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Smart Real Estate
Philippine Star Sunday, 02.26.06
RP on verge of biggest real estate boom in 30 years
Philippine Daily Inquirer - Sunday, 12.18.05
Home Living Made Easy at South of Market
Philippine Star Saturday, 08.05.05
SoMa, so good
Philippine Star Saturday, 07.23.05
Making the Philippines worth coming home to
Philippine News - 07.20-26.05
Crisis fails to dampen property sizzle
from Philippine News - 07.20-26.05
Condo Sales lead property boom
Philippine News - 04.27.05 to 05.03.05
Condo Living made easy
Philippine Daily Inquirer - Saturday, 02.12.05
South Market Ground Breaking
01.18.05
The logical way of owning a condominium
Philippine Star Saturday, 11.20.04
The logical way of owning a condo
Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday, 10.16.04
SOUTH OF MARKET AT THE GLOBAL CITY
Philippine Daily Inquirer Thursday, 09.09.04; Sunday, 09.26.04
SOMA, thinking man's home
Philippine Star Saturday, 08.28.04

A Father, two sons, and twenty years of Real Estate Excellence
Philippine Star Sunday, 02.26.06

philstar
south of market | smart real estate

It seems like only yesterday, when Jose E.B.Antonio sat at the park, watching his two sons fly kites in an open field. The two little boys tinkered with their kites, discovering how this or that small adjustment could make them fly faster, or fly higher. Mr. Antonio, or Joey, as he is called by friends, smiled quietly as he observed his two young kids, recognizing in that single moment how they all shared a singular desire to push boundaries, and break new ground in every endeavor. It was at about the same time, in the aftermath of the turbulent Marcos regime, when as an infant democracy began to take flight very much like a child’s Saranggolas, Joey put up a new company called Century Properties.

The bloodless Edsa Revolution brought about a new era of promise and hope, and Century’s mission was to build world class homes for the citizens of this newly freed Philippines.
Fast forward some twenty years and Century Properties, once a fledgling company of 30 employees has grown to become the country’s largest privately owned real estate firm, creating the most desired residential hi-rises, corporate offices, and leisure and mixed use projects in Philippine Real Estate History. And Joey’s no longer watching his sons fly kites, as both Jigger, 33, and Marco, 31 have taken their Father’s vision to even greater heights.

Jigger, now the company’s Chief Operating officer recounts how his love for real estate was fueled by the many occasions that he overheard his Father speaking passionately about the business to his colleagues and business partners. “I was inspired greatly by my dad, and After completing my university degree at Wharton, I returned home to work for Century from the very bottom, selling condos, and working my way up the ladder, with no preferential treatment at all.” An unorthodox route indeed for a C.O.O. or (child of owner) but Jigger insisted on it as he wanted to learn each and every aspect of running the company.
Marco, Jigger’s younger brother, also followed a similar path, and after further education and both graduated cum laude with their masters degrees also from Wharton, two brothers slowly took over the day to day operations of Century Properties, collaborating with Joey in introducing some of the most revolutionary concepts in Philippine Real Estate.
“Being blessed enough to be able to travel to the world’s most modern cities, and being able to see how they build and create breathtaking and functional structures, made us truly desire to create our own world class projects here in the Philippines,” Marco says.

In 1993, Century Properties constructed the first Medical Arts Building in the country: The Medical Plaza Makati to address the growing demand for doctors’ offices. And its immediate success gave birth to a second Medical Plaza in Ortigas Center. “Our projects have successful because they are not created solely for profit, but because or the passion we put in to everything we build, and a sincere desire to fulfill the needs of our customers and clients” Jigger explains.

Century’s indefatigable thirst for innovation and breaking boundaries found its next realization in a unique project called the Oxford Suites. A condominium and hotel in one, the building was specifically aimed towards practical buyers who wanted to receive immediate profits for their investments. Buyers were given the option to either use the units or lease them to a management group that would rent out the rooms on a per day basis. Marco expounds, “Oxford Suites targeted end users and at the same time, investors, and its success lead other developers to create other condotels using the same model”
In 1997, Century Properties bid for the biggest local real estate catches in history: The Fort Bonifacio Global City. And although they eventually lost the bid to Multinational giant, Metro Pacific, they strongly believed in the Fort’s potential and decided to purchase one hectare of land.

As the Asian Financial Crisis with Stock Market and Currency crashes devastated the entire Asia Pacific region, the Antonio’s resolve never wavered as they embarked on a groundbreaking project that was considered foolhardy especially in such trying times. As Local and foreign investors backed out of various projects and all construction in the country was at a standstill, Century Properties began plans to build their flagship: Essensa East Forbes.

Essensa was a visionary project that was born of Joey and sons’ dream of creating the most luxurious residential building the Philippines had ever seen. As voracious travelers who often looked for inspiration in their favorite cosmopolitan centers: Singapore, New York, Hongkong, Miami, and San Francisco, Essensa would be a 6-star development that incorporated what they loved most in their favorite world stops.

The name Essensa meant “essence of perfection.” Designed by world-famous architect I.M. Pei, Jigger admits, “We had a most difficult task at hand: To build the country’s best ever luxury hi-rise, sell it at the most expensive price ever sold, and at the worse possible time in the nation’s economic history.”
And as history would have it, Essensa began construction in 1997, was completed in less than three years, and delivered in 2001, completely sold out with the cheapest unit at 30million pesos!

“We stood by our vision and we succeeded. Essensa would be the BEST of the BEST, no compromises, and the market responded” Marco says.

And the best, it was. With its heated lap pools, gyms, in-house spa and sauna, Essensa was recognized by foreigners as a superior residential development that was at par with the best condominiums in the world. Each three-bedroom unit at Essensa was made of pure oakwood and all kitchens and bathrooms were magnificently furnished with top-of-the-line imported labels like SubZero, Travertine and Miele. Hailed by Asiaweek Magazine as The Best Residential Building in the Philippines in 1998, Essensa soon became the springboard to launch the Century “kite” to new and greater heights.

The past few years has seen the exponential growth in real estate competition, and along with that comes the challenge of generating unique ideas and innovations that speaks quality and allows great organizations to rise above the mediocre. Century Properties have once again broken new ground with such pioneering projects as South of Market, the first fully furnished and fully fitted condominium in the country, Soho Central in Shaw Boulevard. Soho Central was also breaking new ground as the first ever development in the country with a direct link to the MRT train station, and Canyon Ranch, the country’s first spawling Califronia Ranch Style Development with integrated Wi-Fi in every home.

As the largest privately owned real estate firm in the Philippines, Century Properties has introduced world-class innovations that are the result of a sincere passion to provide the best homes for the Filipino. With the improving economy, the strengthening peso, and the booming property sector, Joey and his sons are promising even more visionary projects soon. As Century Properties Celebrates its 20th year this 2006, who know just how high the kites will fly.

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Smart Real Estate
Philippine Star Sunday, 02.26.06

philstar
south of market | smart real estate

A home is a legacy of our hard work and a testament to success. That is why buying a place we can call home becomes not only an emotional and exciting experience, it is also a major and significant financial investment that needs to be carefully thought of.

With the myriad of houses and condominiums in Metro Manila, searching for that ideal residence can be a daunting task. But keep in mind that though purchases can most likely fall as an emotional buy, real estate is a major investment. If you have done research and compared what is in the market, you definitely won’t fail to notice the residential projects called South of Market and Soho Central- Revolutionary developments from Class-A developer Century Properties- Meridien Development Group. With about 90% of both inventories taken up in less than 14 months, South of Market and Soho Central have definitely made an impact in the market. Why? Smart real estate. Here are at least 5 reasons.

1. SUPERB LOCATION
South of Market is situated in prime Bonifacio, Global City- a fully masterplanned community just 2 minutes away from Makati Central Business while Soho Central is strategically located in Mandaluyong City right across Shangri-La Mall.

2. DEVELOPER’S TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS
Century Properties `Inc-Meridien Development Group has 20 years of solid experience in real estate. Its collection of the more than 60 projects that it has marketed, managed or developed attest to its strong commitment for quality, excellence and reliability. With over US$2.5 billion worth of assets under its helm, CPI-MDG has become the largest privately owned property group in the Philippines.

Its portfolio of other high quality developments include: Le Triomphe, Le Metropole, Le Domaine, Pacific Place, Medical Plaza Makati and Ortigas, West of Ayala, Oxford Suites, One Magnificent Mile and Essensa East Forbes. It has recently turned over Bel-air Soho in prime Makati, one year ahead of schedule.

As expected, South of Market and Soho Central will be delivered in the standards and quality people have come to expect throughout the years.

3. ATTRACTIVE PRICES AND PAYMENT TERMS
Unit prices at South of Market or SOMA start for as low as P3 Million while soho Central can be yours for as low as P2 Million, Both offers attractive payment terms for as low as P18,000/mo and P8,800/mo respectively.

Additionally, as a co-development project, SOMA is VAT, DOC stamps and Transfer Taxes free. This translates to huge savings for buyers, which at times amounts to 25%-30% vs. other condos in the area.

4. BEST VALUE ADDED PROPOSITION
It takes about 6 months to a year to fully furnish a unit. And it doesn’t completely come to mind to buyers of ‘build to own’ or bare/empty units that they would need to hire a a electrician, a carpenter, a painter etc. to fix their units. Not only is this very costly, it is also very time consuming. After which, you have to decorate your unit and buy appliances, fixtures and furniture. All of which amounts to additional expenses. Not to mention the hassle and stress that comes with it.

At SOMA and Soho Central, because all units are delivered FULLY-FITTED and COMPLETELY FURNISHED, once unit is turned over, unit owners can immediately move in or lease their units and earn income from Day 1. By incorporating all these into each unit, SOMA and Soho Central takes away a lot of the worry and headache away from clients.

Each unit comes complete with washing machine, airconditioning unit per bedroom, refrigerator, cooktop, rangehood, microwave, flatscreen TV, DVD player, entertainment sound system, Living Room set including sofa, coffee table and chair, Dining Room Set including a dining table and chairs, bedframe in each bedroom, kitchen cabinetry, phone line and cable T.V. provisions, closets for bedrooms.

5. OUTSTANDING FEATURES AND FACILITIES
Luxury suites are offered in 1,2 and combined 3 rooms ranging from 39 to 227 square meters. Layouts, come with floor to ceiling windows and balconies give an unmistakably grand and roomy feeling to each home.

Other outstanding facilities that can be found in both buildings; a health and fitness center, a swimming pool, resident’s lounge, function rooms and commercial area, to name a few.

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RP on verge of biggest real estate boom in 30 years
Philippine Daily Inquirer - Sunday, 12.18.05
 

THE PHILIPPINES IS ON THE CUSP OF what could be the country's biggest property boom in nearly three decades fueled by money from overseas Filipinos, investments from businessmen and increased government spending.

"If politics is neutral, we are at the threshold of the biggest real estate boom since 1997," says Albay Representative Joey Salceda.

Since the Asian financial crisis brought the property sector into a long swoon in 1997, the industry has been on a slow but steady climb in the last few years.

Salceda expected the property boom would be broad based from residential houses and condo units to office towers, leisure facilities and hotels.

Tapping OFW market  

At least $1 billion in remittances from Filipinos living or working abroad low in every month (not counting the dollars sent through informal channels), and it is expected that these dollars will be spent on buying new houses for their families, high-end condos or resort homes for their own use.  

Demand for quality

Industry sees that there is an underlying flight to quality in the growing demand for property. Buyers are more knowledgeable now that they were before and they will go to developers that have a long track record, that build classy units whatever the market level and deliver their products on time. With people looking for more quality products, the industry's growth is expected to be sustained."

Gov't role

Despite its political troubles, the Arroyo administration has also contributed to setting the stage for a surge in property demand. Salceda said.

Aside from keeping interest rates low through prudent debt management, Salceda said the government was poised to further kick up interest in the real estate sector by jacking up its capital spending by 52 percent next year the first time in five years that it would be boosting investments infrastructure.

"This should make the 4.2 million housing backlog a real demand." Salceda said.

Hot demand for office space

Aside from houses and residential condos, another hot factor in the property sector is the rising demand for office space, with vacancy rates dropping from their peak of 60 percent to between 9 and 15 percent at present.

GB Richard Ellis, the worlds largest real estate advisory firm, said robust demand for office space was being driven mainly by relocations multinationals corporations and embassies from Grade B and C buildings and my continued demand from new and expanding call centers, business process outsourcing (BPO) provides, and information technology companies.  

Bulls Running

"Despite medium term domestic economic concerns, the outlook for the office property sector remains bullish." CB Richard Ellis said. "Limited supplies of suitable Prime/Grade A office space in the Makati CBD will keep vacancy levels in the single digits for the near and medium terms while elase expirations in 2006 will be closely watched as they are expected to impact the amount of available space."

The property adviser noted that demand was not confined to Makati and Ortigas.

"Tight supplies of suitable existing of fice space in Metro Manila is forcing call centers and BPO's with large space requirements to consider locating to areas outside the major central business districts." Said CB Richard Ellis, citing the rising trends toward the construction of more build to suit buildings(specially in Alabang and Fort Bonifacio), and the conversion of shopping malls and other types of retail establishments to space suitable for call centers.

Leisure and Hotels

The property sector is also humming in the leisure and hotel business, with average occupancy rates improving to nearly 75 percent this year from less that 50 percent a few years ago, the highest growth being registered in deluxe suites, according to CB Richard Ellis.

Tourism arrivals are on track to hit 2.66 million this year (up to 6 percent last year), with tourism revenues expected at $2.2 billion (up by 14 percent from last year).

With international arrivals predicted to rise by 15 percent next year (in line with the government's goal of having 5 million tourists by 2010). CB Richard Ellis noted an increasing number of foreign investments going into building deluxe hotels and resort facilities.

"Out of 7,000 plus island, only one fourth the currently developed and many hospitality-related facilities need refurbishment or have yet to built, "it said.

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Home Living Made Easy at South of Market
Philippine Star Saturday, 08.05.05

The past weekend has been a busy one for Marketing Director Gene Aragon. The 38 year old has been visiting showrooms in the Manila in a quest for his dream home- a two bedroom private condominium unit.

Gene based and working in Singapore didn't have the luxury of time as he was only in Manila for a short vacation. But he knew he needed to find a good property he can invest in at the same time use when he is in Manila .

After seeing South of Market in Fort Bonifacio , Gene knew he found the home he was looking for.

From the developers of Essensa East Forbes, recognized as the best residential building in the Philippines , comes another breakthrough development -South of Market or SOMA. Situated in a prime location in Fort Bonifacio , Global City , this chic 39-storey twin tower residential condo embraces the fundamental needs of today's sophisticated city dweller. From its superb location, developer's track record and building quality to its revolutionary concepts in superior conveniences, comfort, features and entertainment.

South of Market offers a value added luxury home while investing in a much lower price. As a unique co-development project , SOMA is VAT, DOC stamps and TRANSFER TAXES FREE, which translates to huge savings for investors.

Additionally, SOMA is the only fully-fitted and completely furnished condominium in the country making moving-in worry and hassle-free! Living in SOMA starts immediately upon turnover. No messy fittings. No additional expenses and time wasted in buying appliances and furniture.

It takes 6 months to one year to furnish an apartment and for people like Mr. Aragon who doesn't have the time to hire contractors and interior designers or buy appliances ,fixtures and furnitures, Soma suits him perfectly. As they say, SOMA is for smart buyers who wish to get a more luxurious home while investing in a much lower price.

"A significant part of our market is overseas Filipinos," says Century Properties Chairman Amb. Jose EB Antonio. The number of Filipinos overseas is estimated to be at 8.5 million, a tenth of the country's total population. "And international buyers like Mr. Aragon are realizing the enormous investment opportunities in their home county and are now taking a significant slice of sales," adds Antonio. He also added that the US dollar vis-a-vis the Philippine Peso has become the prime motivation in investing in real estate now.

THE MORE DESIRED CITY-FORT BONIFACIO

Fort Bonifacio Global City is a fully master-planned community strategically located and easily accessible to the Makati Central Business District, the Ortigas Center and the new NAIA 3 airport terminal. Referred to as the emerging metropolis and the city of the future, Fort Bonifacio is a mixed used community and an urban developers dream. Its state-of-the-art infrastructure includes underground utilities, fiber optic lines, flood water drainage detention tanks, excellent zoning and road networks and a public art program that gives the city a distinctive character. Innovative and responsible land use is also a major element of the Global City 's design for a world-class urban community.

Stately-line streets, abundant parks and open spaces also make urban living at SOMA beyond compare. The city's well identified zoning for residential districts likewise provide imposing views and the crescent-shaped community park.

THE CITY IS ITS PLAYGROUND  

South of Market offers the sophistication and convenience of city living as it places every corner of the global city at its command day and night. Walk to work, dine at the hottest restaurant, shop at the trendiest mall or catch the finest concerts. The best of everything is only minutes from your doorstep!

Located at South Bonifacio , South of Market is also very near international schools, retail and dining establishments, golf and sports facilities and offices. Also in the offing is a hospital , church, and IT and business hub. This grand residence also takes full advantage of the Global City 's advanced networks and road systems. There is easy access to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport , Makati Business District, C-5 and outlying communities.

WELL-PLANNED FOR A LIFE WELL LIVED

SOMA offers unmatched quality in design and construction. Luxury suites are offered in 1,2 and 3 bedroom configurations ranging from 39 to 115 square meters. Its airy layout combined with floor to ceiling windows and balcony gives an unmistakably unique cozy feeling.

To compliment the living in style of SOMA, outstanding facilities include among others; concierge and doorman services, THX theater movie room, function rooms, owner's lounge, game room, health and fitness center, swimming pool, housekeeping, laundry services and driver's lounge. There will also be a commercial area at the ground floor that will offer distinct and essential services to SOMA residents.

As a first in the country, all units in SOMA are delivered fully-fitted and completely furnished, making moving-in worry and hassle-free. Superior furnishings included in each unit are: airconditioning per bedroom,kitchen set including kitchen cabinetry, refrigerator, cooktop, oven, rangehood, microwave, living room set including sofa, coffee table and chairs, Sony 21" flatscreen TV, dvd player, entertainment sound system, dining room set including a dining table and chairs and bedframes in each.

Soma is definitely the new way in condo living.

Model unit available for viewing at the 6 th floor Pacific Star Bldg., Sen. Gil Puyat corner Makati Avenues.

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SoMa, so good
Philippine Star Saturday, 07.23.05

By Tanya T. Lara

Sometimes, it's the details that make you love the place. We've seen a lot of pretty good model units of up-market developments in the past years and this ranks high up on our list.

To home buyers, however, one bare condo unit looks like just another: A square layout, floor-to-ceiling windows, spectacular views, convenient location, top-rate facilities and things you come to expect from units costing millions.

Here's where South of Market in Fort Bonifacio is different. There are two exceptional things about the development. Perhaps it is because the companies behind it - Century Properties, Meridien Development Group and Nova Construction - are now headed by two young men in their early thirties that these innovations are being undertaken. Jigger Antonio, a Wharton graduate with an MBA major in real estate is managing director / COO of Century Properties and Chut Cuerva, who got his degree in architecture from Columbia University , is managing director of Nova.

The first unique thing about South of Market is that the units come fully-furnished - all 295 units in each of the 37-story South and North towers. This may sound impractical at first, especially since design preferences are like fashion choices. No two people have exactly the same tastes. But when you think about it, it does make lot of sense since it eliminates the hassle and cost of hiring an interior designer and a contractor to do your unit.

"Fifty percent of our buyers are Filipinos living abroad," says Jigger Antonio. "When they buy a unit, they want a place that they'll just move into because when they come back to Manila , it would take them from six to nine months to fix it. If they want to lease it, it's ready. The day we turn over the unit is the day we can actually move in."

"Fully furnished" means every furniture and appliance in the model unit is included, such as sofas, side and coffee tables, dining set, bed frames, wardrobes, microwave, cooking range, air conditioning units, refrigerator, TV and washing machine. The only things you'll probably need to carry with you are your books, clothes and coffee maker.

"That's our main selling point. With SoMa, what you see is what you get. Jigger says only 10 percent of their clients complain about the cookie-cutter approach while 90 percent love it. It does eliminate the disappointment of homeowners who see swanky model units and end up ot knowing how to design their own once it's been turned over to them.

Design-wise, the units are very flexible, allowing for homeowners to put in their own imprint on the space. Chut Cuerva, whose firm archipelago designed the model units with his partner Tisha de Borja, chose a contemporary style with lots of room for change.

 

"This is pretty much how the units will look, but when the towers finish in December 2007, what they'll get is probably a more current version of what you see here," he says. "We had two kinds of fictitious clients in mind for the model units. In the one-bedroom, it's a young bachelor so we tailored the space to be young, stylish and hip. In the two-bedroom unit, we imagined a young starting family. We made it a little more feminine and mixed in a few older pieces like the sort of things they'd inherit from their parents. The design still leaves a lot to the imagination. With your accessories, you can out in your own style. The basic things are there so we're taking away the hassle of, say, finding the right dining table to fit the space."

The second unique thing about SoMa is the layout, which any homemaker or bachelor would appreciate. The kitchen is separated from the living areas, it can be closed off with a door and has a balcony on one side. We've seen some top rate developments of this side where, as soon as you enter through the front door, the kitchen is to your right, separated only by a counter from the living areas. For people who cook, it's not very practical to have an open kitchen because no amount of air vents or range hoods can take away the smell of food in such a small space.

In our eyes, this tiny detail makes SoMa special. Jigger says when they were conceptualizing the development, Chut went around condos abroad to see how they were doing it, thus setting the basis of the design parameters. Chut found some of the best condos in Bangkok . "In Bangkok all their condos have kitchens like this because their food smells so strong. They make it a point to separate it from the living spaces."

Just imagine the smell that's going to stick to your living room walls when you're cooking bagoong if the layout was open. The sliding door in the kitchen also takes care of the dilemma of your not wanting to be seen by guests who arrive when you're still slaving over the stove. Not all of us look like Nigella Lawson when we're cooking you know.

Designed by Roger Villarosa and Associates, SoMa is designed in such a way that every unit is a corner unit and that all of them have balconies.

"You get sunlight on two sides, not just one," says Chut.

"That's one of our signature factors in our buildings. Living in a condo can be claustrophobic so we put in a balcony for them to have a connection to the outside world. Aside from its being functional for cooking and smoking, just the fact that you can go out and smell the air is great, " says Jigger.

The developers of South of Market are the same ones that brought to the market the luxury condo building Essensa in the Fort in 1999. They imagined SoMa to be a "Junior Essensa" - more affordable, smaller spaces.

Century-Meridien, says Jigger, "is the largest private real estate developer in the country. Our major competitors - Ayala, Robinsons, Megaworld, Filinvest , Brittany - are all public. In toe-to-toe sales, month per month, we're a match to them."

In terms of sales volume, the group last year had a turnover of 3.3 billion. "It's our passion to develop and deliver quality that we're proud of and as users you'll be proud of living in our buildings as well."

"That's traditionally been our proposition," adds Chut. "We're not Ayala, so we have to offer more."

Located at the Crescent Park West residential district of the Fort, SoMa is the third in a series of projects of the same kind. The first is Bel-Air Soho on Polaris St. in Makati and the second is SoHo Central on Shaw Boulevard, fronting Shanri-la Plaza Mall, in partnership with Greenfileds which according to jigger, is one of the biggest property groups in the country, owning 50 percent of Fort Bonifacio (the other half being owned by Ayala Land).

"SoHo Central is unique because it's going to be the first residential building connected directly to an MRT station through a private walkway. It's very convenient for Makati and Ortigas professionals and more affordable too since it's about 10,000 per square meter cheaper than in Makati and the Fort. With SoHo Central, we wanted to bring in the London , Hong Kong, new York models where people take the MRT to work because it's more convenient."

Though it's situated in a more pricey location than the other two, SoMa's South Tower is already 95 percent sold and they started offering it only in June 2004.

"We're the fastest selling because of our proposition," says Jigger. "We've legally structured it in such a way that homeowners co-invest in the project. We formed a corporation with the owners to jointly co-develop South of Market so that they're partners and they don't have to pay VAT, doc stamps and transfer taxes, which makes it 30 percent lower compared to other developments. Our lowest is P3 million and savings come out to P900,000. The homeowners get a title to their unit, it's just the mechanism of owning it that's different - it's a co-development. It's a structured partnership so you get the best of both worlds."

The units are offered in one-, two and three-bedroom configurations with sizes ranging from 39 to 115 square meters. Prices start at P2.9 million. Some clients have snapped up double or triple units to combine them as one, and some have gotten half a floor for themselves. SoMa's architects help them configure the combined spaces.

Among its facilities are concierge and doorman services, a THX theatre room, function rooms, owner's lounge, game room, health and fitness center, swimming pool, housekeeping and laundry services, driver's lounge, and a storage facility. There will also be a commercial area on the ground floor.

So how did these two young guys - Jigger is 32; Chut, 31 - get into real estate development?" Both of us were born into it. Real estate is in our blood," says Jigger.

Chut's father, Richie Cuerva, is the CEO of Meridien; Jigger's father, Joey Antonio, is the chairman. It's a partnership that has lasted more than 20 years and the reins have now been handed down to the second generation.

"Our dads have worked so hard and now all they want to do is play golf and travel," says Jigger with a laugh. "Seriously, they're the ones who envision the grand design, they identify the sites and the projects which are high-level stuff and for that you need the experience and the wisdom that they have. Chut and I are the implementers of their vision. We are lucky enough to have been trained by great fathers."

At their age, do they enjoy such jobs that carry great responsibilities and millions of pesos riding on their decisions?

"I cannot imagine doing something else," says Chut. "I love all aspects of my job - the creative side, the development part - everything."

"Right now the plans are just on paper, then you see the building coming up slowly. It's very fulfilling," says Jigger.

Pretty soon, those plans are going to be real homes for families. That's a pretty good reason for loving their job.

*****

South of Market units are located on the 6 th floor of the Pacific Star building, Makati Avenue corner Buendia, Makati . For inquiries, contact your Sales Agent.

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Making the Philippines worth coming home to
from Philippine News - July 20-26, 2005
by Lorenzo G. Abellera

DESPITE the exodus of Filipinos to all parts of the world, the I Philippines remains home for i many of them.

"The biggest asset of the country is the country itself, and this will never change, no matter what the political situation, no matter who comes in the government or whoever will be next. The fundamentals of the country remain the same: it's a great place to live and to travel," said Jose E.B. Antonio, chairman of Century Properties Group.
And indeed, at the end of the day, Filipinos who sojourned to foreign lands are likely to return. And to cater to the housing needs of overseas Filipinos, Century Properties, one of the Philippines' dynamic real estate companies, go for developments that suit the sophisticated tastes of the balikbayans, be it for a visit or for retirement.

"We try in our role as private sector developer to produce those products that are internationally accepted in terms of standards," Mr. Antonio said.

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
Considering that Filipinos who have stayed in the United States for quite a time have adopted to more sophisticated ways of living, Century Properties came up with property developments that are at par with the developments abroad. For instance, Essensa, its upscale development at the Fort Bonifacio Global City , was judged by Asiaweek magazine as one of the best residential buildings in Asia , a testimony that Century Properties is capable of producing world-class developments.

As a follow-up to this feat, Century Properties has come up with other developments, which do not only, cater to the housing needs of local residents, but also of overseas Filipinos coming home.

For those who prefer a place to live in in the metro, Century Properties has two landmark de­velopments that provide comfort and style, much more making the active urbanite accessible to prac­tically any points in Metro Ma­nila.

One is the South of Market (SoMa), a 39-storey, twin-tower residential development that is also located at the Fort Bonifacio

Global City. One can take advan­tage of this prime location as SoMa is near retail establishment Market! Market!, several interna­tional schools, and the Makati and Ortigas business districts. SoMa is also the first residential condominium in the Philippines where the units come fully fur­nished. However, one must not be intimidated because SoMa is by far the most affordable resi­dential condominium at the Fort. Unit prices start at P2.9 million and available at attractive payment terms.

Meanwhile, for those who put a premium on accessibility, SOHO Central may be the answer. Located at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and EDSA in Mandaluyong City , SOHO Cen­tral is the first transportation-ori­ented development in the Philip­pines as it provides a direct link to the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). "It's only now in the Philippines that a developer like us has fully recognized the advantage of be­ing close or connected to a trans­portation system," Mr. Antonio said.

Because this concept is pat­terned to similar convenient apartments in London , New York ,

Japan , Hong Kong , and other developed cities, being a unit owner at SOHO Central can make one breeze through the northern and southern points of Metro Manila in a matter of minutes, sans the hassles of traffic jams.

SOHO Central is a twin 35­ storey residential project, the first one to rise at the 24-hectare

Greenfield District-a commer­cial, business and transportation hub next to the Ortigas business district and a number of shopping centers such as SM Mega Mall, Shangri-La EDSA Plaza, and the newly revived EDSA Central.

Finally, for those-seeking a retirement or leisure haven, Canyon Ranch is Century Properties' bet.

"That is what we want to communicate: that people should look up to the Philippines as a retirement place," said Emil Perez, Jr., Century Communities senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, who spearheaded the company's campaign in the U.S. And indeed, Century Properties created a different kind of environment for those who love the outdoors in a 17-hectare property in Carmona, Cavite .

Reminiscent of properties in New York where residents enjoy a view of the Belmont Park racetrack, Canyon Ranch is proud of its views of the San Lazaro Leisure Park just beside the property. "We chose something that will give potential buyers or those Filipinos living in the United States the wholeness factor and that is what we're doing in Canyon Ranch. It's elevated, it has clean air, and it has a lot of amenities," Mr. Antonio added.

Homes at Canyon Ranch are also fully integrated with the commercial complex that blends sports and entertainment facilities. Aside from the San Lazaro Leisure Park that has a twin-oval horse race track with expansive stabling facilities, jockey's quarters and a state-of-the-art turf club building, Canyon Ranch will also be right beside nearly-completed restaurants and bars, gaming and entertainment areas, an equestrian school, and a riding academy.

While Century Properties' developments can be something to lure Filipinos living and working overseas, Mr. Antonio said that more than anything else, the country itself is the best reason to go back home. "The biggest asset of the country is the country itself. This will never change, no matter what the political situation is," he said.

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Crisis fails to dampen property sizzle
from Philippine News - July 20-26, 2005

by Lorenzo G. Abellera
Contributor


MANILA - The Philippine real estate sector expressed its optimism amidst the political turmoil that haunts the local economy.

Leading property developer Jose E.B. Antonio, chair of the Century Properties Group, told Philippine News that "despite the political noise going on, we remain to be bullish about the prospects of the industry."

The presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been under siege with allegations of her husband and other family members receiving illegal gambling bribes and tampering with the last presidential elections. As a result the economy has suffered, with international credit rating agencies giving the Philippines negative marks.

Still, Antonio waxed optimistic, saying that "as we mature as a nation, we will try to acknowledge that this (political crisis) is part of democracy."

He said the real estate industry is poised for more growth as it furthers its efforts in tapping Filipinos overseas as its market. "A significant part of our market that we want to tap is the overseas Filipinos," Antonio said.

There are an estimated 8.5 million Filipinos overseas, about a tenth of the Philippine population.

"The people who have worked in the United States for the past 25 years have amassed savings in the form of equity for their homes," Antonio said.

He noted U.S. Census figures indicating that the average annual family income of Filipinos in the U.S. is $65,189. The national average is $50,046. Philippine property developers have noted this purchasing clout and have launched aggressive sales campaigns in the U.S.

Also, Filipinos all over the world remit some $12 billion annually to the Philippines . "This is what's propelling to a large extent the purchase of new homes in the Philippines ," Antonio said.

The real estate industry is "going on a very strong recovery," he said. "The demand-supply situation [in the local real estate scene] is lopsided in favor of demand; there is very little supply," he said.

The Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board's (NSCB) data shows that the ownership of dwellings and real estate continued to expand to 6.8 percent as of May this year from the 4 percent growth it posted last year. This was brought about by increased sales of high- and mid-income developments and leasing operations which grew from 9.5 percent last year to 25.2 percent this year.

The ownership of dwellings, on the other hand, which accounts for 79 percent of the total 6.8 percent growth, grew at a slower phase from 2.9 percent in 2004 to 2.8 percent this year.

With the National Economic and Development Authority's (Neda) forecasting a 5.3 percent to 6.3 percent growth in gross domestic product.-(GDP) growth this year, Antonio said he was also optimistic that his company as well as the entire sector will be able to ride with the economic development.

Century Properties projects a 300 percent growth from 2004 with the sale of their recent developments such as Soho Central in Mandaluyong City , South of Market (SoMa) in Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and Canyon Ranch in Carmona, Cavite.

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Condo Sales lead property boom
Philippine News, April 27-May 3, 2005

By: Jade Ceres Dolor
Correspondent

MANILA - Filipinos are making the switch, with growing numbers of urbanities now preferring to live in residential buildings instead of single detached units. This, according to the chairman of one of the biggest property developers in country.

Indeed, the Philippines is poised to take on the role of Asia's Mecca of posh residential living, Century Properties Group Chairman Jose E.B. Antonio told Philippine News in an interview last week.

While city dwellers now prefer to live in residential condominiums for practical reasons, Filipinos still hanker for a house and lot to call their own, according to Antonio. Thus, sales of single detached units are still strong in the provinces.

The real estate industry which had been in the doldrums for the last few years has definitely rebounded, he says, and his company is leading the way with a number of projects for both city folks and those whose hearts belong to the province. Filipino-Americans have also become a target market.

Since its inception 19 years ago, Century Properties has grown to a $100-million corporation, with an annual growth rate of about 33 percent, while its staff has grown from six to 3,000. As an integrated full-service real estate company, it offers gaining, sales and property management. It's role in the country's progress is more evident in its development efforts.

"We study the needs of market and provide excellent products. We're innovative, we're revolutionary. Our track record includes more than 25 buildings and there are many landmark buildings that we've done. We've done medical arts building, we've done commercial buildings ike Pacific Star. But our flagship is actually residential buildings," said Antonio.

Credited with premier projects such as La Maison Rada, Le Triomphe, Le Metropole, Pacific Place , One Magnificent Mila, Medical Plaza Makati, Medical Plaza Ortigas, Oxford Suites, West of Ayala and the Riviera Golf and Country Club. Century Property's reputation is a high-quality builders was cemented with Essensa East Forbes. The project in Fort Bonifacio Global City was recently recognized by Asiaweek Magazine as Asia 's best residential development.

The real estate powerhouse takes it a notch higher with four more projects. Bel-Air Soho in Makati City is a boutique residential condominium. Soho Central, a twin 35-storey residential and commercial development, is located right in the middle of the 24-ha. Edsa Central Redevelopment.

Simple, yet functional and stylish, the 30 to 60 sq. m units come with complete kitchen cabinetry and bathroom fittings. As a transportation-oriented development, it brings a new level of convenience. It is directly connected to Shangri-La Plaza and the Edsa MRT Station. It is only a short distance away to the newly-renovated Edsa Central Mall, SM Mega Mall, The Podium and Medical City .

Another project, South of Market (SoMa), is a 37-storey twin tower fully-fitted and fully-furnished condominium. It is located at the Crescent Park West residential district. This development offers accessibility to the Ninoy Aquino Internatinal Airport , the Makati Business District and C-5.

Luxury suites are offered in one, two and three bedroom configurations ranging from 39 to 115-sq.m. Unit ownership also comes with its amenities such as concierge and doorman services, house keeping and laundry services.

The building facilities include THX theater movie room, function rooms, an owner's lounge, a game room, a health and fitness center, a swimming pool, and driver's lounge. Each unit has superior furnishings like kitchen cabinetry, a refrigerator, and oven, a range hood, a microwave oven, a living room, a dining room set, a flat screen TV, a DVD player and an entertainment system.

Cenury Property's newest development arm, Century Communities Corp. veers away from urban and condominium developments with its flagship project Canyon Ranch. Located in the picturesque Carmona, Cavite , the 17-ha. Development is gated first-class residential community located within the higher grounds of the San Lazaro Leisure Park.

California-inspired homes and tree-lined boulevards set it apart from other Cavite projects. Varying models, floor layouts and lot sizes are offered to accommodate different lifestyles. Its elevated terrain and rolling topography provides a commanding view of Laguna de Bay. Inside the development is the Village Center , a 16-ha. Commercial complex designed to address the needs of the residents. The strip mall will house 40 reaturants, cafes, retail shops and other leisure establishments.

As proof that these are top-caliber developments, the projects sell fast. "Bel-Air Soho is 100% sold, for Soho Central we are at 90% of one tower, we are hoping to start selling the other tower. Canyon Ranch is practically 100 percent sold, we are opening phase one soon." said Antonio. The selling point for each property lies greatly in its distinct qualities.

"For our on going projects right now, we try to have unique selling proposition. For example, in Soho Central, it's the first transportation oriented development in the country, where the building is linked to MRT, so you can basically walk towards the train and get to Makati within five minutes. So that's the big selling point. For South of market, in Bonifacio, it's the first fully-fitted and fully furnished condominiums project in the Philippines . Its priced percent lower compared to other buildings that are not even fully-fitted or fully-furnished.

Then for Canyon Ranch, it's the first WiFi community in the country, where you could basically connect from your backyard or from a public park. So it's really what we try to do, have a unique characteristic to a project aside from doing all the basics very very well. We still try to try to look towards the future to see what people want today and what they'll want a year or two from now and we try to incorporate that foresight into our developments," said Managing Director Jose Marco Antonio.

Development is not the only thing giving this company the edge over the competition. As a property management company, CPMI has its fare share of success. "We are planning on expanding our property management into other countries. We are going into China . China is presently experiencing a building boom. In Shanghai alone, the most progressive city in China , they built 5,000 buildings in one year.

"These buildings need management. We are not intending to bring in people to change the bulbs and sweep the floors. We are going to be trainors of the trainors. We are going to be middle management and senior management. The Century Properties Management is the biggest property management in the Philippines " said chairman Antonio.

Marco Antonio added that the company currently manages 45 buildings, both in-house developments and third party contracts. "The combined asset value of what we're managing is about $2billion. It says a lot for third party developers to endorse their properties for us to manage, that means even our peers trust us with our capabilities" he said.

INVESTING IN THE PHILIPPINES

The news of Century Properties' success has far reaches, Overseas Filipino Workers make up to 60 percent of their buyers, as such Jose Antonio said. "We are addressing most of our projects for the expat Filipinos who are now used to international standards, we are proud to say that all our projects are international standard. People who live in our communities, mostly expats in Manila say that our level of quality is comparable to the best in the world.

And as Filipinos we should be proud of that, we have arrived in terms of development and in terms of management and our kababayans should be proud that when they come here, when they buy something, its like buying in New York or in Las Vegas, they'll be honored and they'll be proud. Pride of ownership will be very immense when they buy our products."

His advice to Filipinos based in other countries: "Invest where there is growth, invest where there is development. Do not invest in matured markets and I believe the Philippines is a developing market, it's a sunrise country and the prospects for growth here is higher than any other place"

He added: "the current economy of the Philippines is on the bounce, on the rebound. While there are certain reforms being undertaken by the government, mainly tax reforms, the government is starting to give the basic services to the people here. These reforms are actually going to bee good over the long term. Now what's going on in the economy is we're growing at anywhere from 3 percent per annum. And that is the formal economy, the informal economy is strong, probably stronger than the formal economy."

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Condo Living made easy
Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, 02.12.05

Elan Editor - Marge C. Enriquez
By: Avie Gochoco-Perez (Contributor)
Photos by: Niccolo Cosme
Pictorial Direction by: Antonio Salac Santos

THE GUYS who built the pioneering, luxurious, residential condo Essensa in Posh Fort Bonifacio and successfully sold its units at P30 million each recently spiked ground in the area again with two more firsts: fully fitted, fully furnished condo units from as low as P2.9 million; and a scheme that makes buyers “co-developers,” so that they save money by not having to pay value added tax, documentary stamps and transfer taxes.

These two pioneering features came into play into building and marketing of a residential-commercial condo project named “South of Market” or “SoMa”- two towers 39 storeys high, which shold be up and piercing the Global City horizon in Taguig within the next three years. As the name implies, SoMa will rise south of the Fort's Market! Market!

With SoMa , one can live next door to the residents of top-scale Essensa, Pacific Plaza and Forbes Park , for a morsel of what these folk pay or have paid for their quarters. Century Properties and sister-firm Meridien Development Group of the Antonio and Cuerva families put Essensa on the map. Now they're holding up SoMa to net the middle –income group.

The early Century Properties claims to have ”pre-sold” 150 of the first tower's 230 units.

Easier to Sell

SoMa is the Antonio-Cuerva group's of fering to a market that is considers ripe for the picking. With its fully-fitted, fully furnished units, SoMa's units are cheaper by 29.03 percent on average on their nearest competitions..

Nearly decade ago when it put Essensa on the market six months ahead of nearest competitor Pacific Plaza and a full year ahead of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, little did it know that it was in for very rough times.

“In 1996, the real estate market was booming. The stock market was at an all-time high. [Former President] Ramos' time was very progressive. He always marketed the country. We sold one unit a day at P30 million per unit for the first three months,” Jigger recalls. That was no mean feat, Essensa then being the “most expensive condo in the country.”

But when the Asian financial crisis struck in July 1997, Essensa buyers suddenly couldn't meet their payments. Some even sought refunds. At the same time the banks were aching to have money safely back in their vaults. Jigger and his team had to mount a “massive public relations campaign” to reassure Essensa's publics about continuing to be there to nurture the hobbled project through to completion.

Urgent Adjustments

“We allowed the buyers more time to pay because we didn't want to forfeit payments they had already made. We talked to the banks. But just as we extend payment terms for the buyers, we said we would need more time to finish construction. We shooked hand and finished Essensa. We all worked cohesively,” Jigger says.

Today, Essensa appears to be Century Properties' and Meridien's flagship projects, their finest symbols of success. After all, the newsmagazine Asiaweek voted it the best residential building in the Philippines a few years ago.

Ask Jigger what it is that makes for success in any real estate undertaking and he would say, “location, timing, the right product.”

SoMa location ideal. “ Fort Bonifacio is the future Makati ,” Jigger is convinced.

Timing? The political landscape is “more stable,” and so are interest rates.

Population growth is “intense,” such that”a lot” of SoMa's buyers will be either “users or eventual users” of the units the buy. Of the 12 million who live in the metropolis today, how many are properly fed, clothed and housed? SoMa aims to zero in on the middle class

“The real estate market is now booming because of unsupplied demand. When the Asian financial crisis struck in 1997, the developers stopped building. From 1998 to 2002, there was no new development. There is now pent-up demand due to population growth, “Jigger says.

Filipino-Americans are also the target market of SoMa.

Half of Buyers

Jigger illustrates: “A doctor who has made it after a decade of practice in the States buys a unit for his sister here. Other successful Fil-Am professionals want a second home they can use when they come to visit. They consist 50 percent of our buyers. They are now sustaining the real estate market.”

The right product?

“SoMa is suited to the present market. Right now, P3 million is not a lot for a one bedroom unit.”

That SoMa's units come already dressed up could also be a big come-on. That should save the buyer at least six months of doing it himself or hiring an interior designer to get the unit ready for occupancy. Imagine running in and out of stores to buy the ref., washing machine, air-conditioning units, stove with oven, range hood extractors, microwave oven, TV set, DVD, CD, MP3, Karaoke, Bed frames etc.

For upgrades, such as punched-up ceiling over the living-dining room, or painting the walls in a color other than the original white, buyer can call Meridien or another sister construction firm, Nova. The punched-up or “suspended ceiling,” for example, can be done for just an extra P15,000, Jigger says.

Lighting will have to be shouldered by the buyer. “That is a matter of personal taste,” says Ricardo “Chut” Cuerva Jr., interior designer. Jigger describes Chut's chosen style as “Asian Modern.” The style appeals to a broader range of SoMa's market, more than the “Parisian Style”- in which antique pieces are combined with modern pieces, now the craze in Paris and London- that he originally did on the model units.

Jigger says “90 percent of the market could not understand [the Parisian Style] although a lot of artists loved it.” After a month, Chut “toned down” the interiors to suit the Filipino taste better and that was how the “Asian modern style” came to be for SoMa.

Each unit comes with a dining table and chairs , sofa, armchair, coffee table. The furniture pieces are generic, nothing out of the beaten path, design wise, to ruin the unit's appeal to a broad range of the market. The kitchen countertop is in natural stone or Corian-type, the cabinets in wood and glass, and the sink and faucet in stainless steel. In the one-bedroom unit, a utility balcony hosts the washing machine and will hide the condenser unit of the split type air-conditioner.

New Standard

A concierge service will be available for SoMa, a concept the Antonios were first exposed to in New York . They implemented the concept in Essensa. Now it has “created a new standard” for other residential condo projects.

Jigger can go on and on selling Meridien's properties. “I love the business,” he says today. “I am very passionate about it. It shadowed my dad (who set up Meridien with Chut's dad in 1986) for six years when he still had the energy to teach me. It was good mentorship. He made me his right-hand man so I could observe him. I looked all the deals that passed through his desk.”

But he remembers being exposed to the business for many years even before actually joining the firm. Dad would talk about his projects even at the dinner table, he recalls.

“My passion is sales, just like my dad. You have to be passionate and sold on the product…”

This bachelor no longer brings work home. “As you finish it, you find ou have more work to do. I just empower my people more.”

The salesman in him puts in a last word, though: “We are the biggest private real estate development company in the country. My Dad says we'll never go public. We're a modest family, we don't need that much. And being private we have flexibility. In [the face of] a bad market, we just stop.”  

ASK THE ARCHITECT  

Roger Villarosa, 71, talks about the latest gem in his distinguished career

WHEN ONE asked Roger Villarosa, architect and principal of the firm bearing his name, what he had in mind when he designed South of Market or SoMa, one gets a crash lecture on architecture.

“As always, we're asked to have efficient space planning to create a layout that is attuned to our lifestyle considering certain basic parameters like comfort, convenience, safety. Of course, we should all takes aesthetics into consideration. We're also supposed to produce art forms and elements that will stand the test of time. It is a composition of materials following the design principles of balance, contrast, lights, shades, shadows,… a combination of these.”

Now 71, Villarosa was architecture board exams topnotcher in 1954. He has maintained a connection to what is young in his field; he needs to be familiar with today's lifestyles in order to design successfully for the young market.

“When we introduce colors or elements identified with the young market, it can actually be generalized so that it is supposed to pull the more mature as well,” he says. “For example, vibrant colors and forms are intended to bring life even to the more mature market.” In SoMa, this could be important, indeed, as part of its market are rich parents buying units for their children.

Corner Units

Space planning for SoMa involved fully maximizing the provision of natural light and ventilation in the area and taking advantage of the beautiful sceneries surrounding the project.

“Most are corner units,” Villarosa says. “We introduced more breaks into the building to produce corners instead of designing just straight buildings. “With more corners come more windows to better showcase the outside view.

“Utility balconies”- introduced for the first time in this category of condominium units- are not meant for unit dweller's enjoyment of the view. “We introduced it as a latter innovation to hide the air-conditioner condenser units,” says Villarosa. “[Otherwise] there are enough picture windows in the living-dining rooms, and even in some bedrooms, that offer good views.”

Wouldn't the association dues make the dweller feel like he's effectively paying rent? “The association can always keep it down to the bare minimum,” Villarosa says.

Asks a competitor: Is it true that the buyers of SoMa as “co-developers,” cannot use if something turns out wrong with the building? How can the sue themselves?

“You can sue the president of the managing firm” Villarosa says. In SoMa's case, it is Meridien Development Group Inc., which has two decades of experience in developing real estate projects and the power behind the realization of 18 buildings so far in the metropolis.

“The development manager handles all aspects for a fixed fee and funds go into a collective depository and disbursing account.” Says SoMa's sales brochure. “[This is the]cooperative (coop) approach, a proven concept in the US and Europe .”  

Buyers' Assurance

Villaros's own take on the concept is this: A buyer is assured that his money goes into the project, that it is not diverted. Buyers have been known to place enough money into a project to start a building, only to find out that the money has been diverted to other projects.

SoMa is Villarosa's 4 th building project with Meridien. He believes in the company's officers: “Their forte is delivering on their commitments. They do not let up on that. One of the most important aspects in condo development is the integrity of the developer. From my experience, quite a number of projects up to now are up in the air because the developers failed in this aspect.”

He feels something in the air for the real estate business. “We have more projects now than last year. That means more developers are hopeful. We see some indicators of confidence. We have four projects all at the same time. It means they're trying to take a position simply because there's no other way to go: they have the properties, the money and the people. So what are they going to do, sleep with those?”

Villarosa sees the bi developers such as Meridien as taking a “cautious step forward, moving to take a position.” They are resource-rich enough to wait and keep that kite flying,” he says.

Building with son

Villarosa took up architecture at the Mapua Institute of Technology. He designed the homes of the likes of Oscar Lopez Jr., Alfredo Ramos, Ernesto Rufino, and Vincent Recto.

“Designing houses is a stepping stone to designing buildings. When you design a house for someone either you end up bitter enemies or very good friends,” he says. Apparently, he has ended up very good friends with many of his clients, s that R. Villarosa Architects, or simply RVA, has grown to be a firm of 30 employees.

One of his early project was the Tektite Towers in Ortigas, a 250,000 sq. m. building. “That 25 hectares,” he points out. The design of the two buildings was so original “it set a trend” for “quite a umber of buildings” in early 90's. Two of his much earlier works were the Silahis International Hotel and the extension of the Philippine Villlage Hotel in the 70's. Before going on his own, he was No. 2 man in the architectural firm of G. Formoso for 10 years.

Today, he has his son as partner, he has even renamed the firm to reflect his son's name, apparently expecting him to take over the reins eventually. “His specialty is hotels- he designed Edsa Shangri-La and resorts,” the proud father says.

AvieGochoco-Perez

Century Communities Corporation-Meridien Development Group (CCC-MDG) recently held its ground breaking rites for its newest breakthrough development South of Market or SOMA- a 39-storey twin tower residential development in Fort Bonifacio , Global City .

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South Market Ground Breaking
01.18.05

Century Communities Corporation-Meridien Development Group (CCC-MDG) recently held its ground breaking rites for its newest breakthrough development South of Market or SOMA- a 39-storey twin tower residential development in Fort Bonifacio , Global City .

Gracing the ceremony is Honorable Mayor Sigfridoo Tinga of Taguig (second from right) seen in photo congratulating Jose E.B. Antonio, Chairman of CCC-MDG. Also show are Ricardo Cuerva, Chief Executive Officer, Meridien Development Group (left) and Commissioner Romeo Fabul of the Housing Land Use Regulatory Board.

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The logical way of owning a condominium
Philippine Star Saturday, 11.20.04

Searching for a home in the more upscale condominiums in Metro Manila can be frustrating. Burgeoning projects in Rockwell, Fort Bonifacio and Eastwood cities seem promising. All of them hyping on great location, outstanding looking model units and state-of-the-art building features. But reality has it that most of these developments come with a high price tag and steep payment terms. Other units are even delivered empty and completely bare.

Uniquely, one project in Fort Bonifacio , Global City stands out among the rest- South of Market or SOMA. Not only is it priced 30% lower than competition. all units also comes fully-fitted and completely furnished. Now, it boils down to choice…SOMA or nada (nothing)

Project

From the developers of Essensa East Forbes, recognized as the best residential building in the Philippines , comes another breakthrough development -South of Market or SOMA. Situated in a prime location in Fort Bonifacio , Global City and just a stone throw away from the newest shopping and transportation hub called Market! Market!, this chic 37-storey twin tower residential embraces the fundamental needs of today's sophisticated city dweller. From its superb location, developer's track record and building quality to its revolutionary concepts in superior conveniences, comfort, features and entertainment.

According to developer Century–Properties Meridien Development Group Chairman Jose EB Antonio, SOMA breaks new ground by taking the conventional and familiar ideas about a home and taking it all a notch higher. “After exceeding expectations with Essensa East Forbes, we challenged our team to once again come up with a fresh perspective.”

South of Market offers a valued added luxury home while investing in a much lower price. Antonio further adds, “We even challenged that way we did business by making our buyers our partners through a unique co-development approach,” As a co-development project, SOMA is VAT, DOC stamps and TRANSFER TAXES FREE, which translates to huge saving for investors.

Additionally, SOMA is the only fully-fitted and completely furnished condominium in the country making moving-in worry and hassle-free! Living in SOMA starts immediately upon turnover. No messy fittings. No additional costs and time wasted in buying appliances and furniture. “It's the new way of owning a condo,” declares Antonio.

THE MORE DESIRED CITY-FORT BONIFACIO

Fort Bonifacio Global City is a fully master-planned community strategically located close to the Makati Central Business District, the Ortigas Center and the new NAIA 3 airport terminal. Referred to as the emerging metropolis and the city of the future, Fort Bonifacio is a mixed used community and an urban developers dream. Its state-of-the-art infrastructure includes underground utilities, fiber optic lines, flood water drainage detention tanks, excellent zoning and road networks and a public art program that gives the city a distinctive character. Innovative and responsible land use is also a major element of the Global City 's design for a world-class urban community.

Stately-line streets, abundant parks and open spaces also make urban living at SOMA beyond compare. The city's well identified zoning for residential districts likewise provide imposing views and the crescent-shaped community park.

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The logical way of owning a condo
Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday, 10.16.04

Searching for a home in the more upscale condominiums in Metro Manila can be frustrating. Burgeoning projects in Rockwell, Fort Bonifacio and Eastwood cities seem promising. All of them hyping on great location, outstanding looking model units and state-of-the-art building features. But reality has it that most of these developments come with a high price tag and steep payment terms. Other units are even delivered empty and completely bare.

Uniquely, one project in Fort Bonifacio , Global City stands out among the rest- South of Market or SOMA. Not only is it priced 30% lower than competition. all units also comes fully-fitted and completely furnished. Now, it boils down to choice…SOMA or nada (nothing)

Project

From the developers of Essensa East Forbes, recognized as the best residential building in the Philippines , comes another breakthrough development -South of Market or SOMA. Situated in a prime location in Fort Bonifacio , Global City and just a stone throw away from the newest shopping and transportation hub called Market! Market!, this chic 37-storey twin tower residential embraces the fundamental needs of today's sophisticated city dweller. From its superb location, developer's track record and building quality to its revolutionary concepts in superior conveniences, comfort, features and entertainment.

According to developer Century–Properties Meridien Development Group Chairman Jose EB Antonio, SOMA breaks new ground by taking the conventional and familiar ideas about a home and taking it all a notch higher. “After exceeding expectations with Essensa East Forbes, we challenged our team to once again come up with a fresh perspective.”

South of Market offers a valued added luxury home while investing in a much lower price. Antonio further adds, “We even challenged that way we did business by making our buyers our partners through a unique co-development approach,” As a co-development project, SOMA is VAT, DOC stamps and TRANSFER TAXES FREE, which translates to huge saving for investors.

Additionally, SOMA is the only fully-fitted and completely furnished condominium in the country making moving-in worry and hassle-free! Living in SOMA starts immediately upon turnover. No messy fittings. No additional costs and time wasted in buying appliances and furniture. “It's the new way of owning a condo,” declares Antonio.

THE MORE DESIRED CITY-FORT BONIFACIO

Fort Bonifacio Global City is a fully master-planned community strategically located close to the Makati Central Business District, the Ortigas Center and the new NAIA 3 airport terminal. Referred to as the emerging metropolis and the city of the future, Fort Bonifacio is a mixed used community and an urban developers dream. Its state-of-the-art infrastructure includes underground utilities, fiber optic lines, flood water drainage detention tanks, excellent zoning and road networks and a public art program that gives the city a distinctive character. Innovative and responsible land use is also a major element of the Global City 's design for a world-class urban community.

Stately-line streets, abundant parks and open spaces also make urban living at SOMA beyond compare. The city's well identified zoning for residential districts likewise provide imposing views and the crescent-shaped community park.

THE CITY IS ITS PLAYGROUND

South of Market offers the sophistication and convenience of city living as it places every corner of the global city at its command day and night. Walk to work, dine at the hottest restaurant, shop at the trendiest mall or catch the finest concert. The best of everything is only minutes from your doorstep!

Located at the Crescent Park West residential district, South of Market is also very near international schools, retail and dining establishments, golf and sports facilities and offices. Also in the offing is a hospital , church, and IT and business hub. This grand residence also takes full advantage of the Global City 's advanced networks and road systems. There is easy access to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport , Makati Business District, C-5 and outlying communities.

WELL-PLANNED FOR A LIFE WELL LIVED

SOMA offers unmatched quality in design and construction. Luxury suites are offered in 1,2 and 3 bedroom configurations ranging from 39 to 115 square meters. Its airy layout combined with floor to ceiling windows and balcony gives an unmistakably unique cozy feeling.

To compliment the living in style of SOMA, outstanding facilities include among others; concierge and doorman services, THX theater movie room, function rooms, owner's lounge, game room, health and fitness center, swimming pool, housekeeping, laundry services and driver's lounge. There will also be a commercial area at the ground floor that will offer distinct and essential services to SOMA residents.

As a first in the country, all units in SOMA are delivered fully-fitted and completely furnished, making moving-in worry and hassle-free. Superior furnishings included in each unit are: airconditioning per bedroom,kitchen set including kitchen cabinetry, refrigerator, cooktop, oven, rangehood, microwave, living room set including sofa, coffee table and chairs, flatscreen TV, dvd player, entertainment sound system, dining room set including a dining table and chairs and bedframes in each bedroom.

SOMA is for smart buyers who wish to get a more luxurious home while investing in a much lower price. Unit prices start at only P2.9 million and come with attractive payment terms. Compared to nearest competition, SOMA offers 30% more and priced 30% lower.

Few residences in Fort Bonifacio capture the lifestyle of today's smart city dweller quite like South of Market. “You can never ask for a more ideal value proposition,” declares Meridien Development Group Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Cuerva. SOMA is undeniably the best buy around.

Model unit available for viewing at the 6 th floor Pacific Star Bldg., Sen. Gil Puyat corner Makati Avenues.

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SOUTH OF MARKET AT THE GLOBAL CITY
Philippine Daily Inquirer Thursday, 09.09.04; Sunday, 09.26.04

Bases Conversion and Development Authority Chair Rufo Colayco hands out the title for a 3,800 sqaure meter property at the Fort Bonifacio Global City to Century Properties- Meridien Development Group Inc. (CPI-MDG) chair Jose E.B. Antonio (middle) and vice chair Ricardo P. Cuerva (left). The lot which is located across the newly opened Market Market will be the site for CPI-MDG's newest development South of Market- the only fully-fitted and completely furnished residential condominium in the Philippines.

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SOMA, thinking man's home
Philippine Star Saturday, 08.28.04

From the developers of Essensa East Forbes, recognized as the best residential building in the Philippines , comes another breakthrough development -South of Market or SOMA. Situated in a prime location in Fort Bonifacio , Global City and just a stone throw away from the newest shopping and transportation hub called Market! Market!, this chic 37-storey twin tower residential embraces the fundamental needs of today's sophisticated city dweller. From its superb location, developer's track record and building quality to its revolutionary concepts in superior conveniences, comfort, features and entertainment, South of Market is simply intelligent luxury living at its finest.

According to developer Century–Properties Meridien Development Group Chairman Jose EB Antonio, SOMA breaks new ground by taking the conventional and familiar ideas about a home and taking it all a notch higher. “After exceeding expectations with Essensa East Forbes, we challenged our team to once again come up with a fresh perspective.”

South of Market offers a valued added luxury home while investing in a much lower price. Antonio further adds, “We even challenged that way we did business by making our buyers our partners through a unique co-development approach,” As a co-development project, SOMA is VAT, DOC stamps and TRANSFER TAXES FREE, which translates to huge saving for investors.

Additionally, SOMA is the only fully-fitted and completely furnished condominium in the country making moving-in worry and hassle-free! Living in SOMA starts immediately upon turnover. No messy fittings. No additional costs and time wasted in buying appliances and furniture. “It's the new way of owning a condo,” declares Antonio.

South of Market offers the sophistication and convenience of city living as it places every corner of the global city at its command day and night. Walk to work, dine at the hottest restaurant, shop at the trendiest mall or catch the finest concert. The best of everything is only minutes from your doorstep!

Located at the Crescent Park West residential district, South of Market is also very near international schools, retail and dining establishments, golf and sports facilities and offices. Also in the offing is a hospital , church, and IT and business hub. This grand residence also takes full advantage of the Global City 's advanced networks and road systems. There is easy access to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport , Makati Business District, C-5 and outlying communities.

From the first step inside this luxurious property, you'll notice the unmatched quality in design and construction.

Bask in pure majesty with South of Market's distinctive architecture, quality interiors and design friendly features that you'll never want to live without. Luxury suites are offered in 1,2 and 3 bedroom configurations ranging from 39 to 115 square meters. Its airy layout combined with floor to ceiling windows and balcony gives an unmistakably unique cozy feeling.

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