Banking on tourism

by Liza Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2012 05:04 PM | Updated as of Mar 26 2012 08:41 PM

Sy group expands premier Batangas development

SM Land to open dev't in new coves to non-members

"We've got it all for you."
 
Who could forget this jingle that helped catapult the SM brand name as the one-stop shop for one’s needs? Now the retail giant is adopting this same marketing philosophy as it continues the expansion of its leisure tourism township development south of Manila -- the Hamilo Coast.

After the success of its first coastal community development Pico de Loro, the Sy-led group is moving forward with bigger and grander developments offering a variety of residential packages, activities and attractions all within reach of the rich enclave.
 
Pico de Loro
 
The 5,900-hectare Hamilo Coast property is SM Land's first premier and sustainable leisure development in Nasugbu, Batangas.
 
An hour and a half by ferry from Mall of Asia in Pasay City, and soon by road once the Nasugbu-Ternate highway is operational, it has 13 marine life-rich coves envisioned to provide a network of communities.

Beach Club Facade

The 37.5-hectare Pico de Loro is its first development which now houses eight residential condominiums, a 154-room full service hotel, chapel, a beach and country club with recreational facilities.
 
Soon, day tours will ferry members to historic Corregidor Island, about 30 minutes by boat from Pico de Loro.

Pico de Loro residential condo (corner unit)

To complete the experience and for many looking to reside there as well, Costa del Hamilo, a unit of SM Land and developer of Hamilo Coast is now offering lots between Pico de Loro and Papaya coves for interested clients who wish to set up a home by the ridge.
 
A total of 350 lots are up for sale with sizes ranging from 350 to 1,600 square meters. These include 25 ultra-premier estate lots nestled by the cliff with a spectacular view of the sea.
 
“The lots will have a (price) range of four to six million (pesos), while the estate lots will likely be priced between 20 and 25 million pesos. One should be a member first before they can purchase the property,” William Chew, Project Development Director of Costa del Hamilo said.

Papaya cove

A world-class marina is eyed at the adjacent Papaya cove enclave. A natural harbor surrounded by mountains, the cove is an ideal docking area that can accommodate as big as 150-foot yachts once finished.
 
There is an excess market of yacht enthusiasts that the Sy group hopes to corner in the future.
 
“For the development of the marina, we’re still looking to partner with those specializing in it (marina), and hopefully we can attract foreign yacht owners from Hong Kong and Singapore,” Star Tuason, SM Land’s VP for Estate Management said.
 
Once finished, it eyes to hold yacht/sea-craft races, similarly seen and enjoyed abroad.
 
Apart from the marina, the group is also keen on developing a golf course, which will complement its leisure tourism complex.
 
Out of the 5,900 hectares, the group has so far developed 30 hectares in a span of five years.
 
“Pico de Loro is our benchmark because it’s SM’s first resort development so we wanted to make sure it was done right,” SM Investments Corp. SVP for Investor Relations Corazon Guidote said.

Santelmo Cove

But non-members may soon enjoy this currently exclusive and members-only club as the group branches out into the development of other coves.
 
SM Land is planning to open a six- to seven-star hotel at Santelmo Cove, which is considered as having one of the best beachfronts in Hamilo Coast with its beautiful white sand.
 
The cove is a marine sanctuary where sea turtles nest making it an ideal spot for divers.
 
Sustainable tourism
 
As it moves to develop its vast property, so is its commitment to genuine sustainability. It has partnered with World Wide Fund-Philippines with projects on coastal resource management, solid waste management and renewable energy.
 
Sixty percent of the resort’s workforce is also from neighboring barangays.
 
Tourism has been identified as a key growth driver for the Philippines and the Sy group is banking on this promising sector.
 
For this year, the Department of Tourism hopes to attract 4.6 million tourists, and 10 million by 2016.
 
“We can only count on a few domestic companies that can build large-scale leisure projects without impairing their balance sheets,” Jose Mari Lacson, head of research at Campos, Lanuza & Co. said.
 
Apart from Hamilo Coast, SM also owns Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay City which is celebrating its 75th year in October. It also holds a majority stake in Belle Corp., which is one of the four anchor investors in PAGCOR’s Entertainment City.