Developing emerging cities
THE development of emerging cities is a breath of fresh air, so to speak, in the Philippines. With Metro Manila experiencing a burgeoning population, monstrous traffic jams, worsening pollution levels, alarming crime rate and other woes, a lot of urban planners and developers thought it is time to develop other cities and municipalities outside the metropolis to decentralize the political decisions, decongest the cities and democratize the resources.
This gave way to the development of emerging cities. Urban planner and architect Felino Palafox Jr, principal of Palafox Associates, said a city could be classified as “emerging” if it has the ability to generate employment, a healthy workforce, and efficient land use. Moreover, it should have creative leadership, political will, good planning, good design, and good governance. He also pointed out cities with adequate infrastructure such as international airports and seaports will have an advantage over their counterparts as it can develop bigger opportunities for trade and tourism.
For the Harvard graduate school alumnus, the emerging cities are Puerto Princesa, Zamboanga, Clark, San Fernando (Pampanga), Laoag, Vigan, Legazpi, Balanga, Batangas, Lucena, and Iloilo.
Although Davao and Cebu are way ahead of the group and are much qualified to be bracketed with Metro Manila, Palafox cautioned the two leaders of the two cities to learn from the mistakes of Metro Manila, He added that the two cities should promote better mobility by creating walkable and bikable streets complemented by robust mass transport systems.
Laoag, on the other hand, has a good potential to be developed into an international gateway between the Philippines and the wealthier countries of North East Asia. Currently, the Laoag International Airport has direct flights to and from Guangzhou, China. As a port city, Zamboanga has a strategic location blessed with more natural resources. Zamboanga Peninsula plays a critical role in realizing the medium and long-term goals of Mindanao and BIMP-EAGA which is to become a major location in ASEAN for high-value-added agro-industry, natural resource-based manufacturing, and high-end tourism that will eventually shift towards ensuring socio-economic, physical development, and a southern gateway to and from the Philippines.
Emerging cities and the IT-BPM industry
THE information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry needs to consider the emerging cities, according to Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) chief executive officer David Leechiu.
Leechiu said emerging cities are very capable to meet the demand of the companies. “The Philippine realty business is ready for the BPO boom,” he said in a recent press interview.
LPC identified the locations as Tuguegarao, Cagayan; Dagupan, Pangasinan; Malolos and Meycauayan in Bulacan; Batangas City in Batangas; Kalibo, Aklan; Tacloban, Leyte and Tagbiliran, Bohol. “These are virgin territories for IT-BPM firms,” he pointed out. To entice IT-BPM companies to move into new locations, Leechiu said the national government must provide local government units stronger support in building a healthy labor pool, install fiber connectivity, accessibility and a stronger tourism roadmap. Furthermore, Leechiu said other areas that have IT-BPM presence can be further developed to improve their standing.
He said provinces such as Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Misamis Oriental can accommodate more IT-BPM companies because they have still untapped areas. The areas ideal for IT-BPM locators are Taytay, Binangonan, Antipolo, Cavite, Calamba, Biñan, Santa Rosa, Imus, Dasmariñas, Rosario, Bacoor in Cavite and Cagayan de Oro.
On his part, Santos Knight Frank (SKF) chairman and chief executive officer Rick Santos players will gravitate to regional areas such as Metro Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Bacolod as property prices within Metro Manila and the supply of land becomes limited. According to SKF, the emerging cities are Balanga, Bataan; Batangas City, Batangas; Iriga City, Camarines Sur; Laoag, Ilocos Norte; Legazpi City, Albay; Puerto Princesa, Palawan; Roxas City, Capiz; Tarlac City, Tarlac; Tuguegarao, Cagayan; Zamboanga City, Zamboanga.
Raymond Rufino, co-president and a director of the Net Group loves the idea of decentralization that he considers it as one of the exciting things in emerging cities. “I think for too long we had put our eggs in one basket,” he said.
Having more prosperous cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao is advantageous for the country, according to Rufino. Moreover, emerging cities provide a buffer in case Metro Manila experiences a huge natural calamity. “The focus is on developing these new emerging cities is really important. It is not just important spreading the wealth and prosperity but also a matter of national survival if an Ondoy-type of calamity would hit Metro Manila,” Rufino pointed out. “It is matter of survival. It is quite scary when we have all in one basket,” he explained.
A good place to develop emerging cities
SYLVESTER Wong, vice president of AECOM, describes the Philippines as a dynamic environment where there are lots of professionals, developers, new places and new cities that have the potential to become major centers of development.
AECOM Capital makes direct investments in real estate and public-private projects, providing opportunities to participate as a vital partner in advancing projects with clients.
It is focused primarily on the built environment – Planning Design Development (PDD) (comprising Design Planning and economics, and Architecture), Program, Cost, Consultancy (PCC) and Building Engineering.
Established in 1996 in the Philippines, AECOM has competent teams of planners, engineers, environmental scientists, geologists, landscape architects and technical management specialists’ that team up to provide top-notch technical consulting services for the ports, highways, bridges, airports, water supply, wastewater treatment and conveyance, manufacturing, real estate, power, and mining industries. Moreover, Wong said their integrated approach delivers significant changes to clients and communities across the region. In the Philippines, AECOM has close to 400 people working in the local market. Wong credits the team for its success. “We cannot do it alone. We have so many great professionals and developers in the country,” he pointed out.
With the Build, Build, Build program, AECOM is gung ho on new investments in the country as it modernizes its archaic infrastructure.
Wong said AECOM is bullish on the development of new cities. “There are so many great professionals, new places to develop here in the Philippines,” he pointed out.
Damosa Land Inc: Building an emerging city and developing inclusivity in Mindanao
RICARDO “Cary” Lagdameo, Damosa Land Inc (DLI’s) vice president, proudly describes the firm as a “proud Mindanaoan company that is solidly grounded in the island. Established in the 1940s, the property development arm of the ANFLOCOR group started in the construction industry in Davao and has been at the forefront of development in Mindanao. With a common goal of uplifting the lives of the people in Mindanao, DLI strives to solidify its position as Mindanao’s leading homegrown developer.
Davao-based DLI started as a construction company later diversifying in real estate. “As a real estate company, we are involved in residential, commercial, offices, hotel and now even industrial parks. One thing that is common for us that we try to build quality projects, try to bring innovative ideas that have not been done in Mindanao or Davao so far.
For instance, DLI developed the one of the first mixed-used project in Davao City. It also put up the first PEZA-accredited IT Park in 2007 and brought in the first coworking space (Regus) in Davao. These are the type of things we’d like to do and try to bring investment into the city and we do that through real estate and other activities,” Lagdameo said.
“We have a goal to try uplifting Mindanao and we do that through real estate and other activities. We also try to build quality projects and bring innovative ideas that have yet to be introduced in Mindanao.
Right now, DLI is currently developing Panabo as an emerging city. The 88-hectare project aims to be the first world class commercial business district in the region. A major goal of the Panabo project is to change Mindanao’s economy from an agriculture-centric to a more progressive and diversified. “We’re bringing everything that has to do with agriculture but with a modern flavor,” he said.
Inspired by his late grandfather who was a trailblazer in Mindanao’s agriculture industry, Lagdameo raised the bar higher by charting his own path by engaging in various new businesses.
Lagdameo recently signed a contract with the University of the Philippines Professional School for Agriculture and the Environment in Panabo City to develop a sustainable environment and food security in the area. It is currently engaged in developing Panabo as an emerging city. Damosa has a vision of developing the first world class city in Davao. It is currently drafting the roadmap towards this goal. It has tapped the University of the Philippines-Los Baños for the building of an agricultural school complemented by a tourism hub. It plans to promote agriculture with a modern flavor into it.
Moreover, DLI is also planning to develop a seaside resort community in the area. His efforts bore fruit when DLI was awarded the Best Property Developer in Davao at the 2017 by the Philippine Property Awards. As a real company, Damosa Land is engage in several development projects residential, commercial, hotels even industrial parks. We have a goal to uplift Mindanao al parks. We have a goal to uplift Mindanao and boost Mindanao through real estate activities.
DLI continues to evolve into a company with intense pursuits of achieving valuable innovations in the real estate industry. Powered by an inspired, dynamic and proactive leadership, Lagdameo said DLI will be a major catalyst in Mindanao’s development.
Aseana City-An emerging city by the bay
PRIMARILY known as a construction company, D.M. Wenceslao and Associates Incorporated over the past two decades has successfully transformed itself into a real estate development company. “Nevertheless, we’re still continuing our heritage and now we are a Quadruple A construction company that enables them to bid any size of project in the Philippines.
Right now, D.M. Wenceslao is popularly known as the master developer of Aseana City, one of the largest undeveloped landbanks in Metro Manila, bordering Mall of Asia, PAGCOR Entertainment City along the shores Manila Bay fronting Parañaque City. “Basically, we are developing that whole area as a new city, to be a next generation development.
“When you talk about the next generation city, we’re focusing on to be holistic having a unique masterplan that caters to all stakeholders, making sure that all the infrastructure not just covers softscape but also the ha hardscape sure that the softscape and hardscape that will make it sustainable by investing public spaces, walkability and connectivity,” he said. Located along Roxas Boulevard, the project offers spectacular view of the world famous Manila Bay’s beautiful sunset. Baclaran Church is another major landmark in the area in front of Aseana City. Wednesday is a busy day in the church as devotees flock to pray the Lady of Perpetual Help.
Aseana City is located along the shoreline of Manila Bay, extending northeast to Roxas Boulevard within Parañaque, with an approximate total area of two hundred four (204) hectares.
Aseana City offers a closer view to history as it’s in the vicinity of the walled city of Intramuros and country’s bastion of business achievement – Binondo, Makati and Ortigas.
Moreover, major locators have also selected to operate near the vicinity the Aseana area. These are retail warehouse giant Pricesmart, One-stop-shop, Aseana Powerstation and DFA Passport Plaza, the Department of Foreign Affairs’ newest processing center.
Opportunities in emerging cities
FOR Kenneth Stern, country manager of Remax Philippines, emerging cities offer good economic opportunities for property.
Being the world’s leading real estate franchise, Stern said the Remax is bullish on the Philippines, “Being in the country for six years now and opened 30 branches nationwide. We’ve just opened two Cebu and two in Davao last week,” he said.
“We are also opening in Tuguegarao, Siargao, Palawan and Clark. “We’re looking to expand in other areas of the country,” he added.
“The vision of Remax is to professionalize real estate in the Philippines. We are also growing that especially in new markets,” he pointed out.
As an emerging market, the expertise of Remax can be tapped especially in the countryside in terms of identifying the legitimate brokers and professionalizing the industry, among others.
Stark said emerging cities have gotten attention because of the boom enjoyed by the property sector. “Who would have thought that we will open an office in Siargao,” Stern pointed out.
According to Stern, as RE/MAX opens more franchises and collects more data, it will be interesting to see how other areas perform in the secondary market, especially with regards to foreign buyers.
“As a global company, RE/MAX is in good position to help its brokers and agents get worldwide exposure, giving them access to foreign markets that were previously inaccessible to them,” said Stern. “As we expand, we also aim to include more locations to our data and see how up-and-coming locations are performing with the entry of Remax, Stern said they will introduce professionalism in the property industry especially to the people living in the provinces. “There’s an opportunity there for companies looking for investment,” he said.
“Our goal in every country we operate is to professionalize the real estate industry. In the Philippines, we are still growing that. The Philippine real industry needs more professionalism. We want to boost the brokers’ capabilities and expand nationwide,” he said. Moreover, the people can leverage the multinational experience so they can enhance their businesses,” he added.
Challenges in developing emerging cities
LAGDAMEO said it is a bit of challenge to make the emerging cities relevant to the population, For instance, he said DLI needs to entice the people to support agriculture to ensure food security and livelihood. Instead of putting up the traditional structures such as semiconductor industries plants and other industrial parks, DLI prefers an agro-industrial complex. “Instead of industrial parks catering to car parts or airplane parts, why not put up agro-industrial parks to ensure food security,” he explained.
“We also want to make agriculture cool again,” he added. As part of the DLI vision, Lagdameo said they are thinking of bringing the best practices to make the province to be a better place to live in. “We are happy that Mindanao is now getting more attention. I think it is high time to give attention to Mindanao. What we’d like to achieve make the people stay there in Mindanao, and bring more investments,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Wenceslao stressed that developing an emerging city should not be based on copying other models. Rather, it should be based on the coordination of government, private and the stakeholders to determine the needs of the city.
Frederic Manuel, representative of venture capital Arch Capital and adjunct faculty, department of analytics, Asian Institute of Management, concurred with Wenceslao that imitating foreign models will not work. “A diversity of the city must not be copied. Meanwhile, Stark said retaining the old soul of the city is important. He added lots of young investors want to make a difference because they believe in promoting diversity.
As a regional developer, DLI is blessed to have models to look and study. Moreover, Lagdameo believes the private sector is the lead player in property development. “Government’s role is to connect these cities within and across regions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wenceslao said there is no perfect city. Even if all the developers have all the designs and masterplans, there might some be certain factors that will happen and conform to the plans. Nevertheless, he said emerging cities have to adapt to the changes on the fly. To make the emerging city relevant to the people, Lagdameo said it needs to find the proper match and remind the people of their heritage to retain its soul and character.