Philippine investors plow into San Vicente

san-v-beachThe remote beachside municipality of San Vicente in northwestern Palawan, little known outside of the Philippines, is receiving a flood of domestic investors that have sent property prices soaring as further government-led infrastructure spending is announced.

Since major players in the Philippine property scene began acquiring land earlier this year, beachfront property has doubled after recent appraisals, rising from roughly 2,000 pesos to 4,000 pesos per square meter, an industry source told Inside Investor.

San Vicente’s 14 kilometers of coastline has become the hottest commodity in the Philippine tourism industry at a time when Boracay, which has a beachfront of 4 kilometers, is suffering from negative impacts of poor water management systems and over-commercialisation that has bitten into the allure of the white-sand paradise.

At the moment road conditions to San Vicente are “rough” half of the way from Puerto Princesa, the commercial hub of Palawan, and travelers are not advised to take the route at night while air connectivity remains poor.

Yet investors’ early-bird ambitions to grab a piece of the new face on Philippine travel brochures is being stoked by government-lead spending that will transform San Vicente into an accessible destination.

“Over the next three years, San Vicente will be the beneficiary of tremendous infrastructure investment that will guarantee access, including a tourism road connection to the island’s main artery, which – by national policy – must be constructed to national standards,” Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr recently disclosed to Inside Investor.

While the DOT is utilising its segregated tourism infrastructure budget – which amounts to nearly $300 million in 2013 – San Vicente’s development will be majority lead by the private sector.

“The key thing to note with San Vicente is that we are starting from scratch, and private investors are already scrambling for land,” Jimenez reaffirmed.

Besides road upgrades, San Vicente will also get a boost from airport upgrades recently approved for northern Palawan.

In March 4, the Department of Transportation and Communications approved a bidding contract for local developer BCT Trading and Construction to develop the San Vicente Airport with a budget of $1.3 million.

The new San Vicent Airport, located 185 kilometer north of the current common access point in Puerto Princesa, will undergo construction for vehicular parking areas, security fences, perimeter fences and drainage systems, runway extensions, and hill obstruction removal over the next 360 calendar days.

Additionally, the Cesar L. Rodriguez Airport, or Taytay Airport, located approximately 230 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa, will also receive a budget of $1.1 million and act as an improved gateway to El Nido.

Currently, one major resort, Capari, is open for visitors in San Vicente, while many other budget hotels are also open and have been reportedly hiking prices due to land acquisitions.