When your beachfront vacation home easily becomes your primary address | Inquirer Business

When your beachfront vacation home easily becomes your primary address

SEASIDE Discovery Samal swimmingpool fronting the beach. —PHOTOS BY BING GONZALES

SEASIDE Discovery Samal swimming pool fronting the beach. —PHOTOS BY BING GONZALES

DAVAO CITY—How does it feel to wake up every day on a prime hillside property overlooking the narrow strait of Davao Gulf with a view of the country’s highest peak far beyond?

With the 150-hectare (ha) property currently being developed on Samal Island by PJ Tri-Gon Realty Corp., the real estate affiliate of Ulticon Builders Inc. (UBI), this idea will no longer be a distant dream but an everyday reality, according to Celedonio Pile Jr., UBI vice president for business development and special projects.


He says that vacation homes and remote workplaces have become a hit during the pandemic. But as the economy started to recover and people and businesses moved on to resume in-person activities, the idea of spending working hours around an idyllic setting is fast turning to be a thing of the past.


But not on Samal Island, where a 4-kilometer (km) bridge to link the island to Davao City is now being built, he says. “With the new bridge being constructed here, you can still enjoy the best of both worlds: you can bask on the beach and island living while Davao City, your workplace, is only less than five minutes away,” he notes. “You’re not socially extracted from your place of work. All of a sudden, play and work become possible,” he says at the media launch of Samal Shores township.

The 150-ha township features Samal Island’s first five-star resort hotel, which opened only on July 21 this year. At the back of the hotel is a high-end subdivision complete with clubhouse and amenities, a soon-to-be-built regional mall and commercial complex, a convention center that can accommodate 1,200 people, a floating chapel and a helipad. A mid-rise condominium and luxury villas will be up for construction during the fourth phase of the project.

Change in strategy

“Our original intention [for the project] was a vacation home, but with the bridge [now under construction], the vacation home can easily become your [primary] home,” Pile says. “Vacation homes have their own appeal. During the pandemic, everyone loved the idea of working from vacation houses. But after the pandemic, that is no longer possible as most vacation homes are located far away from urban centers,” Pile says.

Its proximity to a major urban center and being on an island resort makes the Samal Shores project one of a kind in the country, where the best of the vacation homes are usually located far from the urban workplaces, Pile says. He cites Punta Fuego in Nasugbu, Batangas, where he used to work, as a good 200 km away from Metro Manila. “This one is only three minutes away; you can live in your vacation home every day,” he says, referring to Samal Shores. “It only happens here in Samal, in Davao, in Mindanao. You don’t have anything like that in Manila, not even in Cebu. That’s how unique this project is,” he says.

The first of the four phases of the project covers the development of the first 31-ha targeted to be completed by 2026 or 2027, in time for the target completion of the bridge. The first phase includes development of the 6-ha area where the hotel sits, the 5-ha area where the proposed regional mall, along with medical centers and a police station, will be accommodated, and another area for a commercial complex.

Discovery Samal pool

Discovery Samal—a 170-room luxury facility that opened on July 21 with hardly any fanfare because the owners want to be low-key about it—speaks of the quality standard that the entire project aspires for, Pile says.

Bringing in the Discovery brand to a project like Samal Shores also added value to the entire project. “Once they step into the hotel, [the residential buyers] would immediately know this is the lifestyle that we are buying into,” Pile says. “No more talk is needed because when they come here, they see it; it’s very visual,” he says.

Of close to 500 lots that Samal Shores Residenza offers at the back of the hotel, more than a hundred or 25 percent, have already been sold out.

Take your sweet time

Unlike most of the real estate developers in Davao City, Samal Shores owners are not in a rush to sell, says Pile. “Before COVID, we were already ready to sell the lots but we were told to wait until the hotel opens. By then, the value of the property was still 30 percent less. Now, it’s selling at P47,000 per square meter but if you are familiar with the prices in Davao City, a posh subdivision like Ladislawa is selling at P80,000 per square meter, and that’s in the middle of the city traffic. Here, you have a beach property and it’s only a little over P40,000,” he says, adding that they were still adding more value to the property with the construction of the regional mall and other facilities.

After the Aug. 8 media launch of the subdivision, the project will proceed with the construction of the clubhouse at the highest point of the property facing Davao City, affording future homeowners the picturesque view of Davao Gulf and the majestic Mount Apo.

Aside from the regional mall and the commercial complex, the 1,200-people capacity convention center, the helipad and the chapel will be covered in the first phase of the project. Its second and third phases will include the development of more lots and open spaces while its fourth phase will give rise to luxury villas and a mid-rise condominium.

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Rosabel Jusguan, assistant city administrator of the Island Garden City of Samal, describes the Samal Shores township project as a dream come true for the island. “This is a clear manifestation that Samal Island, aside from being hailed one of the country’s top 10 tourism destinations, is also one of the best places to live with Samal Shores Residenza on our shores,” she said. Pile says that the project is UBI’s first salvo on high-end development. It is, in fact, the first project of PJ Tri-Gon Corp. “Very few are operating at this level, but there’s no monopoly of good ideas,” he says.

He says that the entire place would be fully developed in 15 years. “But [it’s] not something that we want to rush. Our owner wants to savor the experience. I’ve done a lot of projects in the past, but it’s the first time that our principal tells us to slow down,” he says.

TAGS: beachfront, Vacation

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