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November 24, 2007

Seminar on "Housing Retired Urban People" Held

Contributed by Arch. Rex Tamase, BS Architecture


The UAP Diliman Chapter held its second Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminar for FY 2007-2008 on November 24 at the conference room of the Ortigas Home depot.

Entitled “Housing for Retired Urban People,” the seminar featured talks by Ms. Deanne Hernandez and Arch. Miguel Guerrero.

Ms. Hernandez of the private organization Philippine Retirement Incorporated (PRI) lamented that there is a dearth of facilities to house foreign retirees. While retirees from a few selected countries (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, US, China and Europe) alone total more than three hundred million - a large percentage of which decide to reside in another country – the Philippines presently could only accommodate 500 of them; PRI and government agency Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) foresee 3,000 foreign retirees opting to live in the Philippines by 2010, and one million by 2015.

She said that the expected influx of foreign retirees in the country would create jobs for the Filipinos, giving individuals and organizations the opportunity to provide services for the retirees. Areas of opportunity include wellness facilities such as hotels, lifestyle services (home maintenance, helpers/cooks/drivers, travel agents,) education services (language, arts and crafts,) sports and leisure services. The PRI and PRA also say there could be a “reverse migration” of health professionals who leave the country for better opportunities overseas. Architects, engineers and other professionals in the building and construction industry also stand to benefit as new facilities have to be designed and erected, and existing structures are re-fitted or retrofitted for the needs and lifestyle of the retirees.

Ms. Hernandez also cited the need for “inter-generational” facilities to cater to different age groups - “common” areas where the retirees can get-together with their children. She explained that the children normally wouldn’t want to live in facilities designed for retired persons.

She added that there is a growing number of “young” retirees – those who may only be 35 years old but who are able to pay the US$50,000 deposit for the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa, which is a non-immigrant visa. The SRRV is a multiple-entry visa and entitles the holder to reside permanently in the country. Retirees who are over 50 years old could get the SSRV for a US$20,000 deposit.

While Ms. Hernandez spoke on the need to address the lack of facilities that cater to the needs of foreign retirees who decide to reside in the country, Arch. Guerrero spoke on facilities for the short-term visitors, or tourists.

Arch. Guerrero began with a slideshow of Philippine sceneries, which he said are some of the reasons tourists love to visit the country.

He said that five million foreign tourists are expected to visit the country in 2010, which would require an additional 30,000 rooms. This need can be addressed by overnight tourist lodging establishments, more popularly known as “bed and breakfast.”

He enumerated the basic types as (1) home stay, which could accommodate 1-5 people and where the only meal served is breakfast; (2) inn, for 5-25 people; and (3) country inn, for 5 to more than 20 guests, and where all meals may be served.

He added that many of the houses being built by Filipinos who work overseas may be too large than what the family actually needs, and suggested that instead of having one big house with six or eight bedrooms, these could be designed to have a “base house” with two bedrooms and an “extension” with another two or four bedrooms. This extension can be used as B&B facility.

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