2023: A year of challenges, opportunities, and rewards

The period between Dec. 26 and 31 is a good time to pause and look back at the year that is about to say goodbye. I usually do my personal reflections during this period when the world seems to slow down as it holds its collective breath in hopeful anticipation of the dawning of a new year.

The year 2023 was full of challenges but at the same time, it provided a lot of opportunities and rewards to those who persevered. The year that is about to close saw nations from around the world rise, albeit slowly, from the COVID-19 health crisis that started in 2020.

The Philippine economy has shown resilience despite global challenges. The Marcos administration’s key financial managers project the economy to grow at six percent this year and gradually move toward its potential over the medium term. 

Zeroing into our sector, we celebrated as an industry the once again booming market in the aftermath of the pandemic. It is indeed notable that this year, the real estate and property development sector demonstrated resilience and growth despite global challenges. Expansion activities in the provinces contribute to the positive outlook for the Philippine property market.

In the case of Italpinas Development Corp. (IDC), we have high hopes for 2024, looking at sustained recovery, banking on our strategy that is centered around carefully selecting project locations, including untapped markets, with significant growth prospects and demographic suitability.

We keep in mind what the iconic actor of television’s golden age Milton Merle once said: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

This year, we took every opportunity and built more doors, not only to advance our company but also to be a catalyst for growth in the communities where we operate, giving our stakeholders the best of what we can offer as a green property developer and as a socially responsible corporate citizen. (In my previous column, I shared with you about the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program and how we intend to expand its scope next year.)

We will hit the ground running in 2024 with new and bigger projects. As some of you may have already read, IDC has entered into four major business agreements with international and local partners—two management agreements with Ascott Ltd.; and two separate joint venture agreements with Finca Montero Resources Inc., and Mindanao-based businessman Gonzalo Go.

With Ascott, we are bringing the Citadines brand to Sto. Tomas City in Batangas and to Cagayan de Oro (CDO) through our Miramonti and Primavera City projects, respectively, where they will manage a certain number of units as serviced apartments.

Meanwhile, we will transform Finca’s 2.3-hectare land located in Morong, Bataan into a mixed-use Green Development Project with leisure, commercial, and residential components. On the other hand, our project with Mr. Go will involve the development of his 4.3-hectare land in the Gusa area of downtown CDO into an eco-friendly commercial and residential complex to be named Verona Gusa that will have an investment of P2.38 billion. By the way, its namesake-Verona Residences- in uptown CDO has officially sold out this year.

This has been a good year. I am incredibly grateful for the remarkable growth and expansion that Italpinas has experienced in 2023. Thanks to the political and economic stability that the government continues to provide.

May I also take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to the various local and international award giving bodies and industry organizations that honored our company, the latest of which was the Asia Pacific Property International Awards in the Best Mixed-Use Development category. They have recognized us for the third consecutive time, and it is truly humbling.

And just a week before Christmas, the Filipino Homes and Leuterio Realty and Brokerage recognized IDC as the “Top 2 Developer of the Year” in terms of leadership, support, and contribution to the realty firm’s overall sales performance.

On the personal front, I am delighted to be included in the prestigious India-based CEO Insights Asia magazine’s Top Ten Leaders in the Real Estate Companies in the Philippines for 2023.

Lastly, I thank the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Inc. for awarding me with its 2023 ItalPinoy of the Year. At the same time, I thank my co-members in the chamber for electing me as the Vice President of the board of directors with the goal to support and facilitate business relationships between Italy and the Philippines.

I wrap up this piece with my gratitude and appreciation to Atty. Jojo Leviste and our IDC family; and to everyone who has been a part of our journey. Together, we will work toward a future where every Filipino has access to a home that embodies their dreams and aspirations. 

Manigong Bagong Taon sa ating lahat. Felice Anno Nuovo!

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