A world-class resort which promotes the preservation of ‘pawikan’ or sea turtles is lifting the real estate market in La Union province, in terms of quality and prices.
Construction of DusitD2 at Waves Beach Club and Residences on a seven-hectare property with a 350-meter beachfront in San Juan, La Union has started, drawing more attention to the potential of the area as a surfing hub and the next major tourist destination.
Fausto Liriano, the president and CEO of Waves Beach Club, says the luxury residential resort complex is set to become the biggest resort in La Union and will be managed by international hotel group Dusit.
“Construction has already started. We are committed and we will do our best to work until the second quarter of 2019. So basically, it will be ready for operations after two years of construction,” says Liriano, a civil engineer from the Dominican Republic who also heads real estate company RCL Realty & Consulting Services as chairman and chief executive.
RCL Realty and Brightbeam Corp. are in charge of the development of DusitD2 at Waves Beach Club and Residences in San Juan.
Liriano says land prices at the beach areas of San Juan surged to as high as P20,000 per square meter from only P5,000 per sqm several years ago when RCL Realty announced the plan to develop Waves Beach Club, with DusitD2 as its anchor hotel.
“We should have bought more properties then,” he says.
DusitD2 will be a five-star hotel, equipped with modern amenities. Average room size will be 41 square meters, bigger than other five-star hotels’ 35 sqm.
Liriano says that at present, the accommodation sector in La Union cannot catch up with demand. He says there are less than 1,000 hotel and resort rooms in the province.
“Now, there are a lot of other hotels in conversation with us that they want to do something in La Union,” says Liriano.
He says DusitD2 at Waves Beach Club, which draws architectural inspiration from Malibu in California, is expected to become a landmark in the province. Its location is near the popular surfing spot of Urbiztondo.
“Aside from that, the development will bring a lot of income into La Union province, not only in terms of putting a landmark, but also in terms of employment which is very very important,” he says.
He says once the project is completed, about 200 to 300 people will be directly employed in the resort, with about 80 percent of them coming from La Union province.
“That will be a big impact on the economy of La Union. We are committed to the province that we will have at least 70 percent to 80 percent locals,” he says.
Dusit International, a global hotel brand from Thailand, is in charge of the management, branding and licensing of DusitD2 while Waves Beach Club is in charge of construction.
The whole project will include a 10-story hotel with 174 rooms and a function room with 1,000 seats; an Olympic-size swimming pool; 110 residential villas; and a condominium building.
Construction of the hotel alone will cost around P1 billion, he says.
Liriano is personally involved in making sure the project takes off. He attends three to four meetings a day while he is in Manila, and up to five meetings a day when he is busy overseeing the project in La Union, where his family also lives.
Liriano, who was also involved in the development of Thunderbird Resort in San Fernando, La Union a decade ago, says Waves Beach Club has tapped the best contractors in architectural design, engineering plan, security, interior design and sound system to develop the project. He used to work for Thunderbird International, before he decided to establish RCL Realty with two other partners.
“For me, Thunderbird will always be my baby. I am here in the Philippines because I was asked by Thunderbird International’s management to come and work into the development of Thunderbird in La Union. Ten years ago, there used to be basically nothing there and now, you will see such a beautiful development with nice amenities a world-class golf course and a casino there,” he says.
On what makes DusitD2 different from other five-star hotels, Liriano says the project has an environmental advocacy focusing on the protection of ‘pawikan’ or sea turtles which inhabit the coastline of San Juan.
Liriano says Waves Beach Club hired one of the best companies in developing a sewage treatment plant to make sure wastewater is properly filtrated. “We always comply with what the law is saying,” he says.
“The reason we also engaged Dusit is because we strongly believe that they comply with all the international standards,” he says.
“We at RCL are also committed to the environment. We are adopting the pawikan. We are integrating pawikan into our design and concept. There are pawikans in La Union,” he says.
Liriano says the resort is now designing its lighting, sound system and heat-resistant technologies so that they will not disturb pawikans.
“We will be working in La Union for a long time. We believe in La Union and we make the big challenge to prove that La Union has the potential. That’s why we started Thunderbird and now we are developing another landmark which is DusitD2 at Waves Beach Club and Residences. We are doing our part to help the community, to develop La Union and to promote La Union,” says Liriano.