ILOILO CITY: The Venice of the Philippines

Iloilo City is blessed with a wonderful gift – the Iloilo River. This river is the catalyst for the changes in Iloilo especially its marine industry. This river will truly makes Iloilo the beautiful city.

ILOILO CITY: The City of Love

Being a regional Center of Western Visayas, Iloilo's night life is very much active. With the presence of different bars, restaurants and hotels, this city has been delivering one of a kind experienced every night time.

ILOILO CITY: The Queen City of the South

Iloilo City has been making noise in terms of creating pursuing it dreams to become a modern city. High-raised building is now on its way to invade the city, as its tag-line says “My City My Pride”..

ILOILO CITY: The Center of Western Visayas

Welcoming growth and being highly-urbanized city, Iloilo's business growth is fast and becoming enormous. The presence of different intuitions in the city is an indication of being one of the economic centers in the Philippines.

ILOILO CITY: The City with Finest Festival

Paraw Regatta is one of Iloilo's finest festivals. Aside from this festivity Iloilo is also well-known for its Dinagyang which dubbed as the best Festival in the Country.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Megaworld to develop modern financial center in Iloilo

MANILA, Philippines - Megaworld, the Andrew Tan-led property giant, is developing a modern financial center inside the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park, with several banks and companies already set to build regional headquarters in the district, a ranking official said over the weekend.

Jennifer Palmares-Fong, head of marketing of Iloilo Business Park, said interest has been strong, with commercial lots almost sold out.

“There has been a strong interest from various sectors, particularly financial and banking, to establish their businesses in Iloilo Business Park. Since we announced the township being envisioned as Iloilo City’s new central business district or CBD, everyone wants their presence here,” she said.

Megaworld has allocated nine hectares of the entire township for the commercial district.
It started selling the lots at P47,000 per square meter in 2013. Today, the lots, which range from 611sqm to 1,735 sqm, are now sold at P70,000 or a 49 percent increase from its original price a couple of years ago, according to Megaworld.

Eighty percent of the lands have already been sold to banks and financial institutions as well as local enterprises but Palmares-Fong said the lots are also viable for hotels.
Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Among the major banks that are set to establish their regional headquarters and offices in Iloilo Business Park’s financial district include the George Ty-owned Metrobank and the Aboitiz Group’s Unionbank.

“Aside from banks and financial institutions, other commercial businesses like car and furniture showrooms as well as regional headquarters of corporations are welcome to the financial district of Iloilo Business Park,” she said.

Megaworld is developing the commercial district, which will rise toward the southern part of the township near the iconic Iloilo River.

It is envisioned to be one of the busiest districts in the Iloilo Business Park once completed. It will be directly connected to the township center via the six-lane Megaworld Boulevard.

Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park, occupying 72-hectares on the former site of the Old Mandurriao Airport, is envisioned to be the biggest business, lifestyle and tourism hub in Western Visayas.

Aside from the financial and commercial district, Iloilo Business Park will be home to two business hotels – Richmonde Hotel Iloilo and Courtyard by Marriott.

The Iloilo Convention Center, which will be the largest convention facility in Region VI, will also be part of the business park as well as state-of-the-art BPO office towers, luxury residential condominiums including The Palladium, the tallest residential tower in Western Visayas, and the Festive Walk Mall.

In addition to this, Megaworld is also developing The Street of Festive Walk, a 1.1-kilometer commercial and retail strip, which will be the longest dining and retail strip in the entire Western Visayas region. 

The property giant has lined up several projects for the year in Luzon and Visayas including the development of residential projects in the Makati Central Business District, office buildings in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig and its township projects.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Iloilo City hosts 13th PACUIT natl confab

By: Lara Jeunesse I. Villaruel

ILOILO City is hosting the three-day 13th national conference of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities of Industrial Technology (PACUIT), Inc. at Punta Villa Resort.

Dr. Luis M. Sorolla Jr., president of West Visayas State University welcomed the more than 300 delegates on the opening program yesterday.

Some of the brightest minds in the country will present their researches and projects on various areas of industrial technology, engineering, and industrial education in line with the theme “Innovation: From Development to Commercialization”.

Hosted by WVSU, Iloilo Science and Technology University, and Carlos Hilado Memorial State College, the conference aims to update the participants to various experts in the field of industrial technology, education and engineering.

Rep. Roman T. Romulo, chairperson of House committee on higher and technical education was the keynote speaker. Also present was his wife, former congresswoman Shalani Soledad.

Dr. Nora M. Ponce, president, ZCSPC and PACUIT and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog also welcomed the delegates.
Category: For Community News


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Palace takes June 12 freedom rites to Iloilo

The storied former Iloilo provincial capitol will add to its history on June 12 when it hosts the first ever Independence Day vin d’honneur (wine of honor) to be held outside Malacañang.

The two-story building completed in 1873 will be the venue for the traditional cocktails to be hosted by President Aquino, after the Independence Day flag-raising ceremony in Sta. Barbara town in Iloilo.

The vin d’honneur, which Malacañang holds every Independence Day and at the beginning of every year, is expected to be attended by about 120 members of the diplomatic corps and their spouses, legislators, and civic and business leaders.

The old Iloilo provincial capitol has undergone several structural and name changes reflective of the rich history and heritage of the province.

Since it was completed during the Spanish period and became the seat of the provincial government, it was called Casa Gobierno de Iloilo, Palacio del Gobernador, Casa Real, Provincial Building of Iloilo, President Garcia Hall and Provincial Capitol of Iloilo.

Standing at one end of historic Calle Real (now J.M. Basa and Iznart Streets), the building was originally built following a “bahay na bato”(stone house) design with the walls of the ground floor made of coral and the second floor of wood.

Construction of the building was initiated under Gov. Jose Maria Carles and completed in 1873 during the term of Gov. Enrique Fajardo under the direction of chief of public works Don Vicente Ruiz, according to a briefer prepared by the Public Information and Community Affairs Office of the provincial government.

The building was described by the Spanish newspaper La Ilustracion Española y Americana as “one of the best of its class”and the “most comfortable and most spacious in the Philippines” at the time, according to the briefer.

Even before Malacañang announced the holding of the 117th Independence Day ceremonies in Iloilo, the provincial government led by Gov. Arthur Defensor had undertaken the restoration of the old provincial capitol to its American-period architecture.

The three-phase restoration costing P53,788,598.49 was started on April 12, 2012, and is expected to be completed this month.

The restored capitol will be unveiled on June 12 for the vin d’honneur which will be held in the 300-seat session hall.

Architect Guillermo Hisancha said restoring the building to its design during the American period was challenging because the building had undergone many revisions.


Monday, July 21, 2014

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Collection District VI collected over half a billion from the ports of Iloilo and the Sub-Port of Pulupandan in Negros Occidental in the first half of 2014.

Total revenues collected in the first six months of the year reached P546,350,678.00, 
higher by 32.1 percent from its income target of P416 million for the said period.
The Port of Iloilo on normal days.

The sub-port of Pulupandan contributed 71 percent of the total collection or equivalent to P389,106,161.00.

Ernelito Aquino, District Collector of Port of Iloilo, explained that the District Port of Iloilo is dependent on the collection performance of its sub-port in Pulupandan.

Aquino cited the independent petroleum company Seaoil as the sub-port’s biggest player.

He said that every vessel, Seaoil pays dues and tax amounting to P45 million to P50 million.

The BOC Collection District VI is upbeat to hit it  P843,983,000 2014 full-year target.IMT

Authors opinion: Iloilo's Port is indeed one of the best port I've ever seen in the world. It's capacity to handle large ship; and the Iloilo River estuary is the foundation why it became queen city of the south. Given enough funding, for sure the trade and commerce will surely boast up.

CREDIT: ====================================================================

Friday, July 4, 2014

McDonald's opens biggest branch in Iloilo

MANILA – McDonald's opened on Monday its biggest branch in Iloilo City at Megaworld's Iloilo Business Park.

The McDonald’s stand-alone store at the 72-hectare township project has a total seating capacity of 250, and houses a play place, party area, and parking area.

"We are very excited to be the first fast-food chain to open in Iloilo Business Park, and we are very happy to serve the Ilonggos who are working and visiting, including those who will be living in this world-class township," said Eugene Reducindo, the managing director of Choice Gourmet Banquet, Inc., the franchisee of McDonald's in Iloilo.

The opening of McDonald’s came after the opening of business process outsourcing (BPO) office StarTek Inc., a US-based BPO company, at the Richmonde office tower this month of June.

StarTek is expected to launch its stand-alone BPO office building at Two Global Center before the year ends.

Megaworld said it is fast tracking development of office, commercial, and residential towers at the Iloilo Business Park due to the strong demand, brisk sales and rental inquiries for residential, commercial, and office spaces.

"With the heavy influx of inquiries from BPO companies who want to be part of Iloilo Business Park, we see the urgent need to hasten the construction of more office towers to meet the strong demand," said Megaworld senior vice president Jericho Go.

Megaworld’s three office towers, namely One Global Center, Two Global Center and Richmonde Tower are scheduled to be completed this year.

The three towers will be able to accommodate around 10,000 BPO employees.

Megaworld will also start the construction of two office towers by August, which is expected to generate an additional 8,000 employees in the township.

Both towers are scheduled to be completed in early 2016.

^ Posted at 06/30/2014 3:31 PM | Updated as of 06/30/2014 3:31 PM

Friday, March 1, 2013

P300-M city road widening takes off

By Lydia C. Pendon

Iloilo's Diversion Soon
Diversion at the present
ILOILO CITY, Feb. 28 (PNA) – Senator Franklin M. Drilon, assisted by city mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Congressman Jerry P. Treñas and vice mayor Jose Espinosa III, on Thursdy led the launching and groundbreaking here of the P300 million Phase I widening and improvement of Benigno S. Aquino Avenue, popularly known as the Iloilo-Jaro diversion road.

The four-lane road artery is the main gateway from the city proper going to the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo that needs expansion and enhancement into a six-lane main road with two service roads of two lanes each and another two lanes for walkways, bicycle lanes and planting strips.

Phase I of the project is assured of funding from the General Appropriations Act of the Department of Public Works and Highways and from the senator’s priority development assistance fund (PDAF).

Drilon warned the contractors to finish all the projects in Iloilo before 2016 as there are enough funds for these projects. He said he will be hard on contractors who fail to deliver the projects on time as the people and the local media are authorized to observe and report the project status.

Designed by international architect Paolo Alcazaren, the one who also designed the Esplanade I riverbank project here, the road project will be composed of road widening, bike lane, planting strip, service road, planting strip and sidewalk with a reserved area for future drainage system.

Drilon said the Phase I project stretches for almost three kilometers starting from Gen. Luna in the city proper up to the junction of El 98 in Jaro district with road expansion of 20 meters on the left side and 40 meters right side of the existing road.
The road project will be constructed by Cebu-based contractor Geo Transport and Construction Inc. to include three pedestrian overpasses that will pass over the highway near the Esplanade I area, the second near the Tabucan-San Rafael road and the third at junction El 98 in addition to the existing road fronting the SM City area.

Phase I project will also add to the attraction of the Iloilo Convention Center at the old Iloilo airport area as an appropriate site to host the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) ministerial meeting in 2015. Asia’s heads of states and leaders meeting will be held in Manila but the ministers of finance, tourism and others will have to come to Iloilo, the senator said.

Detailed engineering plan is now being prepared for Phase II to start from El 98 street junction up to the Iloilo City-Pavia boundary with a completion timeline before the term of President Benigno Aquino III ends in 2016.

DPWH regional director Edilberto Tayao said his department is committed to finish the whole stretch of the road project to change the face of Iloilo City by 2015.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Iloilo River included in Asian rivers clean up campaign

By Lilibeth A. French
Saturday 17th of March 2012

ILOILO CITY, March 17 (PIA6) -- An international environmental organization has chosen the Iloilo River to be part of its Asian rivers clean-up campaign.

On March 17 to 25, the Rivers of the World (ROW) Foundation will conduct a clean-up of the Iloilo River and 11 other rivers in China, India, and Nepal.

The Iloilo River clean up activity will be held on March 22 to 24, said the Iloilo City Public Information Office in a press report.

The clean-up campaign spearheaded by the ROW Foundation is part of the World Water Day 2012 Program. Other river systems included in the clean-up are the Yangtze Kiang River in Wuhan City, China; Yamuna River in Agra, India; Yamuna River in Gokul, India; Yamuna River upstream near Dehradun, India; Ganges River in Rishikesh, India; Hooghly River in Kolkata, India; Daya River near Bhuvaneswar, India; Barak River, Silchar (Assam), India; and River/Lake Restoration Awareness in Vizianagaram, South India; and Bagmati River in Kathmandu area, Nepal.

Iloilo River maintains a high level of productive biological activities as it serves as nursery for many important fish species such as bangus and tilapia while the rise and fall of the tide makes it possible for nutrients such as planktons and detritus to circulate in and out of the estuary which is home to 22 of the country’s 35 mangrove species, according to studies.

ILOILO RIVER - LivCom Awardee
“(The Iloilo River) has given our ancestors life, it is giving us life, it will give life to our children, and our children’s children. We are blessed to have the abundance of the river. All we have to do is to rehabilitate, preserve and protect it,” said Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said in the PIO report. 
He added that the inclusion of Iloilo River in the ROW Foundation campaign is a recognition of the river’s importance to the lives of the people.

The cleanup/awareness activities will also set the stage for the 1st International River Summit initiated by the Iloilo City government in partnership also with ROW Foundation on May 30 – June 1.

The three-day global forum on challenges, issues and best practices in river management is also supported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Petron.

Iloilo City is a recipient of an International Livable Communities (LivCom) Award for its river rehabilitation efforts. (JSC/LAF-PIA6)


Friday, March 2, 2012

U.S. Government Launches Development Partnership with Iloilo City

Iloilo Buildings on the Rise
ILOILO CITY- The Philippines’ “Queen City of the South” has been selected as one of the partner cities to take part in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Cities Development Initiative (CDI).

     Today U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Leslie A. Bassett and USAID Mission Director Gloria D. Steele signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City Government of Iloilo led by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.  This landmark event was also witnessed by Senator Franklin Drilon, Iloilo City Representative Jerry Treñas, and representatives from the private sector, academia, and civil society organizations.

     This new partnership between USAID and Iloilo city government aims to address key constraints to economic growth and investment in Iloilo. The Cities Development Initiative with Iloilo will unlock and maximize the city’s growth potential through significant collaboration in areas such as higher education, energy, environment, health systems, and economic growth and investment.

     An integral part of the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth initiative, USAID’s Cities Development Initiative takes a unique and cross-cutting approach to promoting inclusive growth in strategically selected cities that include Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, and Batangas. 

     Based on the premise that economic growth and job creation are closely linked to urban development, CDI seeks to promote growth in urban centers that have a demonstrated potential to “take off,” thereby enabling the Philippines to promote economic growth outside of Metro Manila and disperse economic opportunity more broadly in the Philippines as the country moves from a low growth path to a higher, sustained, and more inclusive growth trajectory in line with other high-performing emerging economies.

     “Iloilo City was selected as one of a small number of cities to become a ‘center of growth’ under the CDI because of its demonstrated economic potential.  We applaud the commitment of Iloilo’s government to promoting good governance and attracting investment.  It takes a strong partnership between the public and private sectors to work towards long-term and inclusive development,” Director Steele said.

     The U.S. - Philippines Partnership for Growth (PFG) was launched in November 2011, with the signing of a Statement of Principles by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario. The Philippines is one of only four countries selected to take part in this White House initiative.

     “The PFG brings together 15 federal agencies of the U.S. government to provide a whole range of assistance and non-assistance programs to promote economic growth in the Philippines,” Ms. Bassett said.  “It will be carried out in the spirit of mutual responsibility, embracing commitment by the Philippine government to take the necessary actions to promote inclusive growth.

     The CDI launch takes place during “America in 3D” (A3D), the U.S. Embassy’s signature public outreach program that is taking place from March 2-4 at SM City Iloilo.  The A3D event, which features musical and dance performances, samplings of American food, information about applying for visas and studying in the United States, and sports clinics, is aimed at expanding and deepening the relationship between Americans and Filipinos.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Iloilo City among top 100 cities in outsourcing industry

ILOILO City recently emerged as one of the cities in the top 100 emerging locations from the six highly competitive Southeast Asian countries to accelerate in the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the city’s current 2012 IT standing was ranked by India-based Tholons, an advisory, investment and research firm.

Tholons is a leading full-service strategic advisory firm for global outsourcing and research that provides strategic actionable advice backed by solid location analysis and strategic growth and expansion services.

Iloilo is ranked number 92 in 2012, a significant increase from 98th in 2011. Other Philippine cities within the top 100 cities are Manila National Capital Region as fourth, Cebu in the ninth spot, Davao as number 69, and Sta. Rosa Laguna as number 86.

These Philippine cities are listed with the top-ranked Southeast Asian cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi in Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, Singapore, Jakarta in Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand.

The Tholons’s report showed that Manila garners the top spot in Southeast Asian rankings of Tholons 2012 Top 100 outsourcing destination. The city remains as the outsourcing hotbed of the Philippines with major delivery centers from companies like HP, IBM, Dell, Convergys and Teleperformance.Tholons also reported that the Philippines has recently surpassed India as the call center capital of the world with an estimated 400,000 call center agents compared to India’s 350,000.

Mabilog said Iloilo City is the education capital of Western Visayas and English is the main language taught in colleges and universities. The IT-BPO industry has recognized this pool capital of educated manpower of Iloilo and many outsourcing firms had established offices here.

Iloilo City has already addressed the power and water problems and started rehabilitation of old roads and building new roads to open up new areas for commercial and industrial growth


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Iloilo City gov't boasts of biz permit release in 20 minutes

By Wenna A. Berondo (The Freeman) Updated November 29, 2011 12:00 AM

ILOILO CITY ,Philippines - Good news for those who want to apply for business permits from the Iloilo City Hall.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the city government will cut the processing time of applying for business permits from 15 days to only 20 minutes.

"I have made a commitment that from almost 10 months in 2010 to make the processing of business permits to 15 days in 2011. Now, I made a commitment that by 2012, we'll make the processing time of business permits in only 20 minutes," the mayor said.

Mabilog made this announcement during the signing and launching of the partnership project on breastfeeding at a mall in this city over the weekend. This drew applause from the audience, especially the members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Iloilo Inc.

The mayor also said he wanted to make Iloilo a business-friendly city by addressing the concerns of the investors particularly on flooding, high cost of electricity, lack of water and bureaucratic red tape in the city.

"This is to show how sincere the city government is in improving its service to the public," Mabilog said adding that, under his administration, the city government will continue implementing a lot of "firsts."

He said the new City Hall building at the Plaza Libertad, which is expected to be operational before this year ends, will be the first "green building" of the government.

The air conditioning units in the new City Hall will be solar-powered and it will also have a rainwater harvesting system to collect rainwater that would be used in the toilets of the building. These systems are expected to lower down the electricity and water consumption of the city, he said.

Mabilog further said the new building will have a breastfeeding and child minding center, which is another first in a government building.

The P710 million new City Hall building, which broke ground in February 2010, courted a lot of controversy because of allegations of overpricing, corruption and delay in its construction but these were all denied by city officials.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Iloilo ang Banwa Ko

"Iloilo ang banwa ko guinahingadlan
matam-is nga pulong ang amon guinmat-an
indi ko ikaw bulagan
banwa kong nahamut-an
ikaw ang guintunaan sang kalipayan

Ilonggo ako nga tunay
nga nagapuyo sa higad sang baybay
manami magkiay-kiay
sa tagipusuon
bug-os ang kalipay."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Coal plant embarks on P1.5 million Iloilo watershed reforestation project

Iloilo River  @ the Heart of the City
November 27, 2011, 6:27pm

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The 164-megawatt coal-fired power plant owned by the Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) is embarking on a P1.5-million reforestation project at the Jalaur Watershed River Basin.

PEDC, a subsidiary of the Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC), part of the Metrobank Group of Companies, signed a deal with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR 6) for a reforestation program in a 40-hectare area of Bulabog-Putian National Park in the Iloilo towns of Dingle and San Enrique.

GBPC president Arthur Aguilar said it is part of its corporate social responsibility in protecting the environment.

Rene Morente, GBCP assistant vice president for health, service, and safety, disclosed that 1,111 seedlings per hectare will be planted in three years as a means of reducing the coal plant’s carbon emission.

Morente stressed that the coal plant is taking the challenge of implementing the carbon sink project with a long-term goal of sequestering carbon emissions, mitigating the illeffects of climate change, and increasing vegetation condition.

He also said that that the Jalaur Watershed River Basin is PEDC’s chosen beneficiary site as it is located within the only national park in Iloilo province. Meanwhile, a similar environmental program was also launched by GBPC’s 246-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Cebu province.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Esplanade project kicks off next week

By: Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE P48.44-MILLION Iloilo River Esplanade Project will kick off next week after the architect of the project met with the contractor and Iloilo City government yesterday.

Architect Paolo Alcazaren arrived in the city Wednesday to discuss details of his design with winning bidder Roprim Construction and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Roprim won the contract after bidding P38.46 million for the project which is P9.98 million less than the approved budget of P48.44 million.

Alcazaren, who also designed the world renowned Singapore Quay, was tapped by Senator Franklin Drilon to plan out the esplanade which seeks to revive and preserve the Iloilo River.

Drilon has set aside part of his Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel for the project which will expand the Treñas Boulevard, a popular fitness haven in the city.

After the meeting at the DPWH, Alcazaren proceeded to the Iloilo City Hall to meet Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

Mabilog said their discussions centered on the design and how the contractor will undertake the project.

Representatives from City Engineer’s Office were also present in the meeting to get a feel of the project.

“Eventually, it is the city government that will manage and maintain the esplanade and there is a need for the city engineer to be involved. We don’t want the project to obstruct certain portions of the boulevard such as the drainage which might pose problems to the esplanade in the future,” Mabilog said.

Mabilog said they are ready to assist Alcazaren and the contractor in the esplanade project.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

City eyes medium rise buildings for informal settlers

ILOILO CITY, Nov. 9 (PNA) -– The city government is mulling the establishment of medium rise buildings (MRBs) for informal settlers upon the recommendation of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said that two lot properties of the city are suitable for such housing projects that will help decongest the number of informal settlers currently living in danger zones such as banks of the rivers and creeks.

Binay suggested to Mabilog the MRB concept which is a practice in Metro Manila to accommodate thousands of informal settlers with an initial funding for socialized housing project coming from the various shelter agencies under the Office of the Vice President.

Binay is currently the country’s housing czar and chairman of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and under him are key shelter agencies such as the National Housing Authority, Social Housing Finance Corporation, Pag-IBIG Home Development Mutual Fund, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and Home Guaranty Corporation.

Mabilog said the Vice President saw the two city properties earmarked for MRBs during his visit here Tuesday. These are the city land property at Brgy. San Pedro, Molo district which was the former site of the new city hall building and the old slaughterhouse site at Barangay South San Jose, Molo.

The city mayor said the sites are suitable for MRBs of four to five stories to accommodate hundreds of informal setter families. The project will also use less land area for medium rise buildings.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Iloilo Natives

Iloilo City Hall Aerial View
October 17, 2011, 4:50am

MANILA, Philippines — In Iloilo City for the inauguration and office blessing of the Manila Bulletin branch, I am struck by the steady progress of the economy as borne out by the construction of new edifices and mushrooming of enterprises.

Searching for the cause, I can see that the quality educational institutions led by the University of the Philippines, University of San Agustin, Central Philippine University, and University of Iloilo, among others, are one reason.

But the determinant factor is really the people of Iloilo, their industriousness and their creativity. Among them, I would count the llonggo businessmen who, in the words of Iloilo Business Club Chairman Juan Jose Jamora III, have “their unique acumen, talent, and resilience.”

Fortunately on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the Iloilo Business Club has produced a commemorative book, Ilonggo Intiatives, that “highlights the evolution of business in Iloilo and the brotherhood that was formed at the center of it all.”

The book covers a short history of business in Iloilo, the first 20 years of the club, looking into the future, business features, business directory, and profiles of llonggo leadership.

Reading the stories of the captains of industry, some names are familiar because of their national prominence – Dr. Alfonso Uy, the first Ilonggo president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Rex Drilon II, president of the Institute of Corporate Directors and formerly CEO of Ortigas and Company; Henry Chusuey, founder of the Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Spa; and Edgar “Injap” Sia II of Mang Inasal.

There are others, whose achievements are etched in the Ilonggo mind but still have to pierce the national consciousness – Larry Borro, who together with wife Adelfa ensured that Ted’s Old Timer batchoy would become a Filipino favorite; Johnny Que, who parleyed an old Iloilo Supermart waffle machine into Johnny’s Waffle Time franchise with 400 outlets in Southeast Asia; Dr. Mary Lou Lacson Arcelo, who in answering a father’s call transformed the Iloilo Maritime Academy into the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University with four campuses in Iloilo and Bacolod serving around 50,000 students annually; Munding Robles, the marine biologist turned entrepreneur with the freshest seafood fare in Breakthrough restaurant; Roger Florete, who, from Bombo Radyo Philippines, branched to banking, water, agribusiness, real estate, pawnshop, jewelry, and the latest Iloilo watering hole, Plazuela de Iloilo; Angel de Leon Jr., who nurtured a microfinance institution, Taytay Sang Kauswagan, Inc., with an initial start-up capital of P2,500 to a fund worth billions assisting more than 300,000 small and micro entrepreneurs over 24 years; Bobby Pison, who with his siblings changed the Mandurriao farmland into one of the largest development projects in the city with Smallville and the Broadwalk, the new Ateneo de Iloilo campus, and Ayalalnad’s R900-million BPO facility; Manchie Jamora and his siblings, who created the sprawling Marymart Complex; Alfonso Tan with his International Builders Corporation, one of the largest construction firms in Western Visayas, and his acquisition of Del Rio and Iloilo Grand hotels; Jose “Pepe” Layson’s superstructures built all over Visayas and Mindanao by his JS Layson & Company, and Zinon Setas’ Prestress International with its prestressed concrete, among others.

My personal favorite is Sen Rafael III, who losing his job after Amon Trading shut down its operations during the Asian economic crisis in 1997 struggled to establish A.M. Builders’ Depot, with more than 41,000 different items in stock across 12 massive outlets in the Visayas, making his family enterprise one of the largest finishing construction supply stores in the region.

Over merienda in his home last Friday, he described the challenges of being an entrepreneur with no experience in accounting, warehousing, marketing, purchasing, and having to learn the business as he went along, banking only on his selling prowess. His travails and triumphs make his fellow Ilonggos proud, especially a cousin like me.

Ilonggo Initiatives will help change the national stereo type of Ilonggos as extravagant, ostentatious, carefree, and laidback into the realization that the prosperity of the Visayas comes from the vision, commitment, and untiring efforts of these men and women.

Business Bits. Quoting Rotary PDG Ramon “Toto” Cua Locsin, a founding member of the Iloilo Business Club, “the Dinagyang Festival in January would be the best opportunity to visit Iloilo and discover its treasure trove of entrepreneurship.”