The opening up of Mindanao: Davao real-estate study tour

In Photo: The New City Commercial Corp.

Part One

MINDANAO is like New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

The same cannot be said of Manila, unfortunately. We have seen many brands that have done well in Manila but have failed to conquer the hearts and minds of the equally lucrative Visayas and Mindanao market.

Having been adopted Tboli by the last remaining chieftain Mayor Dibu Tuan has, perhaps, sealed my being a Mindanao advocate for good. I can only truly say that I am not truly Filipino having traveled to some of the most beautiful places in the Philippines, which happen to be in Mindanao.

It is not just in tourism where this is confirmed to be so, quietly, some of the movers and shakers in the Philippines have hailed from Mindanao and I am not just referring to the incumbent president who has done so much in promoting this understated region.

Davao City is one of the major metropolitan areas in the Philippines, serving as the center of commerce, trade, tourism, investments and finance in the south. Its dynamic economy, favorable business environment, responsive local government, and high quality of life make the city a preferred destination for both investment and leisure. Davao region has the fifth-biggest economy in the country and the second fastest-growing economy next to Cordillera Autonomous Region.

Today, November 7, ULI Philippines will be hosting the very first ULI Davao Study Tour. Members will have the chance to travel to the regional capital of Southern Philippines, which has been consistently cited as among the top cities in the Philippines and Asia that has a business environment, investment opportunities and governance favorable to investors. The tour will include stops at premier local developments, hosted panel talks and a chance for attendees to meet with local public officials over intimate sessions.

This two-day tour will be focusing on several key areas, such as commercial and office opportunities in Davao region and City, Understanding the Davao and Mindanao consumer, emerging townships and mixed-use developments in the Davao region and the future of investing in Davao. Panelist speakers and tour guides will come from Davao developers, local government representatives and internationally recognized architects. A chance for a special intimate session with Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is included for the attendees of the tour, who will speak on the investment options in the Mindanao region and Davao.

Mindanao has been enjoying economic dynamism over the last five years with its gross regional domestic product (GRDP), exports and investments consistently growing at an average of 6 percent. Davao City, the capital of the southern region, is home to 22 million people, a majority of which are young, talented and highly dynamic. Owning to its geographic advantage, the city has become a test bed for Asean programs and policies, particularly in trade, transport, tourism and investment linkages. Many investors see the city and region as a whole as a location ripe for investment.

The tour, hosted in partnership with New City Commercial Corp. (NCCC) and Damosa Land Inc. (DLI), has been carefully curated to highlight the impressive growth of Davao in various aspects of real estate, including residential, commercial, industrial and agriculture. Some of the stops included are the following:

DLI’s Anflo Industrial Estate, a 63-hectare self-sustaining ecozone with complete facilities for manufacturing, cottage industries, warehousing and agro-industrial operations. The industrial park’s facilities are world class and strategically near an international logistics hub. Through the years, Damosa Land Inc. (DLI) has been at the forefront of the real estate and property development industry of Mindanao. It has remained steadfast in developing innovative and quality projects for the Anflo Group of Cos., while upholding its key value of being part of Mindanao’s growth and development.

The company is known as an innovator in the region being among the first to introduce a mixed-use development, the first Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) accredited IT Park, the first and largest coworking facility, and the first fully operational industrial Park in Damosa Complex.

Rounding the tour lineup is NCCC’s recently opened Buhangin Mall, 8,100-square-meter upscale retail and commercial development featuring over 85 tenants. As the undisputed retail leader in the Davao and Mindanao area, this local, this homegrown company’s growth and success is the success of every employee, and the success of Davao City. NCCC’s continued growth expansion was not limited to Davao City, and is also the pioneering retailer in Palawan. They will also be talking about the emerging areas of developments all over Mindanao, specifically in the Cotabato, Tagum, Panacan, Ma-A and Buhangin.

After the tours there will be talks from various facets of the industry to provide a full perspective of Davao as a region, with the theme “Opening Up Mindanao”: Partners, Locators, Investors, and Retailers. Speakers include Chairman Emeritus Armando Bartolome of Association of the Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI) who will speak about the untapped opportunities in Davao FB Mindanao; Elements Habitare who was part of the team who built Marina Bay Sands and will be working on the new integrated mixed-use community of NCCC in Panacan, the new home of the University of Asia and the Pacific Business School in Mindanao; and Angeline Tham, founder of Angkas who will talk about how technology is changing the way we move and build cities.

The tour will culminate in a debrief dinner session for sharing of all the attendees.

The Urban Land Institute is an international, membership-based nonprofit research and education organization. Founded in 1936, the Institute now has more than 40,000 members worldwide representing the entire spectrum of land use and real-estate development disciplines, working in private enterprise and public service. As the preeminent, multidisciplinary real-estate forum, ULI facilitates the open exchange of ideas, information, and experience among local, national, and international industry leaders and policy-makers dedicated to creating better places. The mission of the ULI is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

Across Asia Pacific, the institute has more than 2,100 members, with a particularly strong presence in Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney), China Mainland (Beijing and Shanghai), Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and South Korea. The regional office is headquartered in Hong Kong.

The local chapter of ULI in the Philippines is in Manila and hosts various events, such as study tours, talks, conferences and panels that allow both members and nonmembers alike who are real-estate industry practitioners to connect and share knowledge in line with their mission and vision.


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