Villar: Terrain’s tough but Cebuanos ‘worth it’
March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
By Katlene O. Cacho and Mia A. Aznar
Friday, March 9, 2012
CEBU may be a top spot to do business in, but a developer admitted that the terrain makes it the most difficult area to develop.
Camella Homes founder Sen. Manuel Villar told reporters in a recent visit to Cebu that its rocky terrain made it slow for their company, Vista Land, to grow, unlike in other regions of the country.
“It’s tough to develop in Cebu. I must admit, I find it the most difficult place. If it’s not mountainous, it’s too close to the sea. There are also areas with no access to water,” he said.
However, he noted that what Cebu lacks in terrain is compensated for by its entrepreneurial and hardworking people. He believes the Cebuano spirit is the secret to the province’s success, which he said is one of the most progressive areas in the country.
While Villar admitted that their growth in Cebu was slower compared to their rise in other parts of the country, he said the company intends to make their presence more felt in Cebu as they celebrate their 21st year of operations here.
“The Camella today is very different from what it used to be. Our house and lot units are second to none. But not many people know because we have been keeping quiet,” he said, adding that their sales far outnumber that of other developers.
Camella’s first community outside Metro Manila was in Cebu when it first opened Camella Homes in Lapu-Lapu City in June 1991. The following year, it introduced its second project, the Tierra Grande in Talisay City.
Currently, the company has developed 246 hectares in Cebu, with projects in Mactan, Talamban, Guadalupe, Talisay City and Carcar.
It has developed 27 communities, including enclaves and phases and a total of 7,100 saleable lots. According to its project data, they have built 4,700 housing units and have a total number of 5,000 homeowners and lot owners.
“Our main advantage over other developments is affordability. It’s like fast food. Hindi pwedeng mahal.”
Although they have units that cater to low market segments, Villar said they also offer homes for the high-priced markets under the Crown Asia and Brittany brands.
Asked why most of his communities are patterned after Italian or European cities, Villar said most Filipinos dream of seeing Europe.
He explained that European architecture evoked romance and is the mood newlyweds are in when house hunting. He said that aside from selling affordable homes, they also sell romance.
Camella, a subsidiary of Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. (Vista Land), continues its rapid expansion at its master-planned development, Riverdale, in Pit-os, Talamban, Cebu City.
The property developer recently ground broke for the development of new model houses at The Valley, in Riverdale.
Camella Cebu North general manager Myra Lynn Gilig, in an interview, said it is the continued demand of houses that prompted the company to rapidly expand their projects here.
“The strong and continued inflow of overseas remittances is one indicator for robust real estate developments. Camella, for instance, is banking on this healthy market,” Gilig told Sun.Star Cebu.
Riverdale Talamban is initially a 13-hectare property with three enclaves: The Ridge, offering lots only; The Valley, for terrain homes and luxury homes with lots-only package; and The Peak Park, with a central amenity area, offering a combination of lot-only and house-and-lot packages.
“The Riverdale is more of a higher-end market but with packages within the reach of consumers. Its house-and-lot package is at P4 million,” Gilig said.
In a statement, Vista Land president and chief executive officer Manuel Paolo Villar said the demand for house-and-lot packages remained strong, especially for its Camella brand.