The COVID-19 pandemic rained on the parade of the country’s award-winning property projects, said Reghis M. Romero II, former chairman and current president of the local chapter of the Paris-based International Real Estate Federation, or FIABCI.
He said that if not for the virus, 2019 and 2020 would have been well-acclaimed milestones in the property sector.
As FIABCI-Philippines chairman then, Romero headed the body that screened, evaluated and picked the “best of the best” among the property projects at that time.
“Among the many nominees, a project in each of the categories won a gold for excelling in its field. The winners were chosen for many various technical reasons and criteria of excellence, but they were all noted for functionality in terms of economic, social, environmental and even cultural impact,” he said.
The categories, according to former FIABCI World president and FIABCI-Philippines chairman emeritus Florentino Dulalia Jr., are hotel, affordable housing, low, medium and high-rise residential, office, resort, retail, specialized, and sustainable development, with several of them having regional winners.
“Ironically, most, if not all, of them cater to market segments that are worst hit by the pandemic,” said former FIABCI-Philippines president and now chairman Architect Nestor S. Mangio, citing in particular the Boracay Newcoast project in Aklan of Global Estate Resorts for the sustainable development category; the Salas Real in Jaro District, Iloilo City of ACM Land Holdings for affordable housing; the Arco de Emperador at Arcovia City in Pasig of Megaworld Corp. for specialized; the Larossa in Capitol Hills, Quezon City of Primehomes Real Estate Development Inc. for mid-rise residential; and the Mansfield Residences in Angeles City, Pampanga of Hausland Development Corp. for low-rise, among others.
The Boracay Newcoast is a 150-hectare sustainable development of mixed-use leisure and resort facilities envisioned to become the grandest tourism destination on that paradise island. This project includes luxury and boutique hotels, commercial and retail districts, upscale villas, and an exclusive residential village, all generating businesses and employment while enhancing the beauty and environmental integrity of the island.
On the other hand, the 12.74-hectare Salas Real project, which offers 555 housing units, adds a contemporary but complementary touch to the historically Hispanic ambience around Jaro District’s Calle Real. The Angelina, Bernadita, Christina and Rosalia model homes evoke the Filipino Bahay na Bato through clean lines with louvers and a veranda melding gracefully with the community’s lush greenery and spacious landscape.
Similarly, Hispanic is the 19-meter tall Arco de Emperador, a bronze masterpiece of Spanish sculptor Gines Serran Pagan and whose design exudes the Filipinos’ potential for greatness — reminiscent of Madrid’s Arco de la Victoria and Paris’ Arc de Triomphe.
Also in the heart of the metropolis is the Larossa Capitol Hills, a uniquely urban botanical community in one of Quezon City’s premier residential enclaves, offering a sustainable, healthy and active lifestyle in a verdant and secure ambiance with its own commercial area, clubhouse and other facilities, all within the vicinity of UP-Diliman, Miriam and Ateneo universities, Celebrity Sports Plaza, hospitals, shopping centers, national government offices and major lifestyle hubs and business districts.
North of the metropolis in Pampanga’s Angeles City is the 20.1-hectare Mansfield Residences, which is designed for a community of 1,490 households and an array of sports and leisure facilities, restaurants, convenience stores, pubs, cafes, bakeries, internet shops, and other establishments within its confines.
“Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic, not only stole the thunder from those award-winning projects in 2019, but also prevented the selection for and the holding of our Excellence Awards in 2020. This time, however, we are making sure that the awardees will shine in all their glory when they take center stage for the limelight they deserve,” Romero II stressed amid projections of a forthcoming rebound in the property market.