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April 19, 2018

April 19, 2018

 
 

Dear Members and Friends:
 
I spent the last few days at Balesin with my old friend, Seumas Dawes.  Seumas was my original contact at the Ashmore Group.  He was in charge of Private Equity Investments and “Special Situations”.  After we worked happily and successfully together for more than five years, Seumas decided to retire from Ashmore and he is now running his own businesses in Sydney and Geneva. 
 
 
“Father” of Alphaland 
 
Alphaland, in fact, would not exist, were it not for Seumas.  One day, about eight or nine years ago on our way from the airport to Makati, Seumas asked me, pointing to the old derelict building which is now Alphaland Southgate Tower, “What is that? It is quite an eyesore!”  So I explained it to him and then he simply said, “Let’s buy it,” and just like that, we bought the building, completed it, and it is now the proud gateway to Makati.  As you know, the building is fully occupied and is much in demand, being connected to the MRT.  It is now worth about five times what we spent for it.
 
Seumas had not seen Balesin in almost four years, and in fact, he had never seen Toscana Village, nor the Balesin Royal Villa, and he was truly astounded at what he called the “meticulous attention to detail” in all the villages in Balesin.  He thought that the Private Villas were each a “thing of beauty” and marveled at how inexpensively we are selling them for.  So, we spent the better part of the weekend reminiscing about the past.  He is happy about what Alphaland is today.
 
We did not have time to go to Baguio, but I showed him the video and again, he was totally floored.  At dinner last night, he told me, “I knew you had it in you, but I am really amazed at what you have accomplished at Alphaland.”
 
 
ABML Chapel Blessing
 
Speaking of Baguio, I spent two Fridays ago at Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges (ABML), where my friend, Fr. Jett Villarin, President of Ateneo de Manila University, was kind enough to bless our new Chapel.  I think his blessing of the Chapel was as beautiful as the Chapel itself.  There are already several weddings scheduled there.
 
The rest of the ABML project is coming along nicely.  We have now completed 21 lodges, and are working on 29 more.  All the completed lodges have been sold, and we have reservations for 40 more.  We are rushing the construction before the rains come.  The Clubhouse Inn, which has 12 suites and excellent food (the chef is from Balesin), is kept very busy with several groups visiting every day.
 
 
Balesin International Gateway
 
Turning now to our Patnanungan Project (Balesin International Gateway), we have now acquired a total of 789 hectares out of our target of 800 hectares.  All of the important parcels now belong to us, and we are now going to work on the Master Plan.  As you know, in addition to a 2.5 kilometer runway (which can handle international flights) and aerodrome, we will build a hotel, a championship golf course, and several hundred villas. 
 
I am being inundated by mainland Chinese groups asking for a casino in Balesin Gateway.  Frankly, I do not want to be in the casino business, but I tell them that if they get a casino license and they want to put up a casino and operate it, I would consider it, but I would just sell or lease the land to them.  Let’s see.
 
Balesin Gateway will not be a membership club, but will be open to all.  It is a very large project, almost 70% larger than Balesin itself.  The beaches are not as nice as Balesin, but are still quite attractive (a bit pinkish), and there is one major advantage:  the island has many lakes and creeks all of which are fresh water.  As you know, Balesin has no fresh ground water source at all, and we have to harvest all our water from the rooftops and the airstrip.
 
Balesin Gateway will take us at least five years to complete, but it is an exciting project and Rico Sison promises another masterpiece.
 
 
Road Packers Group
 
Now back to Balesin. Our Road Resurfacing Project has been delayed by the persistent rains.  We need about a week of solid sunshine to get a kilometer of road resurfaced, and my friend and project head Michael McDermott has been praying for sunshine.  It looks like his prayers have been answered since we’ve had sunshine for the past few days.  Incidentally, Michael is surprisingly a very good singer, and sings all the Frank Sinatra songs, except that Michael does not have blue eyes, and he is about three times the size of Sinatra!
 
 
The Alpha Suites
 
I should also tell you of two other projects of Alphaland. One is the 250 unit Serviced Residences Project called The Alpha Suites, which we will launch in May.  We intend to provide the best value for money and certainly have a superior product in terms of room sizes and furnishings.  The amenities are, of course, superior to any serviced apartments in the Makati area.  No other serviced apartments have all the amenities that we have, like access to The City Club with its nine restaurants, its enormous gym, tennis, basketball and badminton courts.
 
 
Top of the Alpha by Louie Y
 
Last but not the least, I want to tell you about the Top of the Alpha, which is at the penthouse of the 3rd tower of Alphaland Makati Place, The Alphaland Corporate Center.  I have asked my friend Louie Ysmael, a.k.a. Louie Y, to partner with us on the project.  Louie, as you all know, is Manila’s renowned nightlife impresario and I am very happy that he has agreed to “mastermind” the project. 
 
“Top of the Alpha by Louie Y”will be a premier entertainment venue with almost a thousand square meters of space.  It will have its own private entrance, and there will be plenty of parking available in our basement parking (the only building in Makati with over 1,000 parking slots). 
 
There will be world-class performers, including jazz singers and exceptional bands that will perform each night.  All Balesin Island Club and City Club members will have access to Top of the Alpha by Louie Y. 
 
Louie is now busily working on the details of what he envisions to be THE night spot in Makati with an unbeatable 360-degree view of the entire city.  We are targeting to get it off the ground in about two months.  I personally look forward to “hanging out” there and hope to see all of you there.
 
 
ROBERTO V. ONGPIN
Chairman
 

 

Seumas Dawes at Balesin Fish Fun

 

 Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges Chapel

 

 Front of Chapel

 

Mass and Blessing Ceremonies

 

Homily

 

Offertory

 

 After Offertory

 

The Alpha Suites

 

 The Alpha Suites Reception

 

Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges

The Clubhouse Inn

 

 

 

 

View of the Completed Lodges

 

 

 

 

 

Balesin International Gateway

 

 

 

 

 

Top of the Alpha by Louie Y

 

 Ground Floor Lobby Entrance

 

 

 Ground Floor Lobby

 

 

 View from Elevator Lobby

 

Bar

 

Bar