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Why Invest in Cebu?

Luxury real estate in Cebu is a long conversation – ready-to-move in condo units or building a house from scratch? City views or beachside living? Urban lifestyle or a long drive to town?

Luxury real estate in Cebu is a long conversation – ready-to-move in condo units or building a house from scratch? City views or beachside living? Urban lifestyle or a long drive to town?

When houses in the gated bastions of Cebu’s Maria Luisa Park or NorthtownHomes are priced at a cool fifty million pesos or more, no one bats an eyelash anymore. Although houses in Manila’s old rich enclave of Dasmariñas Village regularly start at three times that amount; at neighboring Forbes Park, the same price gets a measly thousand square meters lot, if anything at all, numbers like these doesn’t happen often in Cebu. It has occurred of course. Ten years or so ago, the one time residence of furniture tycoon Paul Maitland Smith, an estate with fabulous views of the city was listed at one hundred fifty million pesos, or the grand purchase of the Lhuilliers (yes, Monique’s parents) of former governor Lito Osmeña’s iconic Salakot House, which they promptly tore down to build an even more fabulous mountaintop abode.

The country has entered a new era of prosperity, where clearly big is always better. When high-walled properties are rented out at P200,000 or more a month, local residents are more than ready to move out. Renters are typically expats with unlimited expense accounts. Buyers are locals seeking to upgrade, or as is seen lately, affluent foreigners married to someone from here.

The Philippines outdated law on foreigners owning land more than 2,000 square meters is a hindrance for sure, and this is where the big condo developers come in, offering a myriad of choices, ranging from 4 to 40 million peso units. The new reality in the city’s landscape is full of vertical real estate, with three leading developers all offering strong unique character of their own. Ayala Land Premiere started the trend with two projects – the 1016 Residences and Park Point Residences both located around the vicinity of bustling Ayala Mall, followed by Federal Land’s three towers comprising Marco Polo Residences. Megaworld’s masterplanned community of Newtown in Mactan Island is an ambitious mixed used community anchored by an initial offering of two five-storey BPO buildings and four residential towers, patterned after its highly successful township of Eastwood City, in Libis, Quezon City. The 16-hectare community is ideally located close to the international airport and the beaches of Mactan Island. It is marketed to Japanese retirees as well as the expected growing community of workers in the BPO centers. Top management will vie for the penthouse units, of which there are 14 planned per building.

Noli Hernandez, president of Megaworld Cebu Properties says, “Our most expensive units are the corner units in the top floors where there is an expansive view, and a certain premium and prestige attached to ownership.”

Not to be outdone, Cebu’s horizontal developments are competing aggressively for those who want a home with gardens and pools. In the high-end market, there are three big players as well. MRO’s Maria Luisa Estate Park is a well established hillside village of almost 200 hectares, Aboitizland’s Northtown and Pristina North comes next with its tree lined streets and sidewalks, both located in the northern Banilad area of the city. The latest addition to this list of prestigious addresses is Genvi’s Monterrazas de Cebu, an 80-hectare development in the south, with a majority of homesites inclined to great city views.

Why is it the best time to buy in Cebu? Because there are still some good buys to be had. Blessed with both sea and mountain access, the island of Cebu unfortunately has only 30% of livable land, the majority are not conducive to city living. The growing economic boom in BPOs have not shown any signs of slowing, and the need for affordable properties and rentals are being filled slowly as condominiums continue to be built. Still, there is a need for caution in vertical developments. Some lot owners take it upon themselves to be developers without the necessary acumen and resources, and they flood the market with sub-par units. Pricing is also a sticky point. As Alice Plaza, a long time RE broker explained, “there are some developers pricing their units same as those in Manila, at more than P100,000 per square meter. How can that be when the lot prices in Manila are four times higher than the most expensive real estate in Cebu?” she asks. A more realistic figure for high end units with all the bells and whistles, according to her, should hover around P100,000. For lower end units, prices should be P20,000 less. Residential lot prices are more reasonable, with the three top developers offering P12,000 for non-view lots to P20,000 per square meter for prime properties with city and mountain views. Commercial properties in the major hub like the Cebu Business Park and IT Park are set at P40,000 to P50,000 per square meter. Buyers can surely benefit from strong competition and attractive financing offers from both developers and banks with interest rates that are historically lower than ever.

Major developers have come in to create world-class communities that embody an upwardly moving lifestyle, and many homegrown companies have followed suit. Now, real estate companies are finding their own niches and identifying features that address the varying price margins and design preferences that homeowners today are looking out for.

It’s progress that isn’t hard to understand, considering the growth of Cebu’s other industries, providing an estimate of 11,000 new jobs in the past year alone. Tourists continue to come in, growing exponentially every year. Cebu is clearly in the throes of becoming a global city, and the sprouting up of world-class residential units are an indication of the improving standard of living to come. Of course, if you can afford to shell out the money for a Maria Luisa estate, go right ahead. The rest of the population will just have to pretend they’re not green with envy.

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Entertainment

Arcane: League of Legends: Netflix Review

Rating: *****/*****

League of Legends a very popular video game that’s been around for over a decade has now been adapted into an animated series on Netflix.  The series, Arcane: League of Legends was just released on November 6, 2021 and starring Hailee Steinfeld.  As a person who doesn’t play LoL, I was very surprised by Arcane’s story and the quality of the animation.  The title theme song is by Imagine Dragons and soundtrack is very cool.

Rottentomatoes gives the series a 100% score!  Here’s what they say:

“Newcomers should be equally enthralled by Arcane’s compelling narrative, richly developed characters … “

 Critics Consensus

“Arcane makes an arresting first impression, combining a spectacular mix of 2D and 3D animation with an emotionally compelling story to deliver a video game adaptation that could become legendary.”

Well then, this is a must see for me!  Now out on Netflix

… zen

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Entertainment

ALBUM REVIEW: Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

RATING: ★★★ / ★★★★★

You probably don’t need to be reminded of why Taylor Swift has decided to release re-recordings of her previous albums, starting with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) last year and now with Red (Taylor’s Version). However, if you somehow missed one of the biggest music controversies in recent history, here’s a quick summary: in 2019, talent manager Scooter Braun acquired the record label Big Machine and as part of the deal acquired ownership of the master recordings for the first six studio albums by Taylor Swift. Swift has been trying to buy the masters to her songs for years but she’s been offered nothing but unfavorable conditions — therefore, as a countermeasure, she is re-recording all of her six albums and so far has released two.

It’s a bold move on Taylor’s part, but lucky for her, the re-recordings have done incredibly well especially with the re-recording of her 2012 album Red. On its first day of release, Red (Taylor’s Version) has broken two Spotify records: one for the most-streamed album in a day by a female and another for the most-streamed female in a single day both in Spotify history.

It’s hard to review an album like this when Red (Taylor’s Version) is, for the most part, just a recreation of the songs of Red. There are new songs, of course, but the majority of the tracks are simply re-recorded versions of her already existing songs. The Immaculate Collection by Madonna, this isn’t — save for All Too Well, there are no new instrumentals or parts of the song here, just plain re-recordings of her previous songs.

Unfortunately for Taylor Swift, some of the songs don’t really benefit from being re-recorded. The original version of We Are Never Getting Back Together, for instance, while far from Swift’s best song at least had the energy and emotion you’d expect a bitter break-up song like it to have. In the new version, Taylor Swift just sounds lifeless and bored, especially when it comes to her spoken lines.

It’s difficult to blame her when she’s expected to still give convincing performances of experiences she’s had over a decade ago. How do you expect a singer in her 30s to sing a song about how excited she is to be 22 and still make it sound as convincing as she made it when she was actually 22?

That being said, some of the songs also benefit from being re-recorded. There’s a sense of nostalgia added to many of these songs. Taylor Swift sounds older and, in a way, that adds even more emotional depth to some of her tracks. And for anyone not wild about these songs simply being re-recordings, Swift has six new “From The Vault” tracks which should be enough to tide you over.

All in all, Red (Taylor’s Version) doesn’t always work, but for Taylor Swift fans, it’s a way to listen to versions of her songs that are hers. It’s why the “(Taylor’s Version)” at the end of these songs are so important and it’s great to know Taylor Swift finally has versions of the songs she wrote which she can call hers.

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LADY CYCLISTS HIT THE ROADS AND SLOPES OF CEBU.

Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic.  People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu.  More and more are joining the ride.  Many are quite serious about cycling.  I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.

How did you get into serious cycling?  What was your motivation?

Blinky de Leon.  Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer

“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”

 

“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”

 

Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant

“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”

“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”

 

Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative

“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”

Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…

by: Zen

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