MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
(From left) CREBA executive vice president Melesa Elsie Chua, CREBA past president and incumbent vice-chairman Jerry Navarette, the author, CREBA president Noel Toti Cariño, and CREBA director Rosemarie Basa.

I was recently invited to speak at the National Convention and Housing Expo of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations, Inc., more popularly known as CREBA, on its Golden Anniversary.

The milestone event, held at the SMX Convention Center and Conrad Hotel Manila, had for its themes “Unlocking Investment,” “Building the Future” and “Sustainable Solutions.” I spoke on the last one on sustainability, and my heartfelt thanks to my good friend, the visionary and indefatigable Noel “Toti” Cariño, CREBA national president, for the invitation.

In my speech, I said that infrastructure development goes together with real estate property development, and that there was no need to expound on this, as I was pretty sure the audience, composed of firms and professionals involved in the various aspects of the real property business, knew this by heart.

I cited the example of our CALAX project in Southern Luzon: the Cavite-Laguna Expressway envisioned to be a four-lane 45-kilometer toll road that will connect the westbound Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (CAVITEX) and the Eastbound Mamplasan Rotunda leading to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

On its completion, it will serve at least 50,000 motorists passing through Laguna and Cavite by reducing travel time to under an hour, alleviating traffic, and providing a safe, efficient, and scenic drive.

CALAX will, literally and figuratively, pave the way for further success in the provinces of Cavite and Laguna. With CALAX opening, these provinces are to benefit as the expressway is expected to bring about burgeoning residential and mixed-use communities, cost-effective business logistics, business investments, growth in employment, and increased tourism activity.

Each of these provinces has ongoing and expanding real estate development projects being undertaken by CREBA members. With the ever-growing strain of businesses centered in Metro Manila, decentralizing has become important to ease traffic congestion and bring economic activity elsewhere. Southern Luzon is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Philippines, and having easier access through roads and highways can help boost the development in provinces found in this region.

With senator and chairman of Senate Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Resettlement Joseph Victor Ejercito.

I also spoke on sustainability and how it is at the core of our businesses at Metro Pacific Investments Corp. As a company that provides essential services in an archipelagic country that is one of the most affected by climate change, we must constantly integrate the welfare of the public into our business strategies to create long-term value. Ultimately, our goal is to contribute to national progress by maximizing our ability to help solve the country’s biggest challenges while keeping investment risks at a minimum.

Part of the challenge of doing business now, more so in the property and housing sectors, is to produce more sustainable solutions in improving the way we do things.

Some months ago, President Marcos Jr. declared the “Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Program” or “4PH” as his flagship program and issued Executive Order No. 34 to support this effort across the nation and with the local government units.

The President has directed the local and national government to work together in building ONE MILLION HOUSES PER YEAR until 2028. This is a rather daunting task, but one that is achievable given the cooperation of all, including the private sector.

I offered a challenge to all and sundry present there that day: 4PH is just one of the projects or programs where we can latch on effective partnerships with government. I urged everyone there to play a key role in the country’s housing development. It isn’t just for our sake, but for the nation’s as well.

I was pretty sure that CREBA will rise to the challenge, as it has done so for the past 50 years, as we “build roads and bridges, houses and buildings together, into the future.”


My congratulations to MediaQuest CEO, as well as Cignal TV president and CEO, Jane Basas for being one of the awardees in PeopleAsia’s Women of Style and Substance 2023 Awards held at the Fairmont Hotel, Makati City.

Upon receiving the award, Jane mentioned that “this award is a testament to the power of style and substance and the impact it can have on the world.”

“When we talk about style, it’s not just about the clothes we wear or the way we present ourselves,” Jane said in her acceptance speech. “It’s about ways in which we navigate the complexities of life. It’s about the elegance in which we treat others and the kindness we show even in the face of challenges.”

“Substance, on the other hand,” Jane added, “is about the depth of our character, the authenticity of our actions, and the unwavering commitment for our values. It is substance that gives style meaning, by transforming it from a mere facade into a force for good.”

Former governor, congressman and chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development Rodolfo Valencia.

Jane expressed her belief that style and substance are key to women being able to change the world. “Let’s keep spreading style and substance and make the world a better place for all.”

Wise words to live by from someone who walks her talk. Kudos, Jane!


My sincere congratulations, too, to the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) on the successful holding of Franchise Asia Philippines 2023 International Franchise Expo at the SMX Convention Center, the biggest and longest running franchise show in Asia.

The expo also coincided with the meetings of the Asia Pacific Franchise Confederation and the World Franchise Council, both at the Conrad Hotel Manila. The PFA is the secretariat for the APFC.

The feedback was that this summit was one of the best attended and you must credit that to Filipino hospitality which is world class.

Franchise Asia moves to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next year.


My heartfelt birthday greetings to one of the more dynamic and hardworking leaders this country has right now, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who recently enjoyed an increase in trust rating to 60 percent in a survey conducted by one of the known research groups in the country.

This speaks well of the kind of work and leadership in Congress that the good Speaker has done.

Happy Birthday, Speaker Martin! May you continue to do good work for the sake of the nation.

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