Thursday, August 28, 2014

Property tycoon Andrew Tan takes the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”

Heeding the worldwide call to raise funds in the fight against ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), or commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, Megaworld chair Dr. Andrew L. Tan becomes the first Filipino tycoon to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon that aims to spread ALS awareness around the world.
Dr. Tan's participation in the challenge was proactive and voluntary on his part.

"I support the important cause of the ALS Association to promote awareness about Lou Gehrig's Disease that is a threat to humanity. That is why I'm here to take this Ice Bucket Challenge, and at the same time, I will make a donation to the movement," he said on video recorded in his house on August 25.

As a tradition to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Dr. Tan nominates three personalities from the business community to do the same: Dr. Steven DeKrey, president of Asian Institute of Management; Mr. Manolito Tayag, country head of Accenture Philippines; and Kenneth Yang, president of Golden Arches Development Corporation (McDonald's Philippines).

Dr. Tan is the chairman and CEO of Megaworld, one of the Philippines' largest real estate developers and the country's leader in business process outsourcing (BPO) office developments.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

GERI 1H 2014 profits rise 35% to P200M

Global Estate Resorts Inc. (GERI), Philippines leading tourism estate developer, posted a net income of Php 200 million for the first half of 2014, up 35% from P147.8 million for the same period in 2013 due to strong real estate sales from in its various tourism estate projects, particularly, BoracayNewcoast, Twin Lakes and Southwoods City; and higher hotel income. 

Total Revenues during the first half of 2014 for GERI amounted to P1.4 billion, up 56% from P903 million for the same period in 2013. GERI has posted P6.5 billion in reservation sales in the first half of 2014 which is 30% higher from P5 billion for first half 2013. 

“We are confident that we can sustain the growth momentum of GERI for the remainder of the year.” said Atty. Ferdinand Santos, GERI President. 
Boracay Newcoast
GERI now has three major developments namely: the BoracayNewcoast and the Twin Lakesresort community near Metro Tagaytay and Southwood City. 

The BoracayNewcoast is being developed at a budget of P15 billionon 150 hectares of land that occupies roughly 15% of Boracay. It isconsidered the single largest piece of land in the island.

With its proximity to the world-famous Boracay beaches, BoracayNewcoast is designed to be a leisure-driven community that will helpshore up Boracay’s long-term tourism growth by helping increasetourist arrivals year to year.

Also being developed within BoracayNewcoast are the NewcoastVillage, the Town Center Shophouse District, the Boutique HotelDistrict, the Oceanway Residences, Savoy Hotel Boracay and Belmont Hotel Boracay. 

Twin Lakes, GERI’s second flagship project, is a 1,200-hectarecommunity in Laurel, Batangas, just off Metro Tagaytay. Thecompany is initially putting in P5 billion for the development ofthis first-of-a-kind vineyard resort community expected to be thepremiere medical and educational tourism destination in the country.

Twin Lakes has a panoramic view of Taal Volcano and the Taal Lakeand offers a unique resort lifestyle centered on Tagaytay’s beautifulscenery, the fresh greenery and year-round cool weather.One of the major projects within Twin Lakes is the garden-themedDomaine Le Jardin, a 33-hectare residential village whose designwas inspired by the garden-laden scenery of Tagaytay. DomaineLe Jardin is the first residential community in the country to offerproperties with specially built terrace areas.

The other major development within Twin Lakes is The VineyardResidences, a cluster of residential towers located in a 69-hectaremixed-use complex aptly called the Vineyard. 

GERI’s third major development is Southwoods City, a 561-hectare property in the boundary of Carmona, Cavite and Binan, Laguna into a fully-integrated master-planned township development. SouthwoodsCity, is positioned to be the next residential, business, commercial and leisure hub that is closest and most accessible to Metro Manila. It has set an initial capex of P10 billion for the next 10 years to develop Southwoods City. 

Southwoods City will be Global-Estate’s largest fully integrated township to rise in southern Metro Manila, adjoining the provinces of Cavite and Laguna. Easily accessible through the South Luzon Expressway, Southwoods City is 20 minutes away from Makati CBD.

As a mixed-use development, Southwoods City will add the “golf” component to the LIVE-WORK-PLAY-LEARN lifestyle concept as the 125-hectare Jack Nicklaus-designed Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club is located right at the heart of the township.
Upcoming Santa Barbara Heights in Iloilo near the International Airport
Southwoods City will also feature a central business district, commercial and retail stores, malls, schools, church, a cyberpark, a medical facility, open parks, leisure facilities, a weekend market, and its own transport hub. 

Soon to rise in the township’s cyberpark are state-of-the-art environment-friendly office towers that will support the growing demand of office spaces especially in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. 

Within Southwoods City, the company is introducing Pahara, a 26-hectare sprawling residential village, which consists of 602 available lots ranging from 239 square meters to 523 square meters on hilly terrains with spectacular views of the golf course and the Laguna de Bay. 

This residential village will feature Mediterranean-inspired architectural theme with its own exclusive amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, function halls, children’s playground, an outdoor circuit gym, jogging paths, landscaped parks, as well as green open spaces.

Smart taps youth as ambassadors of local tourism via technology

The Internet has provided netizens with a channel to promote their advocacies, express their views, or simply share their OOTDs (outfit of the day) or #ThrowbackThurday posts. Through social media and blogs, they have leveled up from merely being consumers of information to generators of original content. Many Filipinos, in particular, are making their presence felt in cyberspace.

The Internet has provided netizens with a channel to promote their advocacies, express their views, or simply share their OOTDs (outfit of the day) or #ThrowbackThurday posts. Through social media and blogs, they have leveled up from merely being consumers of information to generators of original content. Many Filipinos, in particular, are making their presence felt in cyberspace.

Philippine tourism, for one, is getting a boost from Internet savvy Pinoys. Our country, blessed with abundant natural wonders, is not difficult to sell as a tourist destination. As various interesting places in the country get more exposure online—thanks to Pinoys who love to post, like, share, and retweet—the Philippines is steadily regaining popularity as one of the top destinations in the world.

Wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is calling on all Filipinos, especially the youth, to use the Internet to promote hometown stories through Doon Po Sa Amin, its annual online competition for students. Now on its seventh year, the DPSA is the biggest annual online mapping activity in the country that aims to build an online map of the Philippines containing unique local stories embodying Filipino culture and heritage created by students.

“Being digital natives, using online and digital technologies is natural to the youth. While they are young, we want to make them see technology as a tool that can be used to contribute to the development of the society,” said Smart Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto. "In the case of DPSA, what we want is to encourage them to generate and share their own content to instill love for one’s country, help promote their hometowns, and at the same time learn to use technology for learning."

Currently, more than a thousand stories about Philippine festivals, delicacies, history, destinations, and many more were submitted to DPSA. These stories may be viewed via the DPSA site at www.doonposaamin.ph. This July, as it opens its 7th run, more interesting stories are expected to populate DPSA’s online map. Submission of stories is until October 31, 2014.

"Smart is encouraging the youth to use the Internet, a channel available and accessible for all, to become effective ambassadors of the entire 7,107 islands that make up the country." Isberto added.

Studies show that more than 70% of Internet users in the Philippines are from the youth sector. The growing mobile Internet usage is also bringing the channel into the hands of more people in the countryside.

Local tourism is getting a boost from wireless and Internet technologies as residents tweet and post about the unspoiled beaches, special delicacies, and interesting practices in their respective towns. Beyond the fine white sands of Boracay, chocolate hills in Bohol, or the underground river in Palawan, the world gets to discover the other less-famous but definitely worth visiting destinations in the country because of the Internet and social media.
QR Code Project in Iloilo City
Smart also has projects supporting digital tourism for specific localities. In partnership with InnoPub Media, Smart has launched mobile apps, Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled markers and electronic guidebooks for cities and municipalities in Cebu, Baguio and Iloilo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Megaworld allocates P5-B to build 10 office towers in Iloilo Business Park by 2021

Property giant seen to generate around 30,000 jobs in the IT-BPO sector in five to seven years

Iloilo City, Philippines, April 4, 2014 –Megaworld, the country’s leading property developer and no. 1 office developer and landlord, will build 10 office towers in the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park by 2021. The office towers will provide a total of about 100,000 square meters of office space inventory for the biggest cyberpark in Western Visayas, generating approximately 30,000 jobs in the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector.
In photo (L-R) are Harold Geronimo, Head of Communications, Megaworld; Jericho P. Go, First Vice President, Megaworld; and Andy Rangel, Vice President for Operations, Startek, the first business process outsourcing (BPO) company to set up operations in Iloilo Business Park.

“Iloilo Business Park is positioned to be Western Visayas’ biggest cyberpark and a major hub for IT-BPO outside of Metro Manila. More and more BPO companies have already expressed strong interest to set up operations in Iloilo Business Park. Most of them are first-time locators,” says Jericho P. Go, first vice president, Megaworld.

Megaworld is allocating P5-billion for the office towers in Iloilo Business Park.

FIRST BPO LOCATOR

As part of the first phase at the IT-BPO cluster of the township, three office towers are set to be operational within this year – One Global Center, Two Global Center, and the Richmonde Tower.

Colorado-based StarTek, Inc., one of the leading BPOs in the country, with call centers located throughout the US, Latin America, Canada, Honduras, and Costa Rica, will be the first company to set up operations in Two Global Center tower by August this year. The four-storey tower has a total of 9,000 squaremeters of office spaces that could accommodate around 2,600 workers.

“With StarTek coming in to jumpstart our cyberpark operations, we see Iloilo City rising fast to become a major BPO hub in the region,” declares Go.
TWO Global Center will host StarTek

Megaworld is currently the country’s office space developer with around 27 corporate office towers across the country – 11 in Eastwood City, 14 in McKinley Hill, 1 in Newport City, and 1 in The Mactan Newtown in LapuLapu City, Cebu. Ten more office towers are expected to be completed this year in Uptown Bonifacio, The Mactan Newtown, Iloilo Business Park and McKinley Hill.

Megaworld recently announced that it is expanding its office space inventory to 712,000 square meters this year, cementing its leadership as the Philippines’ no. 1 office developer and landlord.

Currently, an estimated 110,000 employees are working in Megaworld’s townships. The biggest bulk of which are in Eastwood City, the country’s first IT park; and McKinley Hill, the company’s biggest township project in Metro Manila which is also home to four foreign embassies and four international schools.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Megaworld 1H 2014 profits rise 289% to Php 16.4 billion

Megaworld, the Philippines’ leading property developer and the no. 1 office developer and landlord, posted a net income of P16.44-billion (inclusive of the P11.62-billion non-recurring gain from the acquisition and sale of subsidiary and associate) for the first half of 2014, 289-percent higher than the P4.23-billion for the same period in 2013 due to strong residential sales in its various townships, particularly in Newport City, Uptown Bonifacio, McKinley Hill and Eastwood City; and higher leasing income from its office and retail portfolio.

“I am confident that Megaworld can sustain its core growth momentum as we continuously expand all business segments in our townships across the country,” says Dr. Andrew L. Tan, chairman and CEO, Megaworld.

On the other hand, Megaworld’s rental income from office developments and lifestyle malls surged to a record P3.44 billion in first half 2014, 22 percent higher than P2.83 billion same period in 2013.

Total revenues of Megaworld, together with its subsidiaries Global Estate Resorts Inc., Empire East Land Holdings and Suntrust Properties, amounted to P31.96 billion for the first half 2014, up 85 percent from P17.28 billion for the same period in 2013.

Megaworld, and its subsidiaries, posted P47 billion in reservation sales in the first half 2014 which is 9 percent higher compared to same period last year.

In June, Megaworld has completed the consolidation of Tan’s real estate companies under Megaworld with the acquisition of 49.2% stake of Alliance Global Group, Inc. in Global-Estate Resorts, Inc. (GERI). The acquisition brings Megaworld’s majority stake in GERI to 80.4% and increases the property giant’s total land bank to around 4,000 hectares.

Megaworld group has launch a total of 16 residential projects during the first half of 2014. Megaworld has launched 6 projects namely; Salcedo Skysuites in Makati CBD, The Venice Luxury Residences – Fiorenzo Tower, The Florence Tower 2 and Viceroy East Tower in Mckinley Hill, Taguig, Lafayette Park Square in Iloilo and Mactan Belmont Luxury Hotel in Mactan, Cebu. Empire East has launched 4 projects namely; Mango Tree Residences East and West Tower in San Juan, Kasara Urban Residences Tower 5 in Pasig, and Pioneer Woodlands Park 2 in Mandaluyong. Suntrust has launched 5 projects namely; Suntrust Ascentia and Suntrust Solana in Manila, Suntrust Amadea in Quezon City, 88 Gibraltar in Baguio City and Siena Hills in LIpa, Batangas. GERI has launched Pahara Residential Village at Southwoods City.

Megaworld is also set to further solidify its position as the leader in office developments in terms of total office space inventory by completing another 112,000 square meters of office spaces this year.  By the end of 2014, the company will have around 712,000 square meters of office spaces in its portfolio with the completion of new state-of-the-art office towers in Uptown Bonifacio, The Mactan Newtown in Cebu, and Iloilo Business Park.

On the retail side, Megaworld is also set to complete additional commercial and retail spaces with the completion of the Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill, and some commercial strips at The Mactan Newtown. Megaworld’s existing commercial and retail space portfolio is currently at 304,083 square meters.

Megaworld has pioneered the “LIVE-WORK-PLAY-LEARN” lifestyle concept for mixed-use communities in the Philippines, which are popularly known as “townships.”

To date, the company has 10 townships all throughout the country covering around 300 hectares of land. This includes the 17-hectare Eastwood City, which is considered to be the country’s first cyberpark; the 50-hectare McKinley Hill in Fort Bonifacio; the 25-hectare Newport City in Pasay City; the 5-hectare Forbes Town Center in Bonifacio Global City; the 28.8-hectare The Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; the 15.4-hectare Uptown Bonifacio in Bonifacio Global City; the 34.5-hectare McKinley West in Fort Bonifacio; the 12.3-hectare Woodside City in Pasig City; the 11-hectare Davao Park District in Davao City; and the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park in Iloilo City.

Over the past 25 years, the Megaworld Group has emerged as the country’s No. 1 real estate organization.  It has completed more than 320 residential and office buildings with a total area of around 5.6 million square meters.  Currently, about 185 residential, office and hotel buildings with a total area of around 5.4 million square meters are under development. ##

Friday, August 8, 2014

Easy Taxi & Waze to promote ‘social’ and responsible driving

Easy Taxi & Waze have announced a partnership aiming at facilitating mobility and responsible driving. The campaign, which starts initially in the Philippines, Singapore, and Brazil, has common objectives of raising the awareness about the most important problems related to city transportation.

Following the theme of “Don’t drink and drive”, the campaign targets one of the growing social problems in the Philippines and comes just two months after the new strict law, prohibiting driving under the influence, was introduced by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). 

To additionally motivate the passengers to take a safe taxi instead of driving under risky conditions, Easy Taxi introduced a zero booking fee to accompany the campaign. Waze instead, wants to assure all users are familiar about the "Share Drive" functionality, which allows users to send a direct message or email to inform their friends and family about the arrival and eventual lateness. While all Easy-Taxi drivers are verified and tracked in real time, sharing the ride with family or friends introduces additional layer of safety, which is within the best intention of both partners. In case of any potential delay noticed with Waze's "Share Drive", worried parents or friends, can further request information from Easy Taxi about taxi location and driver details.
“We have a lot in common with Waze, but most importantly we share a mission of reducing the traffic and increasing safety of the transportation industry. The partnership will help us assure an uprecedented quality of the passenger service to the roads of Manila and Cebu. With the help of SMART Communications we already enabled drivers to use Waze and Easy Taxi with no barriers through zero data plans. It’s now time to bring full synergies to the table”, said Mario Berta, Easy Taxi’s Regional Managing Director.

“Safety is the utmost priority for Waze. Waze was the first navigation app to block drivers from texting and driving. The entire navigation experience, even reporting an accident, can be done by voice command. Additionally, Waze warns you about accidents and hazards on the road, thereby keeping drivers out of the most dangerous segments of road. Similarly, our partnership with Easy Taxi allows us to continue to strive for safety. By working with Easy Taxi, we’re able to offer our users the safest way to get home, while under the influence, and still enjoy the benefits of Waze since their drivers use Waze, too”, said Julie Mossler, Waze Sr. Director of Communications.

The social responsibility campaign between Waze and Easy Taxi could become a beginning of cooperation on a bigger scale between both tech giants. Onboarding Easy Taxi on Waze app could allow the latter to use it to recruit more drivers. Easy Taxi's CMO, Paul Malicki, sees it as a big step in company's efforts to expand user acquisition to new channels. “Waze is possibly the most complimentary product to Easy Taxi due to its embedded ability to help taxi drivers challenge the traffic, while it also reaches heavy commuters in the world’s biggest metropolis. Today we run marketing on more than dozen different marketing platforms but with Waze for the first time we will be able to target passengers and drivers with unusual efficiency. We saw a very positive feedback from the drivers after adding Waze deeplink into the Easy Taxi app. There are so many possibilities to work together and we are looking forward to explore them.”

About Easy Taxi
Easy Taxi is the world's biggest taxi booking app, currently available across 165 cities in over 32 countries around the world. Founded in Brazil in 2011, the company started expansion in Asia in 2013.

About Asia Pacific Internet Group
The Asia Pacific Internet Group (APIG) supports some of the leading internet companies in the region. Founded by Rocket Internet in 2014, the APIG's mission is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Asia and the Pacific, as well as to support the development of a vibrant online culture. APIG's network currently consists of 10 companies, operating in 15 countries.

About Waze
Waze is one of the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Waze is the social navigation pioneer, leveraging mobile technology and a passionate global community to redefine expectations of today’s maps. Waze is home to one of the world’s largest networks of drivers who work together daily to outsmart traffic and save time and money. The app consistently recommends the fastest routes based on real-time driving and data from millions of users. From traffic reroutes to low gas price alerts and relevant offers from favorite brands, Waze is one of the most comprehensive driving companions in the marketplace. To download the free Waze app for iOS or Android, visit http://www.waze.com.
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