Coping with an emerging megacity


PAAPDC believes that with more land bank in several provinces of Luzon, the company will be able to deliver its brand of least expensive and quality developments. Photo by Charles E. Buban

THE UNITED Nations Human Settlements Program (UN–Habitat) defines a “mega city” as a city with 20 million or more inhabitants.

While Metro Manila is not yet considered one (compared to Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai, London or New York), its growing population—currently pegged at around 12 million—may soon find itself merging with another densely populated region of Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) that also now has around 12 million inhabitants.

“With excellent roads and much-improved telecommunications system already connecting these two regions, the fact that there are several thriving business centers and economic zones system existing and new infrastructures being completed all over these two places, it would no longer be surprising to realize a mega city emerging out of Metro Manila and Calabarzon,” said PA Alvarez Properties and Development Corp. president Jonathan Lu.

Lu believes that with such scale and speed of urbanization across the two regions, property developers like PAAPDC must be ready to cope. “Small players have a vital role considering it is us who will be providing most of the much-needed shelter that individuals and families living in an emerging megacity will require.”

As PAAPDC celebrates its 18th year in the industry, Lu said the Laguna-based company decided to make some changes in the way it does things.

Look further ahead

“Previously, we only plan for the incoming year, what projects we will build or will complete. This time we decided to look further ahead, preparing a 5-year strategic plan, starting to tap the capital market for fund sourcing that would enable us to acquire enough land bank in anticipation of a robust economy,” he said.

Recently, the company launched the 8-hectare, 900-unit St. Joseph Richfield in Santa Rosa City and the 30-hectare, 3,000-unit St. Joseph Homes in Cabuyao.

FOR THE NEXT five years, expect PAAPDC to build more homes that target the vast and economically crucial middle-income group. Photo by Charles E. Buban

Lu said: “Since PAAPDC is a major player in Laguna, we also completed the three condo towers at San Jose Residencias in Santa Rosa City. Our affiliate, PA Metro Residences Builders Inc. which develops condominium projects in the Greater Manila Area, has already completed a combined total of nine buildings in the cities of Pasig, Pasay and Caloocan. A new project, Amaranthe, consisting of 10 medium-rise condo structures located in Bicutan, Parañaque City, broke ground early this year.”

He is proud to announce that his company has already provided an estimated 14,000 housing units and 14 5-story condominium buildings.

Lu said: “We are proud of this achievement considering that these units and houses mostly catered to the middle- to low-income families who play a very vital role in the country’s improving economy. We desperately need more housing not just for the poor, but for this vast and economically crucial group who are the ‘engine’ of Metro Manila as well as Calabarzon.”

According to him, their homebuyers could now look forward to more suitable and more affordable housing developments nearer to urban centers. “In the south, PAAPDC is setting its sights on Cavite and Batangas  and is eyeing projects  in the north like Bulacan and Tarlac,” he said.

Beyond Laguna

Lu explained that the company is no longer concentrating in Laguna as it explores the possibility of expanding elsewhere.

He said: “Batangas, the next closest province after Laguna, is an ideal location, especially with the linkup of the South Luzon Expressway and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road toll road. The interconnection provides convenience and faster travel for future homebuyers in Batangas. Those in Bulacan, Pampanga or Tarlac have the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway to make sure they are just  few hours’ drive from their destinations in Metro Manila or even Calabarzon.”

Lu also shared that PAAPDC is already set to launch its first project in Bulacan next year. He said: “This will be our second project outside the province of Laguna after Bridgepointe Place, a 34-hectare development in San Fernando City, Pampanga. We also see an opportunity in Tarlac as this province is an emerging growth area with all the infrastructure developments being undertaken in the Clark-Subic area.”

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Atty. MJ Cervantes-Cabalatunga

    Developers like P.A. Alvarez
    must be commended for providing decent shelters in areas where there are not many
    subdivisions.  This is development in the
    truest sense.  They are taking the risk
    of losing their investment just to offer residential houses to the locals.  They are not just plain investors who ride on
    the popularity of other risk-taker developers with the ultimate hope that they
    earn – no more and no less.

  • jtpa

    Well. what they are saying is it is alright to congest Metro Manila with more people because the population is still below 20,000,0000 so they need the government to approve more areas for residential development thus better for the bottom line.  Just crap!

  • joush charlie f. jirch

    . . . . the Megapolitan Manila in the making is coming soon . . .  it will comprise the Metro Manila, Clabarzon and the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac Zambales and Bataan . . .  this is the future of the Megapolitan Manila . . . 

    • Jayo Flipone Santiago

      It already has happened!

  • Jayo Flipone Santiago

    Greater Manila is already a megacity, one of the largest in the world. That is because when it comes to comparison, only Metro Manila is compared with Greater London, Greater New York, etc.

    New York City alone has around 8 million people while Greater New York has around 22 million people. 

    London alone also has around 8 million people while Greater London has around 13 million

    Metro Manila has around 13 million people while Greater Manila has around 23 million people.

    • Bring back Phils Glory. Unite.

      i also think so…i think metro manila to be treated as less than a mega city is a conservative comment. I have been to London, and it is not as varied as Manila. we already find ourselves not going to other Metro Manila places because they are really far and tiring.

      • Jayo Flipone Santiago

        To say that Manila isn’t a megacity is WRONG. Urbanity has spread beyond the metro’s borders. You can see it in it’s outer suburbs especially around CALABARZON and Central Luzon.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos