Philippines eater in Diliman, Quezon, where the humble Ecuadorian beauty, Olga Mercedes Álava Vargas, gained the Miss Earth 2011 title, a rst for her country. DYNAMIC GRANDEUR: THE OLD AND NEW IN HOTEL PONTEFINO When traveling to Batangas under a clear sky, passing through wide farms and lone nipa huts, one can’t help but be lled with positive visions of a relaxing vacation. Instead of the rough roads most faraway provinces are notorious for, the land trip towards Batangas is short and enjoyable, much thanks to the new Star Tollway. Just a few minutes from the Batangas City rotunda stands an elegant row of Neo Victorian- themed townhouses—the Ponte- no Residences. Many balikbayans from the US can’t help but remember seeing a similar view in San Francisco, where many houses were renovated to follow the Neo Victorian style. Each one of the thirty four existing Ponte- no homes is decorated with intricate woodwork nished o with a charming array of vibrant colors. Not surprisingly, almost all of the three- to four-storey townhouses were already sold.Apart from the fully furnished setup of the units, the management also oers a protable rental agreement to homeowners and investors, helping them earn monthly by renting `/ balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 out their unit to Ponteno Hotel’s clients while they’re out of the country. A stone’s throw away from the residences is the hotel, a behemoth of wood, steel, and concrete elegance structured in a way that redenes the typical R&R with a twist of the old stepping right beside the new to provide a place for serenity. Housing sixty rooms for guests, a number of the hotel rooms are sold as “condotels”—a mix of a condominium and a hotel. “You buy the unit, lease it back to the hotel, and the hotel
ents it out to guests. e buyer with the lease gets a share of the revenue, and then they get free 24-nights-a-year stay at the hotel,” Ramos said, adding that this is great setup for overseas Filipino workers because they can earn money as well as enjoy free accommodations when they come from for vacations. “ere are some people here who are also leased with us and we’re giving them 30 percent of the revenues of their unit,” Ramos added. “For example, if the unit is being leased for Php10,000 a day, then they get Php3,000 a day.” THE RETIREMENT HUB: CONDOTEL AND PRIME “What we’re trying to show here is total community,” Ramos said, announcing the plans to accommodate the vast demand from the market. “In fact, we are encouraging retirees even from abroad. We have talked to a lot of retirees f rom the US who want to retire here. We are tying up with medical groups so that we can have a retirement community. You know how it gets very expensive to retire in the US or some European countries.” By the end of the year to early 2012, the public can expect a rollout of grand oerings from the Ponteno development. As part of extending its land area to an 8.5 hectare commercial project, the group will build two additional hotel towers, with the East Tower as home to 119 rooms, more than doubling the hotel’s present capacity. An 8-storey tower will have 105 purely residential units; 64 of these will be oered as condotel units and will ll the rst four oors, while the top oors will serve as condominium units. Shop house-style town houses will add to the commercial district of Ponteno Residences. “We are oering these to entrepreneurs who would like to put a store in the ground oor and live in the second and third oor,” Ramos adds. Clearly a protable investment option, the four shop house units are double in size—240 square meters—to accommodate the bulk of the business. Apart from the condotel and residential plans for expansion, the management is set to open up the development for our balikbayans and investors who seek to live in the retirement hub but is privy to the price. e Ponteno Prime, twelve initial single detached houses are priced below Php3M each. Compared with the existing residences, which are sold at an average of ve to seven million, the Ponteno Prime answers the needs of the OFWs who wish to provide a luxurious dwelling to their families at an aordable price. TO THE GROWTH OF BATANGAS “is is in response to the growth of Batangas that we are expanding the hotel,” Ramos said. Just in time for the Batangas’ ongoing plans for tourism, the Ponteno Hotel and Residences oers balikbayans, OFWs, and local and foreign investors an option for business, residence, and relaxation. “It’s a good investment for people who are not here yet, who are planning to retire in the future,” Ramos added. “Take a break from the stress of Metro Manila and the pollution, and it’s not so far. It’s only one and a half hour away.” balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "``"