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Filipinas assemble own 'Avengers' design team to develop P25B world-class Bohol destination |

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Filipinas assemble own 'Avengers' design team to develop P25B world-class Bohol destination

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
Filipinas assemble own 'Avengers' design team to develop P25B world-class Bohol destination
Alturas Group's Hope Uy and Anna Uy-Deaño together with their international design partners in developing their new 10-year Panglao Shores project. / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

SINGAPORE — If Iron Man was a girl, she’d probably be like Hope Uy, Filipina Managing Director of Alturas Group: Genius, billionaire, play girl, philanthropist. The “play girl” part, however, is because she loves to play with ideas, with her hometown Bohol as her playground.

From Spanish times, Filipinos, particularly Filipina provincial girls, have been globally stereotyped as servants. But now, Hope, a Filipina provincial lass from Bohol, has turned the tables by assembling her own “Avengers” — that is, by employing and heading a group of international designers in the multi-billion Panglao Shores project in Bohol.

Bohol, site of the “sandugo” or blood compact between Spaniard Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and local leader Datu Sikatuna, sees the forging of a new pact between Filipinos and foreigners through the new Panglao Shores development, composed of two properties emphasizing sustainable practices: South Palms, a beach holiday destination; and South Farm Panglao, an agri-tourism initiative.

Together with Hope in the project is her equally empowered Filipina sister, Anna Uy-Deaño, Financial Controller of their family’s South Palms resort in Panglao.

Artists' rendition of Panglao Shores development presented to the press in Singapore. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

“I grew up in Bohol, actually. Born and raised there. My sister as well. Our family was based there. Six siblings. Bohol is our home. This is the beach that we grew (up) with. This is what we call our home beach. This is where our family goes to relax, so this is where everything happened when we grew up,” Hope recalled in a recent intimate press gathering held in Singapore, covered by the international press, and British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) included.

“I think this is already a global model that’s why we’re here in Singapore,” Uy told in an exclusive interview on how their family project in Bohol is set to put the Philippines on the international sustainable design map.

“I still cannot believe it! So yeah, getting global designers was also one of our intents as well to be globally-acclaimed.”

The Alturas Group is a family-owned company that has been there for 50 years headed by their patriarch, and South Palms is the only leisure development under their company so far. But in 10 years’ time, the group will add a completed Panglao Shores development into its portfolio – to be composed of three hotels, 20 hectares of residential space, and since the group came from a retail family operating malls in Bohol, there will be also 10,000 square-meter opportunities for retail, hospital and church. 

An international team of sustainable designers inspired by sustainable materials are at the helm of the project: Bill Barnett of C9 Hotelworks Company Limited; John Farrell, Director of XCO2; Chris Singer from SCSY Studio; Patricia Ho of White Jacket; Philip Pond of Atelier Pond; Drew Anderson of Topo Design Studio; and Patrick Keane of Enter Projects. Everyone follows a sustainable rule book or design guidelines for a low-density development that give the project’s present and future partners parameters on how to make the entire property sustainable from drawing, to groundbreaking, turnover and operations.

“The rule book is to serve as a ‘green contract’ that partners have to follow based on set parameters,” Farrell explained.

Barnett noted that the sustainable project fits like a glove to the Alturas Group as it employs about 10,000 people, making it Bohol’s biggest employer that is into circular economy as their goods and services are mostly made and consumed within the island.

Farrell said that partnering with the community and sharing the same green framework provides a good check and balance for their team.

“There is team collaboration from day one to make sure sustainability is in the project’s DNA,” he said, explaining that the sustainable framework masterplan is in effect from building to maintaining the project, not only at the project’s tail-end. Thus, all parts of the team are involved in sustainability, and not just one design aspect. They are also making changes collectively as a team.

“All those cards are laid on the table from the very beginning,” he said, adding that they aim “to work as a team to make sure that this sustainable masterplan framework is there from the very beginning and is carried on onto the future.”

The group eyes a P25-billion budget for the 10-year program. Phase 1 is set to allocate 3 billion for the resort and the infrastructure, including the church. Funding, said Uy, will be 100% in-house and supported by their retail company.

Phase 2 will see the rise of other resorts and residential areas and Uy said they will have investors starting from here to provide additional funding. Phase 3 is for other facilities such as restaurants, which will be funded by other partners but the final say would still be from Alturas, and also refinanced by the 10,000 square-meter retail complex to be built onsite.

Prior to the actual construction, the team worked with partners for the project’s tagline, “Pure Island Soul.” 

“The soul is very pure in terms of preserving what we have,” Uy expounded on the battlecry. “It’s a love project of our family and we would like to carry on that legacy for generations to come.”

RELATED: In photos: Christmas in Bohol after 'Odette'

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