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Cebu City, 6000 Philippines
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August 11, 2017

Call Center City to rise in Cebu

In his recent State of the City Address, Cebu City Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña reiterated his dream of setting up what he calls Call Center City at the 60-hectare portion of the city’s South Road Properties (SRP). With his sight set at providing the means for the city’s children to go to college, Osmeña wants the business-process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the only place where there are more qualified applicants than people interested in applying. Even though BPOs account for over 100,000 jobs in Cebu City, Osmeña said the call centers here are short of at least 50,000 agents. “Many of those qualified refuse to join call centers. Even those that do join do not stay employed in the industry. Many quit. Call centers suffer a 4-percent resignation rate every month,” he said. The reasons Osmeña cited include lack of career growth to inability to study or socialize outside of work to transportation and security concerns. To address these, he said the government is packaging a program where a call-center agent can finish college while still working. “Later, they can even choose to pursue a master’s degree without resigning. The agent will work, study and live, all in the same building complex so commuting is unnecessary, which will also improve traffic,” Osmeña added.
(Source: Business Mirror, 06 August 2017)

With the presence of adequate infrastructure, redundant internet connection, ample supply of skilled college graduates, and a high level of urbanization, Cebu remains as the largest and most preferred BPO and KPO destination outside Metro Manila. We see more Metro Manila-based BPO and KPO firms establishing operations in Cebu given the need to have a redundant site that would back-up their Metro Manila operations. The expansion of the Cebu outsourcing sector primarily hinges on the quality of graduates that its universities will produce over the next few years. We see Cebu’s shift to higher value outsourcing being sustained by an ample supply of graduates with relevant college degrees. Cebu colleges and universities must work with local ICT councils in calibrating their academic programs to ensure that graduates are equipped with skills required by KPOs. Meanwhile, the local government should grant additional incentives to BPO and KPO companies that will provide free training to college students and graduates. The establishment of the Call Center City should sustain the Cebu outsourcing sector’s dynamism.

PHA, Dusit team up on Puerto Princesa tourism project

A unit of investment holding firm Premiere Horizon Alliance Corporation (PHA) is collaborating with Thai hospitality group Dusit to develop hotels in its tourism estate project in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Through subsidiary West Palawan Premiere Development Corp. (WPPDC), the group recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Dusit Group for potential participation and partnership in the tourism development. PHA said the Dusit Group would look at the possibility of establishing its three hotel brands – Dusit Thani, Dusit D2 and Dusit Princess – in the area and lending its technical expertise given its track record in global resorts development. In addition, the disclosure said the Dusit Group was exploring the possibility of providing equity for the first integrated master-planned development pod of WPPDC, the 100-hectare North Cove Development (NCDC).
(Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, 03 August 2017)

Local developers are partnering with foreign hotel operators as they are enticed by the growing travel and tourism sector in the Philippines. Colliers is projecting a 10% growth in foreign arrivals this year or 6.6 million international tourists. This is lower than the Tourism department’s growth projection of 17% or 7 million foreign visitors. The domestic travel market is also expanding on the back of millennial spending and growing popularity of staycations. These encouraging trends push foreign operators such as Dusit to expand foot print in the country’s travel and tourism sector. The current administration’s push to develop the country’s infrastructure network and spur economic growth in the countryside should result in the development of more tourist destinations. This, in turn, should encourage more leisure investors to develop tourism estate projects similar to the one in Puerto Princesa.

MPIC to start Mactan bridge

The tollway unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said it expects to start the construction of the P27.9-billion road and bridge connecting Cebu City to Mactan Island via Cordova by the second half of the year. Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. said the 8.25-km Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway was expected to be completed by 2020. MPTC president and chief executive Rodrigo Franco said the company was in talks with local banks to raise P20 billion to partially finance the Cebu Cordova Bridge project. Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. last year secured the notices of award from both the city of Cebu and the municipality of Cordova for the financing, design, construction, implementation, operation and maintenance of the Cebu-Cordova Bridge tollroad subject to compliance with conditions. MPTC will spend ₱130.5 billion in the next five years in building highways and tollroads around the Philippines. The company said it was imperative that overdue tariff increases, now ranging between 20 percent and 48 percent on different parts of the network, be implemented  to fund the projects “We are in constructive dialogue with the new administration on how to achieve this,” MPTC said. MPTC recorded a core net income of P2.1 billion in the first six months, up 27 percent from P1.6 billon year-on-year.
(Source: Manila Standard, 04 August 2017)

The Mactan bridge will be implemented under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. The project includes the construction of the connections to Cebu City and Cordova, the main bridge structure, viaduct, causeway, roadway and toll facilities. We see this project decongesting traffic in the two existing bridges: Marcelo Fernan Bridge and Mactan-Mandaue Bridge. Once completed, the project should also lower the cost of doing business in Cebu as well ease travel to Cebu’s key tourist spots. This should raise the attractiveness of Cebu as a major investment hub for BPO operators as well as travel and tourism investors. Cebu remains as the major outsourcing hub outside of Metro Manila and a key tourist destination. In 2016, Cebu ranked as the 6th most competitive city in terms of doing business in the country. 



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