So while the West pulls the reins on building and spending, Southeast Asia continues to flourish with Indonesia and the Philippines as star players going for the win in the growth marathon. As I write this, our stock exchange hits another all-time high, and this month, Conde Nast Traveller magazine lists the Philippines as one of its top 10 destinations for 2013 and calls our archipelago its new 'flame'-giving emphasis to its beautiful islands, coastal waters and reefs bursting with sea life. It's a vacationer's sweetheart indeed. After many years of trying to build this nation, it seems our time has finally come!
The urban landscape is quickly transforming as new buildings come up in the metro. Alveo Land completes the last of its Serendra Towers while getting started on its Meridien development in Bonifacio. The Federal Land-Orix Group broke ground The Grand Hyatt. Finally we have one!
FilinvestAlabang Inc. has just re-launched and rebranded itself as it expands its mall and builds more 'homes' for the outsourcing business. Its mother company has also brought in the hotel brands of the high-end Crimson and the mid-market Quest, while Ayala just opened Fairmont in Makati and just launched its Seda hotel brand.
A new Holiday-Inn is about to open at the redeveloped Glorietta Mall. While Seda launched its first property in Bonifacio Global City, four more hotels will open in other cities in 2013. Rockwell has launched its multi-tower development, The Proscenium. Quietly, Discovery Primea punctures the sky above Ayala Avenue with its tall and slender luxury apartment and service-suite tower, the first residential development of its kind.
Rural landscape changed
The rural landscape has changed as well: we now have large malls in the once-sleepy cities of both the north and south, in places we still call 'the province.' SM's new premiere mall in Lanang, Davao has opened and Ayala Malls is expanding into all the major cities. Ayala and Rustans are bringing in the Japanese chain, FamilyMart.
High-quality resorts are coming up in areas that were considered isolated some 10 years ago. Ayala Land has expanded their portfolio with the El Nido Resorts brand, and the Dedon (yes, of the high-end outdoor furniture) Resort Island in the surfer's turf of Siargao raises the bar for developments in the backpacker's paradise.
In Bohol, there are resorts mushrooming on its many coves and islands. And our beautiful but overbuilt Boracay will soon have strip malls and even more hotels; and its airport is up for expansion. So too is Cebu's Mactan International.
To be up on reclaimed area
Let's not forget all the new hotels, condominiums, office buildings and casinos soon to be up on the once-barren reclaimed area on Roxas Boulevard.
And of course, I don't have to expound on how quickly our outsourcing businesses have been growing, fueling the demand for office spaces and its related amenities, giving more jobs to the young workforce and allowing them to fuel local tourism and invest money in the condos sprouting all over the city. Then there are the many multinationals coming in, or existing ones establishing their foothold by expanding their operations. Coca-Cola, for one, is set to move to larger offices.
For the design and building industry, that means new products coming into the market. Recently, we've had brands like Porcellanosa, Capellini and Poliform enter the Philippines. As the new sweetheart consumer, we have better opportunities to explore possibilities in design and get better prices for products and services. The competition makes the product better, whether it be a hotel suite, a beachside cottage, a retail shop or a corporate office space-you will likely be getting better value for your money. Now, if only government will build more roads, reduce the cost of power, improve our airports, upgrade mass transport systems and educate our young population and allow our newfound wealth trickle down to the masses.
On the matter of a market crash, all signs show that we are nowhere near, and we will continue to build and cater to a healthy, growing economy where there will be more than enough for everyone.