Cebu: Nowhere to expand but up


Cebu has a limited buildable space, only eight percent (8%) of its total land area is flat and this is spread along the coastline of an elongated island. You only have two options, go north or south.

In the 60’s, southward development started in San Nicolas Mambaling area. Subdivisions like Ma. Gochan with its fruity streets Avocado, Bayabas, Caimito, etc. Then Labangon, Punta Princesa and Tisa became residential areas with corn and peanut fields giving way to housing structures.

The 70’s saw expansion reaching the barangays of Pardo in the South and Mabolo in the north. During this time, the city of government of Cebu realized the scarce land resource and to address the need requirement by a rapidly growing city like Cebu, planning started for the North Reclamation project which eventually became the home of SM’s first mall outside Metro Manila

During the 80’s, expansion continued filling every available space from Guadalupe to Pardo in the South and and in the north, Lito Osmena started to move farther north the haven of the ultra-rich, Maria Luisa Subdivision. Yes, Banilad at that time was considered very far from the city. I’m not that old yet but I still remember buying Japanese corn in what would become  Gaisano Country Mall.

The 90’s saw an unprecedented growth in Cebu. Dubbed “Ceboom”, the tandem of governor Lito Osmena and Mayor Tom Osmena opened Cebu to opportunities never seen before. Manila developers went on crazy shopping for space. Ayala cornered the provincial lot utilized as golf course while SM secured the greatest chunk in the new reclamation. The residential expansion now extends from Talisay city to Mandaue city. The northward expansion shifted westward to Mactan island after plans for a 2nd bridge floated.

To continue the legacy of his father, Tom Osmena proposed the South Reclamation project even before the North was completely sold-out. Also called the age of malling, Cebu saw three giant malls opening within an 18-month period. Gaisano Country Mall broke ground late but was the first to open followed by SM then by ACC. How these stores almost killed the business in Colon will be a good separate story

Condominiums started out in Cebu not as housing solution but as status symbol for the rich. This was however short-lived with the onset of the Asian Crisis in 1997-98. The slowdown in real estate activities continued into the new millennium.

Ceboom part 2 started around 2006 and growth went exponential since then. Two things happened, residential properties now pushed farther north in Liloan and down south in Naga city., and traffic has become an ever worsening occurrence.

Traffic and scarcity of land  indicate one thing , there’s nowhere to go but up. If you buy a house in Liloan for example with a monthly amortization of 15,000 pesos , you would need more or less the same amount monthly for you and your family to commute to the city. Not to mention the amount of time you need to bear in daily traffic.

Traffic will get worse, believe me. With just one major road going north and one going south, daily snarl will be as predictable as the sunrise. We can always build a new highway but where? Slice it in the mountains or erect a viaduct above the sea?

Cebu’s topography is telling us, its time to buy a condo in the city.

Nowhere to go but up, a skyscraper city in the making.



photo credit to :romanslerz/skyscrapercity




My Mivesa 


We visited Mivesa Garden Residences yesterday to check on the construction progress of  tower 3 where we have a unit acquired around two years ago.

I was totally surprised to see the first two towers already occupied by happy owners. Kids were splashing in one of the pools, their nannies chatting in the nearby function hall. The manicured gardens and lighted walkways are comparable to that of a high-end resort.


In the commercial area, a 7-11 is teeming with teens in their pajamas  working with school assignments while next to it, a laundry shop is  also bustling with business. More shops are opening soon I suppose.

I did not expect this low priced project to turn out this beautiful. Its more elegant than in the brochures.

But the best news probably is the timely delivery of the units. Hands down to Landmasters, this homegrown developer can claim the  bragging rights of walking their talk. A feat rarely seen in the industry nowadays.

My 30sq.m. corner unit with balcony  have appreciated by more than 30% in just two years, the increase in value bigger than my actual investment( the equity I paid in 36 installments zero interest.)

The rental rate and occupancy in the area is also promising, just as expected with its location.

From my unit’s balcony, I have a sweeping view of the immaculate gardens of the property across, a condo development with a price tag of 8M upward per unit. The same ambiance and view for less than half of the price. That’s the cherry topping!


Note: I am a unit owner of Mivesa Garden Residences and this is just my personal opinion and experience. I did not receive anything for writing this.

What’s in CEBU?

A tourism mecca for some, shopping paradise for others and investment haven for many. Cebu as a destination has evolved over the years into a multi- faceted paradise. Let’s take a look again at the queen city of the south in  a series of videos.

  1. A Glimpse of its natural beauty
  1. The world in one island
  1. Investment hub
  1. Opportunities and Potential

Uswag pa Sugbu

TAFT East Gate, the heart of bustling Cebu!

I spent the whole Eid Ul Adha holiday hovering above the city in a simulated flight, courtesy of Google Earth 3d map which now include Metro Cebu or a good portion of it. Since it is still a work in progress, some graphics need additional enhancement. It is more than enough though to change your perspective of Cebu, or is it just me getting excited about this?  Go ahead, Explore Cebu  in a virtual tour. You can go inside some of the buildings, dive underwater or just enjoy the 360′ degree scenery. An amazing technology with immense potential. And yes, its free.

Aerial view of Cebu reveal a densely populated urbanity running short on space for growth and expansion . Except for the reclaimed properties, Metro Cebu has already exhausted its flat lands and the only way to expand now is by going vertical. Our topography is very similar to that of Hongkong.

Being an old civilization, Cebu’s ancient road network is narrow, traffic congestion will be the next concern.. I went around the city looking for a strategic place to call home…. and found it easily, thanks again to Google Earth.

Halfway between the sea and the mountain range of Cebu, in an intersection where I.T Park and Cebu Business Park converge, is TAFT East Gate. Not for everyone though as units are limited and almost 50% sold-out already. An address of distinction, a rare privilege to call home, the heart of Cebu.


Designed by a world-renowned architect, Taft East Gate is  a blue-chip investment proposition, as property value is expected to increase steeply over the next 5 to 10 years. Rental rates, likewise, for residential condo units, projected to increase sharply as market demand remain at an all-time high.


Here’s a wide-angle view of TAFT East Gate location showing its proximity to three surrounding CBD’s .

So if you want a profitable, safe and secure real estate investment, look for the heart of a bustling city like Cebu.

You can never go wrong with the right location.

Taft Properties Maintain Stronghold in Cebu Real Estate Industry

Taft Properties maintain stronghold in Cebu real estate Industry with five pioneering and trailblazing projects 

1. HORIZONS 101. The first vertical project of Taft Properties (TAFT) is not just tall. Its the tallest in Visayas and Mindanao. Despite several natural calamities and other challenges, it is right on target for delivery to its unit owners in 2015. At 55 floors above ground, H101 is making a statement that Cebu has ‘arrived’ and ready to compete with its counterpart,  2nd-tier cities in Southeast Asia.


Horizons 101 viewed from across Mactan channel

2. TAFT EAST GATE. Engr Jack Gaisano, chairman of the board of Vicsal Corp, mother company of Taft Properties  once said : “ We will not change the skyline of Cebu. We will be the skyline”. True enough, even before H101 can top-off, another project in Pope John Paul II avenue corner Cardinal Rosales avenue in the heart of Cebu’s business district (CBD) was announced. Taft East Gate, is a 10 billion pesos mixed-use residential community with commercial and retail components in the lower floors. With an area of 15,000 sq.m., the complex will feature four high-rise condominiums. Tower 1 will have 50 floors above ground and the three succeeding  towers could be taller. Curvy, glassy and stunning, Taft East Gate’s imposing height will serve as guide to motorists entering Cebu’s business nucleus. In short, The Beacon of the Eastern Gate!


Taft East Gate

3. JOINT VENTURE WITH HONGKONG LAND. The real estate industry was surprised early this year with the news that a  20-hectare prime waterfront property in Mandaue reclamation was acquired by HongKong Land (HK Land) in partnership with a little known, media shy company, Cebu Asian Rim Dev. Corp. It was later identified as a subsidiary of TAFT. HK Land is one of the largest developers in Asia with notable projects such as Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and One Central in Macau. Cronepartners Australia is said to be drawing the master plan dubbed as The game-changer‘.

a sketch of Mandaue development can be as published in an online magazine of cronepartners, Australia

A sketch of the Mandaue development  published in an online magazine of cronepartners

4. JOINT VENTURE WITH AYALA. Last April, Ayala Land Inc.(ALI) through its wholly owned Cebu Holdings Inc. and Vicsal Corp, through Taft Properties, inked a deal for the development of a leisure-oriented mixed-use project in the latter’s prime seaside property in Mactan island. Located right across Mactan Shangri-la Resort and Spa, it has an area of around 20,000 square meters. The newly formed entity born out of the joint venture is named Taft Punta Engano Property Inc.

5. SYMFONI. TAFT is set to roll-out a new brand of low-rise condominiums designed to cater the affordable market segment. Symfoni will be built in strategic locations within the city and offer an alternative to housing developments far from the city. Traffic-buster in a way, the first Symfoni will rise in Nichols Heights in Banawa, Guadalupe with a price tag of less than P1.3M per unit and can be availed through Pag-Ibig or bank loan. This is by far the most affordable condominium project in its category in Cebu.

Symfoni at Nichols

Symfoni at Nichols

From the tallest tower to a ‘game-changer’ development and from a luxurious 50-storey beacon to the affordable Symfoni, TAFT Properties is set to continue playing a major role in the local real estate industry to maintain a stronghold in what it considers as baluarte……..Cebu. 

In many ways, Taft Properties is indeed Cebu’s Real Estate Pioneer!