OF TREES AND FOREST
Former Senate President Manny Villar
Have you ever taken a vacation in a place that is rural, rustic and very provincial? You wake up to the crowing of the rooster, you have freshly opened coconut juice for breakfast, and you just lounge around all day in a place where time seems to be so, so slow. That is the idyllic, sometimes too romanticized picture of country living. But after a few days living in the countryside, you begin to miss the convenience of city life.
Strangely, you miss the hustle and bustle of urban life — the noisy and busy streets of Manila, the horde of street vendors selling everything under the sun, the multitude of people inside the train you take on your way to work. You miss the nightlife of Metro Manila, and the fact that you can get out of your condo after midnight to snack on pares or siopao, or that everything is within reach at your convenience.
This seems to be a choice many of us have to make — embrace one and let go of the other. But is it possible to enjoy the best of both worlds? It is one of the questions that has been on my mind for quite some time now. So far the real estate side of our business has built properties in the cities and the provinces. But is there a middle ground? My answer to this question came in the form of Asterra.
Asterra, which we launched late last year, is my latest brainchild. The idea is to allow Filipinos to enjoy the best of both worlds. I envisioned it as a condominium development that will provide affordable urban living in the suburbs. It is also addresses the needs of demographic segment that has been growing exponentially for some time now: young professionals. These should be distinguished from the so-called “yuppies” of the 1980’s, which were stereotypical young professionals obsessed with material objects and financial success. No, the young professional of today, on the contrary, are those who are young, educated, employed and who are seeking to achieve balance in all aspects of life – family, work, leisure, and access to nature.
I thought of Asterra because I think the tastes, lifestyles and aspirations of young professionals have changed. And I think as property developers it is our job to provide them with options that will allow them to craft and achieve their visions in life. My vision for them is to provide opportunities to raise families and build a prosperous future in the outskirts of the capital, in select locales that tout the rapid appreciation of land values thereby also affording them of great long-term returns on investment.
I envisioned Asterra to have multiple buildings with four to seven levels, where each unit will offer sleek, space-optimizing interiors perfect as idyllic domiciles for young professionals and starting families. It will also have fun and functional amenities like a swimming pool, basketball court, walkable open spaces, ample parking areas, a fully equipped gym, and multiple function halls meant to elevate their quality of life and help forge friendly ties and a sense of community.
Currently we have three locations — Asterra San Fernando located in Brgy. Calulut in Pampanga, Asterra General Trias in Brgy. San Francisco in Cavite, and Asterra Calamba at Brgy. Bañadero in Laguna. Still in the pipelines are Asterra developments in Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Imus, Iloilo and Tanza.
I see a lot of developments in the suburbs of Manila and other major cities. I think that as the metropolis become very crowded many people will be looking for other options in terms of residence as they juggle their profession and quality time with their young families. Providing them with a fantastic living option outside the city but near enough such that they can still enjoy the convenience and excitement of urban life is an important step towards improving the quality of life of young people. It is also a huge contribution to our efforts to expand development outside the main cities of the country.
Many of us dream of a simple life even as we live in a complicated world. The least we can do is make sure that we all have the opportunity to enjoy the simplicities of life and manage the complications of our times.
For comments, please send email to: [email protected] and/or http://www.mannyvillar.com.