March 31, 2016
To: Balesin Members and Friends
With the hectic Easter holidays behind us, I think it is a good time to update you on what is our most exciting new project — the Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges. We have been planning this project for some time now and we had in fact retained EcoPlan from Florida (the same master planners for Balesin) who master planned this project almost two years ago, and they have prepared the usual thorough and well thought-out plan.
While the regulatory approvals took longer than expected, we are now ready to launch the project and I would like to tell you about it in more detail.
As background, almost 40 years ago, I bought a property near Baguio on which to build my family’s holiday home. At that time, I was the Managing Partner of The SGV Group and I had use of one of the Penthouse apartments at the old Baguio Country Club, which was then delightful with its old rustic charm.
We enjoyed going to Baguio for the summers and the long Christmas holidays so much that I decided to acquire my own property but just outside Baguio because even then, I could foresee that the haphazard development in the city would one day result in the chaotic and unpleasant situation of today.
The property I bought was just 8 kilometers from Pacdal Circle, but it used to take me almost an hour to get there because the roads were in miserable condition. In 1977, I completed my home, which was right at the highest point of the property. At the same time, I was developing a citrus farm which gave me a modest income over the years. But the trees have now grown old and are no longer commercially feasible.
My house, which was built from pine logs that I bought from Benguet Corporation (which then had a logging concession), is still in very good shape and has retained its charm, despite being almost 40 years old.
This Baguio property, which has now been acquired by Alphaland Corporation, has an elevation of 5,200 ft. as compared to Baguio proper and the Loakan airport, which is at 4,300 ft., and Tagaytay Highlands, where the highest point is 2,000 ft. and the average elevation is only 1,500 ft.
Because of this, I never had to turn on my fireplace in my log house in Tagaytay Highlands, but actually often had to use my air conditioners. In contrast, the fireplace in my house in Baguio was always lit and roaring away and I never felt the need for air conditioners. In fact, I even had portable heaters for the cold Christmas months when the temperature could dip down to 5 degrees centigrade or even lower.
The TPLEX project approved 3 years ago would join the NLEX and end up in Rosario, La Union, which is right at the access roads to Baguio — Kennon, Naguilian and Marcos Highway. As a result, the travel time to Baguio could be cut down to about 3 hours, and Baguio would become a weekend destination. My house is only now 10 – 15 minutes from Pacdal Circle because the entire road has now been cemented. I therefore thought that it was time to develop it and share my mountain retreat (which is now all of 76 hectares) with Alphaland members and friends, many of whom have been pushing me to get the project going for the past year.
Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges will consist of 300 log homes, master planned over this 76-hectare property. As a comparison, Woodlands in Tagaytay Highlands, where we constructed 128 units, was built on only 7 hectares of land. Thus, the Alphaland Lodges will not be as dense and will have much more privacy. To this day, the Benguet pines on the property have been carefully preserved and in fact, we have planted an additional 20,000 trees on the property in the last couple of years. Some of you have actually asked to see the property, and have all enjoyed the wonders of its magnificent views and splendid isolation.
The property will be completely enclosed by a concrete 8-foot security perimeter fence totaling more than 7 kilometers to provide total and absolute security for homeowners, with at least 10 security outposts along a perimeter road. I know how security-conscious our members are, and even though it is more than 40 years that I have owned it, we have never had an untoward security incident on the property. Nevertheless, I want to make absolutely sure that our homeowners will have total peace of mind.
Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges project will not be a membership club, but will be a horizontal condominium. The homes will be built in clusters of 5 or 6, i.e., each homeowner will have a proportionate share of the 76-hectare property without need for delineating individual lots where the property is built. Fences will not be allowed and the landscaping will be provided and maintained by Alphaland, to the usual superior Alphaland standard.
The gateway entrance, which was designed by Rico Sison with the assistance of my longtime architect, Nick Pagulayan, will be started next month.
At the same time, we will be constructing 5 model log homes ranging from 3, 4, and 5 bedrooms from which interested potential homeowners can select the model unit they prefer. Each home will be totally equipped and furnished with appliances, furniture, beds and a sauna and, in the usual Alphaland manner, will be in ready-to-move-in condition.
We expect to build 50 lodges during the first year, 100 during the second year and 150 during the third year, for a total of 300 homes. Each home will be constructed from imported western cedar or Douglas fir, and we will ensure that they are termite-free, which is the number one scourge of pinewood. All units will be fully treated against termites, and no parts of the house that touch the ground will be pinewood but will be either concrete logs or mountain stone finish. All the log homes will have two fireplaces, one in the main living room and another one in the master bedroom.
Homes will be built in clusters of 5 to 6 and each cluster of homes will be served by a water cistern with water collected from the roofs of each lodge. We will also have solar panels on the roofs of each lodge to provide adequate hot water and lighting. Since BENECO, the electric power utility serving the Baguio area, has never been known for its efficiency, we will have full backup electric power for this project.
Among the amenities which we will provide for are: a Sports Center with a tennis court, basketball court, badminton courts, and a basic gym. We will also have mountain ponies and horse stables at the far end of the property. The 7-kilometer perimeter trail will be ideal for a most enjoyable horse ride.
We intend to build a steakhouse on the part of the property with the best views. Additionally, we will construct, on the main Ambuklao Road part of the property, 6 to 8 pine log units, which we will provide rent-free to the best restaurants and other popular shops in Baguio for the convenience of our members.
To facilitate access to your lodge, we intend to build a total of three helipads on the property. In addition to our existing helicopter, we are acquiring at least one more to accommodate those who will want to use our helicopter services, which can take off from our existing Alphaland Hangar in NAIA or our helipad at Alphaland Southgate Tower on EDSA cor. Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City.
We also will make our Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft available to those of you who want to fly to the Loakan Airport, and we will send a car to pick you up and service you from there.
We also intend to provide all maintenance and housekeeping services as you may require. Additionally, quarters for drivers and maids will be provided on the property. Each lodge will have its own trellised carport.
For reference, the price range for the first 50 fully furnished units will be between Php35 to 50 million, depending on the size of the house, but each house will not cost more than Php100,000 per square meter, including the deck. Actually, more than half of the first 50 units have already been reserved by our members and friends.
For those who may be interested in acquiring one of these Alphaland Mountain Lodges, we suggest the following:
1. Visits and bookings will be on a first-come-first-served basis.
2. I suggest an initial visit to my own loghouse unit at #10 Woodlands Drive in Tagaytay Highlands, because other than the outdoor deck, the house will be identical to a 3 bedroom unit at the Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges in both construction and furnishings.
To view the house, please book a viewing date with my secretary, Jojo Manalo at:
Tel Nos. +632 886 6000
+63918 918 6085 or
3. Actually go to Baguio on your own, and visit my home on the property, which will be turned into a guest house. The house has 4 bedrooms with a large living room, dining room, and kitchen. There is a fireplace in the main living room and also another one in the master bedroom. Overnight stays can be arranged at a nominal cost, also by calling Mrs. Manalo at the above numbers.
4. If, having done the above, you are seriously interested in acquiring a unit, we will provide you with a brochure that will describe each house, the appliances, the sauna, and the furnishings, together with a floor plan and the details of the price per unit and the payment terms.
5. We estimate that the finished house, completely furnished, will be delivered to you in ready-to-move-in condition, not later than 6 months after your deposit.
We are proud and excited to bring you this new Alphaland project. We believe that once you see the property, you will inevitably fall in love with it and all the attractions of Baguio the way it used to be, with the pine trees and fragrant scent, the cool, clean mountain air, and the roaring fireplaces—and without the hassles which now pervade Baguio proper.