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Shortlist announced for 5th Philippines Property Awards 2017

Nearly 20 companies are in contention for the archipelago’s most prestigious industry awards for real estate excellence, including last year’s top winners

Megaworld Corporation roars to the top of the race with 25 appearances in the final shortlist

The complete 2017 shortlist for the fifth annual PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards has been announced, featuring previous winners and up-and-coming developers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Spanning the residential, commercial and design sectors, the final shortlist is led by 2016 Best Developer winner Megaworld Corporation, which is known for pioneering the integrated urban township concept in the country.

Presented by title sponsor Kohler, this year’s competition could become another landmark event for the celebrated developer as it collects a total of 25 official nominations, more than any other company.

Megaworld projects are competing against each other in various categories, including Best Luxury Condo Development and Best High End Condo Development for Metro Manila, Best Retail Development, and Best Residential Architectural Design.

Developers Robinsons Land Corporation and ArthaLand are joined by The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life) in second place with five nods each. Philam Life, currently the largest insurance firm in the country, made the cut after entering its long-awaited office building located in Cebu Business Park.

When the company launched its project more than three years ago, they said it would be one of the tallest towers in Metro Cebu. The company plans to make the office building, which has been nominated for Best BPO Office Development, its headquarters in central Philippines.

With a very strong business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, modern office buildings are in high demand not just in Metro Manila. Lindsay J. Orr, chairman of JLL Philippines and head judge of the Philippines Property Awards, believes that the sector will continue to flourish despite recent plans to levy exorbitant taxes on US-based outsourcing firms that conduct business in the country.

Opening new doors

“My take on it is that those BPO contracts with the US will still be honoured. Doors are also opening to China and Russia. I look at it more as an opening up of a relationship to other countries,” he said.

The fifth edition of Awards is also opening doors to new categories in the expanded 2017 programme. For the first time, the panel of judges will honour developments that incorporate universal design elements.

“Universal Design is the design of a built environment that can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability,” explained Terry Blackburn, founder and managing director of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards. “We are proud to recognise it alongside longstanding awards for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development as part of PropertyGuru Group’s own CSR mission.”

“With the commercial real estate and condominium segments in the Philippines flourishing, we believe it’s time to reward the developers who put consumers first,” he added. “Their projects exhibit dedication and excellence in real estate for which the Awards stand.”

Rapidly-growing real estate market

A total of 89 entries were received this year, following a six-month nomination and judging process supervised by BDO, one of the world’s largest accountancy and auditing firms.

Winners will be revealed at a black-tie gala dinner and awards presentation ceremony on Thursday, 4 May 2017, at the Fairmont Makati, were about 300 of the country’s top industry executives will be in attendance, including the evening’s guest of honour, Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo, who will be giving the opening keynote address and discuss the impact of the country’s tourism sector on the rapidly-growing real estate market.

During the gala dinner, a special award will be also be presented to Robinsons Land Corporation president Frederick D. Go, who has been chosen by the editors of Property Report magazine as the 2017 Philippines Real Estate Personality of the Year for “leading the company that transforms people's dreams into reality through real estate projects that last generations.”

Building dreams

“We want to leave a legacy of having improved the quality of life of everyone we have touched in our businesses, whether they are a mall customer or partner, an occupant in our office buildings, a hotel guest or a homeowner,” Go said on behalf of his firm. “We are building the business of building dreams and making life better.”

Main competition category country winners in the Philippines will advance to the two-day PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards grand finale this November at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Singapore to compete for more regional accolades and to be crowned "the best in Asia”.

Hari V. Krishnan, CEO of PropertyGuru Group, said: “Congratulations to the developers who made the shortlist of the PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards. We’re excited to learn about the impressive projects across different segments, including the rapidly-growing office sector. This generation of young and tech-savvy real estate consumers, many of whom are thinking of buying or renting their first property in the Philippines, will be more equipped to make confident and informed property decisions based on the results of this year’s competition.”

PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards 2017 gala dinner is supported by title sponsor Kohler, co-sponsors JLL Philippines and Regus Philippines, official broadcaster The ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), official newspaper The Philippine STAR, official property portal, official charity CARE International, official supplier Titania Wine Cellar Inc, media partners, Oxford Business Group, HGTV Asia and PropertyGuru Property Report magazine, supporting associations British Chamber of Commerce Philippines and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and official judging supervisor BDO, the world’s fifth largest auditing and accountancy firm led by co-managing partner Paul Ashburn.

Below is the shortlist of the PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards 2017:


Best Developer

  • WINNER to be revealed on 4 May 2017

Best Boutique Developer

  • AppleOne Properties Inc
  • Keyland


Best Green Development

  • ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower by ArthaLand
  • Philam Life Center Cebu by The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life)

Best Universal Design Development

  • St. Moritz Private Estates by Megaworld Corporation
  • Vista Taft by Vista Residences, Inc. (Vista Land Group)

Best Condo Development (Philippines)

  • WINNER to be revealed on 4 May 2017


Special Recognition in CSR

  • ArthaLand
  • Century Properties Group Inc
  • Megaworld Corporation
  • Robinsons Land Corporation

Special Recognition in Sustainable Development

  • ArthaLand
  • Robinsons Land Corporation


Best Luxury Condo Development (Metro Manila)

  • Livingstone by Century Properties Group Inc
  • St. Moritz Private Estates by Megaworld Corporation
  • The Florence by Megaworld Corporation
  • The Royalton by Ortigas & Company

Best High End Condo Development (Metro Manila)

  • 27 Annapolis by Bayswater Realty
  • 8 Forbes Town Road by Megaworld Corporation
  • One Eastwood Avenue by Megaworld Corporation
  • Solstice by Alveo Land Corporation

Best Affordable Condo Development (Metro Manila)

  • Casa de Sequioa by Keyland
  • Vista Taft by Vista Residences, Inc. (Vista Land Group)

Best Urban Condo Development

  • Urban Deca Tower Edsa by 8990 Holdings, Inc.

Best Condo Development (Cebu)

  • AppleOne Banawa Heights by AppleOne Properties Inc
  • One Pacific Residence by Megaworld Corporation

Best Residential Development (Davao)

  • Damosa Fairlane by Damosa Land
  • Seawind by Damosa Land

Best Residential Development (Resort)

  • Tagaytay Highlands (Woodridge Place) by Highlands Prime, Inc. (SM Group)


Best Office Development

  • Alliance Global Tower by Megaworld Corporation
  • ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower by ArthaLand
  • Philam Life Center Cebu by The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life)

Best BPO Office Development

  • Philam Life Center Cebu by The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life)
  • Scape by Asya Design
  • Southkey Hub by Keyland
  • Tower One Plaza Magellan by Megaworld Corporation

Best Retail Development

  • Robinsons Galleria Cebu by Robinsons Land Corporation
  • Uptown Mall by Megaworld Corporation
  • Venice Grand Canal Mall by Megaworld Corporation

Best Mixed Use Development

  • 8 Forbes Town Road by Megaworld Corporation
  • Base Line Center by Cebu Landmasters, Inc.
  • Grand Tower Cebu by Grand Land Inc.


Best Residential Architectural Design

  • One Eastwood Avenue by Megaworld Corporation
  • One Pacific Residence by Megaworld Corporation
  • One Uptown Residence by Megaworld Corporation
  • The Radiance Manila Bay by Robinsons Land Corporation

Best Residential Interior Design

  • St. Moritz Private Estates by Megaworld Corporation
  • The Sapphire Bloc by Robinsons Land Corporation
  • Three Central by Megaworld Corporation

Best Retail Architectural Design

  • Uptown Mall by Megaworld Corporation
  • Venice Grand Canal Mall by Megaworld Corporation

Best Office Architectural Design

  • Alliance Global Tower by Megaworld Corporation
  • ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower by ArthaLand
  • Philam Life Center Cebu by The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life)
  • Scape by Asya Design

Best Residential Landscape Architectural Design

  • Damosa Fairlane by Damosa Land
  • One Pacific Residence by Megaworld Corporation
  • One Uptown Residence by Megaworld Corporation
  • The Florence by Megaworld Corporation

Best Office Landscape Architectural Design

  • Alliance Global Tower by Megaworld Corporation
  • Philam Life Center Cebu by The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life)
  • Scape by Asya Design

Best Retail Landscape Architectural Design

  • Uptown Mall by Megaworld Corporation


Real Estate Personality of the Year

  • Frederick D. Go, President, Robinsons Land Corporation


For tickets or more information about the fifth annual PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards, email or visit the official website:

These islands will apparently be the 'Dubai of the Philippines'

President Duterte has fast-tracked the project The famous Manila Bay sunset. Sphinx Wang/Shutterstock
The famous Manila Bay sunset. Sphinx Wang/Shutterstock

After the "Singapore of the Philippines," here comes the country's version of Dubai.

Manila Goldcoast Development Corp (MGDC) is reclaiming three islands in Manila Bay to create Solar City, a 148-hectare mixed-use development that will run entirely on renewable energy.

The islands will have an international cruise ship terminal as well as an artificial beach, among other proposed amenities likened to the emirate. Also on offer is a monorail system, precluding the need for carbon-emitting automobiles that have been a perennial problem for Metro Manila.

Solar City will reportedly generate 100,000 jobs during the construction phase and up to 500,000 upon completion.

More: How to own an island in the Philippines

The project presents a beguiling alternative to overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in a ceaseless quest for higher-paying employment prospects in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East. Dubai alone is home to 450,000 Filipinos.

Solar City is on tap to generate up to PHP10 billion (USD200 million) in real property taxes for the Philippine government. It is one of 80 reclamation projects in several coastal cities that are being fast-tracked under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, including the Mactan North Reclamation and Development project in Cebu and a 108-hectare venture in Bacolod.

“There will be more, mostly in Visayas and Mindanao,” Philippine Reclamation Authority chairman Alberto Agra said.

Solar City has been met with controversy since its conception in the early 1990s. Critics claim that the project flouts the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, among other environmental protection laws.

Read next: Why townships are the future of luxury living in the Philippines


Could a Philippine island be the next Singapore or Hong Kong?

Qatari real estate firm has big plans for the Philippines

Aerial view of tropical islands near Palawan, Philippines. Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock

With white sandy coasts that seem to stretch on forever, and an unbeatable trove of natural resources, the Philippines has been a puzzle to economists: Why isn't any of its 7,107 islands as economically advanced as Hong Kong, Singapore, or Taiwan?

A Qatar-based real estate company is putting that question to the test. Al Nitaq is proposing to lease various islands in the archipelago, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) revealed this week to Gulf News.

“The Shaikh of Qatar has pushed the real estate company to take advantage of the Philippines’ strong economic growth and attractive investment scheme,” said Charito Plaza, director general at PEZA.

These islands will be divided into economic zones for agroforestry and agro-industry. Other islands will be set apart as energy centres and tourist destinations.

More: Millionaires’ problem: private beach or private island?

The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) has been tasked to identify suitable islands for leasehold by foreign investors.

President Rodrigo Duterte broached the notion of leasing Philippine islands to foreign entities earlier this year. “If we can lease our land for military bases, why not lease an island… to create our own version of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore?” he said. “The jobs will come here. Going abroad must be a choice, not a necessity.”

“From the 51st year to the 99th year, they will pay rental for those buildings and infrastructure from the Philippines, thereby creating the country’s income,” he added.

Read next: How Davao became hot property in the Philippines

What does the Philippines think of Donald Trump?

With so many comparisons to Duterte, how do Filipinos feel about the new US president?

Image: a katz /
With Donald Trump’s victory in the bag, we take a look at Philippine sentiment regarding the new US president – a man who has so often been compared to the Philippines own, Rodrigo Duterte.

Here are some snapshots from Philippine media in the lead up to the election. As you’ll see, sentiment is largely negative – unsurprising since Trump described the Philippines as a ‘terrorist nation.’

In fact, despite trying to find balance in the snippets we shared, we were unable to find much in the way of positivity regarding Trump in the Philippine media.

Trump haters


Who will be good for us: The lady or the Trump?

The winner in the November 8 US presidential elections will undoubtedly have an impact on the lives of the four million US-based Filipinos and consequently, US-Philippine relations. A Trump win would be bad for the Philippines. He said he will put an immigration ban on countries like the Philippines because of its “history of terrorism.” The BPO industry could also be affected with his promise to “bring jobs back to Americans.” In terms of security, Trump would focus more on the ISIS threat and less on the Asia Pacific region – even saying he will make allies like the Philippines pay up for security upkeep. With the way both President Duterte and Donald Trump sound, you can already see a potential 'fistfight.'

A Hillary Clinton win, on the other hand would be good for the Philippines for varying reasons. Having visited the country several times – both as First Lady and State Secretary – she has developed strong connections with Filipinos. By the way, outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, a high-ranking career diplomat, is very close to Hilary Clinton, having worked with her for many years. Philip is expected to be working closely with Clinton if and when she wins.

From the Philippine Star on 16 October.

Philippine lawmaker wants Trump banned after labelling the country a ‘Terrorist Nation’

A lawmaker has called on the House of Representatives to bar United States presidential candidate Donald Trump from entering the country for his recent remarks against the Philippines.

In his House Resolution No.43, Albay Rep. Jose "Joey" Salceda said he seeks to ban Trump from entering the country for being “inimical to the national interest.” He said the Republican presidential candidate's recent tirade against immigrants, which included the Philippines among “terror nations” is unreasonable.

“While Donald J. Trump has clearly generated impressions not conducive to public good and has shown disrespect or makes offensive utterances to the Filipino people. Be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation refuse Donald J. Trump, be permanently refused entry into the Philippines,” the House resolution read.

From Philippine Star on 8 August.

Clinton 'better' than Trump for Philippines, economic manager says

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is "better" for the Philippines than her Republican rival, Donald Trump since she will provide policy continuity, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers said Tuesday.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia echoed local businessmen's fears that Trump's protectionist policies could hurt remittances from overseas Filipinos and US firms' outsourcing operations in the Philippines.

"I think Clinton is better. More continuity from Obama, because Obama has been campaigning with her," Pernia told reporters here.

"The US, under Trump" will be a protectionist, inward-looking American economy and it will impact in trade and investments," he said.

From ABS CBN on 8 November.

More: What will become of Trump Tower Manila if Donald Trump is banned from the Philippines?

Trump lovers (sort of)


Shares soar for Philippine firm building 'Trump Tower'

A Philippine property firm which is building a skyscraper with US presidential election winner Donald Trump bucked the global stock market sell-off on Wednesday, with its shares rising 20 percent.

Century Properties, developer of the Trump-licensed Trump Tower in Manila, jumped from 60 centavos to 72 centavos (1.22 to 1.47 US cents) on the local stock market.

"It is all related to the connection to Trump," said Astro del Castillo, managing director with local investment firm First Grade Finance.

From ABS CBN on 9 November.


The neutral


Philippines can work with Clinton or Trump: trade envoy

Either of the two candidates we’re quite familiar with both of them. I think we’ll have, not only an access, but a good dialogue with them. I expect our business relations with them will continue to be as robust as before… We look forward to a very exciting, continuous relationship with our brothers from America.

ABS CBN on 7 November. Writer: Jose Antonio, Philippines' Special Envoy for Trade, Investment and Economic Affairs

And what does Duterte himself think of Trump?

When asked what he thought of the two contenders, [Duterte said] that Clinton would make a “good president,” while conceding that Trump, who has been likened to him, was at least a “good candidate.”

While this was reported only on Tuesday by the Philippine Star, it seems since the vote was announced, Duterte has swiftly become a Trump supporter.


What does Trump think of the Philippines?

When discussing Trump Tower Manila, he said:

“I’ve always loved the Philippines. I think it’s just a special place and Manila is one of Asia’s most spectacular cities. I know that this project will be second to none.”

Contradictory as always Mr. Trump – the next four years are certainly going to be interesting.

To our Philippine readers, let us know what you think in the comments!

Read next: 5 ways a Trump presidency could impact Asia


Why townships are the future of luxury living in the Philippines

Pushing back against traffic congestion and gathering strength from the BPO industry, townships are redefining the residential landscapebanner2eastwood-city-night-skylineSome cities in the Philippines were founded on the best of plans. There’s Cebu, the oldest, which took after a grid-iron street pattern conceived by Spanish colonists. There’s Baguio, the American hill station, designed by architect Daniel Burnham. Manila, the capital, started out as an enclosed fort called Intramuros.

Many Philippine cities have since expanded in chaotic, ad hoc fashion. From these centuries of ferment the concept of integrated urban townships emerged.

While “township” takes on different meanings — it’s a government unit in the US and a racially charged term in apartheid South Africa — an integrated urban township refers to a self-contained, master-planned community that is on the watch of a single property developer. The integrated township also comes with a trifecta of differentiators.

“The live-work-and-play concept would allow for flexibility, mobility, and a whole host of other amenities and facilities that’s not really captured by a single mixed-use development,” Claro Cordero, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle Philippines, explained.

[pullquote]“People started to realise: ‘Wow, this is a perfect place to live in because I can live where I work’”[/pullquote]

Unlike private subdivisions, integrated townships usually have high-grade commercial buildings within a one-kilometre radius of the residential area, according to Michael McCullough, managing director at KMC MAG Group, a Manila-based international associate of Savills. “These buildings cater to the requirements of both SMEs and large­scale businesses, so finding a job that’s close to home would be possible,” he said.

In fact, the Philippines’ first integrated township, Eastwood City, came with the ascent of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

In 1997, property development titan Megaworld Corp launched a then-renegade project: an IT park for BPO offices. A captive market of shift workers emerged.

Round-the-clock retail operations began to agglomerate in an 18-hectare wasteland in Quezon City that had been home to a textile mill. Sales increased for nearby retail establishments, on fixed rents, as they extended hours. By 2001, the first residential tower in the area, Olympic Heights, was ready for turnover.ewc_beauty_shot

“This was a game-changer,” Jericho Go, Megaworld senior vice president, said. “People started to realise: ‘Wow, this is a perfect place to live in because I can live where I work.’”

That IT park has since grown to 10 office blocks and morphed into a paragon of Megaworld’s “live-work-play-learn” thrust: Eastwood City. Now host to 55,000 workers and 25,000 residents, Eastwood has truly become the micro-city that never sleeps.

More: Megaworld’s Andrew Tan named Real Estate Personality of the Year

In many respects, the Eastwood template of townships represents a pushback against the Manila traffic, voted “worst on earth” in a Waze survey last year.

“Townships provide people with greater life-balance by providing ‘everything’ people need for daily life within the same area,” said Sigrid Zialcita, managing director for Asia Pacific research at Cushman & Wakefield.

Snaking around Megaworld’s townships are covered walkways and bike lanes that undercut the necessity of fossil-fuelled transport. For BPO employees who don’t live in Eastwood or any of its nine Metro Manila townships, Megaworld has created a 24/7 bus network called CityLink.

[pullquote]In a nation where quality public space is synonymous with shopping malls, Megaworld forges at the cutting edge[/pullquote]

In a nation where quality public space is synonymous with shopping malls, Megaworld forges at the cutting edge. Accredited by the state as a “tourism entertainment complex,” Eastwood City pioneered complimentary butler service and pet-friendly zones in its malls. A typical residential building in Eastwood — the township currently has 19 condominium blocks — would include function rooms, sky gardens, lap pools, children’s pools, playgrounds, fitness gyms, and game rooms. This year, the township was named Grand Winner in Urban Land Institute’s Healthy Places Awards.

“Given the current infrastructure problems of Metro Manila, homeowners are increasingly inclined to purchase property or even a second (or halfway) home within the vicinity of their work,” noted Yves Luethi, vice president of KMC MAG Group. “Since those who typically find themselves in this situation are gainfully employed as expatriates, executives, or young professionals, they are increasingly able to afford high-end residential offerings in the same area.”

[caption id="attachment_56091" align="aligncenter" width="740"]legrand-3 The third tower at the French-inspired LeGrand residential project[/caption]

Home values in Eastwood average around PHP130,000 (USD2,800) per square metre, while rental rates in LeGrand, the township’s new, French-inspired condominium towers, average PHP25,000 (USD537) for studios, PHP35,000 (USD752) for a one-bedroom unit, and PHP50,000 (USD1,075) for a two-bedroom one.

Demand for township homes is also “highly driven by overseas foreign workers,” who along with BPO workers, may bring in USD51 billion in revenues to the country this year, added Luethi.

The large sums of remittances, coupled with the fact that 49 percent of the Philippines' population now live in urban areas, would suggest that the latest township model of urban planning has never been more crucial to the future of the country.

“The township is the highest form of what you can achieve in terms of development," Go said. “Cities are now aspiring to be townships rather than the other way around.”

Read next: Megaworld to develop even more townships in the Philippines

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