Ara Vista Village Fosters an Active Lifestyle

Ara Vista Village is the latest real estate development venture from AMA Communities. Inc. Located in Gen. Trias, Ara Vista is located right along Crisanto de los Reyes Avenue, just after Amadeo, Cavite.

One of the model homes at Ara Vista.

One of the model homes at Ara Vista.

With health and fitness as top priorities for families today, parents now prefer a more dynamic neighborhood that encourages their children to play and be active. The 50-hectare Ara Vista Village in Gen. Trias, Cavite – masterplanned by Palafox Associates – has all the venues to make this happen.

As a self-contained township development, Ara Vista Village has everything that a family needs, including several family-oriented amenities that promote a more active lifestyle.

An artist's rendition of the proposed clubhouse area.  Photo from the Ara Vista website.

An artist’s rendition of the proposed clubhouse area. Photo from the Ara Vista website.

Families can bond over sports and fitness activities at the tennis and basketball courts, or enjoy a relaxing dip in the cool waters of the adult and kiddie pools. Themed parks and playgrounds where moms can take their young ones for a bit of fun and exercise are also available.

Meanwhile, parents looking for a more relaxing and serene form of activity will find the scenic tree-lined jogging paths and bicycle lanes as well as the lush green gardens perfect for an invigorating early morning run or stress-relieving yoga sessions.

The Ara Vista Master Development Plan.  Photo courtesy of the Ara Vista website.

The Ara Vista Master Development Plan. Photo courtesy of the Ara Vista website.

More than just promoting an active lifestyle, the amenities in Ara Vista Village are also designed to foster a close-knit community among the residents. Families can converge at any of these spots or at the clubhouse where many community activities can be held. Dubbed as a telepolis for transforming information age technology into a physically built subdivision, Ara Vista Village features Wi-Fi connectivity in several common areas to keep families connected to the virtual world anytime of the day.

To learn more about Ara Vista Village, visit or e-mail at or call +632.822.3443

(Article from The Philippine Star)

Property Sector Drawing Keen Interest of Retirement Haven Seekers

Metro Tagaytay is one of the country’s leading retirement destinations, according to commercial real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), and real estate companies are about to cash in on this opportunity.

Tagaytay Living 03 960x345pxReal estate companies in the Philippines may find growth opportunities in the tourism market, as the country becomes a haven for foreign retirees, a consultancy firm said on Thursday.

“As the ageing population increases, the need for specialization on the segment also intensifies,” Jones Lang LaSalle regional director Lindsay Orr said during the company’s Midyear Market Report.

The number of older people in less developed countries is expected to increase 140 percent between 2006 and 2030, compared with the 51 percent increase forecast in developed countries.

The low cost of living, tropical climate, natural attractions, expatriate-friendly destinations, English-speaking environment and special resident retiree’s visa provision in the Philippines make the country a favored retirement destination for foreigners, said Orr.

JLL listed Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Subic, Tagaytay, Dumaguete and Clark as the leading retirement destinations in the country. In Metro Manila, Makati is said to be the first choice of foreign retirees.

(Reported by Keith Richard D. Mariano for GMA News)

Chilli Plants

5 Easy To Grow Chilli Plant Varieties

In a previous post, Louie Watts shares with us a whole bunch of tips on how to grow your own chilli plants.  He continues with a number of easy-to-grow chilli plant varieties, so here we are with his five recommendations to get started.

Demon Red Chilli by Seminka Chilli CZ

Demon Red Chilli by Seminka Chilli CZ

Demon Red

My parents grow these with a frustrating ease, minimal effort and maximum output as they have been specially developed for windowsill growing in pots.

They produce ‘demon’ horn chillies that face up and turn from green to a bright, vibrant red. They also grow in a bushy way, so don’t need much space above them. Heed the warning though, as they pack a considerable punch, so my general rule is use one for each person you cook for.

Don’t eat them raw – it will hurt.

Serrano Chillies by Mariquita

Serrano Chillies by Mariquita


These guys I have grown with success last year and are great for pickling. Their colour also varies when they mature which can be a spectacular sight.

They aren’t as hot as the demon chillies above, but they are good to just pick off and eat raw. If you’ve got the space, plant these outside and they’ll get to 1m tall and give you lots of colourful fruits.

If you do plant them outside in a big pot, its best to stick a wooden pole next to the plant for support, as they will (hopefully) become heavy with fruit.

Cherry Bomb Chilli by Gadar

Cherry Bomb Chilli by Gadar

Cherry Bomb

This plant will provide you with fleshy cherry-like globular fruit that have a slight kick. Again they’re great for pickling, and you may often have seen them stuffed with cheese or a filling. They’re a bit different as normally chillies have a tapered end, but these guys are squat and proud.

Click here to read more about 10 Survival foods you can grow.

Cayenne Chilli by Kitchen Garden Notebook

Cayenne Chilli by Kitchen Garden Notebook


Probably one of the best known varieties, I grew these from a pot, on my windowsill two years ago. They are long, tapered and fiery chillies that you can cook with whether green or red. Green they are great in burgers, kebabs and salads. Red they fantastic in stir fry’s and Mexican cooking.

The accompanying picture is probably a third of my yield two years ago, showing just how easy they are to grow. Again they’re a variety that you can plant out later on and will grow big and tall. Probably not Jack and the Beanstalk height, but not far off.

Unless you fancy an unpleasant, milk crazed twenty minutes, don’t eat these raw.

Hungarian Hot Wax

Hungarian Hot Wax Chilli

Hungarian Hot Wax Chilli

This variety is renowned for growing well in cooler climates, and is a multi-purpose chilli. Pickle it, eat it raw, pop it on salads or use it for decoration as the fruits vary in colour. They are often picked when yellow, just before they ripen.

I have also eaten these chillies when they’ve been stuffed with cheese as despite their name, they are relatively mild. The plant will keep producing long after summer so long as you keep taking the fruits.

(Article by Louie Watts, via Good To Be Home by Anglian.)

Camella Boosts Master-planned Communities

Camella Homes by Vista Land is the flagship housing project of the Villar group of companies.  The Cavite development is minutes away from Tagaytay City.

With its unparalleled expertise through decades of experience in the housing industry, Camella, the flagship brand of Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., has redefined home development in the Philippines by not just building beautiful and affordable homes, but by creating master-planned communities.

Camella HomesCamella master-planned communities are designed to be self-contained, offering everything from commercial centers, retail stores, restaurants, convenience stores, drugstores, and groceries or supermarkets; to educational establishments, hospitals, offices, even churches and other centers for worship.

LRA Computerized System Allows Titleholders Online Access

The LRA Computerized System is currently being implemented by the Land Registration Authority to help expedite titling issues and concerns.  The following is an excerpt from an article on The Philippine Star.

Metro Tagaytay Lots For Sale, by and

The Land Registration Authority (LRA) will soon allow the public to validate the location of their titled property, inform property owners about Registry of Deeds action on their property by way of short messaging service (SMS) or text message, and give them the opportunity to trace their titles’ history and legitimacy through computerized information.

From Sea to Hill: Developers Eye Vacation Condos in Tagaytay

The top Philippine real estate developers still have a number of ongoing developments that hope to meet the demand for more vacation condos in Tagaytay, particularly residential properties near beaches and tourist sites.

The development of Ayala Serin in Tagaytay is in full swing.  Photo courtesy of the Avida Land official website.

The development of Ayala Serin in Tagaytay is in full swing. Photo courtesy of the Avida Land official website.

Ayala Land reported P9 billion in sales last year from its 10-year-old Anvaya Cove leisure project in Morong, Bataan.

As the economy grows, resort demand is spreading to the middle class.

SM Prime‘s Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas is also getting a lot of attention because of its beach condos.

Now, real estate firms are hiking up from the sea to the hill. Both Ayala and SM are building so-called vacation condominiums in Tagaytay.

An aerial view of Tagaytay Highlands.  Photo courtesy of the Tagaytay Highlands official website.

An aerial view of Tagaytay Highlands. Photo courtesy of the Tagaytay Highlands official website.

Ayala’s subsidiary Avida Land said it is expanding its Serin property in Tagaytay because of rising demand.

“Tagaytay is still really your number one local tourist destination south of Metro Manila…It’s really a place they like to go to on weekends and even for longer periods of time,” said Avida Land senior division manager Herbert Herrero.

Herrero said Serin is targeted at the middle income market who may want to buy a second property for a vacation home or an investment to be rented out to tourists.

With controversies surrounding other condo projects such as Torre de Manila, Herrero was quick to say that the buildings do not block the view of Taal.

“We wanted a project that will blend with the ambiance, the ridge, and that has been in our mindset…Compliment and blend in the atmosphere in Tagaytay, the quaint, garden-type living lifestyle,” he said.

This rise of leisure residential projects highlights the growing market for second homes in the Philippines, so don’t be surprised if you find new developments near your favorite beach or mountain getaway.

(Article by Jekki Pascual for the ABS-CBN News Channel.)

It’s a Busy Year For Real Estate Developers

2015 seems to be a great year so far for local property developers; Mary Ann LL. Reyes of The Philippine Star gives us an update on the real estate industry.

All signs are pointing upwards for practically all segments of the local property development sector.

According to the latest report from Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting, checking what the top real estate developers are doing is a good place to start if one is looking for bellwether or indicator of things to come.

The Ayala Land group, which has announced a target capital expenditure of P100 billion for this year alone, is keen on building township projects in 25 additional cities over three to five years, Pinnacle director for research and consulting Jojo Salas said.

We just have to look at Porac, a sleepy town, to see how the entry of a big name in the real estate industry can change the landscape as well as the lives of the local townsfolk.

Now that we’ve mentioned the Ayala group, I remember how pleasantly surprised I was to find out there is a new “tourist destination” in Tagaytay CityAyala Malls Serin. In fact, it has now become a part of one’s itinerary when going to Tagaytay to visit Serin, which I have to admit, is a breath of fresh air.

Ayala is building Alviera in Porac, Pampanga, a 1,100-hectare large-scale masterplanned development that is being positioned as the premier business and leisure hub in Central Luzon, according to the Pinnacle report. Landowners in adjacent properties, I’ve heard, are scrambling to sell their property to Ayala Land, and that includes sugar lands, which is now a source of worry for Pampanga’s sugar mill, the Pasudeco Sugar Central because that would mean less sugarcanes to mill.

Anyway, not to be outdone, the SM Group will be building “micro cities” around its shopping malls by developing apartments, offices, and hotels. According to Pinnacle, 15 of the over 50 shopping malls are on land large enough for high density and mixed-used developments. The biggest bet, says the Pinnacle report, is on the planned Manila Bay reclamation of 600 hectares, and the group intends to pour in P100 billion of investments, that would turn the property into a masterplanned, integrated, and mixed use community.

Meanwhile, Megaworld, together with its subsidiaries, will launch five new townships, two of which will be in Luzon, two in Visayas, and one in Mindanao, with a total land area of around 400 hectares. Pinnacle says this will bring Megaworld’s total township land area to 3,100 hectares by yearend.

The township formula seems to be working. Pinnacle quoted the April release of the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Real Estate Index which revealed that SM Prime has gained 37 percent over last year, Megaworld by 30 percent, and Ayala Land by 29 percent. The Philippine Stock Exchange index grew by 24 percent during the same period.

Other top developers are also on the rampage. Robinsons Land has acquired an 18.5-hectare property along Ortigas Avenue Extension where it would build a major township. The Greenfield/Unilab Group is also developing the 12.8-hectare expansion of the EDSA Central complex into a mixed-use community, the Pinnacle report also revealed.

Meanwhile, the Vista Land group has been penetrating tertiary cities where other national brands are still contemplating on, and has been expanding its commercial retail investments, the report continued. By the way, the group, through Camella, is the first national brand to enter the province of Bataan, thanks to the fact that its patriarch, Manny Villar, is from Bataan. Camella now has three subdivisions in three towns of Bataan. It is also putting up a branch of All Home, the group’s one-stop shop for homebuilders.

And now, a snapshot of the various subsectors of the property sector.

According to Pinnacle, the office market will continue to experience robust demand from the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. The continuous growth in this sector translates to additional office space demand across all major business districts. The overall vacancy rate of major business districts in Metro Manila is low at 4 percent.

As for the residential market, Pinnacle said demand continues to outpace supply. NEDA’s Statistical Research and Training Center estimates annual housing needs at over 800,000 per annum. Unfortunately, only close to half can afford to buy affordable housing units. Last year, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board approved licenses to sell for 216,503 residential units (which is actually the highest if we look at the figures since 2011). Inspite of all the construction activities we are seeing all around us, there is still not enough supply of housing units.

The retail, hotel and gaming, and industrial markets are also similarly optimistic.

The retail market continues to be dominated by SM, Robinsons, and Puregold, and this market has seen phenomenal growth in the convenience store platform, the report added. SM and its Indonesian partner last year announced they are opening a total of seven pilot Alfamart convenience stores to test its viability in the local market.

Meanwhile, the Robinsons group was targeting 500 Ministop stores by the end of last year, even as it plans 100 more stores this year.

The Ayala Group is not going to be outdone though. Its Family Mart has already breached the 100-mark outlets as of April this year and we have heard the group is also going into the supermarket business soon.

The Pinnacle report also revealed the Villar group is expanding its All Day Mart platform. In addition, it will be opening six to seven “All Home” stores annually over the next five years. The acknowledged leader in the one-stop shop for home needs business is, of course, the Wilcon Group, which now has 33 stores.

And then, of course, we have the mall developers who rent out the spaces to tenants. So Ayala Land builds Serin in Tagaytay and leases out store spaces to tenants. In exchange Ayala receives rent and/or percentage of gross sales.

The hotel and gaming market is also on the rise. The City of Dreams complex of the SM Group and Macau’s Lawrence Ho includes three hotel towers offering the brands: Nobu Hotel, Crown Towers, and Hyatt Hotel. The Ayala group has been ramping up its SEDA brand (there’s SEDA beside Ayala’s Abreeza Mall Davao, BGC, beside Centrio in Cagayan de Oro, Nuvali in Laguna, and in Atria in Iloilo) apart from its partnership with Intercontinental and Marriott Groups. Robinsons Land has also been expanding its GoHotels chain, while Federal Land/Metrobank Group has partnered with Hyatt Group.

The Pinnacle report pointed out what is equally interesting is the mushrooming of local hotel brands like Sogo and Nice Hotels, which cater to small travellers, and even international brands like Tune Hotel. Even Max’s Group, yes the restaurant, is developing a 60-room hotel called “Meranti” along Scout Tuazon in Quezon City.

The ripple effect of a boom in the property development sector on the domestic economy is huge.

“The first impacts are the jobs and spending that occur when the housing is constructed. Jobs created during this phase include the construction workers who are building the structure as well as the workers in the firms who support them, such as office managers, cost estimators, and accountants. The first layer of impact, the direct impact, includes the jobs described above as well as the total construction spending on the project itself. In addition to the direct economic impact of housing construction, there are also ripple effects which are of two types: indirect and induced. The indirect impacts are the jobs and spending created from businesses that are suppliers to the construction operations – those providing goods such as building material suppliers and cabinet manufacturers as well as businesses providing services such as architectural firms and trucking companies. The induced impacts result when the workers in the construction project spend their wages. This spending creates new jobs at the consumer-related businesses such restaurants, retail stores, etc. After construction, housing is occupied and further economic impacts occur. Even the local and national governments benefit from tax revenue generated during both the construction and residential phases.” ( These benefits do not include the unquantifiables: i.e. the revitalization of communities such as the one we are going to see in Porac, Pampanga as a result of Ayala’s Alviera project.

(Article by Mary Ann LL. Reyes, via The Philippine Star.)

SM Prime Allots Php1 B for Housing Ventures

Among a number of other key cities, SM Prime plans to expand its portfolio of high-rise luxury condominiums in Metro Tagaytay. Story by The Philippine Star.

Pueblo Real in Tagaytay Highlands. Photo from the Tagaytay Highlands official website.

Pueblo Real in Tagaytay Highlands. Photo from the Tagaytay Highlands official website.

SM Prime Holdings Inc., the integrated property firm of the Sy family, is earmarking as much as P1 billion to make its maiden affordable housing foray next year. In an interview, SM Prime executive vice president Jeffrey Lim told The STAR the company is all set to go with its affordable housing venture in Cabanatuan with investments seen reaching up to P1 billion for its initial phase.

“It’s almost done,” Lim said referring to SM Prime’s acquisition of a Cabanatuan property where the group’s first horizontal residential development would soon rise.

For the first phase, Lim said 800 units would initially be offered for sale but the entire property could accommodate up to 2,500 units.

“Since it’s horizontal, you can cluster it that we launch this part first and then if the take up is good, then we can do more. That’s why we need to get a big property also,” Lim said. Lim said each house and lot would be offered at prices ranging from P800,000 to P1.2 million.

“This is a market that a lot of overseas Filipino workers will want to have,” he said.

SM Prime, through unit SM Development Corp., has long been into condominium development, but has yet to venture into horizontal development.

The housing project is expected to complement SM’s recent entry into the retail industry of Nueva Ecija’s capital.

SM Prime in March this year completed the acquisition of a community mall in Cabanatuan City which it has rebranded as SM Megacenter. Megacenter is a five-story mall previously owned and operated by CHAS Realty and Development Corp.

Likewise, the country’s largest mall developer is also set to open a large shopping center called SM Cabanatuan this year.

SM Prime’s residential unit intends to launch at least five new high rise condominiums with about 11,000 units in total this year in the cities of Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Taguig and Tagaytay, and at the Mall of Asia complex.

SM Prime will also add new towers in five existing projects that will be built to accommodate the increasing demand for housing by most Filipino households and young professionals.

SM Prime, the Philippines’ largest property firm in terms of market value, has earmarked P330 billion until 2018 for its expansion in the country and in China.

Tagaytay Highlands is one of the many luxury development projects of SM Prime Holdings, Inc.  Photo from the official Tagaytay Highlands website.

Tagaytay Highlands is one of the many luxury development projects of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. Photo from the official Tagaytay Highlands website.

(Article by Richmond S. Mercurio, via The Philippine Star. Photos from the Tagaytay Highlands official website.)

Chilli Plants

How to Grow Your Own Chilli Plants

Louie Watts shares with us a whole bunch of tips on how to grow your own chilli plants, so you can pick your own fresh chillies straight out of your garden!

Demon Red Chilli by Seminka Chilli CZ

Demon Red Chilli by Seminka Chilli CZ

Here’s a handy guide to get you on your way to growing some chillies to add a real zing to your meals, sandwiches, sauces and drinks.

Avida Land Solidifies Presence in Cavite

Avida Land Corp. continues to develop its niche in the middle market by recently completing its residential portfolio in the historic province of Cavite with the launch of Serin Tagaytay.

“We chose Cavite because it has the biggest population that has access to Metro Manila and the big presence of industrial estates. These two factors guarantee Cavite’s big potential for the property growth,” said Herbert Herrero, Avida project and strategic manager for South Luzon, in a recent media briefing held in Makati City.

“Avida’s portfolio of residential projects in Cavite caters to an expanded midmarket segment. Buyers have an option to buy a house-and-lot package from P2.5 million in one of our villages to P6.3 million, in another. We try to consistently plan our villages to suit these families—safety and security is top of mind, practical amenities that are not only enjoyable but also practical, and quality is ensured in every house that is built,” Herrero said.

Herrero said Avida has focused in targeting and attracting middle-income families, mostly locally based executives and businessmen who decided to establish their roots in Cavite. Furthermore, he noted that clients are also repeat buyers as they again purchased from Avida’s new projects as upgrades, additional investments, or for their families.

For Serin Tagaytay, Herrero observed Avida has found that the majority of buyers intend to use their condo units as vacation retreats. The rest of the buyers will use them as a primary home or as a retirement home.

Serin West is set to rise with 480 units. Prices start at P2.6 million for a 22-square-meter studio unit. Meanwhile, Serin East will be launched this month. Unit types range from studio units to one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units at 62.27 sq m. Turnover of units starts in 2018.

Serin West is Avida’s condominium venture in the province. Located in Barangay Silang, Crossing East, Serin was conceptualized as a midrise residential retreat with a view of Taal Volcano and the Batangas mountain range. Together with Serin East, this project covers 3 hectares of land.

Serin is a sprawling midrise development that features walkways with trellises, lounge and sitting areas, gardens and open spaces, plus viewing decks to enjoy the garden ridge views of Tagaytay. A clubhouse, swimming pools and children’s play area are also integrated in the amenity deck.

The development covers 3 hectares of land strategically located along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway between Ayala Malls Serin and Our Lady of Lourdes Church.

Avida’s first project in Cavite was the 38-hectare Avida Santa Catalina Village along Molino-Paliparan Road, Dasmariñas, Cavite. It was followed by Avida Village Santa Cecilia and Avida Residences Dasmariñas along the same road. Avida Settings Cavite was launched in Bacoor in 2007, while Southgrove Estates was launched in Imus in 2013.

These residential villages cover 116 hectares with a total of 4,203 units (house and lots and lots only). About 86 percent of these residential villages are sold.

Serin East will be launched this month with Tower 1 having 235 units. “We’re earmarking P2 billion for Serin East in the next five years. Serin West is our first condominium venture in the province. Located in Barangay Silang, Crossing East, Serin was conceptualized as a midrise residential retreat with a view of Taal Volcano and the Batangas mountain range. Together with Serin East, this project covers 3 hectares of land,” Herrero said.

(Article by Rizal Raoul Reyes for Business Mirror.)