No doubt Metro Manila has been a central hub for commerce and trade in the Philippines, but it's not the only city in the country that's capable of supporting the needs of companies of any size and industry. Outside of Metro Manila, businesses can easily settle in Cebu and Davao, if they wanted to escape from a chaotic life in the capital.
But, some people still find it surprising for a company to settle in Iloilo City first, rather than build a reputation and nurture a network in Manila before branching out to provinces in other regions of the Philippines. So, why is Iloilo City a great alternative to metro cities like Manila, Cebu and Davao?
#1 Iloilo City isn't as congested and frequently flooded as Metro Manila.
The traffic in Metro Manila is estimated to cost the national government a whopping 3.5 billion pesos EACH DAY. JICA suggests that building more infrastructure is key to reducing this ballooning problem. Aside from efforts to provide more transportation options, the government also pushes for more even distribution of job opportunities to nearby provinces as well as cities in other regions.
Photo Credit: Maayong Balita (The Good News)
The efforts of the local government units in Iloilo paid off. The city was successfully reinvented as a more laid-back version of the capital -- just as sophisticated and conducive for business but the streets are relatively safer. When heavy rains come, the downpour can result sometimes to a little flooding but it's less frequent now that the JICA Flood Control Project has completed phase 1 and is now continuing to phase 2.
#2 Iloilo Business Park has proven to be a catalyst for social and economic growth in the City of Love.
When renowned property developer, Megaworld Corporation, built Iloilo Business Park (IBP), it was believed that the township would "put the province in a better position to take on a more crucial role towards nation building and to become a more significant contributor to the country's overall economic growth." Stakeholders are hoping that Iloilo City becomes a Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) destination.
Image Credit: Carlene Caratao
IBP has an interesting population of locators and investors, mostly belonging to the outsourcing industry. The township's status as a mixed-use special economic zone strongly appeals to IT-BPO companies. Other PEZA-accredited business locations include Iloilo Technohub situated in nearby Riverside Boardwalk, SMCI IT Center located along Benigno Aquino Avenue, and Cornerstone Business Center in Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao.
#3 Iloilo City is a regional center for academic excellence.
More than 30 colleges and universities are found in Iloilo City alone. On average, they produce around 15,000 college graduates each year. More than a fifth of them are Business degree holders. Nearly 15 percent have Math and IT degrees while about 6 percent are Engineering graduates.
Image Credit: Iloilo Business Park Official Blog
Property consultant Colliers International noted that Iloilo has the potential to be a knowledge processing hub (KPO) for services like health information management (HIM) and software engineering "given the large number of nursing, IT, and engineering graduates that the city and its neighboring towns and provinces produce every year." In addition, a number of universities in Iloilo are already incorporating medical transcription courses into their regular nursing and medical technology programs.
#4 Iloilo City was recognized as a Center of Excellence for BPO companies by DOST and IT-BPAP.
Iloilo City has been awarded as a Center of Excellence for BPO companies by the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines. Before that, the city ranked as one of the Top 10 Next Wave Cities in the Philippines in 2010 and 2012. It was also recognized as a most business-friendly local government unit and as one of the most livable cities in the world, among other things.
#5 Iloilo City and neighborhood towns in the province of Iloilo are rich in culture and tradition.
Work without time set aside for rest and relaxation makes one's employees dull and exhausted most of the time. But, when outsourcing companies invest in office space or set up captured operations in Iloilo City, there's always something fun and culturally rich as well as historically meaningful to experience along the way.
While in Iloilo, visitors can enjoy a historic tour of Spanish-era churches and Antillean houses. After an especially tiring tour, they may fill their bellies with a savory spread of Ilonggo cuisine in local restaurants. It's always a joy to taste the many flavors of Iloilo, which combines a heritage of Chinese, Spanish, and American dishes to serve to their guests.
Batchoy is a famous Ilonggo dish. Popular dining spots serving batchoy are found in Lapaz, Iloilo City. Photo Credit: Looloo
Many savvy entrepreneurs have also settled in the City of Love, so now we're experiencing a kind of renaissance, discovering a wide range of foreign and local cuisines and a greater appreciation of not only the classic but also the modern and avant-garde in the art world.
One, two or three of these reasons may convince you that Iloilo City is a great investment choice. But if all of these appeal to you, then there's no question about it. Iloilo City is the perfect place for you to do business with an outsourcing company.