It exudes a timeless beauty, elegance and grace.
Iloilo City, fondly called the City of Love, has been drawing many local and foreign tourists alike, all in awe of its rich culture and heritage, colorful festivities, and exquisite cuisine—not to mention its people who are widely known for their signature hospitality and gentle demeanor.
And just last year, the spotlight has been turned to Iloilo City when it hosted some of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, where it was able to showcase not only the beauty of the city but also its capacity to become a significant contributor to the local economy.
Indeed, with its growing number of thriving businesses, Iloilo deserves to be named as one of the next wave cities by the IT-business process outsourcing industry as this goes to show that the city already has the infrastructure and skilled labor pool to meet the requirements of foreign investors. If anything, there are five major reasons why Iloilo City is the next place to be.
This is one area where the city of Iloilo definitely does not disappoint. From the staple La Paz Batchoy, to Tatoy’s Native Lechon Manok, to Breakthrough Fresh Sefood Restaurant and the famed Biscocho Haus, Iloilo is not only the country’s City of Love but also a city of gastronomic delights. These and the city’s many other indigenous products are just some of the reasons why people continue to go back to Iloilo for more.
The world famous Dinagyang Festival is just one of the many festivities being celebrated in the City of Love. Dinagyang, according to the provincial government’s website, is the city’s version of the Ati-Atihan festival, which is widely celebrated not only in Panay Island but also in other parts of the country. An Ilonggo term for revelry, Dinagyang was coined by writer/ broadcaster Pacifico Sudario in 1977 to describe the merrymaking that takes place every January.
It is during this time of the year when many people from the different parts of the world would go back to Iloilo to celebrate with their families and friends. It has also become a famed tourist attraction because of its colorful and highly unique performances.
Rich cultural Heritage
You will never run out of things to learn and explore given the city’s rich cultural heritage. Some of its best kept secrets are waiting to be discovered—from the walls of its century old churches to its finest collections of premier artisanal handicrafts and heirloom pieces.
History has it that Iloilo had an abundance of gold that anywhere one would go there was gold and treasures to behold, and this explained the Ilonggos affinity for finely crafted pieces of jewelry.
But more than the gold, it is the gentle people of the city who can be considered as its true treasure as they continue to endear many to visit, and at times, even convince tourists to eventually reside in the city.
Ilonggos have always been known for being ever so pleasant and affable, as well as compassionate and amiable. As such, it is not surprising to hear Iloilo being one of the few cities in the country where crime rate is low, thus making it a safe and conducive place to do business.
Thriving business community
Ilonggos are bent to provide investors better opportunities to grow their businesses through increased focus on the potentials of the Internet, the digital economy, and e-commerce. Given ongoing developments particularly in the infrastructure and real estate in the city, Iloilo is likewise positioning itself as a viable meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) destination in the country, thus reaffirming claims of many property consultancy firms that Iloilo is one city to watch out for.
There is one company, meanwhile, who has long seen the potential that Iloilo holds for businesses: property developer Sta. Lucia Land Inc. Given its instinct to know which areas hold the potential for their developments to thrive, Sta. Lucia Land has already established its presence in the province long before other companies had followed suit. Even then, it had sensed that Iloilo offers a highly promising proposition that would allow the company to thrive and expand its business within the province.
“Iloilo is Sta. Lucia’s third provincial venture coming after Cebu and Davao. We decided to become a part of Iloilo because we can see that there was a big population with needs waiting to be served. There are a number of OFWs in Iloilo and their primary target is almost always to invest in real estate,” said Sta. Lucia Land President Exequiel D. Robles.
Sta. Lucia Land came into Iloilo at a time when only local developers were present in the market. Thus, the company’s entry—given its experience and legacy in homebuilding—came at a perfect time as it gave Ilonggos a fresh option in real estate developments.
“But even before we set shop in Iloilo, I was already practically in love with the place because of its gastronomic treats. But our first venture in the province was the Metropolis Executive Village, covering only 51-hectares of land,” Robles recalled.
“Then I saw how good the market was and how my first project became a success among Ilonggos. Since then my affinity and love for Iloilo has never waned, meaning I continue to search for areas that I can develop and turn into a beautiful development which would add further value to the province,” he added.
Sta. Lucia currently has eight projects in the province namely Green Meadows, SotoGrande at Iloilo, Nottingham at Metropolis, Metropolis, Centro Verde, Monte Rosa, Costa Del Sol, and Acropolis. These developments ranged from condominium projects to townhouse and subdivisions and eventually a planned township. According to a recent disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the company reported that it was working on more expansion projects in Iloilo, that would bring its total footprint in the province to 500 ha.
“Iloilo City, for me, is one of the best cities to do business because it is easy to get permits and there is a huge market still waiting to be tapped. There are a lot of opportunities to explore and I see a really good future for us there,” Robles claimed.
“With the local government’s continuing support and nonstop work to improve the province’s roads, infrastructure, flood control programs and even airports, you know you are in for a good future. For us developers, it is really a plus factor when the local government is bent to make the city thrive because that would translate to good business,” Robles explained.
He added: “As a developer, I believe we managed to satisfy the needs of the Ilonggo market. By providing a different and more innovative type of developments such as the ones with man made lakes and resort type developments, which are now gaining popularity among Ilonggos, we believe that Sta. Lucia has managed to create a strong foothold in the area. We already have a huge inventory of lots in Iloilo and we have big plans for the area and that alone is already a strong indication that we are going to stay there for a really long time.”