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Author: Joy Flores-Ablanida

Innovation, not digitization, is key: Mayor Tomas Osmeña

Capitalizing on innovation as the key to digitization, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is eyeing an alternative to renewing business permits in the city. Osmeña spoke before an audience at…

Capitalizing on innovation as the key to digitization, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is eyeing an alternative to renewing business permits in the city.

Osmeña spoke before an audience at Digitize Cebu held Wednesday at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel.

“It takes two weeks to renew business permit. I gathered a team of experts to study how to renew business permit. Then they told me now it will be 20 minutes. How? They (business owner) don’t need to fill out form. All they have to do is just confirm the information. But what happened since that time? You run around the city to get all the clearances. This must be solved,” said Osmeña.

Problem with government

He admitted having problems with the government because “we are not allowed to innovate”.

“There’s one missing pillar and that’s innovation. Politics has developed a culture of status quo,” said Osmeña. “Digitization is not necessary. The keyword here is innovation.”

Digitize Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña

INNOVATION. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said they are tapping innovation to improve services at City Hall. He said the challenge with working in government is that “we are not allowed to innovate.”

The mayor shared a story of a logistics company that uses index cards for their operations.

“No computer, just index cards. If you have a question, you write at the index card. The company will write its answer at the back of the index card. And if more than one index card, the company thinks you’re talking so much. You see it’s not computerization but again innovation,” said Osmeña.

Pay taxes

Osmeña pointed out that the City Government will run after businesses not paying taxes.

He further said the role of the Treasurer’s Office is to bring in money. “We can’t bring in money because the sari-sari store cannot secure an SSS clearance.”

Saying that Cebu is trying to innovate, Osmeña said they are looking at issuing certificate that shows the business owner paid taxes.

“If you pay tax, we will do beautiful things for Cebu,” he added.

Digitize Cebu was presented by AdSpark, a Globe-owned digital advertising company, in collaboration with Globe myBusiness and the Department of Trade and Industry-Cebu.

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Grand Land Inc. sees potential in serviced apartments

Cebu developer Grand Land Inc. topped off Grand Residences Cebu North Tower A last Thursday, August 17. Following this milestone, Grand Land’s VP for Sales and Marketing Tina Pestaño revealed…

Cebu developer Grand Land Inc. topped off Grand Residences Cebu North Tower A last Thursday, August 17.

Following this milestone, Grand Land’s VP for Sales and Marketing Tina Pestaño revealed that the North Tower B will be offering serviced apartments.

“There will be serviced apartments to be operated by Dusit D2. That’s 163 units in North Tower B for the serviced apartments. It’s a fully furnished unit and equipped with kitchen, dining, laundry service,” said Pestaño.

More units for North towers

Grand Residences Cebu is a five-tower project in Banilad, Kasambagan, Cebu City. Unit owners are starting to occupy the first two (East) towers. The new towers will have more floors than the East towers.

The North towers are up to the 35th floor. There will be about 700 units per tower for the North towers. Target completion for North Tower A is first quarter of 2018. In North Tower B, the 24th to 34th floors or a total of 10 floors are set aside for the serviced apartments.

Like the East towers, the North towers offer studio units and one-bedroom units. The prices in the new towers start at P3 million for the regular units while those intended for serviced apartments are priced higher.

Grand Residences Cebu

TOPPED OFF. The North Tower A of Grand Residences Cebu that was topped off at 35th floor last Thursday.

Good investment

Pestaño described the serviced apartments as a premium type of condo ownership.

“Serviced apartment is meant for investment,” she said. “(Unit owners) in our service apartment program can get 8 to 11% potential ROI per annum.”

Pestaño added: “It (serviced apartments) will be managed by an international hospitality group and marketed worldwide.”

Grand Land Inc. partnered with Dusit D2 to manage the serviced apartment units. Dusit D2 is the contemporary hotel brand of Dusit International.

The units for serviced apartment are double the normal size of a studio unit, hence higher in price. Rate starts at P8 million.

Pestaño said the service apartments will have a separate lobby and a separate elevator.

Grand Land Inc.

PRESS CON. Officials of Grand Land Inc. face Cebu media in a press conference held during the topping off of Grand Residences Cebu. From L-R: Sales Director Divine Cavan, VP for Sales and Marketing Tina Pestaño, and Chief Finance Officer Larry Tan.

Guests at Grand Residences’ serviced apartments could expect a personalized experience, spacious living, and value for money that’s comparable to living in a home. It’s like living in an apartment that has a 24/7 concierge.

Pestaño said that serviced apartment is more long term than condotel. “Minimum stay for serviced apartment is one week. You could book a stay for a month, six months or a year. With condotel, the stay is per night.”

Hotel occupancy growth

With Cebu being positioned as an international destination, Pestaño said they see growth in hotel occupancy.

“The expansion of the airport (Mactan-Cebu International Airport) signifies Cebu is positioned as an international destination. There will be about 12.5 million influx of tourists and Cebu lacks hotel rooms,” said Pestaño.

The serviced apartments of Grand Residences will then be able to cater to guests staying in Cebu for a longer term. It is targeted to open by 2022.

Grand Residences Cebu sits on a 3.2 hectare property. Of this, 1 hectare will be converted to a commercial complex. “Our concept is live, work, and play,” said Pestaño.

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AboitizLand unveils Foressa Mountain Town project in Balamban

The so-called “urban jungle” life that Cebuanos are experiencing today gave birth to the concept of Foressa, the first mountain town project of AboitizLand in Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu. “The mother’s…

The so-called “urban jungle” life that Cebuanos are experiencing today gave birth to the concept of Foressa, the first mountain town project of AboitizLand in Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu.

“The mother’s womb is our first home. We grow up and discovered the outdoors. Then everything suddenly became tighter and most of us are trapped in cubicles, stuck in traffic. We all yearn to escape. And so why settle for a five-star living when you can have five million stars living? This project is beyond words,” said John Amon, VP for Innovations Group of AboitizLand, when he shared the Foressa story during its launch in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu on April 27.

Foressa Launch

FORESSA LAUNCH. AboitizLand VP for Innovations Group John Amon presents the Foressa story during its launch at Marco Polo Plaza last April 27, 2017.

Foressa Mountain Town is a 300-hectare community. Its development will come in four phases, with the first phase set to start in the last quarter of this year. There will be an initial 114 lots available for buyers with lot cuts ranging from 300 square meters to a maximum of 690 square meters and turnover target is 2020.

Second home

AboitizLand CEO Andoni Aboitiz said Foressa was designed as a second home or vacation residence where families can create lasting memories together.

He added they do not want to compete with the beach concept and instead felt that the Cebuanos are ready for the mountain concept.

Asked for some indicators that Cebuanos are ready to get a second home, Aboitiz cited the demand for condominiums that has been going strong for many years.

“A lot of people, we believe, have already fulfilled their primary residence. Cebu’s economy is also very strong especially with the new airport. There are a lot of beachfront and we felt the people need something else,” he said.

Foressa aims to bring the great outdoors closer to family homes. The community will offer activities like hiking, biking, spelunking, camping, and trail riding, among others.

AboitizLand Foressa Mountain Town.

TRANSFORMED. The Grand Balcony of Marco Polo Plaza was turned into great outdoors during the launch of AboitizLand’s Foressa Mountain Town.

Biggest project

Cebu’s homegrown real estate developer AboitizLand is geared towards national expansion with its first resort residential community in Luzon, the Seafront Residences located in San Juan, Batangas that ws launched also this year.

Aboitiz, however, said they will never forget Cebu. Foressa is the biggest project of AboitizLand to date.

“This (Foressa) is a multi-year project,” he said. Aside from building houses, Foressa will have commercial spaces, too.

Low-impact development

Foressa is a low-impact development. “We will follow natural contours. All will be natural, organic and nothing artificial. Even the house designs are colonial hilltop houses,” said Amon.

This was echoed by Aboitiz as he described Foressa as the first of its kind in Cebu for it ensures the property’s natural assets are preserved and left for future generations to enjoy.

Foressa Mountain Town Launch

LAUNCHING. (From left) AboitizLand’s VP for Innovations Group John Amon, CEO Andoni Aboitiz, and President and COO Patrick Reyes. The photo was taken during the launch of Foressa Mountain Town in Marco Polo Plaza last April 27, 2017.

Nature itself is the amenity in Foressa. “Imagine enjoying the grass, sky, a lot of open spaces for camping,” Amon said.

He ended his Foressa story during the launch with these beautiful words. “In Foressa, we say…Lose your worries to the stars, find yourself in Foressa. Lose your boredom to the trails, find yourself in Foressa. Lose your fears to the woods, find yourself in Foressa. Get lost in your own backyard, find yourself in Foressa.”

At Thursday’s launch, some Cebuanos made reservations and heeded the invitation to find themselves in Foressa.

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