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Friday, March 1, 2024

Ongpin keeps on building, improving

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“I cannot agree with observations and fears from some sectors that the aborted deal between TV5 of taipan Manuel V. Pangilinan and the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN…had twin negative effects”

Robert V. Ongpin, international businessman, once the Trade and Industry Minister of f President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s father, President Ferdinand E. Marcos, continues to amaze me.

Bobby, as his friends and associates call him, RVO to those who work with him , was once my student at the old Ateneo High School at Loyola Heights.

He was a bright student, and I am glad that all his achievements and accomplishments have made him what he is today, a taipan and tycoon. I am also glad I touched him during his early years.

The reason why I say that Bobby continues to amaze me is that, as chairman of Alphaland, a high-end property developer, despite the fact that he has made Balesin Island Club a resounding success, he continues to build more high-end properties and keeps on improving Balesin Island Club, which has become an island destination that can compete and even surpass the well-known resort destinations all over the world.

When I say that Balesin Island Club has surpassed and excelled over other well-known resort destinations, I am not exaggerating.

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The more than 2,300 members of Balesin know what I am saying, and I am not exaggerating, my gulay.

Everyone who is anybody in the Philippines is already a Balesin member.

The success of Balesin has even prompted Ongpin to tap the international market, having 30-second commercial spots on CNN.

The invitation of Ongpin to the Balesin Island Club membership has been a resounding success, so much so that Alphaland will be appointing international sales agents to sell Balesin to the international market, which Ongpin calls BIMs or Balesin International Memberships.

Preparatory to the influx of international members to Balesin Island Club, Ongpin continues to improve Balesin by acquiring 750 hectares of land on Patnanungan Island.

This is only 21 nautical miles from Balesin proper, will be Balesin’s International Gateway (BIG) to serve as the landing place for international visitors bypassing congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

BIG will have a championship golf course, 5 to 10 hotels, averaging 200 rooms each and about 3,000 home sites.

BIG will not be an exclusive club like Balesin, but open to the public, aimed at being the gateway to Balesin via a helicopter or via hydrofoil, like the hydrofoil from Hongkong to Macau.

BIG, is a big project that will take some 10 years to fully develop.

Now take note of this — Ongpin’s most interesting project.

Knowing that soccer is the most popular sport worldwide, specially in Europe, Ongpin plans to put up soccer fields in Balesin for training of athletes during the winter months in Europe.

As I said, soccer is hugely popular in Europe so much so that Ongpin is putting up a Balesin Football Center (BFC).

Balesin actually already has a soccer pitch for sometime now, but only with Bermuda grass. All of the top football coaches in the world have FIFA-approved artificial turf surfaces.

However, since March, Balesin has been replacing its football pitch with superior FIFA-approved artificial turf.

To complement everything, a grandstand is being built and a BFC lounge at the Sports Center.

Surprisingly, in the Philippines, basketball is the most popular sport.

But, in soccer, height doesn’t matter. The soccer legend Lionel Messi is only 5’6” tall.

For this purpose, Ongpin has been in contact with famous soccer leagues, like La Liga in season, and their families can enjoy Balesin resorts with all its amenities.

Ongpin also has been in contact with Bundesliga in Germany, the Premier League in the UK, and many teams from France, Italy and Japan, and they are very keen. The BFC will be operational before the holidays.

Before I forget, Alphaland’s first project at Balesin International Gateway is Alpha Beach Club (ABC): a clubhouse, swimming pool and about 30 nipa cabanas along the beach.

The concept is for Balesin guests to have daytime visits to ABC where they can view Patnanungan Island, have a nice lunch and then return to Balesin via Alphaland’s 12-seater helicopter that takes only 10 minutes.

While Ongpin is building, he is also improving his other projects like the Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges where he is putting up the new Three-Bedroom A-Frame Lodges.

Santa Banana, did you know that the Baguio Alphaland Mountain Lodges, which is called the “Forbes Park of Baguio,” has already 74 constructed log homes and Alpha land has sold a total 110,

Like what I said, Bobby Opngpin continues to amaze me.

He keeps on building and improving. Well, I guess that’s what makes him a tycoon and a taipan. Well done, Bobby !

• • •

I cannot agree with observations and fears from some sectors that the aborted deal between TV-5 of taipan Manuel V. Pangilinan and the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN, wherein the latter was supposed to buy 35 percent of TV-5’s shares for P2.16 billion and perhaps to increase it to 50 percent at a later date, had twin negative effects.

That the continuous interference of the government and some legislators could have a chilling effect on press freedom is carrying it too far.

I cannot see how press freedom could be violated. They also say it could also affect the investment climate of the country. My gulay, I also cannot see this adverse effect.

When government and its regulatory agencies like the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) start asking questions, Santa Banana, that ABS-CBN still has tax obligations to the government and had violations in its franchise, which was not renewed because of the law on foreign investments.

When some legislators from the House of Representatives start asking questions on alleged violations of ABS-CBN on its franchise which was not renewed in 20220, Manuel V. Pangilinan naturally started having doubts about the deal between TV-5 and ABS-CBN.

Initially, it was reported that TV-5 and ABS-CBN were taking a “pause” from their deal until both announced that they decided to abort it.

On the issue that the termination of the deal could have a chilling effect on press freedom, I cannot see it.

This is purely a business transaction, and in my opinion, it has no effect on press freedom. On its negative effect on the investment climate, I also cannot see it. Some anti-administration critics obviously are carrying the aborted deal too far.

Santa Banana, clearly, Pangilinan has fears that the negative image of the Lopez-owned radio-television network could affect his TV-5, considering the fact that he has so many other businesses to protect, like power, water, tolls, infrastructure, mining, hospitals and lately ice cream.

• • •

It’s well that Mike Toledo, the new president of the Chamber of Mines, has brought to the attention of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga the state of the country’s largest water sources: the Laguna de Bay.

According to Toledo, the Laguna de Bay has deteriorated through the years, considering that Metro Manila has Laguna Bay as its major source of its domestic water supply.

Laguna de Bay is in jeopardy as it faces problems, including pollution from untreated sewage and industrial waste, overfishing and illegal reclamation.

Toledo told the new DENR secretary that the Chamber of Mines is committed to weed out and stamp out illegal miners and he also expressed commitment to improve the state of the mining industry.

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