Waterfront development to create more opportunities in Philippine communities

A leading Filipino architect has cited the great potential in waterfront development that would create opportunities for the Philippine communities.

“We see a lot of potential in strengthening this industry as long as we do adaptive architecture and engineering,” said Architect Jun Palafox said.

He allayed fears about the dangers posed by natural calamities like tsunamis and storm surges. “All developers have to do is simply determine the highest flood line and build an elaborate infrastructure from that point.”

In a recent SEA-EX 2015 news conference, Palafox stressed that waterfront developments around the world have high-amenity value for communities.

“Coastal areas offer plenty of opportunities for recreational activities. As a result, they attract lots of enterprises and people, which, in turn, require other services and establishments to address their residential and recreational needs,” said Palafox.

He noted that there are more than enough opportunities and resources to maximize the potential of waterfront development in the country with coastline covering more than 18,000 kilometers, a great portion of which remains undeveloped despite the country enjoying continued economic growth.

Palafox also pointed out the need to address the challenges such as obsolete laws, corruption, criminality and climate change.

“With a substantial help from the global community, we can really address a lot of challenges from other industries such as tourism, health care, wellness, waterfront developments, vacation homes and many other more.”

“The markets that get attracted to these kinds of developments are people with deeper pockets—high-value tourists. At the moment, we are catering to the backpackers, but with the marinas, we can attract people who own yachts, go on a cruise, and those who will invest in a variety of industries in the Philippines,” Palafox added.

Angelo Olondriz, chairman of SEA-EX 2015 said: “Coastal and marina development is a tried and tested formula that has been a thriving economic activity in some of the most developed countries of the world.”

He cited the progress of Sabang in Puerto Princesa, Palawan where tourists want to see the underground river, one of the world’s natural wonders.

“Investors are not convinced about the demand for marinas and yachts and pleasure boats,” said Robin Wyatt, managing director of Europa Yachts, the exclusive distributor of Azimut, Beneteau and lagoon catamarans in the Philippines.

Wyatt said that many potential investors, developers, boat builders and pleasure boat buyers would proceed if only a more supportive infrastructure was in place.

He noted that the boating sector is also a unique industry that champions all-inclusive growth, particularly for coastal towns and communities.

“It’s an industry spearheaded by people who do not only have the capacity to sustain a lifestyle, but also empower communities. If you look at it closely, the story of the marina development and boating industry is really about the more capable group of people spending their resources and distributing it to local communities,” he said.

“A touring 100-foot leisure boat, for example, spends about $10,000 a day for accommodation, repairs, replenishing supplies and other auxiliary services which trickle down to the local community,” Wyatt added