BIZ BUZZ: Manila House is here to stay | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Manila House is here to stay

/ 02:28 AM February 15, 2024

It had to give up half of its original space as part of COVID-19 pandemic-induced belt tightening.

But now, Manila House Private Club—more compact but still with a sizable 1,246-square meter (sq m) indoor space and a bonus 1,200-sq m outdoor terrace at the Seven NEO building in BGC, every corner of which is “Instaworthy”—is back in full swing and has signed a deal with Rufino family-led NEO Group to keep this space for the next 10 years.

What’s more, Manila House and NEO have struck what has been described as a “win-win, sustainable arrangement.”


“In exchange for the longer commitment, we gave better terms than what Manila House originally had,” NEO CEO Raymond Rufino said during the signing of lease renewal on Monday night.


The club, frequented by the country’s rich and famous, has been NEO’s tenant since 2017.

“It’s to the benefit of Manila House and its members because this ensures the viability and sustainability of the club,” he said.

Doris Magsaysay Ho, Manila House chair, said there would be “a lot of transformation” and “a lot of exciting things” to see at the club moving forward. Avenue Bar, for instance, has been closed for renovation and is envisioned to be a watering hole for members and guests wishing to hear good music.

“One of the original concepts of this club is to be a place where people could eat and enjoy. But more importantly, we want it to be a place where people could learn. People from different sectors of society could meet in a safe space, where artists, even young ones, can show their work or maybe a young singer can emerge and just sing to an audience, which Manila House will provide,” Magsaysay Ho said.

Carlo Rufino, comanaging director at NEO, said other building tenants benefit from the presence of Manila House.

“This is where they meet and we’ve worked a lot with Manila House on events. Our focus is to keep a community so Manila House is a community space for our buildings,” he said.


To be able to buy a seat (membership certificate) at Manila House, it’s not enough to be able to afford it; one has to be invited first. While there are many hotels and event venues available in the metropolis, apart from the aesthetics and the culinary offering, Manila House members value the privacy it provides.

“We decided long ago not to put everything out,” Magsaysay Ho said. More membership slots are opening up but “slowly” and on a “selective” basis, “so we don’t overwhelm the space,” she added. —Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

FTI board revamp

President Marcos has named acting members of the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) board of directors just as the government wants the state-run firm to assume a greater role in stockpiling agricultural commodities.

Taking their seats at the FTI board are Christopher Bañas, Telma Cueva Tolentino, Marissa Jimenez Caldoza, Stanley Sy Chona, Raul Edmund Barcelon Felix and Sheldon Gonzales Jacaban.

Bañas, a lawyer, is the OIC of the Office of the Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) regional office in Calabarzon.

“The last four appointees to the FTI board are replacements of directors Angelito Garcia, Mariano Luis Versoza Jr., Maria Theresa Teves-Castanos and Robert Tan,” the DA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The appointment comes as the DA has set aside P1 billion this year to construct four cold storage facilities primarily at the 24-hectare FTI property in Taguig City to address oversupply of food items and minimize postharvest losses.

One of the planned cold storage facilities is a chiller warehouse worth P500 million dedicated to vegetables and other high-value crops.

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The FTI provides prime industrial and commercial lots for medium-to-long term leases, and industrial buildings with standard-sized stalls for office, warehouse or small-scale processing operations. —Jordeene B. Lagare 

TAGS: Biz Buzz, Food Terminal Inc.

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