CULTURAL POTPOURRI| The Amazing Iloilo Megaworld

WHAT an opportune time to revisit the Charming City of Love and Dreams—Iloilo. Thanks to Megaworld’s AVP and head of Pubic Relations and External Affairs Harold C. Geronimo, I had a wonderful opportunity to revisit Iloilo once again last May 26-28, 2016, just in time for the end of the summer break.  After my last visit four years ago, I am now truly amazed with the progressive development of the once sleepy city especially with Megaworld’s biggest single investment outside of Luzon (amounting to a whopping 35 billion pesos) called the Iloilo Business Park.  This new Iloilo township being built with the “Live-Work-Play-Learn” concept will definitely transform Iloilo into a premier first class city to the envy of its neighboring snobbish Bacolod City.  I could never be prouder of the land of my ancestors.

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DAVAO’S lifestyle writers strike a pose at Richmonde Hotel’s The Granary

Indeed, the creation of the Iloilo Business Park is timely with the vision of incoming Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who strongly urges local and foreign investors to put up businesses in other areas of the country to spread economic opportunities and growth to counter poverty; and to foster the needed changes from the long drawn underdevelopment and stagnation of areas outside of Imperial Manila which the incoming President aptly describes as a “dead city.”  Sadly, two-thirds of the country’s gross domestic product is still being shared by the National Capital Region and Central Luzon regions.

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BATCHOY tasting in La Paz

 In a conference held in Iloilo City last May 24, 2016, Dr. Felipe M. Medalla of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas monetary board mentioned that the growth and development of Iloilo is a model for regional development.  He cited Iloilo’s rich potentials such as human resource, fertile lands, skilled young people, investments in real estate and business process outsourcing, among others.  “The agenda in Iloilo is geared towards strengthening the local economy, nurturing emerging enterprises and mobilize the untapped potential of the region,” he said during the “Conference on Gearing Up for External Competitiveness.”  The speaker also mentioned a survey naming Iloilo as one of the nicest cities to live in as it has a nice international airport, good academic institutions, the seafood basket of the region, plus a population that is not “inward looking but has strong niche for local community.”

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THE GOTHIC Renaissance Molo Church built in 1831

“Iloilo’s time has come.  Megaworld Corporation continues the legacy and history of the Old Airport in Mandurriao District as it develops the 72-hectare property into a world class township that every Ilonggo will be proud of,” expressed Harold Geronimo as he added, “The modern Megaworld township in Iloilo will have its own lifestyle shopping destination called the Walk Mall which will have the longest shop-and-dine strip in the country with its Street of Festive Walk.  The Iloilo Business Park also has two-world class hotels, the Richmonde Hotel Iloilo (where we were billeted, thanks to Resident Manager Natalie U. Lim) and the Courtyard by Marriot Hotel.  Another attraction is the Iloilo Convention Center designed with paraw sails for inspiration; not to fail to mention the emblems of the Dinagyang Festival etched on wide window glasses as another architectural design feature.”

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MEGAWORLD AVP and head of PR & External Affairs Harold Geronimo showing the master-planned scale model of the Iloilo Business Park development

     “The Iloilo Business Park will have the biggest BPO and IT Park with 10 BPO office towers that will generate 30,000 jobs for the Ilonggos in the next 10 years.  It is also envisioned to be the biggest financial hub in the region bringing Iloilo into another level of progress and development,” revealed Jennifer Palmares-Ong, VP for Marketing of Megaworld-Iloilo Business Park.”  Megaworld’s luxurious residential condominiums are One Madison Place, Lafayette and The Palladium for those who want to live the great life in the Iloilo Business Park,” added Denisse Malong, the leasing manager of Megaworld Lifestyle Mall.

     Naturally, while in Iloilo, the group visited Calle Real for its heritage architecture comprised of churches, Spanish period government offices, ancestral homes and Art Deco commercial buildings; and historical places of worship like the Molo Church and the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral..  We also admired the creativity of Ilonggos for their flavorful delicacies like the batchoy of La Paz, and pancit molo and baked goodies of Panaderia de Molo of Molo, among so many others still; and the traditional craft of pina and sinamay weaving in Cecilia G. Villanueva’s institution that is the House of Sinamay in Arevalo.

       Madamo guid nga salamat, Megaworld’s Harold Geronimo and staff, for the valuable Megaworld Iloilo business enlightenment among others.

Posted in Lifestyle