Rich Cultural Heritage as Capital for Progress

July 3, 2017

16

At a glance, the province of Pampanga is a vision of continued progress.

Local and foreign manufacturers and traders continue to flock to Pampanga to take advantage of what this province can offer: a skilled labor pool, infrastructure, and enough space to set up their shops and facilities. In fact, some of the world’s most renowned fashion and luxury brands are being produced in this province.

A report released by Colliers International Philippines earlier this week also noted that Pampanga is expected to corner “the bulk of township-related investments in the region” given the government’s commitment to pursue key infrastructure projects in that region.

The planned townships, Colliers added, are allotting a significant space for industrial parks, which could further enhance Pampanga’s appeal to existing and prospective locators.

Regional center

And of course, the capital of Pampanga, the City of San Fernando, fares no differently.

The government seat of Central Luzon mirrors a similar economic momentum that has well attracted tourists, residents, and investors to this bustling metropolis.

San Fernando City, for one, is regarded as the center of commerce and trade in Region III, and is considered a vital component of the industrial corridor of Central Luzon.

Citing a previous study, the local government of San Fernando claimed that the city’s strategic location within the Manila Clark-Subic Economic Triangle “makes it a growing agro-industrial-commercial metropolis” that is “economically competitive.”

Needless to say, this 6,774-hectare city capital also packs a punch as far as trade and investments are concerned.

Rich cultural heritage

But more than its growing economy, the City of San Fernando is also being defined largely by its rich and well preserved cultural heritage—be it for its culinary expertise, festivities, old customs and traditions, or its distinct craftmanship.

A cursory look at the streets of San Fernando would already showcase a fervent passion and commitment to preserving legacies, evident in the cluster of heritage houses that continue to stand proud despite being built more than a century ago.

Talk about ingenuity and craftsmanship and San Fernando can boast of having preserved its famed giant lantern tradition, enabling it to lay a strong claim to titles such as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” and “Home of the Giant Lanterns” among others.

Come Holy Week, the “Via Cruzis”, which portrays the passion and death of Jesus Christ, remains a crowd drawer, attracting local and foreign tourists as well as students of tradition and culture.

And that’s just the tip of it.

The City of San Fernando clearly places much pride in, and has such a strong affinity with its cultural heritage, which seems to have seamlessly blended with the progress and modernity of the city.

First foray

For companies like real estate giant Megaworld Corp., this rich cultural heritage and the city’s strong affinity to it have become an inspiration to create its first integrated urban township in the North.

Earlier this month, Megaworld announced that it would start work this year on the 35.6-hectare Capital Town, which would require an investment of P30 billion over a decade.

It is set to rise on the former site of the historic sugar central of the Pampanga Sugar Development Co. (Pasudeco), just 30 minutes away from the Clark International Airport.

“This 10-year development plan will integrate residential, office, commercial, retail, and institutional components, like we usually bring with our townships,” said Eugene Lozano, Megaworld first vice president for sales and marketing.

“Besides functional road networks, 25 percent of the entire township will have landscaped open spaces, pocket gardens, water features, small parks, and trails for leisure walks, jogging, or biking activities. There will also be tribute statues of different Kapampangan iconic personalities, local heroes, and playwrights, (among others),” he explained.

In preservation of the important artifacts in the city, some of the former sugar mill’s bull gears, century-old bricks, and local Kapampangan materials will be integrated as points of interests, he added.

The Capital Town Pampanga, Lozano further noted, is envisioned to expand and revitalize the Pampanga’s Provincial Capitol District. The project is seen to generate around 250,000 direct and indirect jobs in the business process outsourcing sector, transport, retail, food, and construction sectors, among others.

“While Pasudeco helped thousands of people generate jobs and livelihood in the area during the time of its operations, Megaworld takes cue from this inspiring heritage by moving forward with its values as San Fernando enters a new phase of growth as a capital,” Lozano added.

Unique township

According to Lozano, Capital Town is poised to become a unique township, to emerge as the next central business district of the north, growing from the roots of San Fernando.

Megaworld, he stressed, is out to promote progress while preserving traditions and values, as well as to instill a renewed pride among Kapampangans.

“We also want to protect and preserve Pampanga’s rich heritage and culture for this generation and the next to come. History shall be used as a tool towards progress, and that’s exactly what we want to deliver,” Lozano claimed.

Among the unique features of Capital Town include a dedicated museum in honor of the Pasudeco heritage; its own cyber park which will introduce new opportunities for the BPO sector; a rainwater park to address the flooding system as studied from the area; the Casa Emperador; the Amphitheater and Events Trade Hall; and its signature Shophouse District.

“As the leading real estate developer in the Philippines, it has always been our mission to look for areas with massive growth potential, and develop these areas to the best form we can accomplish,” Lozano said.

“The Capital Town Pampanga project will not only give the entire Region 3 an economic and lifestyle boost, but we also expect this to solidify our position as game-changers in the property industry. This township is expected to heighten tourism, business, and commerce which will contribute to our investment relations,” Lozano concluded.

Source: Amy R. Remo of Philippine Daily Inquirer

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