Former political figure Manny Villar discusses affordable housing and how his company Vista Land is being part of the solution.
From building real estate empire Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. to trying his hand at politics, Manuel “Manny” B. Villar, Jr.’s belief in the mantra “sipag at tiyaga” has served him well. Now that his days in Senate and Congress are over, he’s back in the property industry saddle, this time with a better perspective of how to run things efficiently. And the project on his plate right now involves increasing the supply of properties targeted at the country’s affordable housing market.
His desire to provide Filipinos with adequate but reasonably priced properties started almost 40 years ago with the conceptualization of Camella Homes and the now defunct Palmera Homes. Now, still armed with the sipag at tiyaga principle, he’s taking on the mass housing market with the establishment of Bria and Lumina, two home brands with price tags that are even more attractive to the aspiring Filipino homeowner on a budget.
MyProperty.ph sat down with Villar and gathered his thoughts on his past political venture, his current projects and what the future holds for his brand.
You started out in real estate, and then moved into politics. Now that you’re back in real estate, how do you think the experience has changed you?
Now that I’m back in business, it’s rare for someone in my industry to have been in politics. Now I have two ways of looking at things, from a business and political perspective.
When I was just a businessman, it was just pure business, making the company bigger. In politics, it became public service. Now that I’ve come back to business, it’s not totally back to pure play. The big aspect in my business now is CSR work. You can’t go back to those days that you ignore the call for public service.
Speaking of public service, one of the issues concerning real estate these days is the low supply of socialized housing. How is Vista Land addressing the issue?
Bria Lumina represents the group’s mass housing effort. We came from mass housing. It used to be Camella and Palmera (C&P) that started our mass housing thrusts. Then we decided that C&P should go up to affordable housing. But then, two years ago, I decided to address once more the mass housing market with Bria Lumina. This is the market we began from, and we’re most familiar with. So we moved back into this segment with ease.
What’s the difference between Bria Homes and Lumina Homes?
Bria houses are priced slightly higher, at Php650,000 to Php1.5 million. Lumina Homes are priced at Php500,000.
What’s your prediction of Bria and Lumina’s production rate?
In the future, we expect this to be close in production volumes to Camella Homes.
How else would you say are you being of service to Filipinos through your real estate work?
My wife Cynthia is into a lot of CSR work. As for myself, I’m putting up my fifth chapel now. I’ve been building people’s houses, now I also build the house of God.
What other aspects of your property business are you currently focusing on?
I’m in retailing right now, and very bullish in it. There’s the AllDay convenience stores and the AllHome depot store.