Agri-tainment real estate, something new from Mindanao
By Amor Maclang
RECENTLY, I had a chat with Damosa Land Vice President Ricardo F. Lagdameo, a former investment banker and scion of the Floirendo and Lagdameo families.
In my many interviews with real-estate leaders, this is the first time a high-level player mentioned agriculture at least 10 times. Given all my advocacy work in Mindanao, especially on tourism, agriculture and “special situation areas”, my ears really perked up.
He also happens to be one of biggest evangelizers of Mindanao development and is brimming with hope for the land that has nurtured his family for generations.
While Damosa Land may not be as well known in Manila, they are the leading real-estate developer in Davao and, perhaps, arguably, in Mindanao. From California mission houses in largely residential Panabo, to ground-breaking concepts as a residential agricultural estate, to the inauguration of the Davao International Container Terminal that now has the capacity to carry 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent units per year and can connect Mindanao to the rest of Asean.
Few developers come closer to making good on the triple threat of Mindanao—tourism, investments and agriculture than Damosa Land.
What did you mean when you mentioned being more of a Mindanao development company?
At Damosa Land we’re doing a lot of things across different sectors in Mindanao. While our landbank is primarily in Davao and surrounding provinces for now, we’re involved in various Mindanao issues as they pertain to real estate.
What do you feel is your competitive advantage over the ‘big boys’ who seem to be making the proverbial bee line toward Mindanao, now because of the economic pivot toward the area?
We love them! We believe in partnerships, they have their strengths, we have our strengths. Our advantage is that the market trusts us because we’re the “home boys”, having served Davao for more than 60 years. In real estate, it’s all about trust.
Beyond real estate, you seem to have a genuine concern toward agriculture sustainability in the region.
We have allocated a satellite area for future agricultural leaders to train in the country via a partnership with the University of the Philippines in Los Baños.
The agricultural-estate Agriya seems to be the first of its kind in the Philippines. Why invest in an agricultural estate? Few people wax romantically about agriculture the way that you do.
We wanted to honor the agriculture heritage not just of our company but that of the region. Even the name speaks of agriculture: Agriya means “Agricultural City by Anflocorp”.
When you look at a banana, a lot of people see it as just a banana. But the kind of care and process that goes into growing a banana, it’s very complex…We want to educate the people about the importance of the industry and the importance of the people that actually worked toward giving us things, such as bananas and other fruits. Agriculture and its related services take up the lion share of the business of our group.
Over all, it’s an 88-hectare, mix ed use project with close to 15 hectares devoted to residential real estate. The way we liken it is like Santa Rosa to Manila—the emerging suburb of Davao. It’s like Santa Rosa in that the big industries pushed it forward initially.
There seems to be a palpable convergence of tourism, environment and agriculture and Damosa Land seems to be the first, not just in Davao but in the country to take advantage of this zeitgeist.
Imagine an area where entertainment is centered in farming, retail supporting agriculture like a farmer’s stand, mountain tubing, rappeling with nature and agricultural as the playground.
Aside from Davao, you seem to be investing heavily in Panabo City, the Philippine’s banana capital.
We’re excited about Panabo which is a mere 30 to 40 minutes away from Davao City. Home to Agriya, our latest agri-industrial estate, is beside our latest project, the Davao International Container Terminal. Very few mixed use and industrial projects are situated near a port. Even the ones in Batangas are a good 40 to 50 minutes away.
Paying homage to the agricultural roots of Mindanao and making sure it is not forgotten seems to be a primary goal for Lagdameo who vows to make agriculture an “attractive and sexy” development centerpiece for generations to come.