Spurring Iloilo’s economic growth

Maya M. Padillo
Maya M. Padillo

There is reason to believe in this economic equation: more real estate developments equals sustained economic growth.

The equation could stretch further: more real estate developments equals better quality of life equals booming city.

Yes, this is the same phenomenon that’s sweeping some cities far from the urban jungle of Metropolitan Manila. 

Iloilo City in the Visayas is one.

The booming real estate industry in Iloilo City can be traced back to the city government’s lucrative opportunities for industry players to come and invest as the city seeks to address a growing demand for Business Process Management (BPM) buildings and office spaces.

Francis T. Cruz, Iloilo City Government Local Government and Investment Promotion Officer disclosed in an interview that the city’s biggest industry is BPM, which already has a capacity of 50,000 seats.

Presently, there are more than 70 BPM companies locating in Iloilo providing jobs to about 26,800 full time employees. Cruz said they are looking at an additional of 10,000 by the end of the year.

Office Towers at Iloilo Business Park.

The BPM industry also has created more than 100,000 indirect jobs.

With that, Iloilo City’s growth would inevitably not escape the eyes of the country’s property empires. It’s not surprising that property giant Megaworld Corporation saw the potential of Iloilo City as property hotspot by developing a 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park which aims to transform the city into a bustling metropolis that ideally caters to locals, businesses, and leisure travelers.

A complete live -work-play community

Over the years, the Iloilo Business Park has proudly risen from being the historic site of what was once the Mandurriao Airport and into the iconic, modern face of Iloilo today.

Iloilo Business Park has been awarded as the “Best Township Development in Asia” at the 2018 Asia Property Awards and as the Philippines’ “Best Township Development” at the 2018 Philippines Property Awards.

Iloilo Business Park carries the company’s signature live-work-play lifestyle concept imbued in its structures.

Currently, it is selling its seventh residential tower from five developments, namely One Madison Place, Lafayette Park Square, The Palladium, Saint Honore, and Saint Dominique.

Aside from these iconic residential condominium projects, it also features an expansive Megaworld Lifestyle Mall, office buildings, a huge convention center that sits right beside two world-class hotels, and a transport hub that serves as a jump-off point to other exciting destinations just a few minutes off Panay Island.

Iloilo Business Park’s famous Bambikes.

A 24/7 township

Iloilo Business Park hosts nearly 10,000 BPO workers spread across the seven office towers inside the township. While the rest of Panay Island sleeps, the township remains active and continues to propel economic growth in the city and beyond.

The latest addition to the township’s portfolio of first-class office towers is the 19-storey International Corporate Plaza.

This new Megaworld Premier Office development offers premium office spaces for sale that are designed for regional businesses, start-up companies, and established enterprises aiming to establish their presence in Iloilo.

“We want to promote Iloilo as a city where Davao, Cebu, Bacolod businessmen and entrepreneurs can put up their operations because Iloilo has its own central business district which is Iloilo Business Park,” said Jennifer Palmares-Fong, vice president for sales and marketing of Iloilo Business Park in an interview.

International Corporate Plaza is envisioned to be Western Visayas’ most state-of-the-art, facility-packed ‘green’ office development with 301 prime office units for sale to businesses, start-up companies, and established enterprises that want to set up operations in Iloilo’s newest ‘central business district.’

“We saw potential entrepreneurs coming from Cebu, Davao and Bacolod who were able to set up here because Iloilo is already booming. There are those companies and entrepreneurs who came from nearby provinces who bought units. Around 35 percent of the buyers come from outside Iloilo,” said Fong.

Fong said the tower, which will rise within the township’s 9-hectare Commercial and Boutique Hotel District, is expected for completion in 2024. She said the company will generate P2-billion in sales from this new office development. 

The parao-inspired Iloilo Convention Center.

A ‘festive’ leisure and entertainment hub

From pasalubongs to delicious cuisines, guests visiting the township will surely be enamored by Festive Walk Mall, which is dubbed as the “most beautiful mall” in Western Visayas. Awarded as the “Best Retail Development” at the 2019 Philippines Property Awards by Property Guru and the 2019 Property and Real Estate Excellence Awards by FIABCI Philippines, Festive Walk Mall offers 90,000 square meters of gross floor area of shopping, dining, leisure, and entertainment.

People will also surely enjoy a stroll along Festive Walk Parade just across the main mall. Once completed, it will stretch for about 1.1-kilometer, making it the longest retail and dining strip in the whole Western Visayas. Here, people can have their choice of fine restaurants and retail outlets. This area has also become the center of nightlife and entertainment in Iloilo via a series of weekend night street parties featuring a dynamic fusion of food, music, arts, and entertainment.

Global MICE destination

Conferences, meetings, and exhibits that are set in Iloilo have found a home at the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC), which is the biggest convention center in Western Visayas occupying a 1.7-hectare lot inside Iloilo Business Park. Over the years, the ICC has grown to become the destination of choice for local and international conferences, foremost of which were the series of APEC ministerial meetings that were hosted by the city in 2015.

Richmonde Hotel Iloilo’s spacious guest room.

World-class accommodations

With the ICC in place, two world-class hotels are now in the township catering to business and leisure travelers: Richmonde Hotel Iloilo, which was awarded the “Best Hotel Interior Design” award at the 2016 Philippines Property Awards, and Courtyard by Marriott, the first Courtyard brand in the Philippines which began its operations in May this year.

To address the growing demand for more accommodation options, Megaworld will soon open the doors of Belmont Hotel Iloilo, the company’s fourth development under the homegrown hotel brand by 2023.

Outside ILOMOCA, the first contemporary art museum in VISMIN.

The first contemporary art museum in VisMin

Art enthusiasts can also make a quick visit to the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA), where they can feed their love for the arts with various paintings, sculptures, and installations from local and international artists.

The first and only contemporary art museum in Visayas and Mindanao, ILOMOCA is housed inside the iconic Casa de Emperador building, which is also adorned by the bronze statue of legendary Ilonggo hero, General Martin Delgado.

A model for environment sustainability

Iloilo Business Park is a bike-friendly township where bike lanes are as important as its wide roads and quirky pedestrian crosswalks. In fact, the township is now known as a “bike-cation destination” as it is the official host venue of the yearly Iloilo Bike Festival.

International Corporate Plaza.

Increasing the value of land

Real estate also defines the increase in property value. According to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas the presence of Megaworld also helped increase the value of land in Iloilo City.

“Unfortunate for the city because it is now difficult for us to look for sites for relocation. I used to buy relocation sites at P150 per square meter by installments but now the lowest offering that we received which we are still processing is P1,008 per square meters,” Treñas said in an interview.

Known as “The City of Love”, Iloilo is a small city boasting of essential amenities including the more than 100 hotels and accommodations.

“Yung sa Megaworld hindi pa tapos ang building itatayo pa lang, naka-reserve na lahat yan. I have worked with this company since we started in Iloilo and thankfully we have Megaworld started in 2010 after we have addressed the problems in power. We had garbage problems noon, now we don’t see it on the road. Noon, we don’t have streetlights, we had very few about less than 500 but now we have more than 5,000 streetlights,” Cruz said.

The many beautiful facets of Iloilo Business Park complement the already magnificent city of Iloilo, further strengthening its reputation as an outstanding and one-of-a-kind township that continue to captivate the hearts and fancy of travelers and entrepreneurs from all corners of the world.