Serene, sustainable and healthy living in the South  


TAGAYTAY City and the nearby areas are showing continuous growth as more and more people are opting to adopt a suburban lifestyle mainly for environmental and health reasons.

PHirst Homes, a joint venture between the Antonio-family led Century Properties Group Inc. and the Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi have successfully launched earlier seven communities and 9,349 units in key growth areas of Luzon: Tanza, Cavite; Lipa and Nasugbu, Batangas; San Pablo and Calamba, Laguna; Pandi, Bulacan; and Magalang, Pampanga collectively worth P11.25 billion in sales value.

Life at The Grove is a fusion of modern living topped with the aesthetics of leisure farming

Meanwhile, property colossus Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) has also made its presence felt in the area by developing several projects in these areas.

Suburban living

Trent Frankum, CCIM, managing director TFA Commercial-CORFAC International told the BusinessMirror in an e-mail interview that a lot of people are going  south, which gives them an overall better quality of life compared to living in a condominium. “I’m a firm believer that living in a house provides a better overall quality of life than living in a condominium when complemented by the necessary amenities, and outside of the high end, cost prohibitive subdivisions in Makati, Pasig, and Quezon City the widest range of supply of houses is located South of Manila, from Las Piñas to Tagaytay and its surrounding areas, such as Sta. Rosa, Silang, and Sto. Tomas,” Frankum explained.

He believes the increase in demand for a house and lot in these areas will continue as Manila’s decentralization is facilitated by the development of the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX), Skyway extension to San Pedro, and Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax).

In terms of both life and functionality, Frankum said a house provides an advantage because it has more space than a condominium, which has become more important with 50 percent of employees still working from home.  “ While getting to and from Tagaytay and surrounding areas is still an hour plus drive time, it’s manageable if you only need to go into the office 3 to 4 days a week, instead of the quickly fading five day workweek,” Frankum said.

Giant clams found in moderate amounts in Santelmo, Etayo and Subli coves

In terms of pricing, buyers will benefit from investing in Tagaytay. Prices for house and lots across the masterplanned townships have increased over the past 18 months by 15 percent on average, or an annual increase of 10 percent, according to Frankum.  He said one project they follow has seen their prices soar by 30 percent.

“I think the main driver of the South of Manila market is the middle to upper middle segment as the high end market is generally well set already [Makati subdivisions, Corinthian Gardens, Wack Wack, etc.].  A quick look at the selling price per sq m will attest to that.  A vacant lot in a gated subdivision in Makati sells for P300,000 to 500,000/sq m while lots in Nuvali, for example, sell for P25,000 to 30,000/sq m,” he said.

A green lifestyle

If you are looking for a place that offers a green scenery, the Grove at Plantation Hills is the place to be. Future homeowners at this lush residential enclave within Tagaytay Highlands can flex their green thumbs when they engage in vegetable gardening.

Indeed, the pandemic has spawned “plant therapy” enthusiasts who now happily tend to their flourishing home gardens which channel their stresses into something beautiful, productive and uplifting.

Plantitos and plantitas as well will enjoy gardening at the Grove at Plantation Hills as it provides ample green space for nurturing plants. This eco-farming community is a 22-hectare land area that is master-planned to be a leisure residential and farming concept-in-one.

The Grove’s Orchard Lots, ranging from 750 to 1,300 sq m are an estate of their own. Each cut is ideal for growing fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables in the comfort of one’s own backyard. Its Garden Lots, on the other hand, range from 450 to 600 sq m, enabling future residents to build their dream farmhouses and surround these with an abundance of greens. Here, residents can grow all the fresh produce they want for a farm-to-table lifestyle—plus bright-colored flowers and ornamental shrubs.

Sustainable tourism

The South is also an active promoter of sustainable tourism. Costa Del Hamilo  Inc. (CDHI), the movers behind Hamilo Coast, recently walked the talk when it recently completed its Marine Protected Area (MPA) assessment.

Frank Bolalin, assistant vice president for Hamilo Estate Management told the BusinessMirror in an e-mail interview three sites of the 12 coves were named as MPAs for CDHI’s Sustainable Development Project, implemented from 2017 to 2019.

“As developers, we are not only involved in cultivating land, but we also take the responsibility to think of ways to nurture and augment this diversified natural environment,” he said.

“Ultimately, this is what makes Hamilo Coast not just a premium beach resort development, but a safe and healthy habitat,” Bolalin added.

MPA, a marine conservation already practiced since the 1970s, has been proven effective in many places in the world surrounded by oceans, and where fishing is a way of life. Bolalin pointed out the MPA becomes quite important in the Philippines as it’s  in the center of the global hot spot of natural abundance known as the Coral Triangle.

With an MPA, Bolalin said Hamilo Coast is assured the protection of its   biodiversity, preservation of natural habitats, keeping fish and other resources available for those who need them, and encourages low-impact tourism. Furthermore, the presence of a protected area also guarantees the retention of the aesthetics of its immediate surroundings, with the absence of pollution and intrusive human activities highlighting nature’s beauty.

The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF), the local office of the globally renowned organization, led the assessment.  CDHI and the WWF Philippines have been partners since 2007 to monitor the health and viability of the Hamilo Coast area. WWF assisted the developers in identifying the MPAs of Santelmo, Etayo, and Pico De Loro.

The MPAs were assessed based on three parameters: benthic, or the conditions of the sea bottom in the area; fish life, which measures the species and number of fish present; and invertebrate population, which includes familiar reef creatures like sea urchins, clams, lobsters, and starfish.

Seaside barangays known as Bantay Dagat will continue to patrol the coves and control overfishing, as well as any use of destructive fishing methods using cyanide, dynamite, and large nets.

Finally, a  conscientious development, backed by science and based on principles of sustainability, is the way to  produce ideal communities—and a lifestyle truly in harmony with the best nature can offer.

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