Archive for August, 2014

New Project of “The Pili Nut Farm”™ (Philagrivest, Inc)

In prior newsletters, we have written about the company’s plans to apply for Department of Tourism approval to quality the farm as an Agri – Tourism development.   This has a two fold purpose

  • firstly, to generate additional revenues for the farm and
  • secondly, to enable the company to get title to the farm land transferred to the company.

As most of you know, neither an individual nor a corporation is permitted to legally take title to more than 5 hectares of agricultural land in the Philippines – even if the individual or the corporation is a Filipino.

Yes, one can enter into a Deed of Sale and back that up with a Tax Declaration, which is ample documentary evidence to show ownership in the Philippines.

However, having title in one’s name is the ultimate, inconvertible, legal basis and proof of ownership.  There is one exemption to this restrictive land ownership law – by having the land approved by the Department of Tourism to be an Agri -Tourism qualified project.  Hence, the company will overcome this restriction by getting Agri – Tourism qualified.

Will and his management team have been working on the overall Agri – Tourism development plan for several months now, to include

  • development of hiking and biking trails,
  • walking paths,
  • building of a canteen,
  • souvenir shop, and
  • an initial villa for accomodating overnight tourists.

Also part of the plan is the addition of a petting zoo, equestrian center with riding trails, cattle, and other farm animals for tourist interaction.  This will all be integrated around the existing pili nut planting areas.

Coincident with this site planning work, our continuous monitoring of our pili nut growth in the different planting areas of the farm as clearly revealed that those trees planted on the higher elevations are somewhat stunted and not growing as rapidly as those at lower levels, and especially when compared with those planting areas where there is more foliage.

Further, Will and his farm team continue to receive inquiries from farm visitors as to whether we will consider building hillside villas at The Pili Nut Farm ™.  Those of you who have visited the farm understand that question, as the ocean views from the farm are incredible, and because it is elevated, there is always a gentle, cool breeze.

It therefore became clear to Will and the board of directors that as we embark on the changes to the farm to qualify for Agri -Toursim approval, now is the time to “put all the pieces together” and convert the less desirable pili nut growing higher elevation and into a higher and better use – the development of a limited number of hillside villas for sale to those seeking.

  • an “upcountry”, hillside, cool, panoramic coastline view
  • flexibility as to Villa design and size
  • elevated, so always a cool breeze
  • minimal homeowner association rules
  • large (minimum 1,000 sqm) lots, and privacy
  • all at an estimated price range of P5 to P7 million (USD $116,000 to USD $163,000)
  • Reciprocal right to use of Sunset Beach Villas clubhouse and pool

Tablas Hillside Villas

(Images are for reference purposes only-not the actual plan)

The plan is to initially build one villa which will be used for tourist overnight accomodations + be used as a sales model to show prospective buyers.  The project will be done in clusters/phases of 7 villas at a time.

We have started a “wait list” for those interested in considering the project for our investment portfolio, or as a retirement home, or second home.  Currently, we are just in the overall design and costing phase.

Once we have more details such as renderings, lot sizes, amenities, pricing, etc, this information will be released first to those on the reservation “wait list”.
The project will be low density, as you can note by the lot size, and we estimate there will be no more than 40 to 50 (maximum) hillside villas developed.

Construction start date is planned for March 2015 (much faster tracking than Sunset Beach Villas, as this type of project does not require DAR conversion, HLURB approval and a LTS, and other myriad of condo villa subdivision approvals – it also helps to reduce the price per unit, as the permitting process is quite expensive in addition to taking lots of time).  Sellout and completion of the project is estimated to be by the end of 2016.  Payment plans will be developed to assist with buyer’s cash flow budgets.

Posted in: Farm Development News

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Significant Tablas Economic News

Airline service to Tablas Island is starting up again in the 4th quarter of this year – with Sky Jet being the first to start operations.   A major push by the government and leading businesses is to have Cebu Pacific picking up 3 flights to Tablas starting in the second quarter of 2015.

2GO boat service to Tablas (from Batangas) continues to flourish; however it does take the better part of one full day to get to Tablas this way, whereas by air it is a brief 40 minutes flight from Manila.

“Romblon – Next In Line” was the cover page of the June 8 issue of Starweek, the Sundaymagazine of the Philippine Star newspaper.  The article reads:

Romblon’s Hidden Promise
Just an hour away from Boracay lies the province of Romblon, which has three major islands. Tablas is the biggest, Romblon the smallest, and Sibuyan, supposedly the most beautiful and pristine.

People who have had enough of Boracay can explore the hidden promise of Romblon, described as “exciting and fascinating”… click here for more reading – Romblon’s Hidden Promise

So being the one with overall responsibility for operations at “The Pili Nut Farm” ™ and at Sunset Beach Villas, Will is excited to see we are very close to being up and running again with flights to Tablas.

For others operating businesses on Tablas, this is also great news.  For any of you who have been holding back from an investment in Tablas or in starting up your own business on Tablas “until the time is right”, now is the time to get up and running and get your foundation in place:

  • The ongoing new road and bridge building infrastructure work is nearly complete

  • The government has signed a contract with SUECO to for a major expansion in electrical generating capacity for the San Andres and Agpudlos area of the island
  • Existing electrical rates on Tablas are the lowest in the country (due to subsidies from the national government afforded less developed provincial areas)
  • Land values have been steadily increasing; once Agpudulos has been officially rezoned from agriculture to residential, prices will rise even further
  • Philagrivest is now frequently receiving inquiries from major international investors and food importers seeking to tie up with the company for tie up of commitments for its future pili nut harvests
  • Philagrivest’s agri-tourism project will be launched in early 2015 (see details below), which will bring additional visitors and revenues to Philagrivest
  • Philagrivest received the “green light” from the board of directors to proceed with its Hilside Villas development project, which will bring additional income to its shareholders (see details below)
  • More foreigners are moving in and opening “expat friendly” retail goods, services and restaurant facilities
  • The island is rapidly approaching the “tipping point” where investor interests and activity goes from those brave “pioneers” and “early adopters” to the mature investors.  The greatest gain always goes to those who enter the market just before it becomes a mature market.
  • Discussions continue among key parties for the development of a major new golf resort, as well as for a private yacht marina on Tablas.
  • This road goes to Mablaron Falls – major San Andres tourist attraction.

Tablas is finally being “discovered” by the local and international investor community – long overlooked by this community and by the tourism industry, it seems almost every day there is an announcement of a new project on Tablas.

Posted in: Farm Development News, General Tablas News

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