Originally titled “Best place to live outside Metro Manila,” this entry is not based on a hunch nor was I paid to promote this place. This is based on my own studies, experiences and observations that started as long ago as the early 1990’s. And the more I poured myself into research, the more I have realized how magnificent this place is and, therefore, the need to change my original title.
You will only appreciate this article if you read my three previous posts – Perfect type of housing, parts 1 and 2 and News that will impact on Philippine real estate. I strongly urge you to read them first before moving on.
This place has impressed me so much that my family will definitely relocate to this place within the next two to three years.
Most important rule when buying real estate
The digital photography industry has misused this term; it uses the term macro mode to mean close-up view of an image. In Economics it’s the opposite, macro means taking a very long, wide and far perspective. Other economists describe macro as taking a “top-down” view of things, i.e., you look at something, in our case real estate, as if you are riding in a helicopter.
Most say that the three most important things to remember when buying real estate are “location, location and location.” But how can you choose the best location if you don’t think macro?
You have to take a TOP-DOWN view: You have to remember that when buying real estate in the Philippines, you’re not just buying, say, a 300 square meter lot. You’re buying into the:
City or Municipality
of that 300 square meter lot.
Make the wrong choice in one of them and you will be disappointed with your acquisition.
So, fasten your seat belts as I take you on a ride to see where the best real estates are in the Philippines.
They are in Santa Rosa, Laguna
Originally named Barrio Bukol when discovered by the Spanish Conquistador Juan de Salcedo in 1571, Sta. Rosa is now a premier city that is part of CALABARZON or Region IV-A.
It has a land area of 54.1 square kilometers and is divided into 18 barangays with a population of 266,943 per NSO’s latest survey.
Here’s a brief history of Sta. Rosa (PDF file), its demographics and its rapid industrialization. It was reprinted (with permission) from a book edited by former Finance Undersecretary, Hon. Juanita Amatong, who’s now with the Bangko Sentral. You won’t find these facts anywhere in the internet.
I posted a teaser for this entry on Aug 19. Oddly, two days later, this came out in the Inquirer.net. (Check the date just below the title of this post. It is only today, September 18, that I published this.)
Salient parts of that report are:
… When the 387-hectare Laguna Technopark, the country’s first industrial estate opened here in 1980, Sta. Rosa was deemed as the “gateway” to the Calabarzon Region…
… our income reached P1.2 billion last year. These came mostly from the business and realty taxes paid…
… Sta. Rosa is regarded as the Philippines’ motor city housing 4 of the country’s major car manufacturing companies… that account for 90 percent of the total car manufacturing output of the country.
What the report didn’t say is that the remaining 10 % of the car output are produced by Isuzu in Binan, just spitting distance from Sta. Rosa, in the same industrial park where the other car manufacturers operate : )
Sta. Rosa has been dubbed in so many ways:
- Motor City ala Detroit, Michigan
- Wikipedia calls it the Investment Capital of South Luzon
- Gateway to CALABARZON
- Just last year, it was voted the Number One Next Wave City in ICT by the Commission on Information and Communications Technology and by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (or BPAP).
- Mr. Lucio Tan’s company calls it the Silicon Valley of the Philippines where some fifty semiconductor manufacturers operate.
But my favorite is: Santa Rosa – the Next Makati Central Business District.
My tip when buying real estate:
Think as the tycoons do; invest where they do.
The most successful people in real estate are all visionaries; they see things that we ordinary people don’t. They look decades ahead and behind; they are astute students of history, i.e., they never forget their mistakes and they learn from their own mistakes and from those of others. When we see mountains, they see anthills… they all think MACRO, and they all ride in helicopters. (To save on gas, I use Google Earth and Wikimapia instead.)
Today, billions have been and are still being invested in Sta Rosa (and in its periphery) by the who’s who in Philippine real estate: the Ayalas, the Sta. Rosa pioneer whose current flagship project is Nuvali, Mr. Lucio Tan of Eton Properties Philippines, Inc., the Gotianuns of Filinvest, the Ng’s of Cathay Land, Inc., the Quiros family and Britanny Corp., the Yulos who have partnered with the Ayalas to develop Nuvali, the Campos of Greenfield Development Corporation and so many more.
So, what do they see in Sta. Rosa that we don’t?
Two faces of Sta. Rosa
Below is the map of Sta. Rosa City, its 18 barangays, their population and its major thoroughfares.
Do take note of the soon-to-be rehabilitated PNR double-tracked railways. (that’s why you should read my previous post, “News that will impact on Philippine real estate”)
I consider Sta. Rosa as having two faces: the Old Sta. Rosa and the New
From the north, after taking the Sta. Rosa exit, you will face a dead end. You either turn left towards what I call the Old and quaint Sta. Rosa or turn right to the New and cosmopolitan one, along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road (let’s call this SRT Rd.), the corridor to Tagaytay.
In the mid 1990’s, SRT Rd. extended only up to Laguna Blvd. Beyond was a dense woodland and there was no access to Tagaytay. Sta. Rosa, then, was mainly known for the two Coca-Cola plants (the biggest outside the United States), Toyota, CIGI and the now defunct Filsyn.
Fast forward to the present
Sta. Rosa has so much to offer in terms of real estate opportunities; I cannot discuss them all in this entry; I will have to divide this topic into several parts.
NEW STA. ROSA
As mentioned, Sta. Rosa was discovered by the Spaniards in the 1500’s. But the New Sta. Rosa emerged only in the 1980’s when Laguna Technopark was established. It’s a joint-venture among Ayala Land, Inc., Mitsubishi Corporation and Kawasaki Steel Corporation. The New Sta. Rosa was master planned by the local government, and to a large extent, by the Ayalas.
How well-planned is the New Sta. Rosa?
The most important principle in my second post is:
Inherent geographic characteristics, scarcity and cost of land, population density and availability of commercial establishments, varied job opportunities and conveniences determine the suitable type of housing in a given area.
Job opportunities in Sta. Rosa
Below is the map of the New Sta. Rosa indicating its Economic Zones (in blue texts)
I only indicated the most relevant companies in these Ecozones. Kindly use Wikimapia or Google Maps to see other companies operating there. There are hundreds of them in these ecozones that include some of the most reputable in the world. And so many are ISO-accredited.
You will not run out of jobs in Sta. Rosa.
But what if,… just what if, you can’t find a job in Sta. Rosa?
You can try the other ecozones in Laguna; it currently has seventeen and many are just stones-throw away from Sta. Rosa. Excluding the ones in this city, these are:
- Carmelray Industrial Park I; Calamba; 46 has.
- Carmelray Industrial Park II; Calamba; 145 has.
- Filinvest Special Zone; Calamba; 250 has.
- Laguna International Industrial Park; Binan; 32 has.
- Light Industry and Science Park I; Cabuyao; 67 has.
- Light Industry and Science Park II; Calamba; 64 has.
- LIIP Calamba Industrial Community/Calamba Premiere; Calamba; 66 has.
- Prince Cabuyao Special Economic Zone; Cabuyao; 26 has.
- Silangan Industrial Park; Calamba; 197 has.
- Southwoods Ecocentrum Tourism Estate; Binan; 71 has.
- Terelay Industrial Park; Cabuyao-Calamba
- White Lily Industrial Park I; Calamba; 145 has
For call center agents, there are at least two BPO’s operating in Sta. Rosa, Convergys and KGB (30 are nearby in Muntinlupa and 11 are in other places in Laguna).
According to Mr. Jaime I. Ayala, President and CEO of Ayala Land, Inc., a number of BPO’s have already bought into their Evozone in Nuvali.
Listen very intently on what Mr. Ayala says in the first video below and pay very close attention especially on that part where a “security guard” is biking.
The office buildings in Evozone Nuvali are called “office campuses,” the current buzz word in modern office design that first became vogue in the real Silicon Valley. Microsoft has them in its Redmond, Washington “campus,” so does Google in Mountain View, California.
(I’m getting ahead of myself, but this is something I have to discuss now). These office campuses in Nuvali will be built according to the LEED standard. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The buildings (actually, the entire Nuvali) are designed to encourage people to move around using means that do not require non-renewable energy. Of course, there will be facilities like elevators, escalators and artificial lighting that require energy but they will be balanced with those that do not.
The first office building in Nuvali, One Evotech, has “bicycle ramps inside,” i.e., you can ride your bicycle from your house (there will be dedicated bike lanes across the entire Nuvali and they will cut through developments (wala pong putol; tuloy-tuloy!) to your office then continue biking your way “into” the building “up until” you reach, say, the fourth floor where your office is. (you’ll see these bike ramps in the video). You can reach your office cubicle without riding a bus, without using the elevator and do the same when going home.
Isn’t that fantastic?!That’s the finest example of what Green Living and Working is all about.
Now is your chance to invest in properties that will become… “tomorrow’s” Forbes Park, Urdaneta or San Lorenzo at… “today’s” prices!
For foreigners who follow this blog, the three property developments mentioned above are the Gold Standard in Philippine real estate; the equivalent of Redwood Shores in Redwood City, California, the SW3 between Chelsea and Brompton in England, or The Palm in Dubai.
Below are videos of the 2 real estate giants whose projects in Sta. Rosa are vying to become the Next Makati Central Business District. In my opinion, there is no conflict in their projects. I think they will even complement each other and, together, they will turn this city into the next Makati CBD sooner than expected.
Do watch out for more; I have barely scratched the surface.
Rest assured that Sta. Rosa has something for you regardless of your economic stature.
Thank you so much.
This article would not have been made possible without the generosity of the City Government of Sta. Rosa particularly the Hon. Nelly C. Gomez, the City Assessor and the wonderful people in her department under the “Geographic Information Center” - Messrs. Alfie Tamayo, Jerico Layosa, Rey Arnobit and Arnold Rico. They’re the ones who provided me the maps using their cutting-edge Geographic Information System (it’s Sta. Rosa’s giant version of Pinoy Big Brother : )
I’m also grateful to Mr. Aries Zapanta, City Public Information Officer who was my first contact in the City Government.
Thank you so much also to the Hon. Juanita Amatong who gave me permission to reprint part of the book she edited – Local Government Fiscal and Financial Management: Best Practices.
Thank you also to Engr. Gilbert Patulot, Area Division Manager under the Engineering Department of the Philippine National Railways and to Mr. Wilfredo Llabitan for the invaluable information they gave me.
Last but not the least, thanks to my buddy, Mr. Andy Adan for his patience in teaching me Photoshop and Corel Draw.
The satellite maps given me by the City of Sta. Rosa are accurate, reliable and up-to-date. It’s the way I edited them that may not be accurate. So, please don’t use them for navigation purposes nor for choosing real estate in Sta. Rosa. Kindly conduct your own due diligence.