BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—A probinsyano (someone who grew up in the province) understands the needs of a fellow probinsyano.
This has been the mantra of GoshenLand Capital Inc., a Baguio-based real estate company that has been attracting niche markets in its developments in the summer capital and nearby regions in northern Luzon.
Lawyer Alexander Bangsoy, chief executive officer of GoshenLand, says that with his company’s success in Baguio, the next logical move is to expand to nearby Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions to provide residents there affordable, world-class housing.
When Bangsoy and his team of experts put up GoshenLand in 2007, they agreed to focus on bringing to the provinces global standards in real estate development. But key to this is also understanding the needs, limitations and fears of potential home buyers.
Bangsoy coined “glocal” (for “global standards, local heart”) as a strategy to guide GoshenLand’s thrust as it competes with established real estate developers based in Metro Manila.
“When we talk about global standards, we talk about [all elements of] development that adhere to [world-class standards]—we do planning a lot, we hire master planners, the best architects. We also talk about fire protection and, because of the present state of our environment, we [rely on] geohazard studies [in our projects]. We have a whole team of experts doing these,” Bangsoy says.
He adds that his company’s aim of improving housing development in the city was borne out of frustration of home buyers, who invest their hard-earned money on some developers who give them inferior products and services.
“National players [in the real estate industry] wanted to establish [a presence] here but through a cookie-cutter approach,” Bangsoy says.
He says this led GoshenLand to take a deeper look at Baguio. “We saw a gap between local and national development. We went down to the community, we conducted a coffee shop market research, we asked what they needed,” he says.
Bangsoy says that gap was the need of students, professionals and families in a mountain resort city where its limited land is a prized commodity and whose population has breached the 300,000 mark.
Being the country’s summer capital and as one of the top educational and business process outsourcing (BPO) centers in northern Luzon, Baguio has been attracting investments and has stirred the interest of people who wanted to invest in real estate.
By identifying the needs of its specific markets, GoshenLand was able to accomplish eight projects to date worth over P500 million. One of these projects is The Courtyards, touted as the first garden condominium in the city.
The Courtyards is located in a two-hectare property in Aurora Hill here. With pine trees around the property, the Courtyards has an infinity swimming pool, a picnic grove, a jogging path and organic gardens.
In 2009, the Courtyards units were sold from P1.3 million (studio) to P2.3 million (two-bedroom, 36 square meters).
GoshenLand also built student condominiums with more than 500 units spread in three buildings—Princeton, Wharton and Harvard.
Bangsoy says GoshenLand is offering easy payment and rent-to-own terms for potential unit buyers in its North Cambridge master-planned condominium in Barangay (village) Bakakeng.
GoshenLand’s condominiums offer amenities such as swimming pools, cafes, gyms, convenience stores and Internet connectivity through Wi-Fi zones. These buildings are provided 24-hour security and are equipped with closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
Bangsoy says the Courtyards and North Cambridge projects are the best examples of GoshenLand’s “glocal” thrust. This year, the company is stepping out of Baguio to start 12 projects in the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley.
Bangsoy says with the construction of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), travel time to northern Luzon and Baguio will be shorter and this will invigorate the housing industry in the north.
How the name GoshenLand came about
Alex Bangsoy was taking up his Master in Entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management when his professor, real estate guru Danny Antonio, asked him to find a more “sexy” name for his company. At the time the company name was TBF for The Bangsoy Family.
“I am a born-again Christian so I searched the Bible and prayed and was led to the name GoshenLand,” Bangsoy says, who is taking up a special course at the Harvard Business School.
Bangsoy explains the name has two meanings based on stories in the Old Testament. One meaning is “best part of the the land.”
“Remember during the time of Joseph and he was a governor to the Pharoah, he was allowed to call his family from Canaan to Egypt. When his family asked the pharaoh where to settle his family, he was told to settle his family in the best part of the land. All our projects are in the best part of the land in terms of location and quality,” Bangsoy says.
The second meaning, according to Bangsoy, is “protected from calamities.”
“At the time of Moses, the old pharaoh in Joseph’s time died, replaced by someone who did not have any affinity with the Jews, and in fact made slaves, prompting the Lord to call Moses out of retirement to let His people go. As the story goes, pharaoh was stubborn and would not let them go and so God sent out seven plagues to tell pharaoh to free the people. The pharaoh refused until it came to the last plague, which caused the death of his first-born son. God told the Israelites to put the blood of a lamb on their doors and the angel of death will hover over you and you will not be harmed. That place where the Jews stayed is the land of Goshen.”