MANILA, Philippines - Outside of Metro Manila, Iloilo stands as the center of business expansion for real estate giant Megaworld Corp.
And why Iloilo? â€œItâ€™s quite personal,â€ said Maricor Manlangit, Megaworldâ€™s first vice president for Strategic Planning. â€œIloilo is very close to the heart of our chairman, Andrew Tan. This is the first province that he visited while he was still working.â€
â€œAt that time, he fell in love with the province. I think it struck him that much that the acquisition of the property is very sentimental to him,â€ Manlangit added.
In a press conference Saturday, Manlangit said Megaworld is projected to pour in P25 billion for the entire development of the Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao district, Iloilo City.
Harold Geronimo, director for Strategic Marketing and Communications, added that Iloilo is located in a very strategic area and in the middle of Western Visayas.
â€œSo, we are looking at a very promising location and our entry into this region has been in the works for the longest time.â€
Geronimo said that Iloilo, being the regional center in Region 6, is the best place to start and expand Megaworldâ€™s business outside of Metro Manila.
â€œWe already have a project in Cebu and in Western Visayas, weâ€™ll be starting in Iloilo. Apart from that, weâ€™ve seen how Iloilo has expanded with the introduction of international flights,â€ he said.
Right now, there are direct flights from Iloilo to Singapore and Hong Kong and vice versa. There are plans to open direct flights to India soon.
â€œWe really see the potential of Iloilo as a tourist area. People are coming to see to Iloilo,â€ Geronimo added.
In a few years, Megaworld executives excitedly announced that Western Visayas will soon see the rise of a boom town, as Megaworld construct a boutique hotel and commercial district a lifestyle mall, business process outsourcing (BPO) office buildings, and a convention center in the anticipated Iloilo Business Park.
Roland Tiongson, SAVP for Business Leasing and Development Group, said that at least 25,000 jobs will be up for grabs for the BPOs alone.
There would be more for construction, hotel and convention center staff, and mall personnel.
â€œAs we extend out â€˜live-work-playâ€™ formula to Iloilo, weâ€™re expecting a breakthrough in Western Visayas in terms of business and tourism, which will be brought by the world-class developments that Megaworld has always been known for,â€ shared Jericho Go, Megaworldâ€™s Vice President for Business Leasing and Development Group.
Aligning the expansive Megaworld Boulevard, the 54-hectare mixed-use development will house the Megaworld Center Mall, Festive Walk, the international brand Marriott Courtyard Hotel, Richmonde Hotel, and the Iloilo Convention Center.
The Megaworld Center Mall will be Iloiloâ€™s first upscale and first stand alone mall outside of Metro Manila.
A 9.7-hectare subdivision lot, on the other hand, is allotted for the boutique hotel and commercial district, which will be one of the highlights in the Iloilo Business Park.
â€œWeâ€™ve been talking lots of interested business owners who want to operate within this exciting new district of the township. This is going to be exclusive only to the privileged few,â€ Manlangit said.
Iloilo Convention Center, on the other hand, is a joint venture between Megaworld and the local government. It will be built on a 1.7 hectare lot to be funded collective by Senator Franklin Drilonâ€™s annual priority development assistance fund, the Department of Tourism, and the Tourism Infrastructure and the Enterprise Zone Authority.
The convention center, touted as Iloiloâ€™s largest, is designed for big conferences, exhibitions, and trade fairs.
Like Megaworldâ€™s other townships, the business park will be based on the companyâ€™s pioneering â€˜live-work-playâ€™ concept. The winning formula has propelled its Manila projects â€“ Eastwood City, Forbestown Center, McKinley Hill, and Newport City â€“ to success.