T1 Regional Portfolio: Exploring Cebu as the Visayan Capital

Cebu is considered as the Queen City of the South in the Philippines. Primarily known for its bustling tourism industry, the provincial island boasts of its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and rich culture and heritage. It is also emerging as an economic center out of Metro Manila for local and international occupiers that are looking to locate their business outside of Luzon.

Over the years, Cebu’s Tourism Industry has been in an all-time high as more local and international travelers flock to the province’s white sand beaches with crystal clear waters, captivating caves and adventure spots, and its rich culture and heritage. According to the Department of Tourism, Cebu was the 2nd top foreign destination in the Philippines with over 1.4 million international travelers in 2019.

T1’s hospitality builds portfolio continues to grow in this region as we partner with the newest luxury boutique hotel in Mactan.

This high-end hotel and resort is set to be the next architectural icon in the island of Mactan that would offer local and international guests a world class experience. T1 has provided project management, design management, and quantity surveying consultancy for this resort opening soon.

Cebu Central Business District also emerges as a viable location for businesses in the Visayan Region. Cebu IT Park and Cebu Business Park provides commercial spaces that companies can use as office or for retail establishments.

Among the office establishments within the Cebu CBD, JEG Tower @ One Acacia stands out as the newest premium green building. Being LEED Pre-certified Silver, it aims to be among the best places to work in the city.

T1 Project Management has partnered with JEG Development Corporation, one of the most established developers in the Cebu region. Having carried out several horizontal developments, JDC has embarked on their first mid-rise development through this future-proof structure that integrates sustainability and sophistication.

Aside from office buildings in Cebu, T1 also handles office fit-outs. World Remit is a multinational company who looked to Cebu as the ideal location for their Philippine branch. T1’s regional operations in Cebu provided for them a hassle-free turn-key solution by way of T1’s Design and Build service.

Cebu is an emerging economic and hospitality destination in the Philippines. Supported by sustained government projects and commercial real estate developments, this metropolitan city outside Luzon is set to be more successful and highlyurbanized in the coming years.

Meet the Team Heads: Dovie Ancheta, Licensed Architect and Head of Iloilo Office and Operations

“Construction, project, and people management have always been my passion since I was little,” T1’s Iloilo Team Head Dovie Ancheta shares. “Earning people’s trust and respect, by advocating and sharing professionalism and passion to a high standard work quality is a small but satisfying return that I will never get tired of.”

Being assigned to spearhead a team away from the head office is a balance of excitement, opportunity, and struggle for Dovie who is a licensed architect. Iloilo is known as one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines and one of the emerging next wave cities in the country. She spearheads a remote team in the province which primarily handles corporate and hospitality projects for firms, multinational companies, hotels, and resorts in Visayas.

“It’s like an all-expense-paid vacation! Accommodation, transportation, and food are all included,” Dovie joked when asked about the best part of her work. “But kidding aside, it is always a good experience to be assigned elsewhere, meeting and managing new people we end up being friends with who are potential assets to myself and the company.”

Dovie acknowledges that it takes a lot of responsibility, dedication, and skills to lead a remote team. Representing T1 in Iloilo, she shares that more than creating connections, she aims to “establish mutual trust and respect between the team and people we work with.”

“Not only within the T1 team, but also to the people we mingle with daily – from our clients, vendors, and contractors to our drivers, guards, and local construction workers,” Dovie said. “For me, our field is not only delivering the project in a quality and timely manner, but it is also keeping our peers/network intact with mutual trust and good relationship upon each and every closeout.”

In contrast with the competitive, fast-paced, almost 24/7 working time in Manila and Metro Cebu, Dovie shared that their approach is ‘gentler’, adapting to the local cultureof their clients in Iloilo. “Locals are very ‘malambing’ (sweet) and ‘matampuhin’ (sensitive)’,” she shared. “Language barrier can be difficult as well, but it is always good to expand our vocabulary skills.”

However, this change in leadership style and work culture does not diminish T1’s commitment to delivering quality projects and builds. “We maintain the company’s standards in delivering quality work harmoniously.” Working amid the pandemic opened a greater challenge for Dovie and the team. “It was like a bomb, but we dared to continue working with extreme caution,” she shared. “Despite the pandemic, the team agreed to report on-site to set an example and display the sense of urgency and continuity to the project overall—strictly following health protocol and measures.”

Dovie takes pride in practicing a standard throughout every work or task she is assigned to. “I am proud of managing people and earning respect and trust, not only from the team internally but most especially from our clients.” She also feels most proud of starting up a project and setting up a standard system.

“I personally am grateful to learn something new in the process, including understanding how to deal with different types of people we work with,” she shared. “While I am an architect by profession, my passion is inclined to project and people management.”

T1’s ideals and company values inspire Dovie to be a great leader and example to her team. “T1 will always stand out by maintaining and meeting our network’s crucial expectations with utmost importance.”

For Dovie, the best reward in her line of work is the satisfaction of delivering beyond the client’s requirements and standards. “I literally got a random “tight hug” from our client’s CEO after a high-level meeting. Everyone had an “awe” face after that. It sounds funny, but her way of showing appreciation (in front of her company’s directors and chairman), made it unexpected and very memorable to me.”

Aside from delivering quality results, T1 inspires their people to do what they love and enjoy what they do. “I’ll share what I recall from our company chairman, who used to ask us one by one in the office before: “Are you happy? Because that’s also very important”. This same question made me realize that our team values and ethics are not only about delivering quality output and meeting demands, it is also about ensuring our people are well managed. It’s never the quantity, but always the quality of our work.”

Meet the Team Heads: Bien Bullicer, Head of Operations, Visayas and Mindanao

T1 Project Management continues to expand their diverse portfolio and regional operations to emerging key locations outside Metro Manila. Focusing on hospitality and corporate builds, Bien Bullicer spearheads the team that handles accounts mainly in Metro Cebu . He oversees the regional operations of T1 in Visayas and Mindanao.

From offices, commercial spaces, and hotel fit-outs and refurbishments, Bien is the one coordinating with the main office located in Manila. Despite the distance, he noted that the experience in leading a regional arm of T1 by himself is challenging yet exciting.

“Though I am based in Cebu, there is still a lot of guidance and learning along the way,” Bien said. “Working closely with our chairman Dan Anderson, and through the help of Dave and John, T1’s expertise is successfully delivered even outside of Metro Manila and to Visayas and Mindanao.”

Project Execellence Despite the Distance

T1 ensures that the regional team delivers the best quality and value of service even outside Luzon. Committed to delivering project excellence regardless of location, Bien ensures that the company’s values and standards are observed and implemented in every project.

“We maintain relationships with our network here to keep us off the ground, but with close communication and alignment with the head office and the rest of the team, we are always in the right direction.”

Bien also takes pride that T1 is always client-centric from conceptualization to handing over of the keys. “We maintain relationships and camaraderie with our clients like no other,” he added.

Beating Heart of T1

When asked about the most challenging part of his job, he shared that he finds managing different kinds of people is most crucial and yet the most essential.

“It’s always about managing people—whether they are contractors, suppliers, consultants, clients or even our own project managers,” he said. “Talking to people and finding out each and everyone’s expectations is crucial in our line of work. This is how you can actually get things done.” Bien attributes the success of T1’s operations to his teammates, which he called the ‘beating heart’ of the company.

“It is always challenging to balance between business and people,” he shared. “Working with them and winning projects are always memorable for me. These makes all things worthwhile.”