The brothers of TransPhil Real Estate are bringing back townhouse living

Ramon “Dax” Garcia III and Rafael “Rafa” Garcia grew up wearing hardhats in construction sites with their father and seeing how he built townhomes under the family company TransPhil Real Estate. Rafa remembers playing in the sand on jobsites while Dax was involved in the company’s finance side and would sometimes be tasked to line up at various government offices to secure construction permits.

Today, these two young men are at the helm of the 47-year-old company with Dax, 33, as president and CEO, and new grad Rafa, 25, as VP for sales and product development. They’re the two sons of Roland Garcia and Cha-Cha Camacho.

Design-focused TransPhil Real Estate creates sophisticated interior spaces, such as this living and dining area in their Alderwood development in Quezon City.

It wasn’t until Dax and Rafa became involved in the creation part of a townhome that they became passionate about the family business, which was incidentally started by their granduncle who was a merchant marine. TransPhil used to transport LPG tanks around the city and later transitioned into a manpower provider for shipping companies.

Dax says, “What I love about building townhomes is the feeling you get when you turn over a unit to the buyer especially since this is probably the biggest purchase they’re going to make in their lifetime and they’re very happy with the design and space. It makes you feel good when your creation is validated because we’re very design and customer-focused.”

The front and rear units at Alderwood

Before joining the company — to test the waters, if you will — younger brother Rafa did his own project in Cainta independent of TransPhil, a total of 11 three-story units. “It was a property we had with our mom, but it wasn’t our typical area and I got my own team to develop it.”

“Our passion for what we do shows in our projects,” says Dax.

Indeed, it does. Looking at the finished products, you know that these brothers have a keen eye for design, which has resulted in some of the most beautiful townhomes you will ever see.

Barton in Mandaluyong is comprised of three townhomes with 270 sqm. of floor area each.

The New Townhomes

Before the population explosion of Metro Manila in the 1990s and before the rise of condominiums, townhouses were a very popular option, mostly converted from large family compounds or neighboring lots. You’d see them around Quezon City, Mandaluyong and Makati — the units built side by side and in many cases one unit consisted of boring spaces stacked on top of each other.

Today, TransPhil has transformed the old townhouse concept into high-end single detached homes that form pocket communities. The units are spacious and built for the modern family with top-grade finishes. They’ve also included in the bare units split air-conditioning systems upon turnover. The reason behind this, according to the brothers, is both practical and design-based — so that buyers aren’t saddled with where and how to install their ACs and also because the placement of condensers is part of the overall design to make them inconspicuous.

The master bedroom with en-suite bathroom at Barton

Dax says, “People think their options are only to buy a condo or a house and lot outside Metro Manila to fit their budget. Or to move somewhere very far, like in a township in the south or north outside Manila. But the townhome product can provide the right location with the affordability of a condo and the space of a house and lot. And it comes with a land title. A lot of people are not aware of this option. I think the bigger developers have abandoned the model because it’s very hard to find larger cuts of land here, so it’s not worth their time in terms of scale. But since we’re a boutique developer, we can build on land as small as 300 sqm. and construct two or three townhomes.”

From 2010 to 2015, their focus was on the mid market with a price range of P5 to P6 million. But as land prices rose exponentially, in Mandaluyong in particular, their ambitions went beyond just building townhomes and turned to gentrification of neighborhoods.

The master bedroom at Rosevale has views of the city and beyond.

“The peg for our developments in Mandaluyong was Brooklyn,” Dax says. “Just across the bridge from our developments is Rockwell, just like how near Brooklyn is to Manhattan.”

In Mandaluyong, they have four projects, namely Barton, Bedford, Glenbrook and Buenconsejo, three of them on Sikap St., which has virtually transformed the neighborhood of what used to be old houses into a chic address.

Barton is built on a 360-sqm. lot, consisting of three townhomes with a floor area of 270 sqm. each and with four bedrooms, five bathrooms and a two-car garage. Bedford townhomes are between 226 and 262 sqm. with three to four bedrooms and a two-car garage. Glenbrook townhomes have four bedrooms each, a walk-in closet and a two-car garage. And Buenconsejo townhomes have three to four bedrooms and two to three-car garage.

The living room at a Bedford unit is awash in natural light.

Their Quezon City portfolio consists of Ellery Place, Redwood Residences and Alderwood. All unit floor areas in these projects are upwards of 216 sqm. In Manila, they have Rosevale Estates in Paco with floor areas between 299 and 381 sqm.

All master’s bedrooms are at least 30 sqm. (not including the en-suite bathroom) and all units have a helper’s room.

The prices for these townhomes are from P15 to P25 million. Rafa explains, “On a per square level, you’re looking at around P95,000 to P100,000.”

“That’s with four bedrooms, living, dining, kitchen and a three-car garage; some units have a basement,” Dax points out. “Many families still prefer to live in these kinds of homes. Take our projects in Mandaluyong, they have spacious floor areas for P15 to P20 million. For that amount, what you’d get in Makati is maybe a 75-sqm. condo whereas here, you get almost 300 sqm. For bigger condo units in Mandaluyong, you’re already looking at luxury developments and they’re likely to cost from P40 to P50 million with only two bedrooms.”

With over a thousand units built in 150 projects around Metro Manila and so many more on the drawing board, the brothers’ dream of gentrifying neighborhoods may very well be on its way to becoming a reality.

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Visit TransPhil Real Estate’s website at

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