There is much optimism exuding from the founder of the popular leisure destination Tagaytay Highlands.
With how Willy Ocier had described it, things are likely to get only better for the Philippine real estate industry—more so for the luxury property market, which seems well poised to sustain its bullish run over the next several years.
“We’re very happy that the country is moving forward especially in terms of property development. A lot of (projects) are coming out and they’re so cutting edge and even comparable to the best in the world,” said Ocier on the sidelines of a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the City of Dreams Manila.
Ocier, who currently sits as vice chair of Belle Corp., went on to point out how the country’s growing middle class, the aggressive roll out of infrastructure projects, and the booming travel and tourism industry are all “setting the stage” for the next level of property development in the Philippines.
“We, at Belle Corp., are very excited about what we can do. In the meantime, we’re basically expanding our property. We are continuing to develop Tagaytay Highlands, bringing in more ideas and more concepts to make sure that Tagaytay Highlands remains a step above other leisure (projects) or townships being developed,” he said.
As it is, the distinction that made the 1,500-ha Tagaytay Highlands a highly coveted weekend destination remains today.
It continues to be that highly exclusive, upscale mountain resort community since it started operations more than two decades ago—unparalleled in so many ways, from its natural topography as it is nestled on one of the highest elevations in Tagaytay, its cool, balmy weather, the stunning scenery and lush verdant grounds, down to its luxe residential options and the vast array of activities that you can simply indulge in.
But they are not in a mad rush to flood the market, according to Ocier.
“We’re a niche player and we are looking for not just a property, but a lifestyle that is yet to come. We want to get into something that’s a game changer and we’ve so far (managed) to catch certain trends, to be there before anybody goes there,” Ocier told the Inquirer.
As of end 2016, the entire leisure estate boasts of over 600 hectares of developed land and four renowned facilities.
There remained some 800 ha within Tagaytay Highlands that they “intend to develop into the unique family-oriented projects that Belle has been historically noted for.”
No secret formula
There is no complicated, secret formula to explain what is evidently a resounding success for Tagaytay Highlands.
For Ocier, it was all about knowing what your market wants; guiding and inspiring the team; innovating; and making sure that you work hard.
“The important ingredient there is to look at what the market wants. Our products are aspirational and whether it’s Tagaytay Highlands or City of Dreams, we know that our members, our clients, and our homebuyers expect to get something that they deserve,” Ocier explained. “At the end of the day… it’s all about coming up with what our market deserves and aspires for. You have to respect the market—I think that’s the key word.”
To stay in the game—and not just on top—will require one to innovate and come up with new products which your market looks for, he added.
“We’re just trying to be ahead. The SM Group is No. 1 in many fields that they are in, and so we are all encouraged to think big and to think ahead of the competitors—ahead of the market, ahead of the curve because you have to live the role that the SM Group represents in this country, which is basically a trailblazer and market leader,” Ocier explained.
“We were inculcated with this culture. With the SM Group, it’s not difficult to attain what you had set out to attain because you’re backed by a culture that’s hardworking and always ahead of the game,” he said.
Inspiring the team
Ocier, of course, continues to be hands on, but ensures at the same time, that the current team handling Tagaytay Highlands is given the opportunity to throw in their ideas well.
“I’d like to believe that I inspire—I come up with ideas or I feed their ideas. We have a great team. Our creative people, especially the young people, have so many ideas. If they’re going to the right direction, I encourage them,” Ocier disclosed.
“But if they’re kind of going off tangent, I remind them that this is the way I think things are supposed to go because I believe that I also have a good feel of the market, which is composed of people who have achieved a lot of things and who want to feel that they deserve the best,” he added.
Ocier noted: “I live that myself as well. When I buy products and I go for vacations somewhere else, I also feel that I want the very best because I worked hard for whatever I have and I want to stay in the best, because I feel this is what a guy in my position will look for and will enjoy.”
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