Businessman Salvador Zamora II signed a deal with Boulevard Holdings Inc. chairman Jose Marcel Panlilio to redevelop the 70-hectare Puerto Azul Golf and Country Club and build a 300-room hotel in Ternate, Cavite.
“It is a joint venture between me and Mr. Jose Marcel Panlilio,” Zamora, 70, told journalists at Shangri La at the Fort in Bonifacio Global City during the announcement of an exhibition match between Jason Day, the world’s number one golfer, and former number one Rory McIlroy on Nov. 29.
“Hopefully, with the redevelopment of the whole golf course, the real estate development will restart. It [Puerto Azul] is really a good tourist destination,” said Zamora, the chairman of Menlo Renewable Energy Corp., chairman of Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corp. and former president and chief executive of Nickel Asia Corp.
Zamora, an avid golfer, is the promoter and executive producer of ‘Jason Vs Rory: Battle for a Cause’ presented by PLDT Inc. and Smart. “My vision is to continue bringing in world-class golfing events to the Philippines to thrill our golf enthusiasts and fans, giving them access to the game and the players that they love,” said Zamora.
Zamora said he would establish a golf academy at Puerto Azul Golf and Country Club to train young Filipino golfers. “I want to nurture and support our next generation of Filipino golfers by creating opportunities and venues for them to obtain the funding and training that they need,” he said.
He said he would lease the 18-hole Puerto Azul Golf and Country Club for 23 years starting this year. “Our deal is to rehabilitate the golf course. Our rule of thumb for world-class golf course, it will require an investment of $1 million per hole. So it will be $18 million,” said Zamora.
Zamora said Puerto Azul Golf and Country Club, designed by Gary Player, used to be known as one of the most beautiful courses in the country. “It is a combination of a mountain course and an ocean course. When they opened Puerto Azul, there were comments that it was the best golf course ever,” he said.
Zamora said the downturn of the economy and the lack of players led to the decline of the Cavite golf course over the past decades. “We are trying to rekindle the vision of the Panlilio family,” he said.
“It will be improved. We have to regrass. Hopefully within the next three years, we will complete the rehabilitation. We have to make it an all-weather course,” he said.
He said aside from the golf course, he was in talks with state-run Government Service Insurance System to acquire its interest in a 28-hectare property near the golf course for the site of a new 300-room hotel. “We will have to buy more land. The existing one is owned by GSIS, to whom we are negotiating. That is 28 hectares,” he said.
“We are in the planning stage. We need to provide facilities for the players. We will build a new hotel.
We are talking to some groups,” said Zamora, who used to own Hyatt Hotel in Baguio City.
Meanwhile, Zamora said the ‘Jason Vs Rory’ match would be held at the brand-new Pradera Verde Golf & Country Club in Lubao, Pampanga.
Designed by Mike Singgaran, Pradera Verde is 36-hole golf course, with its 18-hole course now being a training ground for the country’s finest golfers.