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Police to public: Keep calm if caught in a bomb blast

Saturday November 18, 2017

WHAT will you do if a bomb explodes near you inside a mall? Don’t panic and clear your mind so you can a safe exit. This was the advice of Chief Insp. Clark Arriola, chief of the Mabolo Police Station in Cebu City, to the public after conducting a bomb simulation exercise in Ayala Center Cebu yesterday morning. “If you panic, there will be a lot of people running, which may cause a stampede. So we have to be calm and call the nearest security officer in sight,” he said. After yesterday’s activity, Arriola said there are areas that still need to be addressed. “We have to have a command post. Our medical units didn’t also have an overall supervisor so they were divided,” he said. Arriola also said that there is a need to consider traffic when responding to emergencies. “Next time, we can schedule a simulation exercise where there is heavy traffic so that we can assess the response time of the different units,” he said. Retired colonel Ed Layese, security manager of Cebu Holdings Inc., said they already upgraded their equipment in the mall after the series of bombings in some parts of the country. “We bought more gear for our security officers. We also installed exit signs in the cinemas, not only above but also below so that when people will take cover on the ground, they will be guided even while crawling out,” Layese said. Aside from the police, also present during the bomb simulation exercise were personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command, explosive and ordnance disposal team, Bureau of Fire Protection 7, and the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, among others. Cebu City Police Office Director Joel Doria said that other police stations in the city need to conduct their own simulation exercises. “All of our stations are directed to conduct simulation exercises regularly. We conduct these exercises precisely to know what needsto be improved,” he said. (SUN STAR CEBU)

Ayala Group sets aside P39B for Cebu

Friday November 10, 2017

The Ayala Group is booking P39 billion for Cebu over the next five years, an amount needed to finance its commercial, retail, residential, and leisure expansions. Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) Visayas-Mindanao Group vice president Aniceto “Jun” Bisnar Jr. shared the information in a press conference yesterday for its newest project Seagrove, a mixed use leisure development, in Punta Engaño in Lapu-Lapu City (see story, A12). “In the next five years or so, the whole Ayala group will invest around P39 billion in Cebu alone. That’s a sign of confidence of the Ayala Group in the Cebu economy,” he said. The amount is 179 percent higher compared to the Ayala Group’s investment in Cebu in the past five years, which totaled P14 billion. The amount will finance the construction and developments of Seagrove, a joint venture with Taft Properties that will feature a 14-hectare mixed-use leisure development in Punta Engaño, Lapu Lapu City; the 15-hectare Gatewalk Central in Subangdaku, Mandaue City, a mixed-use development under a joint venture with Aboitiz Land Inc.; and the Central Block in Cebu IT Park that will house an integrated mall, hotel, and office tower concepts. The capex will also finance Ayala Land’s residential projects like Alveo, Avida, and Ayala Land Premier. “We see that Visayas and Mindanao regions, especially Cebu, will be a critical area for future growth,” said Bisnar, who also sits as president of Cebu Holdings Inc. The Ayala Group has been in Cebu since 1988, and has developed the Cebu Business Park, Ayala Center Cebu, and the Cebu IT Park. It has nine existing estates in the Visayas and Mindanao. To expand its presence in Southern Philippines, Bisnar said the company is open to possible joint ventures with local companies moving forward. (SUN STAR CEBU)

Marriott bows out of Cebu City, Seda fills void

Monday October 16, 2017

Deluxe hotel operator Marriott International will bow out of Cebu City by yearend but the 301-room hotel property will continue to operate under Ayala Land’s homegrown hospitality brand Seda. AyalaLand Hotels and Resorts Corp. (AHRC) announced on Friday the conclusion of its contract with Marriott International Hotels to manage Cebu City Marriott Hotel by the end of 2017 and the appointment of its wholly-owned Seda to manage the hotel in 2018 after refurbishing the hotel’s rooms and amenities. In a press statement, AHRC president and CEO Al Legaspi expressed appreciation for Cebu City Marriott’s “consistent performance” over the past 20 years and observed that the hotel had helped spur the growth of the Cebu Business Park and the rest of Cebu City as a global business center. He also expressed gratitude to the hotel employees for their dedicated service. Legaspi disclosed that the excellent performance of its wholly-owned and wholly-Filipino brand in other parts of the country, notably in Bonifacio Global City, prodded the appointment of Seda to manage the Cebu Business Park property. “Seda in Cebu Business Park will be our biggest hotel in the Visayas which is but fitting given Cebu City’s transformation as a global business center,” he said. “Seda, which now has 1,255 rooms throughout the country, is ready to fill the needs of Cebu Business Park locators and visitors,” he added. AHRC’s commitment to Cebu will further be underscored by the construction of another Seda hotel at the Cebu IT Park. It will be the first Seda hotel and serviced apartment complex outside of Metro Manila. The Cebu IT Park property is set for completion in 2019. Both hotels will uphold the Seda brand pillars of a strategic location close to shops and restaurants within a vibrant Ayala Land mixed-use development combined with service at par with global standards that draws from innate Filipino hospitality. Since its launch in 2012, the Seda hotel brand has flourished in various locations nationwide. Aside from Bonifacio Global City, it also has properties in Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, Iloilo City, Nuvali in Laguna, and Quezon City, where it recently opened the biggest hotel in the city with 438 rooms, a ballroom and presidential suite. The Ayala group believes that Seda’s success has merited an aggressive expansion program that will set its room inventory to twice the current number in the next two years. (INQUIRER)

65 years of luxury retail by Rustan’s

Sunday October 15, 2017

Rustan's celebrated 65 years of existence with a grand bash at its department store in the Ayala Center Cebu. As we all know, the name implies luxury retail of the first order. Here for the occasion were Store Specialties president Anton Huang, with Rustan’s marketing communications manager Dina Tantoco, administration manager Paolo Tantoco, and Michael T. Huang, vice president for store planning and expansion. Rustan’s in Manila dates back to 1952. Later it became bigger with a multilevel store and super market in Makati. In Cebu it was on August 1981. Highlights of the Cebu celebration on Sept. 23 was a fashion parade–The Sapphire Collection at the second level, attended by Cebu’s luminaries in business and high society. In focus were Rustan’s exclusive brands–Ricardo Preto, U by Ricardo Preto, Criselda Lontok, Jill and Jojie Lloren, Lady Rustan, Oleg Cassini, Rustanette, Kiddes, and Rustan Jr. Jaja Rama of Bigseed has sent us photos which capture the festive need and who were there. Enjoy! (CEBU DAILY NEWS)

Condos still in demand

Friday October 6, 2017

Housing boom in Metro Cebu continues Demand for condominium units is expected to continue to grow in Metro Cebu despite the decline in average housing prices nationwide during the second quarter of 2017. Property management and research firm Colliers International Philippines expects take-up of horizontal and vertical developments to remain at a healthy level moving forward. Joey Bondoc, research manager at Colliers, said they see a slight bias toward condominiums considering the business activity in Metro Cebu. “We see demand for condominium units rising given that Cebu remains as a major business hub outside of Metro Manila,” Bondoc told Cebu Daily News. Average housing prices across the country fell 4.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas noted that real estate costs outside Metro Manila were declining. BSP’s real estate price index The BSP’s latest residential real estate price index (RREPI), which measures the average changes in prices of all types of housing units nationwide, dropped to 116.6 during the April-to-June period from 122.2 a year ago and 116.7 a quarter ago. In a statement, the BSP said prices of condominium units and townhouses grew faster year-on-year at 5.1 percent and 2.9 percent compared to the previous quarter, respectively, while prices of single detached housing units declined by 9.9 percent during the period covered. Condo unit prices in Metro Manila rose 5.2 percent in the second quarter even as stand-alone houses and townhouses saw prices going down by 6.1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the BSP said that “the drop in prices of single-detached houses outweighed the increase in prices of condominium units and townhouses” in areas outside the NCR. Prices of single detached or attached housing units outside Metro Manila dropped 10.3 percent year-on-year while those of condo units and townhouses increased by 5.5 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. “The increase in prices of condominium units can be attributed to the strong demand. As of the second quarter of 2017, the total take-up of condominiums outpaced the take-up for house and lots,” Bondoc said. Why one buys a condo in Cebu City Colliers has observed that owning a condominium in Cebu City, particularly, is becoming more popular to several factors such as the sustained flow of OFW remittances fueling end-user demand and Cebu being a significant contributor to the total number of Filipino workers deployed from Central Visayas. Prime sites for horizontal residential projects within Cebu City are harder to obtain, resulting in the proliferation of affordable to mid-income condominium projects within the city, Bondoc said. Furthermore, he said the continued expansion of BPO and KPO companies drives workers to stay close to areas of employment. Lastly, low interest rates make monthly amortizations more affordable. The BSP noted that 75.3 percent of real estate loans recorded from April to June were for purchases of new houses. Property loans, condo prices According to the central bank, by type of housing, 45.3 percent of residential property loans were for the acquisition of single detached units, followed by condo units (44.8 percent) and townhouses (9.6 percent). “What we’ve also observed is that overall average price of condominiums in the second quarter of 2017 grew by 3 percent compared to the same period in 2016. Lapu-Lapu (City) commands the highest per unit price because it is home to the most leisure-related projects,” Bondoc said, citing Colliers’ property report on housing prices during the second quarter of this year. He said prices of condo units in the city of Lapu-Lapu grew by 7 percent while Cebu City was the second most expensive location for condominium units. Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu prices Based on the report, prices of horizontal developments were flat compared to the second quarter of 2016. Notably, average prices in Cebu City during the second quarter of 2017 declined by 5 percent, partly reflecting the impact of competitively priced condominium units. “Both Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu registered increases in the prices of house and lots by 2 percent and 4 percent, respectively, due to the increasing land values,” said Bondoc. Given the growing demand for condominium projects in Metro Cebu, Bondoc said, they expect over 14,000 units to be completed between this year and 2020, which will further expand options for Cebuano end users and investors. Single-detached houses Christine Escalona-Sarmiento, president of the Philippines Association of Realtors Boards-Cebu Realtors Board (Pareb-Cereb), also agreed that single-detached houses in Cebu City have become less popular because these have become highly priced. Sarmiento, in a separate interview, said it will be quite difficult for buyers to find single-detached housing units in the city, and, if they can, these will probably cost more than P15 million already. Townhouses “In the horizontal segment, what’s more popular now are townhouse and duplexes that are within subdivisions or villages farther from the center of the city,” she said. Such is the case in Barangay Talamban, which some people would find already far, where houses that cost P5 million to P7 million within high-end subdivisions still sell fast. In Banawa, for example, there are also houses that cost between P10 million and P15 million, but these are already old structures that need to be renovated. There are also houses outside Cebu City but still within Metro Cebu that cost P7 million to P8 million and are definitely worth the price, she added. Prices of condominium units in the Ayala area now range P170,000 to P180,000 per square meter which is not within the high-end bracket yet. High-end brands within the area cost P200,000 per square meter. There are those outside Cebu City’s prime locations (Cebu Business Park and Cebu IT Park) that cost P1.7 million per unit and measure between 20 square meters and 24 square meters. Some can get units for P1.2 million to P1.5 million, depending on the developer. “Developers are bound to only keep increasing the prices of their properties to give justice to buyers who purchased units earlier. They cannot possibly make the price lower than how much they sold the units for during pre-selling period. It just keeps getting higher due to the growing demand,” Sarmiento said. In Cebu City, the demand is still high for condominium units while the demand for house and lot properties are also increasing albeit only outside Cebu City. Aside from high-rise condos and townhouses in the city, walk-up condominiums are also becoming more popular due to its affordability. For horizontal developments, many developers are still looking for land in the city, but whatever they find will already be costly. With plans to establish a mass transport system connecting the towns within Metro Cebu, developers are already inclined to bring their projects farther from Cebu City and have started land banking in places such as Minglanilla and Lapu-Lapu City. Niña Sison, a digital marketing and social media specialist for a fabric company, said she would rather buy a condominium than a single-detached house because of market value appreciation, considering the booming real estate scene in Cebu. Sison said she is also considering the central location of condo units, while single-detached homes in central Cebu are very few due to the influx of low-cost townhouses farther north and south. “It is also easier to reevaluate resale value compared to homes, and there are all-in-one amenities like a pool and gym. It’s also low maintenance. I won’t have to pay for roof repair, or termites, or garden landscape maintenance. But the downside is the high association fees,” she added. For Althea Ramos, an IELTS training specialist, she prefers a single-detached house because of its higher resale value and because it does not depreciate over time. “I own the lot and can do whatever I want to do with it. I can pass it on to my next of kin,” Ramos said. But at the end of the day, radio broadcaster Giovanni Pierro Malitao Jr. said whether one buys a condo unit or a single-detached house will all depend on their lifestyle. “If you’re busy and you need to be near businesses establishments, then a condominium unit is perfect. But if you want to be at peace and have privacy for the family, then a detached home would do,” Malitao said. (CEBU DAILY NEWS)

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