Hijo Central is seen to bring about positive economic change for Tagum City, capital of Davao del Norte, as well as for the province and even the entire nation.
Townships are built in different ways, especially in areas in the country where development turns what used to be idle tracts of land or urban areas into self-sustaining communities promising a new and more comfortable lifestyle.
But this one rolls out a different take from all the other communities that have sprouted one after the other. Hijo Resources Corporation implored the gods to the beat of gongs, formally launching last Sept. 15 the much-awaited mixed-use commercial and residential Hijo Central smart city project located in Barangay Madaum, Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
Hijo Central defines the charms of a smart city in its 132-hectare development located within the 1,054-hectare property of Hijo Resources Corporation (HRC), which was once the country’s biggest plantation of Cavendish bananas that first found their way to foreign markets sometime in the late 1960s.
Hijo Central is one community that will not be totally built on steel and concrete because it promises that 49 percent of the lush green space on the site will not be sold and will be kept as it is to maintain its natural landscape. This will pave the way for the establishment of bike lanes and paths to go on a leisurely walk around the community.
Hijo Resources vice chair and CEO Rosanna Tuason-Fores said Hijo Central is a sensitive, smart, and sustainable development that is walkable and livable as it is socially responsive, environmentally sustainable and economically viable.
“We will preserve and promote the local cultural heritage and art, offering a unique place for everyone to live in and at the same time locate their businesses in,” Tuason-Forres said.
What is likewise exciting about Hijo Central is that it is at the very core of several projects under the umbrella of the Hijo Resources Corporation master development plan, which includes Hijo Industrial Estates, Hijo Port, the Plantation Villas, Los Rayos, Banana Beach, the WREC (Weddings Recreation and Events Center (WREC), the Plantation House, the Trinity Project and the banana plantation areas, which are all considered to be must-see points in the entire Hijo Estate area.
Hijo Central is seen to bring about positive economic change for Tagum City, the capital of Davao del Norte, as well as for the province and even the entire nation.
Traversing Hijo Central are the three rivers of Hijo, Liboganon and Madaum, which are vital for the sustainability of the project. In terms of connectivity, it has allotted three hectares for multi-modal transport terminal and the boulevard itself has four lanes.
HRC partnered with Urban Design Planning International for the masterplan of Hijo Central.
“As to what we are going to do during the first phase, nothing is final yet,” said Dr. Sujata S. Govada, CEO and managing director of UDPI.
Hijo Resources Corporation president and CEO Ramon Segismundo said the future will be replete with game-changing development and experiences that will ensure that all stakeholders are fulfilled and satisfied.
Segismundo also gave the assurance that the necessary groundwork pertaining to water, power, telecommunications and sustainability needs are properly addressed as the Hijo Central projects takes its full shape.
Hijo Central is reportedly partnering with topnotch providers like Meralco and JE Hydro & Bio Energy Corp. for the establishment of a water system in the area that is environmentally sustainable and may also possibly be used by other consumers outside of the township.
Telecoms giants PLDT and Smart are also providing the communication requirements within the Hijo Central.
Segismundo said Hijo Central has the best that the convergence of sea, mountain and land has to offer but what prospective locators and investors should also consider is the accessibility of the location since the coastal road linking Tagum City to Davao City and even Digos City will reportedly pass through the area. The coastal road cuts travel time between Davao City and Tagum City by 20 minutes, which brings it down to only 40 minutes’ travel time.
Hijo Central is also in an ideal position both for residential, tourism, agriculture and even industrial purposes should plans push through for the possible relocation of the Davao International Airport in the northern part of Southern Mindanao.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary William Dar described Hijo Central’s strategy and masterplan as a welcome development in the effort to further develop the country’s agriculture through agro industrialization and modernization.
Tuason-Fores likewise said that in partnership with The Kitchen Israel and Dr. Nini, Hijo Central will establish a food innovation hub where entrepreneurial ideas are exchanged, labs are available to test these ideas, and academe and private support for commercialization to maximize value in the growing food market.
She said that Hijo Central is also a place that delivers sustainable social change. “That progress and development is not synonymous with disruption or destruction whether it be the community or environment. We take care of our common home,” Tuason-Fores further said.
She added that Hijo Industrial Estate will leverage Mindanao and help its local community to thrive.
“We are establishing a smart city, a hub for food tech, bio tech, and agri tech. Smart cities are not just about technology. They’re about building an ecosystem of smart people, smart places and a smart planet,” Tuason-Fores added.
She explained that it will also include a digital agricultural marketplace — a disruptive platform that connects farmers with global customers.
Tuason-Fores said that she also just recently went to Singapore to explore the possibility of connecting with prospective investors who are into boutique hotels, which are suitable for location in Hijo Central.
She also stressed that Hijo Central is expected to bring in over $10-billion in revenues for Mindanao for the next 10 years.
Tucson-Fores explained how Hijo Central is a complete package on its own as a tourism hub, agriculture base, residential address, commercial area, industrial district, leisure and nature park all rolled into one.
Clearly Hijo Central is not just a lifestyle or a way of life but an investment in life.