This slogan, launched by the country’s Department of Tourism, is not just a catchy marketing gimmick. The Philippines, long known for its beautiful beaches and colorful festivals, has also risen to become one of Asia’s entertainment and shopping hubs. Even entrepreneurs have something to celebrate: it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, second only to China in growth among all Asian countries, and experts believe that the next few years will be even better.
The city that works hard, and parties harder!
Makati, Ortigas, and the Fort are the main business centers in Metro Manila. These places are home to thousands of offices, including eight of the Fortune 25 top companies: J.P Morgan Chase & Co., HSBC Holdings, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Citigroup, Total, Allianz, and Bank of China. One can also find the local headquarters of the world’s biggest direct selling companies, such as Avon, Tupperware Brands, Mary Kay, Herbalife and Nuskin.
Makati alone is home to 55 embassies and many international organizations, such as UNICEF, USAID, and the United Nations Information Center. In Ortigas, one will find the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. Dynamic corporations such as Del Monte, Tetra Pak, Sunlife, Splash and BASF made Bonifacio Global City the base of their operations.
After 6 PM, millions of workers head to bars, restaurants and clubs to relax and shake off the day’s stress. Some of them go to Glorietta and Greenbelt, conveniently located next to bus terminals and the MRT public railways. Others prefer cozy bistros tucked in Jupiter street or Legaspi street. Those lucky enough to work in The Fort enjoy the best of both worlds — offices, dining establishments, and public transportation terminals are all within walking distance. If they live in the residential condos in the area, they could enjoy a few rounds of beer and then be home in 10 minutes.
A shopper’s paradise
Manila is home to three of the world’s largest malls. An article in USA TODAY described these malls as “mini cities” complete with department stores, spas, theaters and even recreational facilities like an Olympic-sized skating rink and bowling alleys. Makati City alone has 5 major malls. Aside from these large malls, shoppers can find handcrafted items, organic produce and local delicacies at the Salcedo and Legaspi weekend markets.
Golf, games and gambling
Recreation is never more than a short drive away. Resorts World, across the NAIA airport, is a casino and entertainment complex that’s been called a “bid for the gaming crown of Asia”.
Those who’d rather have a quiet game of golf can head to Makati’s Fort Bonifacio Golf Club and Manila Golf and Country Club. The Villamor Golf Club is in the nearby city of Pasay; more can be found in the easily accessible cities of Quezon and Alabang. Avid golfers also enjoy escaping to the rolling hills and beaches of Batangas, where the greens overlook stunning vistas.
With over 7,000 islands, the Philippines offers more beaches than a man can visit in his lifetime. However, some of its beaches consistently end up in the “Best of” lists of travel websites and magazines. These include Boracay (known for its soft white sand and nightlife), El Nido (which has excellent diving spots, diverse wildlife, and stunning limestone cliffs), Palaui Island (a pristine beach with a coral and marine preserve), and Caramoan (often used as a Hollywood shooting location–and was recently the stage for Survivor).
Ripe for investment and profit
Many entrepreneurs and companies are heading to the Philippines. It is one of the strongest and most stable economies; even after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda, Moody’s Analytics said it was expected to sustain its strong growth next year. Senior economist Glenn Levine even said, “The Philippines continues to outperform and will remain one of the world’s fastest growing economies in 2014.”
As of 2013, the Philippines has posted a 7.4% economic growth due to strong consumer demand, government spending, and rising investments.
Many companies choose the Philippines because of the quality of the work force. Filipinos are well-educated, and the majority can speak English very fluently. The country’s geographic location also makes it one of the best places for headquarters in the Asia Pacific region.
Have more fun in the Philippines
The travel, shopping, and recreational and financial opportunities are just some of the benefits enjoyed by those who live, work and do business in the Philippines. But perhaps the greatest benefit isn’t even one that can be measured by economists or captured by the travel photos. “It is easy to create a balanced, high quality of life here in Manila,” says one expat. “It has all the energy and luxury of a cosmopolitan city, but the people are friendly and the cost of living is much lower than one might find in New York or Paris.” Residential units in upscale developments like Megaworld at The Fort are world-class, and have the rare quality of being close to business centers but still have the peace and quiet of a suburban subdivision. “It is more fun in the Philippines. I can see myself retiring here–it is a wonderful place to live in.”