Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Astana Subdivision in Lapu-Lapu City offers ‘quality economic houses’

Even with the big players getting into the mix, Johndorf Ventures Corp. believes its newest residential project Astana Subdivision shows the company continues to have an edge in the economic…

Even with the big players getting into the mix, Johndorf Ventures Corp. believes its newest residential project Astana Subdivision shows the company continues to have an edge in the economic housing segment.

The Johndorf Communities in Barangays Babag II and Kalawisan in Lapu-Lapu City covers about 20 hectares and will comprise four residential developments when completed, said sales and marketing manager Michele Chiu-Bacungan. It’s the company’s first township in the Visayas and Mindanao.

She added that Hanniyah Homes, the first housing project, is sold out while about a hundred of the total 413 units in Astana, the second development, are still available.

Johndorf Astana Lapu-Lapu City

ASTANA SUBDIVISION. A scale model of the Astana Subdivision, which is part of the Johndorf Communities in Barangays Babag II and Kalawisan in Lapu-Lapu City.

According to her, the high-grade materials and exacting construction method ensure that buyers are getting quality houses.

“Ours is not the typical pre-cast construction. We invested in our own formworks for a cast in place system. This makes the house faster to build, stronger, and more durable,” Chiu-Bacungan explained.

Astana Subdivision

An Astana townhouse has floor area of 52 square meters and lot area of 72 square meters. Its current contract price is P1.35 million. Buyers pay off the 20 percent downpayment in equal installments for 36 months without interest.

The big space shortly before the subdivision’s entrance gate will be developed for commercial purposes, said Lucille D. Parcon, Johndorf finance and admin manager for the Visayas and Mindanao.

Johndorf Astana Lapu-Lapu City

ASTANA MODEL UNITS. Johndorf uses a cast in place system that “makes the house faster to build, stronger, and more durable,” a company official said.

She added that Johndorf will be leasing out the commercial spaces to establishments that can province a service to residents and add value to the community. These can include laundry shops or convenience stores.

In Astana and their other housing projects, Chiu-Bacungan said they build the units ahead and do not base the construction on sales take-up. This allows them to be more flexible when it comes to allowing buyers to move in even if they haven’t completed paying off the three-year downpayment.

Chiu-Bacungan estimates the Astana development to be completed by 2016. She said they’re set to launch Navona, the third subdivision component of the Johndorf Communities in Kalawisan, soon.

Johndorf Astana Lapu-Lapu City

LIVING ROOM. The living room in one of the model units of Astana Subdivision in Lapu-Lapu City.

Johndorf property plans

Since it is where its strength lies, Johndorf will continue to focus on developing economic housing projects. Chiu-Bacungan said they also look at studies showing the backlog in housing units for the low-income to middle-income class.

Parcon, meanwhile, said the company is very aggressive in acquiring lands within Cebu, and it has a total of 25 hectares in Mactan alone.

Besides Mactan, Chiu-Bacungan said Johndorf plans to develop housing projects in Carcar and Consolacion. It is set to launch the Carcar project by the fourth quarter of 2015.

In 2012, when the company started standardizing its system, it also started initiating market studies. Chiu-Bacungan said the studies allow them harmonize development plans with the needs of the housing sector.

Johndorf Ventures, according to her, is very strong with the housing fund Pag-ibig. In terms of housing loan take-out, Johndorf is second top developer in the Visayas.

Johndorf Astana Lapu-Lapu City

BARE UNIT. An Astana townhouse has floor area of 52 square meters and lot area of 72 square meters. Its current contract price is P1.35 million.

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With Filinvest condotel investment, ‘money works for you,’ Grand Cenia owners say

FIRST-time property investor Alfredo Uy has proven that his money can work for him instead of him working for the money. He invested in the condotel project of Filinvest Land…

FIRST-time property investor Alfredo Uy has proven that his money can work for him instead of him working for the money. He invested in the condotel project of Filinvest Land Inc. in Cebu, the Grand Cenia. Combined through an asset pool, the Grand Cenia condotels are used as rooms of affiliate Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu.

The hotel distributes rental income to each qualified condotel unit owner quarterly. Uy just got his share for the last quarter of 2014 and it increased by 40 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013, the company said.

“I feel proud that I am part owner of the successful condotel of Filinvest here in Cebu. Every quarter I earn an added income that can offset ownership expenses,” Uy said.

Grand Cenia rental share

RENTAL SHARE. Couple Zenaida and Rodolfo Ramos (center) receive their share of the rental income for the use of condotel units by Quest Hotel & Conference Center Cebu at Grand Cenia from (from left) Prosper president Tristan Las Marias, Quest front office manager Regina Moga, tenant relations assistant Marilou Iway and engineer Allan G. Alfon, Filinvest general manager. (Contributed photo)

Average rental income

Grand Cenia condotel owners have so far earned from an average of 35 to 40 percent year-on-year rental income that Filinvest distributes through Prosperity Specialists Resources, Inc. (Prosper), its condotel management company.

This is about P20,000 to P55,000 in additional income for the condotel owners, according to Prosper president Tristan Las Marias. It was an average P49,000 last quarter, he added.

Overall, Grand Cenia earnings in 2014 increased by 14.1 percent compared to the previous year, he disclosed.

“Grand Cenia condotel unit owners benefit from Cebu’s bullish hotel business, generating a steady flow of recurring income with a possible upside on the real estate’s value appreciation,” he noted.

Better passive income

A restaurant owner, Uy said the passive income he earns is so much better than investing in just a residential unit for lease because he gets professional help keeping the place clean and intact.

“I avoid the hassle and headache of maintaining the unit myself if it is just a condo,” he pointed out.

Uy also said he is excited to avail himself of his free condotel use allocated on a yearly basis. “It is high time I reward myself and enjoy the amenities of the hotel,” he added.

Another Grand Cenia condotel owner is Ms Loida Yu, a bag designer-entrepreneur, who is also satisfied with her property investments with Filinvest’s Cebu condotel, having also received her ninth share of the rental income since the last quarter of 2012.

“Hopefully the rental income gets better over the years. But so far I am satisfied that I am earning from this investment,” she said.

Quest Hotel at Grand Cenia

QUEST HOTEL and Conference Center Cebu forms part of the 25-storey Grand Cenia at Archbishop Reyes ave. across Cebu Business Park. (Contributed photo)

High occupancy

Yu also wants to share how the hotel can improve the hotel shop and draw more condotel guests.

James Montenegro, area general manager for Quest Hotel and Crimson Mactan Resorts, attributed the significant increase in the rental income share for each qualified condotel unit owner to the high average occupancy performance of the hotel for the last quarter.

“Ät 81 percent is the best so far since the hotel started operations,” he disclosed.

“The hotel’s ability to attract more and more returning guests and longer-staying corporate clients during the period led to the increase in rental income share of qualified condotel owners,” Montenegro said.

“We also have to credit our sales team for their tireless efforts to aggressively market the property both locally and abroad,” he added, as he also noted that the previous quarter was a holiday season.

Grand Cenia

A member of the international chain hotels by Aston International, Quest Hotel forms part of the 25-storey Grand Cenia at Archbishop Reyes ave. across Cebu Business Park.

Some 119 residential condominium units are located at the 19th to 25th floors, while 432 condotel units are used by Quest Hotel in the 8th to 18th floors.

Other than Grand Cenia, Filinvest is constructing the 50.4-hectare business and residential community City di Mare (City by the Sea) at South Road Properties.

The Gotianun-owned real estate firm also a has 3-hectare One Oasis Cebu, which is an exclusive, resort-style, mid-rise condo community in Mabolo district, just five minutes away from the Cebu Business Park and Asiatown It Park.

Developing high-value properties in Cebu since 1997, Filinvest is also expanding Seascapes and Aldea del Sol in Mactan, and Escala at Corona del Mar in Talisay City.

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Pueblo de Oro builds 30-hectare community in Lapu-Lapu City

Whether you’re getting a starter house or a more permanent home, the Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities in Lapu-Lapu City provides a wide range of products that caters to the…

Whether you’re getting a starter house or a more permanent home, the Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities in Lapu-Lapu City provides a wide range of products that caters to the different needs of Cebuano families.

Pueblo de Oro Cebu is building a 30-hectare masterplanned residential community in Barangay Babag II that is divided into three housing developments, said its marketing manager Edrin T. Castor.

The first of its residential development is La Aldea del Mar, which offers affordable townhouses for young families.

Park Place Pueblo de Oro Lapu-Lapu City

PARK PLACE. The expanded model house of Park Place, a development by Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities in Babag II, Lapu-Lapu City.

La Aldea del Mar

Caster said a La Aldea del Mar two-storey townhouse has gross floor area of 44.5 square meters for both inner and outer units. The minimum lot area for inner units is 40 square meters and 60 square meters for outer units.

The selling price for La Aldea del Mar inner house and lot is P1.047 million while the cost of outer units can range from P1.37 million to P1.54 million depending on the size of the lot.

Pueblo de Oro offers easy downpayment terms for La Aldea, which range from P4,805 to P7,126.25 monthly for 36 months. There are over 2,000 house and lot units at La Aldea del Mar.

Pueblo de Oro Park Place

DEVELOPMENT. Pueblo de Oro will build only 478 housing units under the Park Place community.

Park Place

Another housing development within the Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities is Park Place. This residential development is a lot smaller than La Aldea since it only has 478 housing units. The houses are built in pairs or as duplex homes.

Each Park Place unit has gross floor area of 64.5 square meters and minimum lot area of 80 square meters and costs P1.91 million. Pueblo de Oro sells only bare units. This means that homeowners will be the ones to do the finishing works, such as painting, tiling, and putting in partitions.

Park Place downpayment terms can be as long as 36 months at P8,568.58 per month. Pueblo de Oro also offers in-house, bank, and Pag-ibig financing for La Aldea and Park Place housing units.

Pueblo de Oro La Aldea del Mar, Park Place, and The Horizons

3 COMMUNITIES. The Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities in Lapu-Lapu City are La Aldea del Mar, Park Place, and The Horizons Residences. Each community is separate from each other, with its own gate and amenities.

The Horizons Residences

An upcoming residential development within the 30-hectare Pueblo de Oro Cebu community is The Horizons Residences. Housing units here will be single detached and have bigger floor and lot areas than La Aldea and Park Place, explained Caster.

Pueblo de Oro is located in Babag II, shortly before the Pilipog Bridge that connects the main island of Mactan to the town of Cordova.

The access road that leads to the Pueblo de Oro Cebu community from the main Mactan Circumferential Road is narrow and covered with gravel, but Caster said the property developer is collaborating with the Lapu-Lapu City Government to have this widened and asphalted.

Pueblo de Oro Park Place kiosk

ROTUNDA. The kiosk at the rotunda near Park Place.

More pictures of the development

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Filinvest sets aggressive expansion in 2015

FILINVEST Land Inc., the real estate arm of the Gotianun family from Cebu, is preparing a more aggressive expansion of its residential offerings this year as it seeks to further…

FILINVEST Land Inc., the real estate arm of the Gotianun family from Cebu, is preparing a more aggressive expansion of its residential offerings this year as it seeks to further cement its mark in the affordable and middle-income housing market segments.

With an estimated land bank of over 2,400 hectares, FLI president and chief executive officer Josephine Gotianun-Yap said the company has planned further expansions in Mactan Island and in the cities of Cebu, Dumaguete and Iloilo.

FLI will also ramp up residential offerings in northern Luzon and through project launches in Taguig, Pasig, Valenzuela, Paranaque, Cavite, Binondo and Manila.

Josephine Gotianun-Yap

IMMEDIATE NEEDS. FLI president and chief executive officer Josephine Gotianun-Yap says, “by focusing on medium rise buildings and traditional housing, Filinvest continues to develop projects with construction cycles of less than a year to meet the immediate needs of our end user market.” (CONTRIBUTED FOTO)

Enough land for 10 years

“FLI has one of the largest landbanks among the listed property companies. We have enough land to sustain projects for over 10 years,” Gotianun-Yap said.

She said the Filinvest Group’s housing portfolio is still the “bread and butter” of the company, even with its diversification into other real estate businesses such as hotel developments and investments in power generation, financial service, sugar farming and milling.

She said 70 percent of FLI’s income is still derived from development projects while 30 percent comes from rental or recurring income projects.

In Cebu, the company continues to develop and market properties in urban mid-rise buildings at Amalfi Oasis and Sanremo Oasis at SRP and One Oasis in Kasambagan, residential options at Escala in Corona del Mar in Talisay City, as well as Aldea de Sol and Seascapes in Mactan.

Housing backlog

“Filinvest is one of the country’s top and largest nationwide developers in the affordable and middle-income market segments. We have a sustained focus on our core affordable market in 2015,”” Gotianun Yap said.

“The nationwide housing backlog would still drive the housing demand for our middle income and affordable brands,” she added.

FLI said it would continue to address these markets through the continued roll-out of its Futura brand of affordable homes and the Oasis and Spatial medium rise buildings in urban centers.

“By focusing on medium rise buildings and traditional housing, Filinvest continues to develop projects with construction cycles of less than a year to meet the immediate needs of our end user market,” Gotianun-Yap said.

“We are particularly proud of our Oasis and Spatial products which provide family units in urban centers in the affordable P2 to P3 million range. With over 60 percent of the land allocated for green spaces, amenities and open areas, we keep our medium rise building projects low density to ensure you have a sustainable and happy environment to raise your family,” she added.

FLI has presence in over 40 key areas nationwide following launches of more housing and medium rise building projects outside Metro Manila and in more regional centers in recent years.

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GMR-Megawide faces challenges in Mactan airport expansion

Delays in the relocation of Philippine Air Force (PAF) structures within the proposed site of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) new terminal could put off the project’s completion by 10…

Delays in the relocation of Philippine Air Force (PAF) structures within the proposed site of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) new terminal could put off the project’s completion by 10 months, an executive of GMR-Megawide said recently.

There are currently 17 Air Force structures scattered throughout the 110.9 acres (44.9 hectares) that span the total area of the Mactan airport expansion project, added GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation chief executive advisor Andrew Acquaah-Harrison.

One PAF building that serves as base terminal for military flights that land in Cebu sits right on the middle of the MCIA Terminal 2 footprint, which has an area of 5.4 acres (2.2 hectares), he further said.

“Under the concession agreement (with the Philippine government), the property was supposed to have been given to us by December 2014,” Harrison said. GMR-Megawide was awarded the contract to undertake the Mactan Cebu International Airport expansion in April last year.

Although a contractor has been picked to undertake the replication of PAF facilities in another area of the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base and given the signal to proceed, Harrison said the project timeline was for anywhere from 100 to 300 days.

Andrew Acquaah Harrison

GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation chief executive advisor Andrew Acquaah-Harrison updates journalists on the progress in the work on the Mactan-Cebu International Airport new terminal.

Interim solution

According to him, PAF officials continue to reject their proposal for the Air Force to use the nearby MIP (Most Important Persons) Building as a temporary terminal so GMR-Megawide could already start work on the project.

The consortium, he added, is working with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), and other stakeholders to find solutions to the problem so the new terminal can be completed and opened by February 2018.

Consortium executives had met several times with PAF and MCIAA officials since November to discuss the interim solution but reached no agreement.

He said he understands that the Air Force wants to ensure its operations wouldn’t be compromised, especially if it has to mobilize air assistance in times of catastrophes, but it can still achieve this even if it transfers to the MIP Building.

“The MIP solution is reasonable. There is sufficient area on the (Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Force) apron for half to be occupied by PAF (aircraft) and the other half to be used by the consortium (when it starts work on Terminal 2),” Harrison pointed out. The airport apron is where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refueled, or boarded.

Cary Santiago design

NEW UNIFORMS. The new uniform of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport staff was designed by Cary Santiago.

Terminal 2 challenges

It would take GMR-Megawide, according to Harrison, only two weeks to redraw its plans once PAF agrees to its recommendation so it could proceed with the work on the terminal and ensure that Air Force operations continue.

Harrison said MCIAA general manager Nigel Paul Villarete informed them recently that Air Force officials were interested in another meeting to discuss the consortium’s suggestion but no date has been set.

“We have certain options under the concession agreement but we don’t want to get into that. We want to open the new terminal on time. We need this capacity,” he added, citing the current terminal was built to cater to an average of 4.5 million passengers but is serving 7 million per year.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion

AIRPORT PROJECT. The area enclosed in red is the Terminal 2 project while those bounded in blue line is the total project area.

Another challenge faced by the consortium is the delay in importing materials needed for the Mactan airport project.

Harrison said the project, as a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative that is worth over P1 billion, can import duty-free materials for three years. Two months after submitting documents so it could avail of this incentive, he added, GMR-Megawide still has to get approval from the Bureau of Investments.

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Tsuneishi launches its 1st ‘eco-ship’ in Balamban

Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu), Inc. (THI) launched in December a premium class vessel that features higher fuel efficiency and a design that reduces wind resistance. THI said in a press…

Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu), Inc. (THI) launched in December a premium class vessel that features higher fuel efficiency and a design that reduces wind resistance.

THI said in a press statement that the SC-220 is its first “eco-ship.” It is a 58,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) bulk carrier that features the higher fuel efficiency design of the TESS58 and the new Aeroline technology for reducing wind resistance.

THI TESS58 Aeroline launching

LAUNCHED. The SC-220 launching ceremony last December at the Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu), Inc. Slipway No. 2 in Balamban, Cebu. (Contributed photo)

The ship is designed for low fuel consumption. It also has a technology that collects exhaust heat from the generator engine that is then converted into energy for the auxiliary boiler. It is also equipped with TOP-GR (Tsuneishi Optimized Propulsive Gear) propellers for lower vibration and higher propulsion efficiency.

The ship also has a Fresh Air Intake System (FAIS) that boosts engine fuel efficiency. The SC-220, according to the company, will be delivered this March.

“Our shipbuilding business led by Tsuneishi Shipbuilding is continuously seeking ways to build ships that are competitive in quality, price, delivery lead time and with an eco-friendly performance. We are building Tsuneishi flagship products, and therefore we are united to deliver excellent ships. Tsuneishi Heavy Industries has maintained and always will have ‘Only the Best, World-Class Tsuneishi Quality.’” — Akihiko Mishima, THI’s new president

THI said it delivered two vessels last January 9 and 22; a 82,000 deadweight metric ton type Kamsarmax bulk carrier, SC-226 M/V Capricorn Trader, and a 58,000 deadweight metric ton type Handymax bulk carrier, SC-231 M/V Kellet Island respectively.

M/V Kellet Island is en route to Hongkong, while M/V Capricorn Trader is bound for Singapore for bunkering then cargo loading in Australia. Both ships are owned by Japanese nationals.

THI, a joint venture between the Tsuneishi Group and Aboitiz Group, has delivered 191 ships since it started building vessels. IT delivered 20 ships in 2014. This year, THI is set to deliver 18 ships.

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Cebu keeps 8th rank in 2015 Tholons outsourcing list

Cebu remains a competitive player in the business process outsourcing (BPO) or business process management (BPM) space as it keeps its eighth rank for the third straight year in the…

Cebu remains a competitive player in the business process outsourcing (BPO) or business process management (BPM) space as it keeps its eighth rank for the third straight year in the 2015 Tholons International Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations Report. (Download PDF of full report here)

Tholons also put Cebu in eighth place in 2013 and 2014.

Cebu and Manila, which remains in second place, are the only Philippine cities in the top 10 of the Tholons list of preferred outsourcing destinations worldwide. The others are mostly Indian cities, with Poland and China making up 9th and 10th.

Tholons-ranking

Tholons, an advisory company on global outsourcing and investments, released its report on December 2014. It ranks cities based on several categories showing their outsourcing readiness, including quality, availability, and skills of workers in the BPO industry, operations cost, infrastructure readiness, and cost of living, among others.

From seven, the number of Philippine cities in the Tholons top 100 outsourcing list rose to eight with the entry of Metro Clark for the first time at number 98, a Newsbytes report said. The others in the list are Davao (69th), Sta. Rosa, Laguna (82nd), Bacolod (went up seven notches in the rankings to 86th place), Iloilo (91st), and Baguio City (95th), Newsbytes added.

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Cebu Yellow Submarine now operates from Hadsan

Although it had highly controversial beginnings, the Cebu Yellow Submarine continues to operate in Lapu-Lapu City and is one of Mactan Island attractions. Instead of the JPark Island Resort and…

Although it had highly controversial beginnings, the Cebu Yellow Submarine continues to operate in Lapu-Lapu City and is one of Mactan Island attractions.

Instead of the JPark Island Resort and Waterpark (formerly Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa), the underwater vessel operated by the Cebu Yellow Submarine and Undersea Tour Corp. now docks at the Hadsan Cove Beach Resort in Barangay Agus.

cebu yellow submarine

The Cebu Yellow Submarine can accommodate 50 people and go down to a depth of 35 meters.

I was one of those who were on the first few voyages of the Cebu Yellow Submarine when it first opened in March 2013, shortly before its operations were suspended by the Lapu-Lapu City Government upon allegations that it had destroyed corals in its underwater tour path.

Cebu Yellow Submarine executives settled the issues with the City Government and were permitted to continue doing business in Mactan.

Mactan underwater tour

The tourist submarine brings guests to a depth of 35 meters and takes them on an underwater tour of Lapu-Lapu seas. Guests sit facing the portholes or glass windows that provide them a view of the different fish species and other underwater scenes.

I don’t know if he is still the operations manager but Anelito Gabisan, when he first introduced us to the Cebu Yellow Submarine, said it was the first of its kind in the Philippines.

Since it was a new type of vessel, Gabisan revealed it took them almost a year of working out licenses and safety certifications before they were issued a special permit to operate by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) on March 26, 2013.

A view of the underwater world can be seen through the Cebu Yellow Submarine's glass portholes.

A view of the underwater world can be seen through the Cebu Yellow Submarine’s glass portholes.

The permit had to be based on the international safety certification issued to the tourist submarine by the Korean Registry of Shipping. It allows the submarine to head 500 meters out to sea before going down to a depth of 35 meters, Gabisan added.

Cebu Yellow Submarine schedule

Cebu Yellow Submarine operations at Hadsan Cove start at 9 a.m. Guests interested in booking a tour may call the Cebu Yellow Submarine numbers – 0915-7207000, 0999-7147000, 0933-7197000, 032-5149306 – for reservations or inquiries. Cebu Yellow Submarine rate as of July 2014: Adults (P1,300), Kids 4-12 years old (P900). Kids who are three years old and below ride for free.

Jun Kim, who was the general manager way back in 2013, said the vessel can accommodate around 50 passengers and operate for eight hours during the daytime.

He assured that the vessel is very safe, having undergone stringent inspection by the international accreditation group Korea Registry of Shipping.

The submarine can undertake immediate resurfacing during emergency cases without any ill effects on its passengers, and this was shown during our underwater tour.

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SuperCat Cebu transfers to Terminal 1 in Pier 1

2GO Travel inaugurated on Thursday a ticketing office within Pier 1 in Cebu City for SuperCat fast crafts plying the Cebu route. The move makes it easier for passengers to…

2GO Travel inaugurated on Thursday a ticketing office within Pier 1 in Cebu City for SuperCat fast crafts plying the Cebu route.

The move makes it easier for passengers to book trips on SuperCat vessels travelling from Cebu to destinations like Manila, Tagbilaran in Bohol, Ormoc, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Romblon, and Masbate, a company official said. Noone needs to go into debt while travelling – but occasionally expenses creep up on you, especially if you are having a good time, or travelling with your friends. In Sweden, we got låna-pengar.biz to keep some travel money until we flew home.

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Pancake House brings high-end resto Maple to Cebu

With the number of Cebuanos who dine out growing fast, the Max’s Group, Inc. believes the Cebu market is ready for its upscale American restaurant Maple. Maple serves American comfort…

With the number of Cebuanos who dine out growing fast, the Max’s Group, Inc. believes the Cebu market is ready for its upscale American restaurant Maple.

Maple serves American comfort food and its dishes are inspired by South American flavors which carry a lot of spices, said Bernadette Lee, chief operating officer of the Pancake House Group.

The Salmon Catch dish at Maple. It can be grilled, pan-seared, or blackened and comes with orzo pasta and Texas summer veggies.

The Salmon Catch dish at Maple. It can be grilled, pan-seared, or blackened and comes with orzo pasta and Texas summer veggies.

She added that Maple Cebu dishes are the same as those served in the Manila branches as they haven’t changed anything in the menu.

Since the restaurant caters to an affluent and upper middle class clientele, Pancake House Group marketing director Ruby R. Bautista said Ayala Center Cebu was the appropriate choice of location for the first Maple branch outside of Manila.

Maple, which opened in Cebu last month, serves breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. It is operated by Pancake House, which manages restaurants like Pancake House, Le Coeur de France, Yellow Cab, Dencio’s, and Kabisera and was recently acquired by Max’s Group, Inc. It is located at the ground floor of Ayala Cebu’s The Terraces.

Maple Cebu

Lee said the restaurant’s name was inspired by the maple syrup, which is the springboard of a high end pancake house.

The Maple Burger is juicy grilled beef patty that comes with American cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, onion rings, and maple-glazed bacon.

The Maple Burger is juicy grilled beef patty that comes with American cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, onion rings, and maple-glazed bacon.

Their group, which already operates the Pancake House chain, decided to create a more upscale restaurant and named it Maple, explained Bautista.

The Pancake House and Maple menus, however, only have one thing in common and that is pancakes, Lee cited, adding 95 percent of the dishes are different. Bautista said a lot of Maple’s dishes are flavored with the maple syrup.

Since Maple is a new concept in Cebu, people are flocking to the restaurant in droves.

“We realize this will normalize after a few months. Our patrons love our food. This city is growing closer to our heart and we really want to make this work for Cebu,” added Lee.

If the market can sustain a second location, Lee said they may open another branch in the nearby island of Mactan.

Select clientele

There are, however, no plans yet for a Maple outlet in another part of the country.

“We like to keep Maple as exclusive as possible. It caters to a very select market and we’re keeping it quite small,” she pointed out, adding they’re concentrating on growing the other restaurants in the chain such as Max’s, YellowCab, and Pancake House in international locations.

Maple bestsellers include the dinner roast, prime rib tapa, spaetzle Jambalaya, eggs Benedict, Maple salad, and pancakes.

In Manila, there are only three Maple outlets, said Lee. The first one was opened at the San Antonio Plaza Arcade inside the exclusive community Forbes Park in Makati City back in 2012. The two others are in the Shangri-la Plaza Mall and CommerCenter in Alabang.

According to Lee, the number of dining establishments operated by Max’s Group Inc. after acquiring the Pancake House Group is now close to 500, making it the biggest casual dining company in the country.

Pancake House Group executives (R) Bernadette Lee, chief operating officer, and Ruby R. Bautista, marketing director.

Pancake House Group executives (R) Bernadette Lee, chief operating officer, and Ruby R. Bautista, marketing director.

Maple menu

Maple’s breakfast food that is served all day includes pancakes, Belgian waffles, and French toast. In its pasta list are: Spaetzle, farfelle, linguine, and agli olio. It also serves soups, salads, burgers as well as club and ciabatta sandwiches.

For the main course, there’s salmon served with pasta and vegetables, pan-seared crab cakes, fish tacos, fried or grilled chicken, baby back ribs, rib tapa, and chicken steak.

Diners can choose to order their wines by the glass or bottle.

Desserts can either be apple pie, skillet-baked chocolate cookie, sundae, or bread pudding.

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Rustan’s Supermarket opens in new Ayala Cebu location

Rustan’s Supermarket opens today, August 9, at its new Ayala Center Cebu location with 2,800 square meters of space and special grocery offerings. The new Rustan’s store, which is at…

Rustan’s Supermarket opens today, August 9, at its new Ayala Center Cebu location with 2,800 square meters of space and special grocery offerings.

Olives on display at Rustan's Gourmet to Go section.

Olives on display at Rustan’s Gourmet to Go section.

The new Rustan’s store, which is at Basement 1 of Ayala’s expansion wing, displays its items by categories: poultry, meat, seafood, dairy, grains, pasta and the like.

Rows and rows of local and imported ice cream.

Rows and rows of local and imported ice cream.

“Rustan’s Supermarket is really a lifestyle and you can see it in the way we display and sell things. We don’t only sell local but we’re heavy on imported goods,” said marketing manager Selina Selma-Romualdez during a media tour on Friday.

Casale Paradiso products can only be found at Rustan's Supermarket, according to the store's marketing manager.

Casale Paradiso products can only be found at Rustan’s Supermarket, according to the store’s marketing manager.

According to her, there are many items at the store that can’t be found anywhere else. She cited as example their assortment of Italian brand Casale Paradiso’s products that include the risotto or rice varieties, polenta and cous cous, zuppa or soups, choices of salt, pasta and aromatic mixes.

The new supermarket features a delicatessen section and bakery. It also has shelves for cereals, baby care, pasta and noodles, cheese, yogurt and other items.

The wine and spirits section has a consultant (shown in photo) to help you choose.

The wine and spirits section has a consultant (shown in photo) to help you choose.

One innovation that Rustan’s has brought to its new supermarket is the presence of a consultant at the wine and spirits area. So if you’re confused over which of the top brands to pick, you can always get help from the wine consultant.

Romualdez said they will be carrying more imported items, adding the yogurt section will soon display products from the US and New Zealand.

Gourmet To Go offers prepared healthy salads and sandwiches.

Gourmet To Go offers prepared healthy salads and sandwiches.

Another special offering of Rustan’s Supermarket is the Gourmet To Go area, which ready to eat healthy sandwiches and salads. There are pre-prepared Russian and Greek greens, pasta with pesto, hummus, spinach dip, and quiches. Available sandwiches include hot ham and cheese, chicken galantina, seafood, deli sub and prosciutto with arugula.

Yesterday’s soups of the day were salmon n’ corn chowder and cream of wild mushroom.

Olive oil and special pasta.

Olive oil and special pasta.

At today’s opening and up to August 18, Rustan’s is providing big discounts and buy one take another one offers on many products.

Check out the new Rustan’s Supermarket at it’s opening today and avail of the special opening offers.

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Imperial Palace rebrands to JPark Island Resort Cebu

By June 1, Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa will start being known as JPark Island Resort Cebu (JPI). The move is intended to create a common brand for existing…

By June 1, Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa will start being known as JPark Island Resort Cebu (JPI).

The move is intended to create a common brand for existing and upcoming products and services of Philippine BXT Corp., resort owner and operator, and in recognition of its Korean and Filipino owners, said Reno Bacolod, director of external affairs, during a press conference earlier today, Wednesday.

“The change in brand is due to the (company’s) impending growth, a welcome growth, and one we are looking forward to,” said senior resort marketing and sales manager Angela Emphasis.

She added that the use of Palace in the resort’s name limits any expansion to hotels and some of the plans in the pipeline entail the building of facilities without accompanying accommodations.

“We are building more water parks in other parts of the country and some of them may be without hotels. We are looking at other kinds of properties to reach other audiences,” Emphasis revealed.

Expansion sites

Bacolod said the rebranding is intended to facilitate growth as the company is planning new projects in line with the bullish outlook for tourism in the Philippines.

He added that they are looking at Palawan and Boracay as possible expansion sites. Except say that one big project is scheduled for next year, he did not disclose any other details.

Imperial Palace will start being known as JPark Island Resort Cebu by June 1. (Photo taken from resort website)

Imperial Palace will start being known as JPark Island Resort Cebu by June 1. (Photo taken from resort website)

According to him, the new brand, JPark, pays homage to the company owners, Korean Yong Jun Park and the Uy brothers, Cebuano businessmen whose first names start with J.

The new brand symbolizes the integrity and strength of the product and its owners, Bacolod added.

He further said the JPark brand is very Asian and will continue to serve their predominant Korean market and at the same time attract travellers from other countries in East and Southeast Asia, who represent the fastest growing tourists in the region.

Better services

Other changes that come with the rebranding include better services for guests that include the latest technology innovations in the hotel industry, explained front office manager Dorinda Lim.

Philippine BXT Corporation and Imperial Palace executives announce resort's new brand.

Philippine BXT Corporation and Imperial Palace executives announce resort’s new brand.

There will be counters for free independent travellers and high-profile guests, more trainings for staff, and even paperless transactions, she added.

Although majority of resort guests are currently Koreans, sales and marketing director Myla Mohammad said they are also aggressively developing other Asian as well as the US, China, and Russia markets.

She added they are also working on getting a share in the highly lucrative Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) market.

Among the Philippine BXT Corporation’s plan is to go public, although it still isn’t sure if it would list at the Philippine Stock Exchange or pick internatinal stock markets.

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Filinvest starts work on Il Corso in Cebu

Imagine a strip of land dotted with retail shops, boutiques, bars, cafes and restaurants. Shaded walkways and landscaped gardens allow people to walk along the 11 connected buildings that can…

Imagine a strip of land dotted with retail shops, boutiques, bars, cafes and restaurants. Shaded walkways and landscaped gardens allow people to walk along the 11 connected buildings that can be found all throughout its length.

The whole stretch has a view of the sea on one side. At the far end is built a marina for boating and aqua-sports activities. Some distance out to sea but connected to the mainland is a functional lighthouse that will serve to aid sea vessels going by the area.

This is how Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI) envisions its commercial and lifestyle strip at South Road Properties (SRP) called Il Corso when it opens by the last quarter of 2015.

According to FLI senior vice president for commercial center and retail management Joy Polloso, Il Corso will be the ultimate shopping and lifestyle destination in Cebu.

il corso cebu

An artist’s rendition of Filinvest Land’s commercial and lifestyle strip Il Corso that it plans to open by late 2015.

Il Corso – which is Italian for “the way” – will be a convergence area for family, friends, shoppers, business people, and fitness enthusiasts, she added.

The eight-hectare development, which is part of Filinvest Land’s 50-hectare master-planned community in SRP called Citta de Mare, will set aside spaces for jogging and biking. Across the road from Il Corso will rise FLI’s resort-themed residential town anchored by the Piazza, an Italian-inspired common amenity area.

Filinvest held its first concrete pouring last week to mark the start of construction work on Il Corso. A ceremonial unveiling of the Il Corso lighthouse logo also happened on the same day.

il corso cebu unveiling

Filinvest Group president and CEO Josephine Yap (2nd from R) leads the Il Corso ceremonial unveiling at SRP in Cebu City. (Photo courtesy of Humility Igaña)

A short presentation on Filinvest’s first foray into retail development showed that located in the middle of its Il Corso strip will be a central plaza with a fountain and a vantage view of the sea that can be used for big productions or intimate events.

A major feature, it added, will be a 1,000-seater amphitheater.

“Filinvest is committed to enhancing the development of the Cebu community and enhancing the lifestyle of the Cebuanos” through Il Corso, said Polloso.

Il Corso, according to her, totals 70,000 square meters in floor area but only 36,000 square meters will serve as gross leasable area. The complex will be able to accommodate around 300 establishments that will provide a dynamic array of brands in retail, dining, as well as health and wellness.

Polloso said Filinvest is spending P3 billion for the whole Il Corso development.

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