Santos is the chairman of Sta. Lucia and is the first cousin of Exequiel Robles, its president. The Santos-Robles business partnership goes back to 1972, when the siblings Buenaventura Robles and Marcela Robles-Santos established the Buen-Mar Realty. Buen-Mar produced namesake subdivisions in Pasig, Taytay, Morong and Rizal before the name of the company changed to Sta. Lucia Realty & Development, Inc.
But a great challenge put the family to the test. Buenaventura Robles died after some years and his sister Marcela — Santos’ mother — in her grief, followed her beloved brother after a few months.
It was at this time that Santos, the eldest of six children, realized the value of family more than ever. “We felt alone. Our goal was to survive. Together with our eight cousins from the Robles side, we helped each other. Indeed, we children continued the legacy and we made sure that the value of family that we so treasure is the guiding force behind the residential estates and commercial establishments that we develop until now,” said Santos.
He recalls the time when the Santos and Robles cousins would manage their subdivisions personally. “We managed the utilities, maintenance, we were the drivers and we personally swept the floor. All the cousins would work together.” He laughs at the memory. “We never imagined that Sta. Lucia would grow into one of the biggest real estate companies in the Philippines. But we have always wanted the love of family to show through our buyers so that they’ll know that this is what Sta. Lucia is made of.”
More than being a developer, Santos is focused on building communities. He handles the homeowners association of Sta. Lucia. “I consider it my responsibility to build peaceful and fulfilled communities. It’s my passion.”
Another passion of Santos is his love for golf and developing golf courses. He has been the board member of the prestigious Orchard Golf and Country Club; has played golf for over 10 years and has developed Sta. Lucia’s impressive roster of 13 golf courses around the Philippines.
“Golf courses nowadays are very expensive to develop, especially with keeping up with its maintenance. I wanted to cultivate the love for golf among all people. That is why we hold the annual Sta. Lucia Golf Tournament,” said Santos. The Sta. Lucia Golf Tournament, running until August with five legs to be held in five different Sta. Lucia golf courses, is open to all golfers of all ages. “The goal of this tournament is to make golf more affordable and accessible for everyone,” Santos adds.
A unique offering this year, winners of the Sta. Lucia Golf Tournament 2015 will compete in the Hong Kong Open and will represent the Philippine Team, as sanctioned by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Asked the secret to Sta. Lucia’s success that enabled it to expand its portfolio from residential developments to golf courses, Santos averred, “Our staying power, I believe, is our family — the strong value we put to our family. It is my ardent hope to see my children and their children continue on the Sta. Lucia legacy and take it to even greater heights.”
Sta. Lucia has developed more than 10,000 hectares of land and continues to be the trusted partner of Filipino families in building their ideal home amidst a fast-paced world. For more than four decades, the strong leadership of the Robles and Santos families has forged Sta. Lucia from strength to strength and steered the company to the esteemed position it enjoys today. Sta. Lucia has created a lasting legacy of excellence as is experienced by Filipino families, and that will power its future successes together with the Filipino nation for more decades to come.