By: Therese Gamora – Garceau

In these days when luxury real-estate developers are a dime a dozen, dazzling us with celebrity names and price tags of the same magnitude, we have to stop and ask ourselves, what are we really buying? Is our hard-earned money paying for that famous name, or are we getting something of real value?

A new real estate brand named Filigree promises to redefine luxury as we know it, offering more premiums for your peso.

First, the name: the word “filigree” refers to intricate tracery, often in gold or silver, boasting the highest level of craftsmanship and quality.
“Luxury right now is becoming a buzzword,” says Catherine Ilagan, the head and driving force behind this new real estate brand. “We want our product to speak for itself. For your hard-earned money you get more: more space, more privacy, more exclusivity, more care, and more value.”

Filigree is a portfolio of carefully crafted, upscale living spaces in prime locations designed by industry giants like the California-based Architecture International, Leandro V. Locsin Partners, Budji+Royal Architecture+Design, AECOM Singapore and Singapore firm Miaja Design Group. At present there are four developments — Botanika Nature Residences, Bristol at Parkway Place, The Enclave Alabang in South Manila, and The Beaufort in Taguig — and all promise something different and unique from what other luxury developers are currently offering.

“We cater to a market whose requirement is very precise,” says Ilagan. “In terms of size, for example, in Botanika Nature Residences, the smallest unit is 125 sqm for a two-bedroom unit. For other developers, that size would be a three-bedroom already, sometimes even more. It doesn’t mean that, just because you choose convenience and you choose to live in a condo, you have to sacrifice your lifestyle. That’s why the units are bigger and the amenities are grander — your usual conveniences in a better setting.” And then, of course, there are the amenities and features of the building, how the property will be managed long after turnover, how the residence will be taken care of.

“There is a meticulousness that is required,” Ilagan says. “We are giving new meaning to luxury. It is not just about aesthetics anymore, but also about the design details customized for the customers’ lifestyle. Here, it is about giving exclusivity.” Each development was conceived based on the lifestyle of its future residents.

“The three condos that we have cater to different kinds of lifestyles,” says Daphne Sanchez, Filigree’s assistant head. “For example, The Beaufort in the heart of Bonifacio Global City is for someone who likes to be in the urban center. The other two are in Filinvest City in Alabang, which is already an urban center yet tucked away from the usual Manila noise. I think people from South Manila are looking for that.”


Location: 5th Avenue corner 23rd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
What it is: A twin-tower residential condominium with 43 floors per tower
What makes it special: With only four units per floor, many offer a view of Manila Golf Club’s rolling greens. Its interior designers, Texeira Design Inc. and Erfe & Associates, specialize in hotel interior design, so The Beaufort boasts opulent, hotel-like interiors.
The offerings: One-bedroom units at 54-57 sqm and three-bedroom units at 149-155 sqm
Amenities: A grand lobby and reception counter with spacious visitors’ lounge, three dedicated high-speed elevators for each tower, separate drop-off and driveway for residents, six basement parking levels with parking-management system, a 24-hour administrative office and security command center, a mini movie theater, fully equipped gym, party room with a panoramic view of Manila Golf, a corporate boardroom-like business center with teleconferencing facilities, 100-percent backup power in all units and common areas, centralized mailroom with individual mailboxes, drivers’ lounge with paging system, and individual electric meter.
Status: The Beaufort has already been turned over with a handful of units left available.


Location: The corner of Corporate and Parkway Avenues, also known as “Millionaire’s Row,” in Filinvest City, the premier garden central business district in South Manila.
What it is: The tallest condominium in Alabang at 40 storeys, this mixed-use development, with iconic design by Architecture International, is the second installment of the master-planned upscale high-rise residential complex called Parkway Place.
The offerings: One-bedroom (53-61 sqm), two-bedroom (100-108 sqm), and three-bedroom (152-168 sqm) units.
What makes it special: Selected units are designed and positioned to have balconies with majestic views of the city skyline stretching all the way to Laguna de Bay. Living space is generous (a one-bedroom is the size of a typical two-bedroom), with light and airy design courtesy of Casas Architects. With direct access to thoroughfares that connect to Makati, Laguna, Cavite and Manila, it’s just a block away from the Palms Country Club, and sits right across Festival Mall Alabang and its newly opened wings Water Garden and River Park, as well as its numerous retail, entertainment and dining choices. Nearby are Asian Hospital and schools like De La Salle Zobel, Paref Woodrose and Southridge, San Beda College Alabang and the under-construction FEU Alabang.
Amenities: The building is equipped with fiber optics to enable rapid Internet speeds and connectivity. There’s a sky lounge and garden at rooftop, al fresco retail strip on the ground floor, a swimming pool and kiddie pool, children’s gym and play area, library/study hall for reading and doing homework, function room, entertainment/media room, meditation yoga deck, and fitness center.
Status: The three-bedroom units are sold out. Unit delivery will start in the first quarter of 2018.

Location: Along the progressive Daang Hari Road seven kilometers away from Filinvest City, near SLEX, Skyway, MCX, and Alabang schools, hospitals and retail establishments
What it is: A close-knit, exclusive village that merges tropical modern architecture with nature.
Offerings: Phase 1 boasts 169 lots and single detached homes; you have the option to avail a home designed by H1 Architecture (all are three bedrooms with a two-car garage), or construct your own house.
What makes it special: The Enclave Alabang Phase 1 is an intricately planned horizontal development over 10.5 hectares — a hectare of which is dedicated to open space like a central park surrounding a manmade lagoon. Families can picnic under the trees and, with lush landscaping and tree-lined avenues, it’s a neighborhood meant for walking or jogging.
Amenities: Almost a hectare landscaped area designed by AECOM Singapore that includes a mini lagoon and a 1,500-sqm clubhouse interior designed by BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design with a full suite of recreational facilities: lap pool and kiddie pool, roof deck, fitness center, game room, main function hall and private function rooms; a watchtower from which to view vistas, a children’s playground.
Status: Few lots available. Lot turnover has started this year.


Location: Right beside Filinvest City’s exclusive Palms Country Club and across from Palms Pointe Village near the Alabang schools, malls and hospitals.
What it is: Low-density, midrise 13- to 15-floor atrium buildings built on 1.55 hectares with roof-garden terraces connected to central gardens by open-air, landscaped lobbies.
Offerings: Large unit cuts replicate the village living that people in the South are used to. For Tower 1, two-bedroom units range from 123-143 sqm with two parking slots; three-bedroom units range from 160-253 sqm with three parking slots; five-bedroom units range from 319-323 sqm with three parking slots, and penthouses from 135-343 sqm with three parking slots.
What makes it special: All about lush gardens and green living, Botanika is a completely new category of residential space that has the village feel Pinoys prefer in a vertical setting, with all the conveniences of condo living.

Registered under the Philippine Green Building Council’s BERDE certification, with Leandro V. Locsin Partners at the helm, equally big-named firms like Architecture International, AECOM Singapore, and Miaja Design Group envisioned Botanika to be in harmony with nature.
“Sustainable design is intrinsic in our way of designing things,” notes Ilagan. “Right now, only Botanika is going for BERDE certification but all the energy-efficient, water-efficient measures are also being adopted in our other developments.”
One of the striking design elements is the terraced-tower layout that provides each unit a different view, while a roof atrium allows abundant natural light and ventilation to come in.
The generous spaces afford features like a powder room, wet and dry kitchens and walk-in closets for the master suites.
“We hired a Singapore-based interior designer, the Miaja Design Group,” says Sanchez. “The character is really tastefully modern and eccentric, giving a world-class flavor in the interiors.”
Amenities: Shared amenities include a courtyard, greenhouse, sky lounge, lawn space, fully fitted gym, chapel with meditation garden, sunbathing deck, tiered infinity swimming pools, changing rooms, veranda, two function rooms, children’s outdoor and indoor play areas with tree houses and game room, amphitheater, business center, and private access to the exclusive Palms Country Club.

Filigree’s developments are dwellings for people who’ve worked hard to achieve their stature, earn their money and want every bit of value that that money can buy — who favor quality and workmanship over a brand name.
I note that this is Filigree’s official debut and already the company has sold around 80 percent of its offerings. How did they manage to do this?
“The product is selling itself,” Ilagan says. “You’ll fall in love with it. You have to see what Filigree is offering — the amenities and the lifestyle it will afford the buyer.”

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