BIZ BUZZ: Enter the Double Dragons | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Enter the Double Dragons

/ 02:21 AM November 30, 2023

It’s still a month away until 2024, but billionaires Injap Sia and Tony Tan Caktiong can’t wait to ring it in with gusto.

It’s the Year of the Dragon, after all, and Sia and Tan Caktiong, both born under this auspicious sign, believe that the best is coming for their listed property joint venture DoubleDragon Properties Corp.

For one thing, the cochairs are entering 2024 with a portfolio of CityMall commercial centers, CentralHub Warehouse complexes and the DoubleDragon Plaza and Jollibee Tower office buildings.


Its Ascott and Hotel101 in Davao and Cebu are set to open in 2024 and the company is also inching closer to listing its Hotel101 on Nasdaq despite lingering challenges in the global economy.


Indeed, Hotel101, which hopes to disrupt the global bed and breakfast model, may yet become PH’s most valuable homegrown brand export, one that will defy mighty odds such as economic challenges

As Sia said, “major economic recessions have actually served as a launchpad for many inspiring entrepreneurs to leap forward.”

The two Dragons are taking that to heart as they welcome the coming new year. —Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Almendras is incoming MAP chief

Former energy and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras is the incoming president of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), replacing the current chief of the influential business group, lawyer-accountant Benedicta Du-Baladad.

Almendras, who is the current president of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., the infrastructure arm of the Ayala Group, will begin his one-year term in 2024, said one MAP executive to Biz Buzz.

Almendras served as cabinet secretary and headed the departments of foreign affairs and energy during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III, serving for more than three years during his presidency from 2010 to 2016.


The now 63-year-old executive also became the president of the Ayala group’s water utility, Manila Water Co., before joining the Aquino administration initially as Energy Secretary in 2010.

He started his corporate career at Citytrust Banking Corp before later moving to Citibank as account management group head in the Visayas in 1985, after which he joined the Aboitiz Group to be the treasurer of both Aboitiz Co. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures.

Almendras then headed the Aboitiz Group’s thrift banking arm, City Savings Bank, which became one of the biggest in Cebu under his leadership. —Alden M. Monzon

Caritas: fashion and compassion

Fashion and heaping doses of compassion came together during a recent charity fundraising event for Caritas Manila.

Philanthropist and businesswoman Emilie Cruz, the event’s lead organizer, curated an impressive host of local and regional artists and designers for the well-heeled crowd while underlining the real purpose of the event, which was to advance Caritas Manila’s women and children protection program.

“This whole show is beyond its purpose, dealing with realities such as forced child labor,” said Cruz, who also operates the Maria Luisa’s Garden Cafe in the members-only Makati Garden Club.

Rev. Fr. Antonio CT. Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, said millions of Filipino children still fall victim to child abuse.

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He admitted they continue to see “more failures than successes” in the fight for justice but they intend to continue and intensify efforts with the help of private sector and government partners. —Miguel R. Camus 

TAGS: Biz Buzz, DoubleDragon Corp.

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