comfortably live in and children can safely grow in. “By not using any fuel, solar energy does not contribute to the cost and problems of the recovery and transportation of fuel or the storage of radioactive waste,’’ Imperial noted.

The concept behind the Via Verde blueprint is a perfect complement to the ideals being championed by the Switch Right On movement—a groundbreaking RE campaign here in the Philippines that’s been gaining the support of various local and international organizations.

Recent figures shared by the Switch Right On movement—an initiative that we at GeiserMaclang support—show that the Philippines’s  dependence on energy provided by fossil fuels—90 percent of which is being imported, according to Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla—1) has been the main reason the country continues to bear the heavy burden of having one of the highest electricity costs in Asia; 2) The prices of coal—an important fossil fuel that has been the primary energy source in the Philippines for several decades—have more than doubled since 2010 and experts do not see any indication of this slowing down. The world has reached an economic tipping point where an increase in cost of fossil fuels and the decrease in cost of RE have made alternative sources of energy more practical.  With developers now beginning to promote a shift toward the use of RE, the local property sector has now taken the first step in making logical solutions to address a host of other issues.  The idea of promoting sustainable sources of power, thus, comes as a welcome development, if not a necessary investment, to help ensure a more progressive growth for the Philippine real-estate industry.
Alviera Industrial Park breaks ground

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 30, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The 31-hectare Alviera Industrial Park, expected to heighten business in Porac, Pampanga through light to medium, non-polluting industries, was recently launched in a formal groundbreaking. The park will feature 16 lots ranging from one to 1.4 hectares and three clusters of ready-built standard factory buildings. As a Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) special economic zone, Alviera Industrial Park offers locators economic incentives plus a wide range of support amenities. Several companies have already expressed interest as the park’s first locators.
A Noble Place to live in Binondo

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 30, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The construction of Noble Place, a high-rise residential condominium in Binondo’s Chinatown, is in full swing and on track of its target completion by early 2017, its developer Megaworld Corp. said.

“The project is on schedule. The foundation is already done and the contractor is already starting the construction of the residential tower,” Wilson Sy, head of sales and marketing of Megaworld’s Chinatown group, said.

The company has commissioned Yuchengco-owned EEI Corp., one of the country’s leading triple “A” construction firms, to build Noble Place, assuring future residents and investors of the project’s turnover by the first quarter of 2017.

The P4.5-billion residential project will rise as a 47-story modern edifice beside the famous heritage buildings of the old Chinatown with a total of 460 units. Each unit, ranging from two-bedroom to five bedrooms, will have its own balcony to enjoy the magnificent view of Metro Manila. For students and investors, studio and one-bedroom units are also available.

“This residential development gradually reinvents the old and traditional image of Binondo Chinatown into a vibrant modern metropolis by ushering new upscale developments within the area,” said Sy.

Noble Place brings a distinct, elegant style of luxury with world-class facilities, amenities and design which Megaworld has always been known for. It rises above the rest by providing residents a magnificent view of the Intramuros golf course as well as a 360-degree perspective of the entire Metro Manila skyline.

The building’s 8th floor tastefully caters to the various recreational interests of the unit owners. There is an infinity pool for health buffs, tai-chi and picnic areas for those who simply want peaceful relaxation, and a clubhouse and tent pavillion for hosting parties and gatherings. To get a glimpse of that breathtaking view of the Metro, the viewing deck at the 47th floor is the perfect spot, where a badminton court is also located.

Noble Place will also have an exclusive skygardens in 16th and 26th floors while a variety of boutiques, coffee shops and salons on the ground floor will surely please sophisticated shoppers.

Boasting of its location at the heart of Manila – specifically at the corner of Juan Luna and Dasmariñas streets, Noble Place prides itself of the multitude of landmarks, it also has easy access to all commercial and educational institutions of Manila.
Green living in Alabang

by Rizal Raoul Reyes - January 27, 2015
TODAY, living in a garden atmosphere is one of the aspirations of modern Filipinos. They want to get a break from the rage and frenzy of urban living. In response, Filinvest launched the Botanika Nature Residences—a high-end, low-density residential enclave in Filinvest City in Alabang.

Located at the finest locale, Botanika is designed for the privileged few who want to savor a relaxing atmosphere amid the bustling metropolis.

“Inspired by New York’s Central Park, Botanika’s centralized garden system offers scenic walks through the 1.55-hectare property with three towers that gives a very different identity compared to the other ultra-high-end developments in Makati and Bonifacio Global City,” according to Catherine Ilagan, executive vice president of Filinvest Alabang Inc., Botanika project developer.

“Open green spaces are getting scarcer in the metropolis. Our planners thus thought of offering Botanika residents a system of gardens that would allow them to enjoy nature’s healing properties right at their doorstep,” Ilagan added.

Experts in the social and environmental sciences noted that nature can reinvigorate and rejuvenate an individual’s mind and become more productive.  “Nature is the perfect setting for a walk or a swim. It encourages movement and discovery.”

Botanika will veer away from the conventional residential condo environment which highlights the space limitation.  In Botanika, an owner can enjoy comfortable space from its 369 units ranging from 123 square meters to 343 sq m and spread out over three towers. Botanika will be offering the best of both worlds with privacy and nature enjoyed by the owner.

According to Ilagan, “Botanika is the first of the Filinvest Group’s Exclusive Collection, the newest and highest-end brand category.  Each project with the Exclusive Collection brand is envisioned to be an iconic, top-end and one-of-a-kind residential space that will add prestige to the group’s large-scale projects.

The buildings have a nature-centric design. From the top, each of the buildings takes the shape of a leaf, a unique configuration which will mean that none of the units will peer directly into a unit of a neighboring tower. When a resident looks out his window, he will not have a direct sightline into a unit in the neighboring tower because of the curving walls of the tower.

There will be an atrium at the center of each building.  This will enable the natural light to go through the structure. Further, the atrium will also force air through the edifice offering passive ventilation. From the ground level, the atriums will be interconnected to each other and to a central pool area through a paved walkway that naturally blends with the lush tropical landscape.

Leandro V. Locsin Partners and international firm AEcom are the two organizations that worked tremendously to ensure the natural order of things will be retained such as the property’s sloping terrain. The pool thus has various levels with the waters from one level dropping down to form a waterfall curtain setting for a lower level. “The planners weren’t afraid to compartmentalize spaces to create greater interest in the landscaping,” Ilagan said.

“We’ve designed Botanika to appeal to captains of industry, self-made entrepreneurs and multinational CEOs seeking quick access to Makati, as well as Laguna’s industrial estates through the Skyway,” Ilagan said. “They may not always have the time to walk through Botanika’s nature sanctuary or to enjoy the lavish amenities of the developments. But just knowing that it’s there for them to use when they want them should be reasons enough to consider living there.”

True to its mission, Filinvest has strictly followed the guidelines set by the Philippine Green Building Council to ensure every detail required by the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (Berde) will be followed. Botanika is a Berde-registered project.

The first building has 13 storys boasting of above-par facilities. With only 101 units for Tower 1, residents get to enjoy much sought-after exclusivity that other residential developments could only promise.

Being all about gardens, Botanika’s The Courtyard, The Sculptural Garden and Central Gardens provide the property’s outdoor amenities that support green living.

With huge abundant space, The Courtyard allows residents to do whatever they want—read a book, feel the morning breeze, gaze at the night sky, or even enjoy a sumptuous outdoor feast with the family. The Greenhouse is, likewise, open for anyone who likes to commune with nature especially in the mornings.

With uniquely tiered, stylized swimming pools, a buyer is given a new experience. The Veranda, a canopied area by the pool, can also be used for intimate al-fresco gatherings. Other amenities in Botanika include tiered swimming pools, kiddie pool, lap pool and changing rooms

Further, other major amenities include sun-roofed central atrium, grand lobby, reception lounge, roof decks, administration office, mail room, fire safety features, key card access for boom gates and floor access, and underground parking.

All these are artistically splashed with greens to further wash away the stresses of the day.

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Abaya: 2 common stations linking MRT-7 with LRT-1, MRT-3 now in design stages

February 2, 2015 10:31pm
The construction of two common stations that will connect the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 to the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT) and MRT Line 3 can go on as planned as the concessionaires have already agreed to proceed, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.
"As of now, ang feedback naman po sa akin, malapit na po kaming matapos, mukhang wala na pong immovable object sa diskusyon, mukhang magkaka-agreehan na po sila," Abaya told the Senate committee on public services on Monday.
"Nandoon po kami sa proseso ng pagfafinalize ng design na agree po yung dalawa (LRMC and ULC)," he added.
The firms involved in the agreement are Light Rail Manila Consortium, which bagged the P65-billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project, and San Miguel Corp.-owned Universal LRT Corp. (ULC), which holds the concession for the P63-billion MRT-7.
The LRMC is a partnership between Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Ayala Corporation.
"Bahagi ng concession agreement with ULC, may nirerequire pong common station between MRT-3 and MRT-7. Pero ang nirerecognize po nila ay sa LRT-1," Abaya said.
"Kaya ang proposition po nila ay magtayo ng isa pang common station, sa tapat ng SM North Edsa, at may disenyo po silang ipinakita sakin," he added.
As part of its agreement with ULC, the government will not release any cash for the development of the proposed common station, the Cabinet secretary said.
"Fortunately, dahil sa kontratang nire-recognize nila, meron din po silang obligasyon na mag-construct, at ang kalalabasan po nito ay makakapagtayo ng isa pang stasyon, which is maganda sa ating mga pasahero," Abaya said.
The common station was originally supposed to be in front of SM North EDSA but the common station was relocated after a study showed government can save from P800 million to P1 billion if the station is built close to Trinoma, an adjacent mall owned by competitor Ayala Land Inc.
SM Prime asked the Supreme Court to stop the transfer of the common station, and the court issued a temporary restraining order against it on Aug. 1, 2014.
The important thing in building two common stations is that all parties agree, Abaya said. — JDS, GMA News
Why billionaires chose Manila for City of Dreams expansion

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,
Posted at 02/02/2015 10:35 PM
MANILA – Billionaires Lawrence Ho and James Packer officially opened City of Dreams Manila at the Entertainment City complex in Paranaque on Monday.

Ho and Packer are co-chairmen at Melco Crown Entertainment, the casino developer that brought City of Dreams to the Philippines.

The $1 billion-casino resort along Roxas Blvd. is the first City of Dreams outside Macau.

"Our vision was always to find greatest locations in Asia for integrated resorts. We've been very selective. After Macau, Manila is really the first place we decided to go into," Ho said in a press conference for the resort's grand opening.

Ho expressed confidence that the Philippine market will continue to grow in the coming years.

"Our philosophy is very simple, we want to build things that we are proud of, integrated resorts that will last over time and market must be big enough. Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies anywhere in the world. We are very lucky to be here. We think this market in terms of tourism, overall economy and consumer spending is consistently on the rise going forward," he said.

Packer, meanwhile, described City of Dreams Manila as a "world-class" integrated casino resort.

"I had high expectations, and the property has exceeded my highest expectations. I'm so proud to be here and I genuinely think that City of Dreams Manila is a world-class property," Packer said.

"I can see tourism growing hugely in the Philippines...I think it's true, I think you do have more fun in the Philippines," he added.

Clarence Chung, chairman of Melco Crown Philippines Resorts Corp., said the casino resort expects an average of around 15,000 visitors daily.

However, he noted that bulk of the revenues of City of Dreams Manila is not expected to come from gaming alone due to the various non-gaming activities inside the complex.

“The Philippine community go to good food, and enjoy themselves dancing and singing, that’s why we have the various amenities…Macau is more serious when the people play, here it is more relaxed,” he said at a separate press conference also held during the grand launch.

Chung added that City of Dreams Manila provides an additional site and a logical choice for gamers in Macau who fly to places like the US and Australia to play in casinos.

City of Dreams Manila was developed by MCE Leisure Philippines Corp. and SM Group's Belle Corp., and is managed and operated by Melco Crown's MCE Leisure Philippines.

The casino resort, which sits on a 6.2 hectare complex, had its soft opening in December, becoming the second facility to operate in Entertainment City after Bloomberry's Solaire.

To mark the grand launch, American artists Ne-Yo and Kelly Rowland as well as local singers Gary Valenciano, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Kyla, and Jed Madela performed.
Hollywood connection

City of Dreams Manila generated a lot of buzz after a Martin Scorsese-helmed trailer was released featuring Hollywood stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

In the promotional ad, the two actors were seen "competing" for a role at the casino resort.

The short ad was produced by Brett Ratner, a business partner of Packer at RatPac Entertainment.

According to Packer, he and Ho drew inspiration to enter the casino industry from Scorsese’s 1995 film “Casino.” The film also starred De Niro.

“In my view, both the movie business and the casino business, we sell emotion, we sell fun. We make people feel things…There’s always been a synergy” he said.

De Niro is also a co-owner of Nobu with celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.

Aside from Nobu, City of Dreams Manila brings together hotel brands Crown and Hyatt, and leisure and lifestyle brands Pangaea Group and DreamWorks.
DreamWorks' first 'edutainment park'

One of the features of City of Dreams Manila is DreamPlay, the first education-based entertainment complex of DreamWorks Animation.

Joshua Wexler, the "chief executive of fun" at Pure Imagination Studios, said the Philippines is an ideal location for DreamPlay because of its partnership with Melco Crown and the friendliness of Filipinos.

"We have a great partner in Melco Crown and completely supportive of the vision and what we wanted to achieve. And also this is a wonderful community and a great place. We're excited to have it here," he told

DreamPlay allows children from ages 5 to 12 to roam around the interactive play space featuring characters from animated films "Kung Fu Panda," "Shrek," and "Madagascar."

The facility also offers themed-party rooms that can accommodate up to 70 people.

Wexler said the park has a capacity of around 1,200 people at any given time.

DreamPlay is expected to open before the middle of the year.
Greenfield District emerges as a new city center

February 2, 2015
As the first smart and connected district in the country that is “ahead of its time,” the 12.8-hectare Greenfield District along EDSA and Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City offers a balance between urban comfort, green living, and state-of-the-art-buildings.

Slowly becoming a lifestyle hub for city dwellers, this master-planned community developed by Greenfield Development Corp. also offers a multitude of lifestyle choices for everyone.

With a generous portion of the vibrant hub allocated to pocket parks, tree-lined roads and lush open spaces, it is possible to take leisurely strolls around the complex. Battling out traffic and congestion outside its perimeter is easy as a sense of calm and well-being takes over inside. Families can take the children out on a stroll, and fly a kite on weekends.

Dining al fresco is a regular sight along the many restaurants that line Greenfield District’s The Hub and The Portal. The newest dining strip offers various cuisines, a far cry from the usual run-of-the-mill fast food joints.

After its renovation and facelift, the Pavilion is now home to various retail outlets and food kiosks. Looking for bargain finds in the metro is easy in this three-story retail complex. Its recent renovation facelift melds well with the district’s chic vibe.

Weekend warriors on the look-out for a good run or a place to exercise can try the expanse at Greenfield District. Jogging paths surround the area and the firm tufts of grass serves as a better alternative to the gym. At night, the roads are well-lit and constantly patrolled by guards.

And there comes the emergence of sustainable weekend markets around the metro that has inspired Greenfield District’s very own. Local organic produce from the nearby provinces, to sweets, delicatessen, and nifty home décors abound at the Greenfield Weekend Market.

The mixed-use complex has also been used for a number of events – from dog festivals, furniture exhibits, auto shows to jam-packed concerts – making use of the wide open spaces.

Big concerts such as the Cinemajam 2014, San Miguel Oktoberfest, Ateneo Colorama and Bob Marley Day Manila were all held at the Central Park of Greenfield District.

“As more people are becoming lifestyle-savvy, we work harder to provide the perfect hub for every activity, for anyone, all in a lush green oasis at the heart of the metro,” said Atty. Duane AX Santos, EVP and GM of Greenfield Development Corp.

More than the complex around it, Greenfield District will also feature BPO offices and residential towers dubbed as the ‘home of the future.’

Twin Oaks Place, the premier residential offering of Greenfield, will be fitted with fiber optic technology that allows for a ‘smart,’ automated home as well as unparalleled digital interconnectivity.
Veritown Fort brings a different vibe to BGC

February 3, 2015

For today’s urban dwellers seeking a unique and alternative lifestyle at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, Federal Land is opening up a completely different side to this renowned district with a masterplanned development that brings the flair and sophistication of the Big Apple right in the heart of Metro Manila.
Veritown Fort’s structures are poised to transform the BGC skyline.

Veritown Fort is a one-of-a-kind New York–inspired community at the north side of BGC. This mixed-use township brings together a distinctive mix of residential, business, commercial and leisure aspects that make it a destination within a destination.

The gem in this modern city development is the Grand Hyatt Hotel — a hospitality establishment that puts Veritown Fort rightfully in place alongside the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. The 66-story structure bears the hotel brand’s esteemed level of luxury that is recognized across the globe.

Guests can expect the hotel to uphold the Grand Hyatt signature element of “five aces” — dramatic, welcoming lobbies; innovative dining options and F&B outlets; state-of-the-art technology; unique recreational and spa experiences; and comprehensive business and meeting facilities.

Further, the hotel is the cornerstone of one of the most sought-after luxury high-rise residential developments in Manila, which is the Grand Hyatt Manila Residences. Residents of this exclusive vertical community will be afforded the privilege of living the Hyatt brand of hospitality each and every day, with concierge services at their beck and call, as well as complete enjoyment of the hotel’s top amenities and facilities.
The Big Apple mall will be the newest luxury lifestyle hub.

Veritown Fort will also be home to a row of other high-rise residences reminiscent of plush apartments in Upper Manhattan. These are the Park West, Madison Park West, Central Park West and Times Square West — each a showcase of contemporary architecture that exemplifies world-class living standards.

Local and internationally renowned real estate, hospitality service and design masters collaborated to forge these iconic structures that are envisioned to make its own distinctive mark along the BGC skyline.

Completing the New York lifestyle are endless choices for shopping, dining and leisure all to be found at the Big Apple Mall — a commercial complex especially created to complement the distinctive vibe of Veritown Fort.

Taking off from the chic sophistication of the renowned Fifth Avenue retail destination, the Big Apple Mall will be the center of attraction in this modern concrete-and-glass jungle — wonderfully interspersed with greeneries and open spaces, making the entire development a beautiful walkable community.

Veritown Fort is part of Federal Land’s vast portfolio of real estate developments catering across various markets in the country. Over 40 years after its inception, the property arm of GT Capital Holdings has created a deep niche in the real estate industry as one of the most trusted names in property development.
Donald Trump happy with strong sales of Trump Tower in Makati
Posted at 02/02/2015 4:02 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Century Properties Group said sales of residential units at Trump Tower at Century City in Makati have been brisk.

In a statement, CPG said it has pre-sold 94 percent of Trump Tower's units two years ahead of its completion. Trump Tower has over 250 units with a total sales value of P6.13-billion.

"We would like to congratulate our great partners, Century Properties Group, on this very exciting accomplishment. Together, we have done something very special and this fantastic property will set the standard of luxury and quality in the Philippines and beyond," said Donald J. Trump, Chairman & President of the Trump Organization.

Century Properties Chairman and CEO Jose E.B. Antonio thanked Trump for his confidence in the company.

"Putting a Trump Tower in the Philippines is Century's contribution to making Metro Manila an international destination. We are overwhelmed by the response from the market to the Trump Brand and are grateful, as this now affords the city one of the most luxurious buildings in the world, comparable to the city centers of New York, Hong Kong and Singapore," Antonio said.

Most of the buyers of units at Trump Tower are high-net-worth Filipinos and foreign nations, according to CPG Director for Investor Relations Kristina Garcia.

"The successful sales of Trump Tower is a strong indicator of the power of Trump and how Century Properties has maintained its solid position as a key developer of first-class residential developments within the central business districts of Metro Manila, while it continues to diversify into other market segments," Garcia said.

Trump Tower's construction has reached the 27th floor as of early January 2015.
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PHL cites manageable outlook in keeping inflation targets for 2015, 2016

By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsFebruary 3, 2015 5:57pm
The Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) has set the inflation target at 2 to 4 percent over the next four years as the inflation outlook remains manageable.
In Resolution No. 2015–1, the DBCC kept the current inflation target at 2 to 4 percent (officially put as 3 percent, plus or minus one percentage point) for 2015 and 2016, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said in an e-mailed statement.
The inter-agency economic planning body also approved the same target for 2017 and 2018, the central bank said.
The government’s inflation target is defined in terms of the average year-on-year change in the consumer price index (CPI) over the calendar year.
The Bangko Sentral said the target in 2015-2016 "remains well attuned to the dynamics of the Philippine economy."
"In particular, this target is consistent with the country’s economic growth objective of 7 to 8 percent for both years," it said.
The DBCC kept the 7 to 8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) target in 2015, but cut the 2016 growth target to 7 to 8 percent from 7.5 to 8.5 percent, Budget Secretary and DBCC chairman Florencio Abad said last January 7.
The two-year outlook is understandable, given the weakness in global oil prices which will further spur household consumption, Security Bank Corp. economist Patrick Ella told GMA News Online.
"Oil prices are plunging and will continue for the period. And low oil prices will drive private consumption," he said.
Inflation in December 2014 slowed to 2.7 percent from 3.7 percent in November and from 4.1 percent a year earlier on lower oil and food prices. Full-year inflation averaged at 4.1 percent – within the 3 to 5 percent target set by the DBCC.
In its latest commodity outlook report, Washington-based World Bank foresees oil prices to average between $53 per barrel in 2015 and $57 in 2016.
While inflation outlook remains stable and manageable, the 7 to 8 percent growth target may be "too ambitious" if government will rely only on private consumption to drive the economy, Bank of the Philippine Islands economist Nicholas Mapa said in another phone interview.
"It might be a stretched target without government spending. The consumption side will be able to churn out a 3 to 4 percent growth, but the X factor is government spending and trade balance to meet that target," he noted.
Manageable outlook
Last year, the Philippine GDP grew by 6.1 percent, after accelerated government spending helped the economy recover in the fourth quarter.
The inflation target of 2 to 4 percent for 2017 and 2018, respectively, is "based on the recent assessment of current and prospective inflation trends which indicates a manageable outlook over the medium-term," the central bank said.
"Structural changes in inflation dynamics and improvements in the economy’s productive capacity support a low inflation environment that is consistent with the economy’s growth trajectory," it added.
Ella said uncertainty for those periods come from the movement of oil prices after 2016.
But the central bank has made it possible to stay within-target inflation, thanks to its policy tools, Mapa said.
"The BSP has done well to keep inflation within government targets with its measures," he said.
The Bangko Sentral said inflation has been within target in the last six years and is expected to remain so over the medium-term.
"Moreover, the BSP’s credible commitment to price stability has kept inflation expectations well anchored to the target," it added.
The central bank noted the multi-year target presents a long-term view on inflation and fosters greater predictability which helps economic decision-making by businesses, households, and other economic agents.
It is also in line with the commitment to greater transparency and accountability in its monetary policy.
The Monetary Board (MB), the central bank's policy-setting body, will hold its first meeting this year on Thursday, February 12.
Citing inflation risks, the MB raised policy rates twice in 2014, the overnight borrowing rate to 4 percent and the overnight lending to 6 percent.
It also raised the yields on special deposit accounts (SDAs) twice to 2.5 percent for all tenors.
The reserve requirement for thrift banks was also hiked twice to 8 percent, as well as for universal and commercial banks to 20 percent. – VS, GMA News
Thinking green: Are green developments the norm rather than the exception?

by Amor Maclang - February 3, 2015
IN the time of the new normal, property developers are becoming more and more open to the idea of building green developments to help address business and social concerns.

The worsening natural disasters that hit the country in recent years—attributed both to human activity and the effects of climate change—has crippled not just the landscape of the areas affected, but also development efforts that aim to sustain the growth of local economies. Apart from this, the fact that we’ve just been through the hottest year in recent decades speaks volumes.

In response to the immense challenge we all face in this day and age, we are very thankful to see a greater number of property developers, who devote a significant chunk of their resources to promote green and sustainable-building initiatives.

I spoke to a few key players in the industry and asked them: Is sustainable building a worthy investment for real-estate developers? Is it becoming more of a standard practice rather than just a mere value-adding initiative?
Sustainability as a profitable business model

“The reality of climate change is inevitable and we know that we have to do something about it.” This was the insight shared by Arthaland President and CEO Angie de Villa Lacson.” As a company, we do not claim that what we do will save the planet. What we want to do is to enable our customers to practice an ecologically conscious lifestyle: using energy efficiently, consuming water efficiently, using nontoxic materials, and many others more.”

A solid case in point is Arthaland’s flagship residential condominium in Bonifacio Global City, Arya Residences. The twin-tower property, according to Lacson, is the country’s first and only top-end residential condominium development that is registered under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  Apart from this, Arya Residences also stands as the benchmark vertical residential development in the Philippine Green Building Council’s Berde (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence), the country’s National Voluntary Green Building Rating System.

The two towers of the said property are uniquely shaped and architecturally designed to work with nature, thus, reflecting Arthaland’s philosophy of enlightened  luxury.

“We designed and built Arya Residences to seamlessly meld luxury and sustainability,” Lacson noted. “In contrast to the other popularly known office or commercial buildings that are LEED certified in the country today, Arya Residences has to go through tougher standard to be able to receive the certification.” Such an initiative was greatly appreciated by Arya Residences’s market, with Arthaland selling out almost 90 percent of the project’s 507 total units during the past year. “Taking the sustainability route makes potent sense. Our buyers appreciate our product as giving them the most value by creating a sound and livable environment,” she added.
Beyond just going ‘trendy’

Another developer that has championed the idea of green building, long before the rest of the local industry has gone the same route, is Vista Land.

This vision has empowered Vista Land to come up with its “Greenviron” initiative. Aside from helping the company promote sustainable and environment-friendly communities, the Greenviron campaign also aims to instill eco-friendly practices into the daily routines of homeowners in its communities. Among the many elements integrated into the campaign include: 1) the promotion of waste segregation and recycling practices in all Vista Land developments; 2) using woven coco-coir nets to prevent soil erosion; 3) the use of pine trees—one million of which have already been planted in Vista Land communities during the last five years—to create green zones that purify the air, hold the soil and soothe the spirit; and last, 4) promoting vermiculture to nurture the land that hosts its communities. Not only did the campaign effectively strengthen Vista Land’s reputation as a responsible developer, it also reinforced the idea that the company’s methods of community development were both advanced and perfectly sustainable.
Making a difference

For the men behind Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corp. (ITPI), championing the ideals of green, sustainable development is all about a sincere desire to make a difference.

Italpinas President lawyer Jojo Leviste III carries an unparalleled passion about environmental design and urban planning. As one of the companies that he leads, ITPI is built upon the philosophy of making a difference in property development in terms of sustainability and environmental impact. Together with his partner, multiawarded green architect, designer and ITPI CEO and Executive Chairman Romolo Nati, the two developed a unique and innovative design, development strategy and business model that they believe will influence what Filipinos should come to expect of our living environments.

“As the designer-developer, we use passive green architecture. This means that we integrate the green features in the design so they don’t cost additional money,” Leviste noted. “We are not talking about very high technological features which cost money to buy, meaning higher price for clients and also higher maintenance cost. Instead, we build structures where the design performs better.”

This concept is evident in the way Italpinas designed Primavera Residences, the company’s 10-story, twin-tower, mixed-use eco-friendly condominium community in Cagayan de Oro. The development features the best principles of passive cooling technology: shadow and sunlight control, wind cooling, and shape performance—features which, if combined with renewable energy that will be produced from solar panels on the roof deck of the towers, will help reduce the overall energy consumption of the buildings and bring long-term savings to its residents to make Primavera Residences even more desirable as an investment.

Aside from this, the towers were also designed to be disaster-proof, able to withstand strong typhoons and earthquakes.

“In the longer term, I would like our ways of thinking in relation to design, efficiency, and quality of life to spill over and influence what Filipinos should come to expect of our living environments in a wider sense,” Nati shared. “We don’t necessarily want to be bigger than everyone else. We don’t want to quickly supply more than anyone else. We would rather be thought leaders.

We would rather change the way that the role of real estate is perceived.”

All these being said, I can say that the local real-estate sector is truly facing a very promising future. With innovators and emerging industry leaders making a monumental shift toward a more sustainable way of doing business, the Philippine real-estate market can truly emerge as a global leader for developmental initiatives that promote the welfare of its surrounding landscape and beyond.
Hoppler makes property searching a breeze

by Rizal Raoul Reyes - February 3, 2015
TECHNOLOGY plays an important role in the property sector nowadays, especially when the industry is enjoying a good time. With a company like Hoppler, people engaged in the industry can be faster and more efficient in searching, buying, selling, renting, managing and brokering properties.

Ramon Ballesca Jr., chief operating officer of Hoppler, said the company maximizes the role of the Internet in helping their partners and clients conduct their transactions faster. “Hoppler is a tool for getting groups together, namely, property owners and brokers, who we refer to as our partner-agents. We want to help our partners grow, so we can grow with them,” Ballesca said in a recent interview.

Being a user-friendly web site, Ballesca said a searcher just needs to enter the area, city or building that he is interested in. For instance, if a searcher is looking for a house in Makati City, he initially needs to go to the search panel and type in the city of his choice. After choosing the city, he needs to enter what kind of house he or she is looking for, such as a condominium or house and lot. To make it easier, Hoppler has included three criteria—price, floor size and number of bedrooms.

Further, Ballesca said Hoppler gives more options by including in the search other information, such as presence of maid’s room, garden and swimming pool, among others. He stressed that Hoppler’s search engine is so powerful that it enables a user to choose more options than any site in the Philippines. It also shows landmarks, such as the nearest restaurants, cinemas and hospitals, just to name a few. In case it is a Philippine Economic Zone Authority-accredited property, there is a flag indicating it as such.

Ballesca said Hoppler’s infrastructure was designed precisely to make searching and loading results happen faster than any site in the country. Moreover, he said, Hoppler can easily be accessed and viewed on mobile phones. “We plan to launch an app for mobile phones this year,” he added.

Before admitting a broker, Ballesca said Hoppler reviews the application and evaluates his or her performance in the industry. He said they will also check the agent’s choice of assignment if it’s already saturated by existing Hoppler partners.

If an applicant is qualified and accepted, Hoppler will assign a Hoppler services team representative or an account manager to work with, mentor the agent for the long run, and help close deals in the most efficient and effective way possible. “We also don’t encourage our partner-agent to leave his current brokerage firm,” Ballesca said.

The company charges a commission on the gross amount of the rental or sale price of the home, just like all other brokerage companies in the Philippines.

Hoppler features properties in the Greater Metro Manila Area in the Philippines, including Makati City, Bonifacio Global City, Alabang, Ortigas, Quezon City, etc. “We are planning to expand to other regions in the Philippines in 2015,” he said.

Hoppler, which went live in April of 2014, is managed by HousingInteractive, the country’s largest online real-estate brokerage firm established in 2004 by its CEO, John Riad. Further, it received a P30-million investment from entrepreneurs based in Silicon Valley. Other investor in the company is Francor.

It has the most comprehensive database of choice properties, a long list of top buyers and sellers, and the largest network of the finest brokers in the country. It has more than 500 brokers as partners.
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Thursday, February 5, 2015
Drilon: NLEX-SCTEX integration deal to be signed Thursday

By KATHRYN MAE P. TUBADEZA, GMA NewsFebruary 4, 2015 5:09pm
The P600-million deal to integrate the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) will be signed on Thursday.
In emailed an advisory Wednesday, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the deal will be signed at 4:00 p.m. on Feb. 5 at the Senate in Pasay City.
Nena Radoc, Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) financial services group vice president, confirmed the deal will be signed Thursday.
"Yes. The integration agreement is set to be signed tomorrow to be witnessed by no less than Senate President Franklin Drilon," she told GMA News Online.
Manila North Tollways Corp. president Rodrigo Franco also confirmed that the signing is scheduled Thursday.
Drilon earlier set a Feb. 12 deadline for signing the agreement.
"The integration of the two thoroughfare systems is seen to result to a more seamless travel for Filipinos traversing Northern and Central Luzon," Drilon said.
Earlier, the Senate President complained that his trip to Baguio during the height of the holiday exodus in December took 11 hours.
Once signed, the toll integration agreement will be submitted to the Toll Regulatory Board for approval.
NLEX is an 86.70-kilometer expressway from Balintawak in Quezon City to Dau in Pampanga while SCTEX is a 93.8-kilometer expressway that traverses Bataan, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
The SCTEX and Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX) operations are already partially integrated, with motorists no longer needing to queue separately in La Paz to pay and get new toll cards for each tollway.
There are also discussions between SCTEX and TPLEX to make driving through the two expressways more seamless.
“For the long-term, there will be discussions for a unified radio frequency ID (RFID) and other technologies to make it even more efficient for operators and motorists," BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova said. – VS, GMA News
Efficient local government housing regulations

by Charlie Gorayeb
February 4, 2015
Fourth in CREBA’s “Five-point Agenda for Housing” is the proposed bill mandating the creation of Local Housing Boards in all cities, including first to third-class municipalities, all over the country, amending for the purpose related provisions of R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Act of 1991.

In the 15th Congress, CREBA vehemently opposed the passage of the proposed measure because it merely sought to add another layer of bureaucracy by creating a ministerial body whose only function is to recommend housing-related decisions for dispensation by the local councils or sanggunians.

Such system will be dangerous and counter-productive as it will only become yet another stage of bureaucratic red tape in the local LGUs that will consequently increase development cost. Developers will be left with no other choice but to pass on the extra cost to home buyers.

In the 16th Congress, however, our lawmakers heeded the contention of the private sector and made it a workable measure by allowing all the housing functions and powers of the local councils to be fully taken over by the board and not merely duplicated.

Senate Bill No. 658 authored by Housing Committee chair Senator Joseph Victor “JV” G. Ejercito bestows upon the local housing boards the power to issue preliminary and/or final development permits after due evaluation of subdivision schemes and development plans of all housing projects in a locality, among other powers.

The bill likewise provides for ample consultation with stakeholders including locally-operating agencies, community groups, as well as private developers, with the mayor serving as chairperson, and the vice mayor as vice chairperson.

Since the function of approving development permits for subdivision projects was devolved to the local government units by virtue of the Local Government Code of 1991, also known as Republic Act No. 7160, our development cost has, for some reason, increased, and the development period became substantially longer.

This is not to mention the situation where some, if not most, of our LGUs lack the depth of technical capacity for effective shelter and urban development and management that is present in national agencies such as the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

In all fairness, local officials are required to perform other equally important functions for their constituencies, making it hard to devote the needed time and focus in meeting their respective housing challenges.

The housing industry is no doubt a vital sector in our country’s future. It is a key sector of our economy that addresses not only the problem of homelessness but provides millions of jobs to the unemployed and billions of revenues to government.

However, in order for the private sector to fulfil its Constitutional mandate to assist in government efforts towards implementing a continuing program of urban land reform and housing to serve the underprivileged and homeless, government must harmonize its housing policies and do away with conflicting, unreasonable and overlapping requirements imposed upon an already heavily-taxed and highly-regulated industry.

When passed into law, the bill effectively repeals and amends key provisions of R.A. 7160, particularly the duties and functions of the city/ municipal councils.

With the bill re-aligned towards this direction, we have a workable solution that is win-win for the public and private sectors, and the benefits that will be derived makes home ownership another step closer to Juan dela Cruz.
Porac poised for progress with Alviera development
1,100-hectare in Central Luzon

February 5, 2015
Porac is in for another transformation, one which will propel the once barren land to the topmost of business, leisure, institutional, residential and recreational destinations of Central Luzon. Progress meets the plains in the new 1,100-hectare estate development rising from Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI). The pioneering developer of masterplanned communities has partnered with Leonio Land to unveil Alviera, located just off the Porac Interchange along SCTEX.

“We see it as urban living, embraced by nature as we are building around the area’s scenic natural terrain. Nature plays a strong part of the Alviera experience. Alviera is envisioned to be the growth center of Central Luzon,” said Meean Dy, Strategic Landbank Management Group Head, and VP of Ayala Land.

ALI has built a reputation of keeping its promises. From the high-rises of the Makati Central Business District to Bonifacio Global City’s continuing development and to NUVALI’s sustainability commitments, ALI is a pioneer of masterplanned developments in the country.

An estate development of this size and scale will be the first of its kind for Central Luzon. Alviera is about five and half times larger than the Makati CBD and four times more than Bonifacio Global City.

The property is also accessible from NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX, and is near Clark Airport and Subic Freeport, as well as other developments in Angeles, San Fernando and Tarlac City. Think of a hub for modern living on the Central Luzon map, and all signs will soon point to Alviera.  It will be home, workplace, school and leisure to those seeking a blend of urban development and nature.
The first phase of the development comprises of the residential communities, university zones, business and industrial park, outdoor recreational attractions and a country club, is set to be launched this month.

Property seekers will have a choice of Ayala Land’s residential brands: Ayala Land Premier, Alveo Land and Avida Land. These three promise residential communities of landscaped views and rolling hills.

A destination for Porac leisure visitors will be the Alviera Country Club. Set in a sprawling six-hectare area, it will feature facilities for sports and leisure.

For the university zone, campuses will feature a conducive learning environment by being built around a natural setting of trees and open spaces.

“It is indeed another big bet – not just in peso terms, not just in terms of number of residential units we will construct or size of commercial area we will build. Yes, all that will follow. But first and foremost, today is a bet on a whole new region of our country that we believe has the potential to drive national progress,” added Dy.
Wilcon opens IT Hub in Makati

February 4, 2015
Wilcon Builders Supply Inc., the country’s largest one-stop shop for construction and design materials, opened its 33rd store recently. It opened at the 15-story Wilcon IT Hub building in Pasong Tamo, Makati, which was also inaugurated.

According to Wilcon COO Rosemarie Ong, the new developments are a reflection of the company’s vision for the year which is excellence.

“We strive for excellence not only for profit. We strive for excellence in the service that we give our customers,” she said.

She noted that the IT Hub is suitable for BPO workers and for commuters since it is accessible to the MRT Magallanes Station. Other modes of public transportation are accessible as well.

The IT Hub has three levels designated for parking. There are food and retail establishments on the ground and second floors.

Ong said that their new store is a testament of how the company has evolved from just being a simple hardware store. This project, she noted, is “a dream come true for Wilcon.”

“It was a good start for the year. We feel overwhelmed with the support of our suppliers, customers and friends,” she concluded.
Sonata assures worry-free investment

February 4, 2015
Sonata Private Residences is a twin-tower residential high-rise condominium development of Robinsons Luxuria in the heart of Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong City.

Unit owners who wish to maximize their prized investment in this prime vertical community need not worry about the minute details of managing their property, thanks to the services of Robinsons Luxuria’s dedicated Customer Asset Management Services (CAMS) team.

Homeowners can rely on the group to handle the complex yet vital process of leasing out their units, beginning with the search for prospective tenants and arranging unit viewings.

Once a suitable lessee has been selected, CAMS’ roster of duties then involves preparation of lease documentations and coordinating tenant move-in. The entire lease cycle is supervised closely, including negotiating for renewals and extensions, or termination of contracts and ensuring smooth tenant move-out.

A one-bedroom unit at Sonata can fetch between P17,000 to P35,000 of income per month while a two-bedroom unit can command P40,000 to P55,000 worth of rental. CAMS will open the doors to these potential earnings without much effort on the part of investors.

Ensuring the enduring value of the unit owners’ property is another important aspect of worry-free investment, and in order to achieve this, the condominium community must be run efficiently and always kept in its best condition.

With this in mind, Robinsons Luxuria has tapped seasoned property manager First Pacific Davies Asia Property Services Inc. (FPD Asia) for this responsibility, managing the concerns and welfare of residents and tenants after they have settled in their new homes.
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Friday, February 6, 2015
Toll road integration signed

By Othel V. Campos | Feb. 05, 2015 at 10:45pm
State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority on Thursday signed the toll integration agreement with Manila North Tollways Corp. to speed up the flow of vehicles at the exit plazas of the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway.

Both agencies signed the toll integration agreement a week ahead of the deadline set by Senate president Franklin Drilon.

“The actual integration may even be faster because MNTC will soon be awarded the contract for the SCTEX as well,” BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Paciano Casanova said.

He said BCDA’s board formally approved the toll integration proposal Thursday, clearing all hurdles to toll integration.

The NLEX-SCTEX toll integration project involves the conversion of separate NLEX and SCTEX toll collection systems into a single system that should allow for more efficient toll collection and faster movement of traffic for motorists.

It also involves the installation and removal of temporary plazas and the construction of interchange plazas that will also require the widening of existing entry/exit ramps.
Golfhill Gardens brings posh lifestyle to exclusive Capitol Hills community

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - A peaceful and serene environment in an exclusive posh neighborhood right at the center of bustling Quezon City is an ideal and attractive setting for a home.

This idyllic enclave with lush green scenery awakens zest for life as it smoothly drowns out the noise elements outside the city, while enhancing the sophistication and elegance which a posh village possesses.

Megaworld, the country’s leading real estate developer that pioneered the ‘live-work-play-learn’ township concept in the Philippines,  captures such rare and precious lifestyle at Golfhill Gardens.

The company is bringing in its own pool of expertise to provide future residents of Golfhill Gardens a fresh and secured living space that enchants the rapid pace of the urban lifestyle.

Golfhill Gardens is a six-clustered residential community situated in the known posh neighborhood of Capitol Hills, beside the Capitol Golf Course. The residential community has a low density development, offering studios to two-bedroom units ranging from 30 to 72 square meters. All units come with a balcony that overlooks either the golf course, amenity areas, or the residential village.

Golfhill Gardens is also complete with amenities that family and friends can convene to hang out, have fun, and stay healthy such as  children’s pool, koi pond, sitting areas, jogging path, children’s playground, picnic area with barbecue pits, fitness gym, day care center with outdoor play area, business center, pocket gardens, and function rooms.

For a weekend or weekday break with family or friends, Golfhill Gardens is an address that provides easy access to all destinations. Set along Capitol Hills Drive, Golfhill Gardens has a direct link to Tandang Sora, Katipunan Avenue, and Commonwealth Avenue which leads to various universities, business centers, malls, leisure hubs and 30 government agencies including the Quezon City Hall.

 It is also 15-25 minutes away from Eastwood City, ABS-CBN, GMA, and first-rate academic institutions such as University of the Philippines (UP Diliman), Ateneo de Manila, Miriam College, St. Bridget School, Claret School, among others.
The Signature in QC New condo converges positive feng shui elements

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - A new distinct vertical development blending auspicious design and practical living space will soon rise in the rapidly growing urban landscape of Quezon City.

The Signature, a residential project being put up by Filinvest Premiere, the upscale arm of property giant Filinvest Land Inc., will soon rise on a one-hectare property along A. Bonifacio Ave. in Quezon City and will combine “old-town sensibilities and modern amenities.” 

Inspired by Beijing’s Summer Palace, The Signature offers 60 percent of its area to green open spaces, said Filinvest Land senior vice president Steve Chien.

“Rarely do we find a residential vertical development that devotes 60 percent of its land area to green open spaces. Truly a blissful community, The Signature offers residents and guests large indoor and outdoor amenity areas that promote an upscale, relaxed lifestyle,” he said.

He said through The Signature, Filinvest wants to provide an environment that lets residents rejuvenate at the end of a long day at work or in school.

For one, there is a Signature Lake, consisting of resort-style, Olympic-sized lap and wading pools.

The high-rise project with  three towers will also have a two-level podium commercial hub for its residents.

More importantly, The Signature’s auspicious design – from the units and the master plan to the architectural design and green open spaces – has good feng shui inside and out, feng shui master Hanz Cua told The STAR in a recent interview.

“Good feng shui equals to good energy. The Signature has the positive feng shui elements, which ensure that the property increases its value in the future,” said Cua.

“Inside, there’s very calming energy. Your house should be higher than the front part. In feng shui, the main door is important,” he said.

Furthermore, he said there must be a balcony so that there is space for relaxation.

“The living room must be relaxing. It’s also important that the main door must be solid. The dining table must have mirror so it doubles the effect of the food, which symbolizes wealth,” said Cua.

He said The Signature’s exterior design already nurtures good feng shui.

“The curved panel details highlighting the exterior architectural designs of The Signature inhibit bad feng shui energy also known as the ‘sha chi’ to come in. Good feng shui promotes energy and good health to homeowners,” he said.

Furthermore, he said the architectural design of The Signature promotes the use and flow of natural light that illuminates the unit.

“Thus, creating good feng shui energy, which is the bright, refreshing, uplifting, beneficial to your health and well-being,” he said.

There is also enough space for the residents to fix their units.

“Two bedroom units typically measure 87 square meters, while three-bedroom suites are typically sized 125 sqm.,” he said.

In a separate interview, Marjorie Siao, Filinvest Land’s niche market management group head, said the company has already started construction and expects to deliver in the next two years.

“We can deliver it the next two years. When we turn over in the next two years some of the amenities are already usable. We also have a small commercial area.

The commercial is more for the residents. It’s not a large commercial space but enough to provide you with your needs,” she said.

Construction will start this year, with delivery slated as early as 2016.  There will be three towers with a total of 348 units ranging from two- to three-bedroom units. The two-bedroom units start at P9 million while the three-bedroom spaces start at P14 million.

Siao also said it is a low-density community with only eight to nine units per floor.

Indeed, Siao said The Signature is more than just a home as it represents a convergence of everything a community should be.

 It is in close proximity to Banawe, considered as the Chinatown of Quezon City, and is a short distance to the Guatama Chinese Temple as well as to the Sto. Domingo Church.

With its good feng shui, The Signature is a good place to live in, said Cua.

“Living at The Signature will attract prosperity. If you want your money to grow, you should live in a place where your neighbors are wealthy also. That’s feng shui. That’s positive energy,” he stressed.
Shang Properties showcases luxury condo in Salcedo Village

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Shang Properties brings forth its second luxury development in Makati following the success of the Shang Grand Tower in Legaspi Village.

Shang Salcedo Place is a 67-story residential development, built with Shang’s signature quality of excellent craftsmanship and design. It is a cut above the rest because of its iconic structure and world-class amenities placed in Salcedo Village, one of Makati’s premier lifestyle districts.

Located at the corner of Gil Puyat Ave. (Buendia), Tordesillas, and H.V. Dela Costa streets, Shang Salcedo Place is at the center of both luxury and convenience. This iconic structure is right at the heart of the bustling Makati central business district, yet also close to a wide array of lifestyle choices that cater to every whim and want.

“Shang Salcedo Place was built from the ground up with an exacting eye for detail and design. From the building structure to the interior aesthetics, we made sure that the development would be an extension of the lively Salcedo Village community,” said Susan Yu, Sales director for Shang Salcedo Place.

Steering towards functionality and exclusivity, this signature development is deliberately built with only 749 units. Shang Salcedo Place delivers a balanced number of residential units and amenities, which guarantees that all residents are well-serviced, and all transactions are hassle-free.

Inspired by Shang Properties’ unwavering dedication to deliver its signature quality, a team of experts came together to create and accomplish the landmark’s impeccable build. With a structure designed by Hong Kong-based firm Wong & Tung International Ltd., and timeless interiors created by internationally renowned Filipino designer Manny Samson, Shang Salcedo Place is in every aspect a masterpiece.

Shang Properties is the Philippine arm of Malaysia’s Kuok Group, with core businesses in offices and retail leasing, and residential development such as The Rise Makati, The Shang Grand Tower and The Enterprise Center in Makati, and The St. Francis Shangri-La Place, Shangri-La Plaza, One Shangri-La Place in Ortigas Center, and Horizon Homes, Shangri-La Hotel at the Fort.

 “Shang Salcedo Place is truly a great addition to Shang Properties’ growing collection of premier residential developments in Makati City,” said Shang Properties marketing manager Milen Treichler. “We think that a community as lively as Salcedo Village deserves to be complemented by a residence that mirrors its lifestyle, and Shang Salcedo Place fits that bill perfectly.”

Come 2016, Shang Salcedo Place will officially be part of the vibrant Salcedo Village community, and the high-life will be within its residents’ reach. Interested parties may call the Shang Salcedo Place showsuite at +632 519 0000, email, or visit their showsuite at Level 3 Tower 1 The Enterprise Center, 6766 Paseo De Roxas cor. Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
World-class Filipino design at Anya Resort and Residences

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Real estate developer Roxaco Land Corp. recently joined forces with interior design powerhouse Manny Samson and Associates (MSA) in coming up with a unique take on residential resort living through its flagship development, Anya Resort and Residences.

Located in Tagaytay, this destination residence plays up on the well-known strengths of both partners: Roxaco, with its experience in high-end residential living, as exemplified by its first two luxury projects, Península de Punta Fuego, Terrazas de Punta Fuego, Anya Phase 1; and Manny Samson, with his world-view that embraces both the cosmopolitan and the rustic from his many acclaimed projects here and abroad.

Under Samson’s belt is a long list of luxury developments that can be found in five out of the seven continents. In the Philippines, he is in the forefront of some of the top hotels and resorts, including the first teaching hotel in the country. In the global arena, some of his most notable projects include well-known resorts in Malaysia and Uruguay, and the Four Seasons, an international resort brand with resorts located all over the globe.

 “The natural advantages of Tagaytay’s location played a role in directing our design inspiration,” Samson said. “Its cool weather and spectacular views contributed to the city becoming a weekend destination getaway, and guided our design to bring in the warmth and familiarity of rustic Filipino elements. In order to make it stand out among others as envisioned by the clients, it has embraced authenticity — considering international standards for luxurious design, at the same time retaining the grand quality of rustic traditional Filipino elements.”

Taking Roxaco’s cue to design “from the inside-out,” Samson and his associates adopted a Filipino tropical design direction highlighted by the use of rustic elements that mirrored both the interior and exterior architecture. “The idea is to harmonize both the interior and exterior looks in order to achieve a holistic design that caters to the pegged concept,” Samson explained.

“Plus, the interiors have been planned in such a way that the spaces would maximize the flow of cool breeze. Areas have been laid out highlighting the scenic view of the adjacent landscaping. The sensitivities of privacy and personal space were also incorporated into the design, as elements have been fine tuned to synch with the resort’s lush landscaping.”

By underscoring the key elements of comfort and functionality of the Filipino Aesthetic, the Anya brand takes on the Filipino identity through the unmistakable presence of elements such as bamboo and abaca, among others.

But beyond promoting a Filipino theme in its design and craftsmanship, Anya Resort and Residences fuses international standards into the luxurious design, conveying an exuberant spirit into the modern lifestyle.

“The modern Filipino tropical design is brought to life by the use of indigenous materials blended with modern components, creating wonderful ambiance and aesthetics. The use of natural wood for floors, doors, cabinetry works, and accent ceiling imparts an inviting, warm and cozy feeling of home. The use of mother of pearl (capiz) and special finishes as wall and cabinetry accents presents elegance in the interiors,” Samson noted.

For more details, visit or call +63 917 888 ANYA (2692).
Collapsed high-rise floor kills 2

By Joel E. Zurbano | Feb. 05, 2015 at 12:01am
ONE floor of a 63-story residential tower under construction in the upscale Bonifacio Global City collapsed on Wednesday, killing two construction workers and injuring 11 others.

Nine of those injured were taken to the St. Luke’s Medical Center while the other two were brought to the Ospital ng Makati.

Most of the victims suffered arm, shoulder and back injuries.

It was not immediately clear what caused the floor at The Suites Residential Tower to collapse around 8:15 am, but there were claims the incident happened while cement was being poured into the floor.

“I had just left the building when it collapsed,” construction worker Edwin Suarez said.

Taguig City police chief Arthur Felix Asis said his men were now investigating the construction on 5th Avenue and 28th Street.

Based on its project profile, the single-tower residential building, owned by Ayala Land Premier, will consist of 284 residential suites and limited- edition Sky Collections rendered in two- to four-bedroom configurations.

The project will also feature Triple-A-grade office building and is intended to be home to top local and multinational companies. The Suites is right beside the new Hotel Shangri-La, Mind Museum, and the Unified Philippine Stock Exchange.

In a statement, Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. said it will provide assistance to the victims.

“The Bureau of Fire Protection of Taguig City is currently undertaking search and rescue operations,” the company said.

“We are still awaiting the official report on the number of casualties and currently investigating the cause of the incident. Rest assured that, together with MDC and Fastem, we will assist the families of the workers.”

The Department of Labor and Employment assured the families of the two workers who died and the others who were hurt of financial assistance and to hold the people accountable for the incident.

But the labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa blamed the Labor Department and local officials in the city for the incident. With Vito Barcelo
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PHL among 20 best foreign retirement havens for 2015, according to Forbes

February 15, 2015 8:44pm
With its low cost of living and its leaving foreign income untaxed, the Philippines has been named among the 20 best foreign retirement havens for 2015 by American business magazine Forbes.

"For US retirees the principal appeal of the Philippines is a low cost of living in a tropical environment full of English speakers and outdoor beauty," Forbes said in its article "The Best Foreign Retirement Havens For 2015."

"Foreign income is untaxed, and permanent residency can be had on a minimal showing of retirement income," it further noted.

It noted popular locations such as Tagaytay that are "elevated and therefore cooler" and Subic Bay, with its US navy base infrastructure.

Forbes also noted that there are nonstop flights between Manila and US that take an average of 15 hours.

According to the magazine, it identified the 20 "appealing foreign countries" based on a review of factors such as cost of living, cultural attractions and scenery, safety, tax matters—especially breaks for retirees—local hospitality, weather, availability of adequate healthcare and prevalence of English.

Other countries included in the list are: Australia, Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, and Uruguay.

Last year, Forbes ranked Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental fifth on the list of best places to retire.

Malacañang welcomed Forbes' assessment and said Filipinos should exert more effort in improving the country's investment climate.

"Siyempre po ikinakagalak po natin ang pahayag na ‘yan ng isang reputable na pahayagan, ang Forbes, at ito ay dapat na maging basehan upang tayo ay higit pang magpunyagi sa pagpapaganda ng investment climate sa ating bansa," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said on government-run dzRB on Sunday.

According to Coloma, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. noted that in 2014, foreign tourist arrivals reached 4.83 million—a 3.25-percent increase from 2013—and tourism revenues hit P214.8 billion.

"At dahil po dito, ibayong pagsisikap pa rin sa bahagi ng pamahalaan sa pangunguna ng Department of Tourism sa paggawa ng lahat ng nararapat para mapanatili ang pagiging attractive destination ng ating bansa," Coloma said.

According to the National Tourism Development Plan, the Tourism department had a target of 6 million visitor arrivals in 2014.

This year, the agency eyes 8 million foreign tourist arrivals. — Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza/BM, GMA News
New brands, slower tourist arrivals to temper Metro Manila hotel rates —Colliers Intl

By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsFebruary 13, 2015 12:08pm
Metro Manila hotel rates are under pressure amid the influx of hotel brands in the country, as well as the seemingly slower growth trend of tourist arrivals, property consultancy firm Colliers International Philippines said in a report released late Thursday.
Average hotel room rates across major classifications exhibited stable to declining growth by end-2014, Colliers noted in its latest research and forecast report.
Data from the property consultancy firm showed the average five-star room rates grew 0.3 percent, the average four-star room rates continued to decline by 3.8 percent, and the average three-star room rates dropped by 11.5 percent in the second half of 2014.
"As the competition among hotels intensifies, operators are forced to adjust their prices in order to attract more travelers to stay in their hotels," the report read.
In fact, 2,038 new hotel rooms opened in Metro Manila, bringing the total room inventory to 19,373, Colliers said.
Meanwhile, some 3,580 hotel rooms will be delivered annually over the next four years as hotel operators bank on improving economic conditions, it added.
Last year, the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.1 percent, after accelerated government spending helped the economy recover in the fourth quarter.
French-based hotel management company Accor targets to open six new projects across various locations in Metro Manila in the next two years.
The Wyndham group – known for its Microtel brand – will introduce its select-service hotel brand Tryp in the Mall of Asia complex in 2015.

Also, there are openings of hotel developments in Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.'s (Pagcor) Entertainment City pushed back to the first quarter of 2015 due to bottlenecks in construction, Colliers said. These are the hotels opening in the City of Dreams Manila including the Grand Hyatt City of Dreams, Nobu Hotel, and Crown Towers.
In terms of tourist arrivals, the number of tourists that went to the country totalled 3.96 million from January to October 2014, according to the Department of Tourism.
This was a 2.3 percent growth year-on-year, the lowest registered for the country since 2010, Colliers noted.
"If the trend continues, Colliers estimates that 4.8 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2014, far behind the government target of 6.0 million tourists," the report read.
With the influx of new hotel rooms and slower growth of tourist arrivals, occupancy rate in Metro Manila is seen to decline to 65.6 percent, Colliers noted.
"The outlook remains rosy, however, as the country will host two significant events in 2015: the Papal Visit in January and the APEC Ministerial Meetings, both of which are expected to spur demand for accommodations in Metro Manila," it noted.
Pope Francis visited the Philippines last January 15 to 19.
Meanwhile, various APEC meetings will be held across the country starting November 2014 in preparation for the World Leaders’ Summit on November 17 and 18, 2015.
These areas include Pampanga, Manila, Bataan, Albay, Tagaytay City, Iloilo, Boracay Island, Bacolod City and Cebu. —KG, GMA News
Residential property sales, inventory dropping
Market correcting, now back to ‘more rational’ levels

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:30 AM | Friday, February 13th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–Metro Manila’s residential property market contracted in 2014 in terms of both additional inventory and sales take-up. But the current levels were, according to property consulting firm Colliers Philippines,  “more rational” compared to the exuberance seen in the previous three years.

In a briefing on Thursday, Colliers Philippines director for research and advisory Julius Guevara said that nearly 40,000 residential units were sold last year, 7 percent lower than the take-up in 2013.

He said the decline might be due largely to a similar reduction in residential unit launches, which fell by 33 percent to nearly 39,000 units last year.

He said the residential property market was only continuing the “correction” that started in 2013 after hitting a high of 51,000 residential units taken up in 2012.

“We feel the market has now returned to more rational levels in terms of home-buying,” Guevara said, noting that Metro Manila’s primary residential condominium market would likely be able to sustain an annual residential unit take-up of 30,000 to 40,000 levels.

Asked to define what Colliers considered a “rational” residential market, Guevara said this was a market driven by real underlying homeowner demand and not investors who intend to rent out these units.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has been tightly monitoring the real estate exposure of the banking industry and mapping out new regulations as a preemptive move against possible property bubbles.

Based on Colliers’ latest report, total residential licenses issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board declined by 4 percent in 2014, weighed down by the slowdown in the following segments: socialized housing (-15.7 percent); mid-income housing (-9 percent) and high-rise residential (-2.6 percent).

Only the low-cost housing segment expanded in 2014, with licenses issued increasing by 6.6 percent. Colliers said this was because more local developers were venturing into the affordable housing segment to meet the still huge supply backlog.

From 2015 to 2018, Colliers expects a total of 30,935 residential units to be delivered in the major business districts of Metro Manila, 40 percent of which are scheduled for completion in 2015. About 75 percent of these units are studio and one-bedroom types with floor areas of 18 to 90 square meters.

“The majority of these units will likely cater to young professionals and investors who are diversifying their investment portfolios,” Colliers’ latest research report said.

“As such, the influx of these smaller-sized units is expected to create pressure on rental rates and resale prices,” it noted.

The larger three- to five-bedroom units, according to the research, would account for 7 percent of the new supply with unit cuts of between 100 and 500 square meters.

In Makati central business district, the research noted that overall vacancy rate declined by 4 basis points to 8.1 percent in the fourth quarter due to the strong take-up of Grade A and Grade B projects.

Leasing activities, however, remained high in the lower end of the spectrum as Makati remained a preferred location, with vacancy rate in this segment declining by 60 basis points, it noted.

In the premium residential market, vacancy rate declined by 17 basis points to 4.4 percent, as there were new projects completed during the period. Colliers expects vacancy rate in this segment to rise by 260 basis points, as more units are slated for completion.

For the rental market, the research noted that rental rates in Makati CBD, Rockwell and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) posted a more stable growth in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Rent, property prices to rise 4-6 pct this year
Posted at 02/13/2015 3:37 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Property consultant Colliers said residential rents and property values in three of the country's priciest areas - Makati, Fort Bonifacio and Rockwell - will grow at a stable pace this year, with enough demand for current and upcoming condominiums.

Colliers said the value of residential rents will grow moderately at 4-5 percent growth, while capital values will grow by 4-6 percent.

Colliers said a 15 percent increase in prices is a signal that an asset price bubble could be forming, but adds that the Bangko Sentral and even developers have been implementing measures to prevent that.

"The developers are well aware of this. They experienced Asian financial crisis, taken prudent measures to address this, pre-selling condo market-- reduced project launches by 33 percent in 2014. it's because they saw that there's been a decline in sales," Julius Guevarra, Colliers director for research and advisory, said.

"The BSP is taking a close look at real estate sector, a lot of measures, looking into real estate shadow banking phenomenon. Developers are lending to borrowers through down payment schemes. These are moves in the right direction," he said.

Meanwhile, Colliers also said the sale of residential units in Metro Manila dropped 7 percent last year which is considered more rational after three years of high sales. - ANC

DPWH to start work on Buendia Tunnel project in April

February 15, 2015 6:53am
Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson announced on Wednesday that work on the 880-lineal meter Senator Gil Puyat Avenue-Makati Avenue–Paseo de Roxas Underpass project will start in April, once pre-construction activities are completed in March.

“As early as now, I appeal for the understanding of the motorists and commuters on any inconvenience the project may cause as I have directed the contractor to maximize project time schedule,” Singson said in a post in the DPWH website.

“The Department is also coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Makati officials for the traffic management within the vicinity.”
The P1.27 billion project will ultimately address traffic congestion within the Makati Central Business District and its surrounding areas. Construction was expected to take 22 months.

The project will see the construction of a four-lane vehicle underpass along the innermost lanes of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, passing through Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas intersections, as well as a covered tunnel portion of about 570 meters. — Joel Locsin/DVM, GMA News
Clark Green City project attracts interest from PH, foreign firms

Posted at 02/13/2015 6:05 PM
MANILA - The Philippines will hold a tender within the first quarter of the year for the right to develop a portion of a 9,500-hectare (23,475-acre) former US base into a masterplanned city north of the capital, a government official said on Friday.

The Clark Green City project has piqued the interest of major Philippine property firms and foreign companies such as Sumitomo Corp, Hitachi Ltd, Farglory Land Development Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp, said Arnel Paciano Casanova, president of the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

BCDA will publish on Feb. 19 the auction terms for the development rights of a 200-hectare parcel of the mixed-use project. Both foreign and local investors may submit bids.

"We are also doing parallel discussions with foreign partners who could locate in the special economic zone," Casanova told reporters.

The BCDA, tasked with converting former military bases into masterplanned communities and business districts, also plans to get joint venture partners to develop the rest of the 1,300-hectare phase 1 of Clark Green City.

The agency expects private firms to spend a total of 59 billion pesos ($1.33 billion) to develop the 1,300-hectare parcel, almost four times the size of New York's Central Park, Casanova said.

Clark Green City is targeted to generate 1.57 trillion pesos worth of economic activity annually and create nearly a million jobs when development is complete, government studies show.

Plastic trash at sea: PH, Indonesia among top contributors

In a landmark study, scientists have estimated that millions of tons of plastic waste go into the sea worldwide every year, with middle-income nations – including the Philippines – shown to be among the top contributors. Between an estimated 4.8-12.7 million metric tons of garbage goes into the sea annually, and the top contributors are China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

If the trends the researchers saw in their study hold up in the next few years, we can expect mismanaged waste to increase further.
RLC profit up 35.4%

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:36 AM | Monday, February 16th, 2015
Gokongwei-led property developer Robinsons Land Corp. grew its net profit for the quarter ending December by 35.4 percent to P1.4 billion.

RLC’s profit was boosted by the growth in its office and hotel portfolio alongside the stable performance of its shopping mall and residential projects.

The increase is also due to some base effects given the extraordinary property losses incurred in the same period in 2014 brought about by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) that ravaged Eastern Visayas.

The three-month period covering October to December is the first quarter in RLC’s fiscal year, which ends every September.

Total revenue rose by 9 percent to P4.79 billion while cash flow as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) went up by 11.2 percent to P2.58 billion.

RLC malls, office and hotels, contributed 83 percent of Ebitda.

The commercial centers division generated 46 percent or P2.2 billion of gross revenue, up by 12.6 percent.

The office buildings division contributed 10 percent or P467.2 million of the company’s revenue, up by 29.1 percent from last year’s P361.8 million. Lease income was derived from 10 completed office buildings with a total occupancy of 99 percent, including Cyberscape Alpha and Cyberscape Beta which opened in fiscal year 2014 and are located in the Ortigas Central Business District (CBD).

Currently, Cyberscape Alpha is 100 percent leased out while Cyberscape Beta has a lease take up of 94 percent.

The hotels division contributed 9 percent or P446.9 million to the company’s revenues, up by 11.4 percent obtained from 13 hotel properties for the period, including the newly opened Go Hotels Butuan as well as hotels opened in fiscal year 2014, namely: Go Hotels Iloilo and Go Hotels Alpha Ortigas.

The company also recently opened Summit Magnolia which forms part of the Magnolia Town Center, its mixed-use development in Quezon City.

Its residential segment contributed P1.68 billion in revenue, slightly up from P1.67 billion in the previous year.

RLC’s financial position remains solid, with 34 centavos in debt for every P1 in equity as of end-December. Net debt to equity stood at 31 centavos to P1 in debt.

This month, the company will issue fixed-rate bonds worth P10 billion.