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Development of Secondary Cities will be the Future of the Philippines

The future of the Philippines looks rosy as the economy continues its growth, being the fastest not only in the ASEAN region but also in the world. The World Bank has forecast that this will still continue even till 2019, with more than 6% growth every year since 2013. In 2016, growth was 6.8%, even surpassing that of China.

“We are seeing a transformation to a stronger, more developed economy,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong, based on a report from Bloomberg. “Recent administrations worked hard to ensure macroeconomic stability which serves as its anchor.”

The economic resurgence started during the administration of President Benigno Aquino in 2010. Revenues were raised, corruption curbed and the country’s first investment grade credit ratings upgrade bagged. With this momentum, the Asian Development Bank has forecast that at the end of this decade, the Philippines will have achieved an upper middle class income economy with the per capita income hitting $4,126, almost at par with China, Malaysia and Thailand.

This is a highly encouraging development considering that the country has always been labeled as the ‘sick man of Asia.’ A World Bank study in 2015 on East Asia’s changing urban landscape identifies Manila as one of the region’s largest and densest megacities. The study identifies the Manila Urban Area as contributing around 50% of the Philippines’s gross domestic product. This is an agglomeration of not only Metro Manila but also the urban areas of surrounding provinces that identifies the urban footprint at around 1,300 sq km.

This comes at a cost. The traffic and pollution situation in Metro Manila is horrendous. A Japan International Cooperation Agency study found that Metro Manila is losing as much as 3 billion pesos per day due to traffic. The global firm, Boston Consulting Group, in a recently released study last November found in a survey, sponsored by ride sharing company Uber, that Metro Manila has the third worst traffic in Southeast Asia. This doesn’t augur well if the country wants to continue its growth momentum.

Fortunately, while Metro Manila continues to heat up, many of the Philippines’s secondary and even tertiary cities are growing fast. The trend now is to develop these cities to mitigate the flow of more migrants and workers from the provinces to Metro Manila. The regional cities of Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao has for some time have become alternative areas of expansion not only for local businesses but multi national as well.

The emergence of BPO companies setting shop even in cities like Dumaguete, Iloilo and Naga attests to the viability of these smaller urban areas. Perhaps what it lacks in population and size compared to the national capital is compensated with a better way of life without the traffic and pollution but still enjoying the amenities and lifestyle of highly urbanized cities.

Project Name

Miramonti Green Residences

Miramonti is a mixed-use development set against the dramatic backdrop of majestic Mt. Makiling in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Located in the south of Metro Manila, Sto. Tomas is easy accessible from South Luzon Expressway and surrounded with Light Industry and Science Park III. Miramonti will guarantee its residents a fresh urban setting away from the busy environment in the metro.

“Our DNA is Italian, and we are known for our tradition of fine design and capability. Our design skills, together with our understanding of the Filipino culture and taste make us unique in the Philippine Real Estate industry. This is the reason behind the fast growth of the company. In IDC, we believe that green buildings should not be expensive, they should be accessible in terms of price and location. - Architect Nati

This is the reason why Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) has chosen a different tact. The company, founded by Italian green architect, Architect Romolo Nati and environmental lawyer, Atty. Jose Leviste is a design driven developer of sustainable properties in the Philippines’s emerging cities. Rather than compete in well served areas, IDC has chosen the first mover strategy, targeting cities with significant growth prospects and robust demographic profiles.

The city of Cagayan de Oro is the gateway of North Mindanao and is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. With its promising future, IDC has built Primavera Residences, its first flagship project in 2010 followed by Primavera City in 2016. The former consists of residential condos in two towers while the latter, to be constructed in phases, with the first one as a mixed used condominium, the second a potential BPO development and the last one envisioned to host a branded hotel and luxury apartments.

Project Name

Primavera Residences

Primavera Residences is a twin-tower, mixed-use development located in Pueblo de Oro Business Park, one of the booming districts in the city of Cagayan de Oro. It is also an eco-friendly, Italian-inspired property constructed along the principles of sustainable architecture, such as generating its own energy, minimizing power usage, and maximizing natural light and ventilation.

In 2015, Primavera Residences was given the EDGE (Excellence Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification awarded by International Finance Corporation as the first completed condominium project in East Asia.

Project Name

Primavera City

Primavera City is the follow-up project after the success of Primavera Residences by Italpinas Development Corporation. It is a seven-tower mixed-use development with residential, office, parking and commercial spaces. Some of its first class amenities will be a sky garden, and a swimming pool on the roof deck. Primavera City is the winner of Best Mixed-use Development in the Philippines 2017.

Energy Savings


• Total cooling energy consumption 231 k\Nh/sqm

• Service hotwater (electric boiler) 137 k\Nh/sqm

• Lighting an appliances 28 k\Nh/sqm

Total Energy Consumption 396 kwh/sqm

Natural Ventilation


Maximize passive effects for low energy consumption.

The building shape increases the ventilation and decreases the energy use.

• Breeze hitting the facade

• Balcony shadowing windows

• Blinds cooling facade

• Inner courtyard acting as a chimney


• Total cooling energy consumption 167 Kwh/sqm

• Energy saving contribution

• Bioclimatic passive cooling strategies 64 Kwh/sqm

• High efficient equipments 23 Kwh/sqm

• Photovoltaic panels energy contribution 24 Kwh/sqm

Total Energy Consumption 285 kwh/sqm

Closer to Metro Manila, IDC has started the development of its Miramonti property in Sto Tomas, Batangas, the new beltway of economic growth between highly urbanized Metro Manila and the port of Batangas connected by a world class expressway. The project is a mixed used residential-commercial development.

IDC’s dedication to green living and architectural design has earned it several national and international recognition. For its Primavera projects, it has garnered awards from ‘Highly Commended’ – Best Condo Development (Southeast Asia Property Award, Singapore, 2011), ‘Winner’ – Best Mixed Used Development (PH) (International Property Award, KL, 2015), ‘Winner’ – Leadership in Green Building (Philippine Green Building Council Award, Manila, 2016), to ‘Winner’ – Best Mixed Use Development (PH) (International Property Award, KL, 2017) plus four more distinctions.

Through intensive data gathering on the project area and use of parametric software to assess the best form of a structure based on several environmental factors, IDC has come up with projects that are green and sustainable that will eventually provide not only big savings to owners but a plus for the environment as well. For this, IDC has the distinction of being the First Completed Condominium Project in East Asia to be given an EDGE (Excellence in Design For Greater Efficiencies) Certificate, a green building rating system developed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank. These recognitions prove IDC’s commitment to deliver truly sustainable projects.

To know more about IDC’s green and sustainable projects in Cagayan de Oro City and Sto Tomas, Batangas, visit


WORDS: Estan Cabigas

IMAGES: Italpinas Development Corporation

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