Priland Development Corporation had a fairly low-key start: back in 2013, Ramon Carlo Yap’s father had a spare property sitting idle and decided to enter the real estate game. Selling that single property has led to a sizable property development company eight years later, which Carlo now runs as President.
As Priland was being conceived, Carlo was still running the family’s ThreeSixty Pharmacy chain. However, after the company was sold, and having helped with the transition to the new owners, he couldn’t wait to get involved with Priland.
“I told my father that I wanted to grow Priland into a national player,” he recalls. “In 2017 I presented him with a three-year business plan, which we agreed on. I hired a general manager right away, vice presidents for sales, construction, business development and finance – every key position. Then we acquired around four properties and launched the site.”
Growing up watching his dad and uncle build and expand the ThreeSixty business, Carlo learned from a family that loves business; in particular, implementing their ideas and making them a reality. He has added to that perhaps an even greater level of ambition.
“I’m the type of person who is a little bit aggressive,” he admits. “So even though we were a new player with Priland, we launched three to four projects every year until COVID-19 happened. I think because of my way of managing the business, because of our aggressiveness, people noticed us right away for our quality projects.”
A chance to reflect
When the pandemic hit at the start of 2020, it gave Priland an opportunity to review plans, projects and strategies. Although not for long.
“We thought that the real estate business would be affected, but we really didn’t stop for long,” Carlo explains. “We simply adjusted – we discussed our plan with the team and we went back to work only two months after COVID-19 hit the Philippines in March. There was still a take-up on our projects because people were realising that because of the health crisis, they needed a home of their own even more.”
Luckily for Priland, the company had a number of projects in the pipeline before COVID-19 arrived and, along with the planning and strategising it has now done, it expects to come out of the pandemic bigger and stronger than ever.
I think because of my way of managing the business, because of our aggressiveness, people noticed us right away for our quality projects.
“Right now we have five ongoing subdivision projects and five condominium projects, and we have around 15 in the pipeline at different stages: under negotiation, for acquisition and planning for launching,” he reveals.
Carlo’s father remains a big influence as he grows further into his own leadership style. “My dad was a very hardworking man. I wanted to follow in his footsteps in growing the business,” he says. “He’s now handling Prifood, our snack manufacturing business, but he helps me once a week, attending meetings and giving input into Priland strategies. For the day-to-day operation, I have my team here, but we’re grateful for the direction he gives based on his 30-year experience in the business community.”
Carlo still regards his fairly young company as a startup to some extent, and is learning the ropes in terms of supply chain issues, cost reduction and pricing. However, he has already learned the importance of strong relationships with suppliers.
“If we have strong relationships with our suppliers and contractors, then we can implement our projects well,” he points out. “An example of this is our building contractor, Devlarn Ventures, which has so far delivered our projects ahead of schedule. Working with partners like that, Priland can focus on our core business, which is selling and marketing our projects, launching unique projects, strategising, as well as research and development.”
As a result, Devlarn Ventures has just been awarded Priland’s biggest project so far, a 30-storey residential condominium. In addition, the company relies on strong relationships with its architects, the broker partners that sell its projects and the owners of this real estate brokerage.
Carlo believes these partnerships are vital to ensure the company’s projects are delivered to the high standard it has become known for. “Priland is a developer, not a construction business, so the contractors supply the labour and the materials – we only do the project management,” he says. “We check to make sure the plan is implemented, but the legwork, the groundwork, we pass it to them.”
When we started, I can’t say that what we did was unique because our projects, condominiums and subdivisions, were the same as everyone else. But it’s the projects in our pipeline that will make Priland stand out.
Carlo reveals that Priland will venture into office buildings in the next two years and is already at the planning stage. The company will also be launching retail projects, an industrial estate on the back of the ecommerce boom and even a “city within a city” – a 300-hectare project which will create a whole city.
The eventual plan is to go public and Carlo believes that he can attract investors by doing projects that set it apart from its competitors. “That’s our three- to five-year plan,” he says. “Right now, we’re busy conceptualising, planning and making sure our projects realised in that time are totally unique.”
Already a stand-out developer, it is only the start for Priland as far as Carlo is concerned. It is the unique offerings it plans to develop in the future that will take the company to a new level. “When we started, I can’t say that what we did was unique because our projects, condominiums and subdivisions, were the same as everyone else,” he admits. “But it’s the projects in our pipeline that will make Priland stand out.”