Palafox Architecture Group, Inc.

The Palafox Architecture Group is the architectural design arm of Palafox Associates

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Summer is upon us and what better way to cool down than heading to the beach. Boracay remains to be top of mind for scenic sunsets and eventful escapes. In this vast wonderland lies Henann Group of Resorts’ first beachfront resort in Boracay, Prime Beach Resort, located in Station 1. The Henann Group also has several resorts in Boracay (i.e. Henann Regency Resort & Spa, Henann Lagoon Resort, and Henann Garden Resort) as well as in Bohol (i.e. Henann Resort Alona Beach).

The stifling traffic congestion of Metro Manila can be attributed to these major factors: land use pattern, expensive housing in Central Business Districts caused by surrounding low-density and gated subdivisions, the bias towards automobiles, and the lack of urban growth centers outside Metro Manila. The development of urban growth centers outside Metro Manila will also be necessary to act as counter-magnets. Building international airports in Clark, Batangas, and other urban growth centers will also boost urban developments outside Metro Manila.

When typhoon Lawin hit Hong Kong, I was at the 108th floor of the Ritz Carlton building. A 180 kph gust of wind brought by the category 8 typhoon (in Hong Kong ratings) slammed at the building, and there I stood in awe watching how the city prepared for potential disasters. The windows of the buildings were covered with nets to protect people from possible shards of glass.

Green design is more than considering the materials used, reducing water and power consumption, and the proper siting and orientation of buildings. It is also about having a holistic outlook on how each development will impact people and the environment. Green building should not be seen as an isolated project, independent from other developments and from the rest of the community.

WHEN I was beginning my career as an architect and urban planner, I had the opportunity to travel around the world and observe on the best practices of successful cities. This was one of the perks of being name-hired by the government of Dubai. The rulers of Dubai wanted us to get inspirations from the most progressive cities and learn from their best practices as well as mistakes made, which was my first exposure to benchmarking.

Housing in the cities of Makati and Quezon has become too expensive for its laborers, pushing them to live as far as Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan. During peak hours in the morning and the evening, EDSA and C-5 is a standstill because of unbearable traffic congestion and over-capacity in traffic density. 

CHRISTMAS of 1976 will always be memorable for me. Sultan Khalifa Al Habtoor, of Dubai, was looking for urban planners who will help the Ruler of Dubai to plan, design, and develop Dubai from the third world to the first. If I remember correctly, I first came across Dubai in one of my uncle’s encyclopedia. It said there, 0 percent paved roads. It even misspelled the country as “Dibai.

ARE Philippine businesses ready for climate change? This was the general question of the business leaders, scientists, professionals, and policymakers who attended the “Business Resiliency Summit” of the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines last May 26. Business leaders emphasized that business and government offices should be located in secondary and tertiary cities for emergency urban growth centers as an alternative to Metro Manila, and counter magnets to regional growth to “Imperial Manila.”

From the moment I heard the news about the recent earthquakes in Southern Japan and in Ecuador, I cannot help it but remind everyone what will happen to Metro Manila if a 7.2 earthquake occurs today. Ecuador was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and Japan with 7.3. The death toll in Ecuador is currently around 400 and counting, in Japan around 41. But what is more worrisome, based from the JICA study done in 2004, the death toll for Metro Manila will be around 30,000 from the earthquake and around 20,000 from the ensuing fire. It is a far cry from Ecuador and Japan. Since the publishing of the study, what have we done to prepare for it? Are we ready for it?

Hotels and resorts are the backbone of the P280–billion tourism industry. The quality of accommodations and services majorly affect the decision-making of tourists. A destination could have the most exciting adventures and the grandest views to offer, but at the end of the day, the tourist will need a place to recover and relax.