Double Dragon steps up expansion in 2018

It is the closest to exponential growth in business. At the least, it is phenomenal.

Double Dragon Properties Corp. is stepping up its pace of property development all across the country in 2018 to meet its target of opening 600,000 square meters in leasable space with 24 new CityMalls, Central Hubs (warehousing) and commercial/office space with its Meridian property on Roxas Boulevard. Along with it are new hotel developments carrying the Hotel 101 brand.

This was revealed by Ferdinand “Toto” Sia, President of Double Dragon Properties Corp., during the opening of the 26th CityMall, and the third in Iloilo City, on March 23, 2018 in Pavia, Iloilo.

“Right now, we already have 330,000 square meters in leasable space,” Ferdinand, younger brother of Mang Inasal founder Edgar “Injap” Sia, told this writer.

The City Malls are operated by CityMall Commercial Centers, Inc., a subsidiary of Double Dragon Properties, Inc. Double Dragon owns 64% of CMCCI and 34% is owned by SM Invesments Corp.

Ferdinand said the Central Hub at the Luisita Industrial Park in Tarlac will be Double Dragon’s first venture in industrial leasing that will also spread out across the archipelago. The project will rise on a 6.2-hectare property. The company has also acquired a 3.9-hectare property for an Iloilo Central Hub. Ultimately, Central Hub Industrial Leasing Corp., the Double Dragon subsidiary that will develop these warehousing facilities, will open one facility for every province to provide support for business and industrial growth in the countryside.

But what will perhaps be its biggest leap is the opening of the DD Meridian Park on a 4.75-hectare property in the Bay Area this year. Ferdinand said the DD Meridian Park will be inaugurated on May 7 this year. Already, Double Dragon has moved its corporate headquarters to Meridian, as have the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and 2Go Group.

The opening of CityMall Pavia also signals the emergence of Pavia municipality from a sleepy bedroom community on the outskirts of Iloilo City into a bustling business hub. Situated just on the boundary between Iloilo City and Pavia, the new CityMall will give impetus to the economic development of the LGU. Also set to open in the next two or three months are Robinson’s Pavia and GT Mall Pavia; both are located just a hundred meters from CityMall.

Four years ago, Double Dragon surprised Iloilo when it dared build the 21-story Injap Tower on the Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue (or known locally as the “Iloilo Diversion Road”). This first-ever skyscraper was the first Iloilo building to go higher than six floors. It houses the Hotel 101, a restaurant on the top floor and other amenities. Before this, most businessmen in Iloilo believed skyscrapers were not feasible.

The Injap Tower became the trigger for the upward development of the Iloilo skyline. Right now, the 18 story SM Strata (with its high floor-to-ceiling configuration) is rising a few hundred feet above Injap Tower which is just beside it. SM Strata now dwarfs Injap Tower. Elsewhere, other high-rise buildings in Megaworld and Atria have been completed.

The boldness with which the Sia brothers, and their sister, Marissa, in partnership with Tony Tan Caktiong and his Jollibee group of food companies (Jollibee, Chowking, Mang Inasal and Highlands Coffee) has propelled Double Dragon into a path of phenomenal growth since it went public in 2014. Its first IPO offering was oversubscribed 14X even before the opening bell rang. From P2.00 per share, Double Dragon stocks were traded at P31.30 per share at the close of the Philippine stock market last Friday, March 23, 2018.

On March 2, 2018, Reuters reported that Double Dragon’s fiscal year net income rose 71.8% year-on-year to P2.53 billion.

This can only be described as amazing for Injap and Toto whose first ventures in Iloilo City back in the 1980s were a laundry business, a color photography processing lab and a small hotel (Four Season Hotel in partnership with friends). Injap, the prime mover, was already regarded as “bold” at the time. He was young and aggressive, seeming to know no fear in his pioneering ventures. His laundry business, Mr. Labada, was the first in Iloilo; many people doubted it would last. Now Mr. Labada operates several branches in Iloilo City.

But Injap jumped into the fastlane when he opened Mang Inasal in 2003. Barbecued chicken isn’t an out-of-the-ordinary recipe that held the promise of mass appeal. In Iloilo and Bacolod cities, “chicken inasal” is prepared and served almost the same way, with the difference in the marination. Somehow, Injap concocted what could be described as the “perfect recipe” for “chicken inasal” and built his chain of Mang Inasal stores on this.

And the rest is history.

This property empire that Double Dragon is building will probably be described as “the house that chicken inasal built.”


Jed’s deal with Injap on Parola terminal “dead” – lawyer

The controversial P135-million private-public partnership (PPP) agreement between the Iloilo City government and Double Dragon Properties Inc. has been permanently shelved after a prominent Ilonggo lawyer based in Manila voiced his strong objections to City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog.

This was revealed Tuesday by Atty. Rex Rico who said he was assured by Mabilog that the contract under its present terms and conditions has been “held in abeyance indefinitely”. 

Atty. Rico spoke to this writer at the De Paul College where the Hall of Justice is temporarily situated. Both of us chanced upon each other at Branch 35.

“It’s scrapped for all intents and purposes,” Atty. Rico said. “But if they insist on proceeding with the contract, then I’ll go all the way to the Supreme Court to question its legality.”

Atty. Rico made this disclosure after I thanked him for the views he had expressed at a cable TV interview several months ago on the lopsided terms and conditions of the contract. I said I felt vindicated by his coming out to question the contract as “null and void” and that it will put city officials in hot waters if implemented.

“No, I went a step further after that interview,” he said. “I wrote City Mayor Mabilog telling him he would be liable criminally along with the city council,” he added.

At first, his letter was just ignored by Mabilog and Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III, he said. “After about a month, I sent another letter reminding them that they could be charged before the Ombudsman for failure to reply to my letter,” he said.

That’s when both Mabilog and Espinosa wrote him on the status of the project, he revealed.

Atty. Rico reminded Mabilog that he wasn’t raising his objections for any other purpose than to make sure the law isn’t violated, he told me. “It’s not because of politics. He knows that I had supported his candidacy, and in fact, my brother is working as his Executive Assistant,” he said.

He added it’s understandable for Mabilog not to admit publicly that the contract was littered with anomalous terms and conditions after I had filed a case against him before the Ombudsman.

When I told him that Mabilog operated four Mang Inasal outlets in Metro Manila and Luzon, Atty. Rico said that this exposed the local chief executive to the issue of “conflict of interest”.

“I didn’t know that, but if that is indeed true, then Mabilog violated the anti-graft law when he signed the contract,” he explained.

Ilonggos at the fore

Two big news stories placed Iloilo in the national limelight this week: the first was the appointment of His Excellency, Most Reverend Msgr. Jose Palma of Dingle, Iloilo, as the new Archbishop of Cebu to replace His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, upon his retirement. The other is the buy-out of a 70%-controlling interest of the Ilonggo food chain, Mang Inasal, by the Jollibee Food Corp. for P3 billion.

Ilonggos have always achieved great heights in every field of endeavor. In politics, we have two prominent Senators: Franklin M. Drilon and Miriam Defensor Santiago. In the House of Representatives, 2nd termer Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. (5th district, Iloilo) is emerging as another important political figure with his battle to proceed with the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

In business, particularly media, we have the Lopez family-controlled ABS-CBN network and Bombo Radyo Network of Dr. Roger Florete. In the flour business, the Uygongcos are giving the traditional giants stiff competition. Indeed, there is hardly a business, profession or field where an Ilonggo isn’t among the trend-setters. In literature, arts, music, we are also there.

This is yet another moment to feel proud about being an Ilonggo.