MANILA, Philippines — Roberto V. Ongpin, the tycoon behind some of the country’s most luxurious playgrounds such as the members only Balesin Island Club and City Club, has just unveiled his latest project, the Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges, and is already enjoying brisk demand from some of the country’s elites and well-heeled crowd.
Alphaland, his upscale property development, has already sold 20 units, less than a month since Ongpin showed the sprawling Baguio estate last Sept. 1 to some of the Philippines’ richest people.
“It’s my latest baby. We opened it last Sept. 1 for viewing and on that day, 20 units were sold. Some (guests) bought two units,” Ongpin told The STAR in an interview last week in his swanky office in Alphaland’s Makati Place.
Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges is a 78-hectare master-planned development of 300 lodge-style log homes made of imported western cedar or pine logs from Finland. The estate is nine kilometers north of Baguio City on Ambuklao Road, or a 15-minute drive from the city proper.
The property sits on an elevation of 5,200 feet above sea level, above Tagaytay Highlands’s elevation of 2,000 feet and Baguio City’s 4,300 feet, allowing residents to enjoy crisp pine-scented mountain air, Ongpin said.
The idea is to bring back the glorious days of Baguio, the country’s summer capital, which through the years, has become too dense and crowded.
“I decided that I want to do something for those who really love Baguio, the way it was 50 years ago,” Ongpin said.
The project, with a development cost of P5 billion, would be developed in phases, with the first 50 homes to be finished by April 2018; the next 100 homes by April 2019 and the final 150 homes by April 2020.
The log homes are comprised of four, five and six bedroom lodges, selling for an introductory price of P40 million, P45 million and P50 million, respectively.
Aside from the log homes, there is a three-level Clubhouse Inn, which has a grand fireplace, a fully stocked bar and indoor dining areas with a capacity of 16 people. There are two outdoor dining areas which can seat 60 guests, with views of the mountains of the north.
The masterplan was done by the EcoPlan of Florida in the US, the same master planner for Balesin. The lodges will be built individually as horizontal condominiums, where the land would be proportionately owned by all 300 homeowners. This will allow for the optimization of the locations and views of all the homes sites.
There will be three helipads on the property.
“We will also provide regular Cessna airplane service from the Alphaland Hangar in NAIA or Clark to Loakan Airport with comfortable shuttle service from the airport to the site,” Ongpin said.
Ongpin’s latest project adds to his portfolio of luxury playgrounds, enjoyed by an elite group of people in the Philippines and the rest of Asia.
These are the City Club in Alphaland Makati Place and Balesin Island Club, southeast of Quezon.
In Balesin, Ongpin recently bought the nearby Patnanungan Island where he will put up an international airport, hotels, villas and a golf course to meet growing demand for the exclusive island resort.
“Snob appeal – that’s my business,” said Ongpin, as quoted by Forbes in an article published in August.