Ripe for the picking

May 5, 2012 § Leave a comment



TWO major developers are venturing into residential property development in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan in what could be the start of more building activities in the segment in this tourist spot.

This Friday, Puerto Princesa becomes the 56th city that Vista Land and Lifescape, Inc. will venture into via the 8-hectare Camella Puerto Princesa project, which is expected to entrench its position early in the game for Puerto Princesa City’s residential development industry.

Vista Land has been beaten to the draw by Filinvest Land, Inc. which unveiled its West Palms project in 2007. Filinvest Land is eyeing a second property following the success of its initial foray.


Puerto Princesa has been hailed as one of the, if not, the cleanest, safest city in the country. The city is typhoon-, flood- and earthquake-free, making it a veritable hub for residences, as well as businesses. Reputable schools and universities, market places and commercial areas, hospitals and places of worship are all a few minutes away from Camella Puerto Princesa. Add to the fact that both the city and its province are rich in natural beauty with unmatched verdant forests- the decision to be part of this briskly growing tourist center is an easy one to make,” said Jerylle Luz Quismundo, Camella president.

“One of the components not given too much attention in the past in this province is the presence of a homebuilder that will provide the ideal setting for families to grow. With businesses expected to rise soon, these communities are also positioned to entice and accommodate not just the local residents but those who see the province as an idyllic place to relocate. Needless to say, Puerto Princesa is ripe for picking,” Quismundo added.

Mike Mamalateo, Filinvest Land project manager for West Palms, said the company saw a need that has “yet to be filled” in Puerto Princesa.

“When we entered Puerto Princesa, it was not a deliberate effort. But when we looked into it, we saw that it is ripe for a themed development,” said Mamalateo.

“We saw the opportunity to do something (at) the level of development we usually do. We saw that’s its a good opportunity. There’s no organized development there and the community is thirsting for this kind of development there,” he added.

Prior to the entry of the two developers, Puerto Princesa has seen only small, pocket developments that catered to the affordable market segment.

Camella Puerto Princesa is a 8-hectare property in Barangay Bancao-bancao composed of house-and-lot packages that will carry three of the developer’s housing designs. The packages will have floor areas ranging from 40 square meters to 179 sq.m. and prices of between P1 million and P4.7 million.

Camella Puerto Princesa will be developed into a Caribbean-themed gated community with amenities such as clubhouse, basketball court, playground, a commercial area, and shuttled service.

Camella is Vista Land’s unit for the middle-income segment of the market, offering house and lot properties.

West Palms meanwhile is a 5-hectare property which was previously targeted for the low-cost market as a joint venture of Filinvest Land with a local partner. The project was later upgraded to target the middle-income segment, according to Mamalateo. West Palms is being developed as an exclusive and master-planned residential community in a Mediterranean-themed residential village, complete with amenities like swimming pool, club house and others. The property is located along Wescom road, near the military base in the western side of the city proper.

West Palms is being sold on a lot only basis, at an average cut of 100 sqm with prices ranging from P550,000 to P700,000. However, housing construction has to conform with the community’s design specifications.

In both developments, the developers are targeting overseas-based buyers who are seeking to establish a home in their places of origin.

Mamalateo said 60 percent of the West Palms is sold out.

“Our buyers’ profile is actually mostly overseas Filipinos. These are the OFWs that have roots in Palawan who after earning some money they go back and wanted to put up their homes,” he said.

Quismundo said the expansion of Vista Land into these geographical locations, particularly Puerto Princesa this time, is anchored on the strength of its OFWs market. “The expansion in these areas gives Filipino families more opportunities for home ownership as Camella provides options for low to mid-market segments at various price points,” she said.

“Majority of our homebuyers are OFWs who have witnessed and experienced living in world-class communities in the countries they were employed in. Most of them wish to bring the same quality standards in their hometowns and their very own homes. And since a good number of our OFWs hail from the provinces — there is strong preference for house and lot in their hometown or province of origin which they intend to live-in with their families. As the runaway leader in horizontal housing, we intend to further cement our hold in this market with the country-wide expansion,” Quismundo added.

Vista Land also sees the prospects of the Puerto Princesa City property market as attractive to second-home buyers “who would like invest, retire or simply want to take occasional respite from the bustle in city centers.”

The entry of big developers like Filinvest Land and Vista Land speaks a lot of the prospects for development of Puerto Princesa, which is fast becoming a popular tourist destination.

Recently, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and National Park has been included in the new seven wonders of the world, lifting further the profile of city as a must-see vacation spot.

In the past years, commercial and tourism developments have been introduced in Puerto Princesa with the entry of Robinsons Land Corp.’s Robinsons Palawan, and the GoHotel chain, Microtel Palawan of the Phinma group of companies, among others.


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