Manila–(PHStocks)–Century Properties Group Inc. (PSE: CPG) had set its sights next on the world‐famous island of Palawan for a major destination real estate development.
Century Properties has signed a memorandum of agreement to acquire 56 hectares of property to develop a beachfront lifestyle destination development in the municipality of San Vicente – a picturesque town located northwest of Palawan’s mainland that teems with pristine beaches and a diverse marine life.
Touted as the Philippines’ final frontier, Palawan is rated as one of the best travel destinations in the country. It is the site of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and was declared as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world. Palawan also bagged the Top Island of the World title by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine and was chosen by Lonely Planet as one of the best value for money destinations in the world. The National Geographic Traveler named Palawan as one of its 20 Best Destinations.
Jose E.B. Antonio, founder and Chairman of Century Properties, said of the acquisition: “We have long identified tourism as a structural growth area for the Philippine economy and as such we are very pleased to announce the purchase of this development site in San Vicente, Palawan. This is a deal we have been working on for a considerable period of time. We have been able to purchase an exceptional block of land and are confident that given Century Properties’ long track record of delivering innovative branded real estate, we will be able to unlock the very significant long‐term potential from this site. By focusing on larger projects where the local tourism infrastructure is in place or under development, we are taking a careful and prudent approach to capturing the potential in the hospitality and lifestyle sector.”
“We will follow a phased development plan for this project and we have budgeted a capital expenditure of Php1.5 billion over the next three to five years to complete phase 1. The pace and timing of subsequent phases will in a large part be driven by the take up of the sale of hotel villas and the residential investment properties, which will form a significant part of the returns from this project. Given the exceptional potential of the site and the relatively low capital intensity inherent in the low rise nature of this type of development, we will be able to focus on the long term margin maximization of this project. Based on the master plan we forecast a total capital expenditure of over PhP20 billion in the next 10‐year period it is expected to take to complete the development,” said Antonio.
With a total land area of 146,294 hectares, the picturesque town of San Vicente is 140 times larger than Boracay Island in Panay. This natural paradise boasts of emerald green coves, white sand beaches, waterfalls, enchanting islands and lush forests that visitors can reach through enjoyable nature treks. One of its crown jewels is the Long Beach, a 14.7‐kilometer stretch of immaculate sand and water that is four times the length of Boracay’s white beach. San Vicente’s charm rests on its largely untapped wonders, and rich wildlife and marine life that are all waiting to be discovered.
San Vicente has its own airport, with a new two‐kilometer runway and terminal that are projected to be completed in 2015, thus allowing regional carriers to fly directly to San Vicente.
“On their completion the roads and airport infrastructure will be a major catalyst to the growth of Palawan and San Vicente as prime tourist destinations, facilitating larger regional and global arrivals to the Philippines,” said Tim Hallett, Chief Operating Officer for Century Properties Hospitality Inc., pointing out that the international tourist arrivals in the country at a projected 6.8 million for 2014 still pales in comparison with other Southeast Asian neighbors such as Vietnam (7.9 million) and Thailand (24.8 million).
“This acquisition represents an important next step for Century Properties as it works towards positioning itself to benefit from the huge structural potential identified in the tourism and lifestyle sector in the Philippines. In the past 12 months we have announced development plans for the Novotel at Acqua Private Residences to be completed in 2019 and the Phase 1 development of our 142‐hectare Batulao project in Batangas. Palawan is the perfect choice for Century Properties to expand its tourism and lifestyle destination development portfolio. Tourism brings inclusive progress to the country, and our company seeks to contribute to the growth of Palawan as the next tourism hot spot which we feel in time will rival or even surpass the prestige of Boracay as an international beach destination,” added Hallett.
“This project holds immense growth opportunities for our company and shareholders. We will work extremely hard on planning this project so that it integrates with the local community to ensure that it is an ecologically sustainable destination. Century will initially target the domestic market for this development, but as the facilities and accommodation options increase in later phases of the project we will then look to target both regional and international markets,” Hallet said.
Hallett pointed out that domestic tourists reached 44 million in 2013. “We would like to give this large group of younger travelers, which we call the emerging millennials in the Philippines, access to new experiences and new lifestyle destinations through our San Vicente project,” Hallet said.
Hallett said that the Philippines as a tourism destination has a leading edge over its Asian peers. “Seeing the
pristine beaches will just be the beginning of your beautiful journey in the Philippine islands. This country
has diverse natural attractions. Its people, the friendliest you’ll ever meet, are steeped in history and culture. And the best part is there are options for all types of tourists, from budget to luxury. The Philippines is one of the best value tourist destinations around,” he concluded.