MANILA, Philippines–Listed property developer Century Properties Group Inc. is investing P20 billion in building a resort destination in Palawan, part of broader steps to increase its exposure in the country’s tourism business.

Century Properties, led by its founder and chair Jose E.B. Antonio, signed on Tuesday a deal to acquire a 56-hectare beachfront property in San Vicente, Palawan, a largely undeveloped area known for its pristine beaches and a diverse marine life.

Antonio said in a statement that the entire amount of investment would be deployed over a period of 10 years. He said the first phase of the project would require P1.5 billion over the next three to five years.

“Given the exceptional potential of the site and the relatively low capital intensity inherent in the low rise nature of this type of development, we will be able to focus on the long term margin maximization of this project,” Antonio said.

“The pace and timing of subsequent phases will in a large part be driven by the take-up of the sale of hotel villas and the residential investment properties, which will form a significant part of the returns from this project,” he added.

San Vicente covers an area of 146,294 hectares, 140 times larger than Boracay Island in Panay.  One of its crown jewels is Long Beach, a 14.7-kilometer stretch of white sand and pristine waters that is four times the length of Boracay’s white beach.

“We have long identified tourism as a structural growth area for the Philippine economy and as such we are very pleased to announce the purchase of this development site in San Vicente, Palawan,” Antonio said in the statement.

“This is a deal we have been working on for a considerable period of time. We have been able to purchase an exceptional block of land and are confident that given Century Properties’ long track record of delivering innovative branded real еstatе, we will be able to unlock the very significant long-term potential from this site,” he added.

San Vicente has its own airport, with a new two-kilometer runway and terminal that are projected to be completed in 2015, thus allowing regional carriers to fly directly to San Vicente, the builder said.

Century will initially target the domestic market for this development, but as the facilities and accommodation options increase in later phases will expand to regional and international markets, according to Tim Hallett, chief operating officer for Century Properties Hospitality Inc.

“This project holds immense growth opportunities for our company and shareholders. We will work extremely hard on planning this project so that it integrates with the local community to ensure that it is an ecologically sustainable destination,” he said.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer | April 22, 2015