About twelve years ago, when the country was experiencing an economic crisis, my team and I were tasked to sell a new Rockwell Land project. It obviously wasn’t the best of times, and it felt like selling prophylactics to the Opus Dei community. We had to turn to Victor Hugo’s eloquent prose to convince our targets: “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come”. We had to woo nurses and retirees in the States. It remained a tough sell. Erap was in power. The pessimism and the resistance to invest continued with Gloria Arroyo usurping more power.
Now, it’s a different story. The property boom is transforming the Manila skyline, and every urban center in the Philippines. “Verdant greens” and “luxury living” pepper print and outdoor advertising.
I just came from the launching of Proscenium, Rockwell’s most premium development since the original West Block cluster in the old power plant. There were signs that all was really well for the erstwhile sick man of Asia. There was a fabulous launch to begin with. A Filipino corporation could now commission a man like Carlos Ott, the Uruguayan architect behind the iconic L’Opéra Bastille in Paris, to design Rockwell Center part 2. The design of the buildings is not at all austere. Proscenium will have a performing arts center, which we don’t have much of in this side of town. A (nonessential) theatre in a condo complex would’ve been unthinkable a decade ago. Dozens of units have been sold on launch day. Our advertising was sure, confident and no longer equivocal.
We’re finally living in happy times. It’s about time.