It can never be right

07/05/2011 | By: Manila Bulletin

When Bobby Ongpin, former Marcos trade minister, told me in an interview about his vision and faith in the Philippine economy, he put his money where his mouth is.

With the financial assistance of his partner, London-based Ashmore Fund Manager, with about US$50 billion in its pocket, RVO, as he is called by his associates, is going full blast with property management under his Alphaland with his vice chairman, former finance undersecretary and nephew Eric Recto and vice chairman; and Mario A. Oreta, as president.

Ongpin has built Alphaland Southgate Tower and mall, turning an otherwise derelict and abandoned building at the corner of EDSA and the South Superhighway into something that changed the landscape of that area into a prime business and lifestyle hub. With the synergy of Recto and Oreta, RVO has also put up Makati Place located on a premium one-hectare property along Ayala Avenue Extension corner Malugay Street, where a world-class sports and leisure club-The City Club-will rise and where people of note can have everything they can ask for and more.

Next in line is the Alphaland Makati Tower, along Ayala Avenue at the heart of the Makati Central Business District, which aims to be the premier high-end corporate office in the country.

RVO also has a vision for high-end tourism and leisure by putting up seven or more kilometers of white sand beaches at Balesin Island, 35 kilometers off the eastern coast of Luzon and 25 minutes by plane from Manila.

The island used to be owned by the late Baby Ysmael, and then acquired by the late Trade Undersecretary Ed Tordesillas, and bought by RVO. With its small runway being built to accommodate larger planes and private jets, Balesin with enough accommodation built, promises to be a tourist destination as well.

There are more in RVO’s agenda. Alphaland is also building a 32-hectare community between Henry Sy Sr.’s Mall of Asia and Pagcor City but close enough to Makati for commuters. It will surely make the old Manila Yacht Club Jurassic by comparison. It’s a mix of office and residential space. The centerpiece of Alphaland Bay City is the Marina club for boat owners and lovers.

Here’s something else—the Boracay Gateway Country Club—a 500-hectare estate on the northern tip of Nabas, Aklan on Panay Island, directly adjacent to world-famous Boracay Island, by far the most famous tourist destination in the Philippines. It has the same white and powdery sand beaches as Boracay. Alphaland also has a heavy equipment corporation.

Now, for the clincher—the six-star Shangrila at the Fort of which Alphaland owns 20 percent of the equity. It is now under construction.

People may not it, but RVO is also deputy chairman of the South China Morning Post, the largest English language circulated newspaper in Hong Kong.

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