The Project Review : Philippine Real Estate News and Update

News and updates on real estate developments and projects; current event news updates; property listings; home and architecture; laws and regulations; education and seminars; people; ecology and environmental issues; geography and history; places of interest and events; travel and tourism; tips and how to; others matters allied to the the Philippine real estate industry. Trivia and rants on anything under the sun.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Information : Real Estate Brokers and Agents Not Covered by AMLA (RA9160)

With the never-ending problems of the real estate service practitioners, particularly the real estate brokers, concerning their AIPO, it's a respite and a whiff of fresh air to hear some good news concerning them and their industry. 

What's the good news? Real estate brokers and agents are excluded in the amended AMLA.  If you are familiar with AMLA, then you know why this is such a great news. 

For a starter, those corporations, associations, professions and jobs" included" in the AMLA are required to report to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on "single transactions in cash or other equivalent monetary instrument involving a total amount in excess of Five Hundred Thousand (P500,000) Pesos within one (1) banking day." I think this is basically the gist of this law. This is a tough requirement to follow and this is just one of the many provisions. 

What's AMLA? The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001(RA 9160)

"Republic Act No. 9160 otherwise known as The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 was signed into law on September 29, 2001 and took effect on October 17, 2001. The implementing Rules and Regulations took effect on  April 2, 2002. On March 7, 2003, R.A. No. 9194 (An Act Amending R.A. No. 9160) was signed into law and took effect on March 23, 2003. The revised Implementing Rules and Regulations took effect on September 7, 2003. "

Definition :
"Money Laundering is a crime whereby the proceeds of an unlawful activity as defined in the AMLA are transacted or attempted to be transacted to make them appear to have originated from legitimate sources."

Salient Features of AMLA :
Criminalizes money laundering
Creates a financial intelligence unit
Imposes requirements on customer identification, record keeping and reporting of covered and suspicious transactions
Relaxes strict bank deposits secrecy laws
Provides for bank inquiry and freeze ex parte petition/seizure/forfeiture/recovery of dirty money/property
Provides for international cooperation

 Quoted from : Anti-Money Laundering Council webpage - 

Thank you to the good Senator Ralph Recto, it was his proposal to exclude real estate brokers and agents from the amended AMLA.  But the exemption is not a blanket exemption, a portion of the amended AMLA also requires transaction in buying and selling real estate of at least P25 million be reported to AMLC. 

Quoting a news item from the news portal  : 
"With an 8-3 vote, the provision stated in the bill's line 9, paragraph 5 was deleted. It was Sen. Ralph Recto who proposed the delisting of real estate brokers and agents." 
"Recto also moved for the deletion of the provision "buying and selling of real estate" but eventually agreed to a suggestion to just amend it to “buying and selling of real estate worth at least P25 million property.”

Some provisions of the bill amending the AMLA are not yet finished, but hopefully all the amendments will be finished soon and the bill passed by the Senate, before the Senate goes to a long break starting this February.

Note :
For update to the article above regarding inclusion of real estate agents to list of entities required to report to AMLC, please see related link below.
Related Link :

Source :

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rants : The Tubbataha Reef US Navy Ship Stranding Incident - A Lesson for Arrogance

The USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper ship stranded at the Tubbataha Reef
The US Navy's USS Guardian minesweeper ship stranding in the Tubbataha Reef at Sulu Sea, a protected  and UN World Heritage Site marine park and coral reef, is getting to be biggest news of the week. The incident is also causing a big embarrassment to the US Embassy in Manila and the US Navy, the mightiest naval army in the world.  

Initially, the incident was seen as an accident, but as the days passed by, there seems to be more to the accident than meets the eye. It was unfortunate that the ship's stranding had caused a big damage to the protected coral formation of Tubbataha Reef. It is estimated that approximately one thousand square meters of coral formations were damaged or destroyed. The damage is also irreparable, because coral reef formations take thousands of years to grow.

It would be understandable if the US Navy ship was stranded because of strong sea currents or was rerouting its path due to bad weather and got lost. But this was not the case. The seas around the Tubbataha Reef are shallow due to expansive coral formations. This area is not used as a shipping lane. And it is a regulated and protected area, where special permits are required to enter. With their humongous ship at that, the US Navy should not have entered the area. It's dangerous for the ship, and the ship's keel is potentially damaging to the coral reef. The US Navy should know, and surely, they know that. But still, they went inside the forbidden zone. Maybe they  thought they are the best in sea navigation and they have the best ship. After all, they are the US Navy, the world's best. 

But the stars and the planets didn't favor them that day, their ship got stuck and stranded in the the coral reef, the Tubbataha Reef- a World Heritage Site. The irony of it is that their ship is a minesweeper and equipped with the most sophisticated, state of the art equipment : radar, sonar and satellite GPS (Global Positioning System) that could detect the minutest "anomaly"on the surface and under the sea. And these giant  coral formations should have been easily detected by these equipment. But these equipment didn't help them dodge the coral formations.

Now here's the catch. Before the minesweeper ship went astray, rammed the corals and got stranded in the reef, the ship's navigators were warned by the Tubbataha Reef marine park rangers :
"The Tubbataha marine park superintendent, Angelique Songco, said Monday that park rangers had warned the USS Guardian by radio that it was nearing the reef, but the ship captain insisted they raise their complaint with the US embassy." (Quoted from a news article from 

While the investigation is now going on to find out why the incident happened, public speculations abound as to the reason why the ship was stranded in the Tubbataha Reef. People are saying  the stranding incident could be attributed to any of the following : incompetence of the navigators, mechanical malfunction of the ship, electronic equipment malfunction, wrong sea map used, satellite GPS malfunction, etc, etc. But any of the above reasons  mentioned will not hold water. Why? Because before entering the reef area they were warned and they ignored the warning.

We don't need to be a genius to know the cause of the stranding. It was simply arrogance! Next time, the best navy in the world should heed warnings, even if the warning comes from a citizen of a third world country. Let's just hope they learned their lesson this time.

Picture Source :
Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command

Source and Related Links :

Friday, January 18, 2013

Development : Circuit Makati - Makati's New Entertainment District

Circuit Makati Events Ground
Circuit Canopy- An open air entertainment venue
Circuit Makati- Makati's New Entertainment District

The Eastwood City in Quezon City, the Mall of Asia Complex and the Newport Entertainment City in Pasay City, The Fort in Taguig City are just some of the latest mixed-use development projects  that have sprung up in Metro Manila in recent years. These places are micro-cities which include all facets of development in one place. Though these places  have a lot in common with regard to mixed-use development components (residential, business, entertainment, etc) , they also have  distinguishing  features and attractions which make them unique. These developments have their own designs, themes, services and specialized locators. They also have particular niche markets to cater to. The Newport Entertainment City for example, with its gaming and casino component, is high-rollers' haven; while Eastwood City, with its canine-friendly establishments, is dog-owners' favorite. 

Soon, another mixed-use development project is joining the fray : Circuit Makati. Makati City, with its premier business and commercial districts, is not resting on its laurels yet. With this new development, Makati will soon have its new entertainment district. 

What is particularly interesting about this new development is its location along the Pasig River. This will be the first major mega-development along the banks of the Pasig River. ( Though there's one pocket development called Acqua Private Residences, a condominium complex being built by Century Properties across the other side of the river, in Mandaluyong. But this is minuscule compared to the 21-hectares Circuit Makati project ). 

With the improving quality of the waters of the Pasig River, more developments are expected to rise along its banks. Soon, properties along the banks of Pasig River will be one of the most expensive real estate properties in Metro Manila, with the scenic river view giving these properties a big premium. And with the start of Circuit Makati development along the river bank, let's hope that  a coordinated effort (by the private and government sector) to develop and beautify the whole stretch of the river and its tributaries, from Pasig City up to its Manila Bay estuary would also soon begin. The Pasig River had really been long neglected and is an untapped tourist attraction of Metro Manila.

Metro Manila literally started and grew from small dwelling settlements along the banks of Pasig River in the olden days. Centuries later ,when the Spaniards came, they also constructed the Walled City of Intramuros along the bank of the river. Intramuros, then  became the focal point of other developments and all activities in the Pasig River.

Now, with the development of Circuit Makati along the bank of the Pasig River, this symbolically completed the circuit of development in the Pasig River where all settlements in Manila started. 

Below is a brief description  of the project from the Circuit Makati webpage :
"Circuit Makati is a 21-hectare mixed-use development on the former Sta. Ana Racetrack property of the Philippine Racing Club Inc. (PRCI).  Soon to rise as Makati’s entertainment district, Circuit is  poised to be the unequivocal destination for all things entertainment – with its world-class indoor theatre, multipurpose entertainment spaces and open grounds integrated with commercial, hotel and residential blocks.  A collaboration among Ayala Land, Inc., PRCI and the City of Makati, Circuit completes the vision for Makati to be a leading city for entertainment, lifestyle and business."
Picture Source and Related Sites :

The former Santa Ana Racetrack is the site of Circuit Makati 
(See oval with Carmona label on map)
Map Source :

Monday, January 14, 2013

Announcement : 1st MVRB MLS and Property Exchange Meeting

To All MVRB Members and MLS Partners,

It's Time for Business and Fellowship!

Marikina Valley Real Estate Board Inc. will be having 
its 1st Monthly MLS and Property Exchange Meeting 
on January 17, 2013, Thursday, 5:00 P.M.,  
at the MVRB Office and Training Center, 
2nd Flr., Citiland Condominium, 
Pioneer St., Mandaluyong City

Sponsor : 
Mr. Ven Rojas , who will be presenting 
Tagaytay Projects and Properties 
( Lots, House and Lots, Townhouses )

Assessment Fee : P100.00 
(For MLS listings copy, food/drinks and coffee)

Please confirm attendance with 
Ms. Eloi Ona @ 0919-2158986 or the 
MVRB Secretriat @ 0947-5262776

Please email your exclusive listings to our 
MLS Chairperson Ms. Georgia Salazar 
for inclusion in the compiled MLS listings 
to be distributed during the meeting.  

Note : Please bring your writing pads, notebooks, 
pens, ipads and laptops.

"2013 the year of the Black Snake is a year of change"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rants : Not a Very Smart Move by Smart Communications

Last week I went to  the mall  to pay my post-paid Smart phone monthly billing at a Smart center. When I was at the Smart center and getting my service number, the information officer asked me if I am paying cash or by credit card. I told her that I am paying cash. She replied back to me that they don't accept cash payment and only accepting payment by credit card. I asked her why is that so. And she told me that it's their new regulation and added that cash payments should be paid to the banks and "Bayad Centers". There was nothing I could do but to follow their payment rule.

The following day I went to a Bayad Center and paid my bill. But here is the catch: the cashier said there will be an additional charge of P7.00 on top of my billing payment. I was told by the cashier that it was for collection charge. I said I am paying my billing and you are charging me for that? Again, there's nothing I could do because it's their collection rule.

My question is : Why did Smart communication transferred their cash payment collection to another collection company and then charge the collection expense to their phone subscribers? Isn't this unfair to their subscribers? The service fee is their obligation to the collection company and should not be shouldered by their subscribers. If Smart wanted to lessen their collection job and manpower, which is to their advantage, they should shoulder the expenses and not pass it on to their subscribers. This is really unfair and unscrupulous. Definitely not a very smart move by Smart. I hope they rectify this very bad move the soonest. 

Two thumbs down for Smart Communications on this one. 

Picture Source :

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Places and Travel : Boracay Has Really Arrived!

For the past two years Boracay has surpassed Bali and Phuket in international travelers' surveys as the number one beach destination in Asia. Despite very limited media exposure, Boracay has finally caught up with the more popular Asian beach destinations which had been getting the bulk of the international travelers' market in the past years. Now, Boracay did not only caught up with them, it has surpassed them in popularity.

Boracay became famous among locals by word of mouth in the Philippines. It was in the 70's, when Boracay was a secret destination among a few locals and foreigners. Since there were so many other beautiful and better known beach destinations in the country, Boracay didn't really caught on in local tourism not until many years later. Many Germans and Australian tourists who discovered the place earlier have stayed there for good and made it their home.

This sudden international popularity of Boracay could be attributed to "word of mouth" promotion of foreign tourists who have been there before, the limited media promotion of the Philippine Tourism Authority and of course, to the ubiquitous internet.

Recently, Boracay has been named the favorite destination for relaxation and nightlife, according to a customer survey conducted by Asia’s leading hotel booking site:

Indeed, Boracay has arrived.

Here' the result of the survey by  :
Top Destinations for Relaxation
1. Boracay, The Philippines
2. Bali, Indonesia
3. Koh Samui, Thailand
4. Chiang Mai, Thailand
5. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
6. Krabi, Thailand
7. Langkawi, Malaysia
8. Hua Hin, Thailand
9. Phuket, Thailand
10. Dubai, UAE

Top Destinations for Nightlife
1. Bangkok, Thailand
2. Dubai, UAE
3. Boracay, The Philippines
4. Pattaya, Thailand
5. Tokyo, Japan
6. Phuket, Thailand
7. Hong Kong SAR, China
8. Macau SAR, China
9. Taipei, Taiwan
10. Bali, Indonesia

Picture Source :

Related Link :,-no-3-for-nightlife

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Information : Renewing PRC IDs at the Mall

Renewing I.D. for PRC-Licensed Professionals have always been considered  a chore, specially if they live far from PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) main offices which are normally located only in major cities. Even  professionals in Metro Manila where the PRC head office is located, renewing PRC I.D. is not an easy task with the long queues that they have to put up with in the Sampaloc PRC H.O. Renewal of PRC Professional I.D. or license is an every 3-years ritual for professionals.

Now here's a good news for all PRC-licensed professionals renewing their I.D. or license. They can now renew their I.D./licenses at the mall. Please read the PRC advisory below.

Posted by PRC in its official website on 9/4/2012 :

The Professional Regulation Commission is happy to announce the simultaneous opening of PRC I.D. Renewal Centers in nine (9) Metro Manila malls and four (4) provincial malls on September 5, 2012.

Applicants may proceed to any of the nine Metro Manila SM Malls, which include SM Mall of Asia, SM Novaliches, SM Marikina, SM Masinag, SM Manila, SM Quiapo, SM Harrison Plaza, SM Sta. Mesa and SM Sucat; and the four provincial malls; namely, SM Bacoor, SM DasmariƱas, SM Calamba and SM Lipa City, for the renewal of their Professional Identification Cards and the subsequent issuance/release of their renewed professional IDs after seven (7) working days.

PRC Chairperson Teresita R. Manzala stated that the PRC ID Renewal Center at the Malls is another milestone in the Commission’s e-Services projects. Under this public-private partnership, she said that professionals wishing to renew their PRC IDs will now be able to file their applications and claim their IDs at SM Malls at their own convenience, seven days a week and during mall hours, thus effectively extending PRCs services even during weekends and after government office hours.

Related Link :

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Greetings : Happy New Year - 2013

Happy New Year to All!
Wishing everyone a great and 
prosperous year! 

My prayer for this year : That no more destructive typhoons  and 
disasters would come to our beloved country. 

 Thanks to all who visited and read my blog last year.

2013 New Year Countdown at Eastwood with Iyaz
and Mark Mabasa
Joined the crowd at Eastwood City 2013 New Year Countdown and watched great fireworks usher the start of 2013. It was a great experience. 

Picture Source :