Around the University TownThe Starting BlokeBusiness park: skycraper city or ‘lungs’ of the City

Business park: skycraper city or ‘lungs’ of the City

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It was strictly an “off limits” area and getting permission to enter was hard to secure. From where one could stand freely and view this 24- hectare landscape at Barangay Calindagan, north of the City, except for the Robinsons Mall and the TeleTech call center building; the whole landscape looks desolate and barren. This is the Dumaguete Business Park, envisioned by the “Sy scions as a super business park” as the Negros Chronicle put it. Another post in Net dubbed it as the “skyscraper city,” creating visions of tall concrete buildings shooting for the sky like dozens of spaceships ready to blast off, something akin to Makati City in Metro Manila.

According to the architectural and planning firm, reputedly ranked 96 among the top 200 companies worldwide in the field of architecture commissioned to develop the prime property, the amenities of the business park will include a 4-star hotel, retirement homes (makes me wonder if I could afford to acquire one), 3-star movie houses (I thought movie houses are on the way out because of cable TV and online movies), and a display center for export products.

Another post says that “there will be at least three medium rise buildings…which will a least be 10 stories high… plenty of BPO companies and hotels will be locating in this area, plus corporate or regional headquarters of multinational or large local corporations.”

What caught my attention and made me conjure what the facility could become in the future is the inclusion of a Business Park Bay Walk in the overall development plan. “The developers promised that the Business Park’s Baywalk, once done, will be always ready for expansion especially connecting it to the present Rizal Boulevard in downtown Dumaguete making the whole Dumaguete baywalk very long stretching from the Rizal Boulevard towards the Business Park.”

This is good news and here’s the reason why. Last Sunday, 10.10.10, the owners temporarily lifted the restriction to enter the facility and some 800 participants in the Robinsons Buglasan Wellness Walk Challenge, for the first time, got inside and had a glimpse of what could one day be, not only a business park, but a real park, with green verdant trees where one could enjoy a good walk–all the way to the Rizal Boulevard Baywalk–if the planners will consider planting trees in that area that they indicated as Business Park Bay Walk.

The Quarter Marathon Wellness Walk Challenge, a corporate social responsibility of Foundation University and Robinsons Dumaguete, aims to create a culture of walking to counteract what research says are potential health risks that people who live in a community that prides itself as the “motor cycle capital” of the Philippines could be prone to. Minimal use of the legs could result in people afflicted with the maladies of a sedentary lifestyle–obesity, cancer, hypertension, heart diseases and osteoporosis. The QMWW Challenge encourages people to walk a distance of 10.5 kilometers, which is equivalent to walking all the way from the Provincial Capitol to the Church in Sibulan and back. In last Sunday’s walk, some 800 walkers achieved this feat, among them, Alex and Irma Pal.

Conjure in your mind a stretch of some 2-3 kilometers of a walking route, with shady trees along the way from the Rizal Baywalk to the Business Park. The Baywalk will be a walkers’ and runners’ paradise. That is if the planners of the Business Park will consider planting trees along the proposed Baywalk. And, there’s a doable way to do this.

Foundation University and the other academic institutions, could “adopt” the Business Park as what FU had done with the Banica River. Dean Sinco once remarked that the biggest ‘free labor” in the Philippines is the volunteer students fulfilling the requirements of the Civic Welfare Training Service Law. Under this law, college students are required to render one year of volunteer service for the benefit of their community. With some 10,000 students in University Town planting trees along the Baywalk, the future Business Park will not only be a city of skyscrapers, but will be an environmental paradise with trees serving as the “lungs” of Dumaguete City.

Will the Sy scions consider this proposal?

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