Wednesday, May 5, 2010 [ sunstar.com.ph ]
By Rinnah B. Flores
AFTER years abroad, Arniel Armamento returned to his native Cebu to put up his own company. His first project? A “dream community” in his own municipality, Sogod.
“Where life is so good in Sogod,” quipped Kevin Cormack, a corporate consultant of the JC Armamento Development (JCAD) Inc., during its groundbreaking ceremony last May 2.
Sicily, the first subdivision development in the northern Cebu town, is a mixture of three communities in one address. The P400-million project will be the flagship of JCAD, which officially opened last November 2009.
With its three phases—the Sogod Bay Residences, Sogod Campo Grande and Teachers’ Village—Sicily hopes to attract foreigners, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and local workers.
Sogod Bay Residences will consist of 15 high-end houses for affluent foreigners married to Filipinos who want to make the Philippines their second home. It is located at the beachfront.
Sogod Campo Grande, with 121 residential units, will be marketed to OFWs, while the Teachers’ Village will provide 184 affordable homes for local workers.
The subdivision draws its name from the observation that its beachfront and greenery appear similar to Italy’s Sicilain coast.
The project will start pre-selling after three to six months, Armamento said.
Before working in Dubai, Armamento was a disc jockey in Cebu, known as DJ Josh, eight years ago. When he went to Dubai, he managed to save capital, and now owns different businesses there, including The Filipino Expats Magazine.
He was on a career high when the economic downturn hit hard.
Armamento, however, said he observed during trips to Thailand, Hong Kong and other destinations that, in contrast, Filipinos continued to go to malls and restaurants, and the housing sector continued its steady gains.
“When the First World market slowed down, we looked for new emerging markets. The Southeast Asia became an enticing market and, for sure, the Philippines is in an upward trend,” said Armamento.
After convincing his business partners there’s always a good opportunity lurking around the corner, he was able to start JCAD.
Located in Labogon, Mandaue City, JCAD is in partnership with Majestic LLC Group of Dubai, which is in the hospitality and finance business and headed by its managing partner, Omar Al Mazrooqi.
JCAD’s future projects include Easterville Subdivision in Lapu-lapu City, a seaside community in Cordova and another one in Talisay.
“I represent the other OFWs who work hard abroad and come back to help their community through the skills they gained outside,” said Armamento. “My vision is for OFWs to come home and help their country through their talents. For sure, the Philippines will become better.”