Breaking ground. Gov. Abet S. Garcia, Vice Gov. Cris Garcia, 2nd District Rep. Joet Garcia III, Hausland Group president and chairman Willy Tan and CEO Atty. Christopher Ryan Tan, AFAB administrator Engr. Emmanuel Pineda, and deputy administrator Alewijn Aidan K. Ong. Photos by Ernie Esconde
MARIVELES, Bataan – The multi-million-peso grand terminal that broke ground Thursday at the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) here is only the first of the total development of some 5.9 hectares of land for commercial and leisure mix-used complex.
To be built and operated by Hausland Group in partnership with FAB, the FAB Central will cater to all types of vehicles linking the freeport to the rest of Mariveles and neighboring towns aimed at decongesting traffic in the industrial town and provide growth opportunities for businesses while affording convenience for commuters.
Hausland Group through its development brand, Fiesta Communities, has been developing housing in Mariveles since 2018.
Group president and chairman Wilfredo M. Tan recalled that he often visited Mariveles and observed that one of the problems in the town proper are the narrow roads and spaces for commercial as well as residential are limited.
“Napaka-traffic sa loob ng Mariveles at sa FAB ay nakikita ang mga truck, buses na hindi alam kung saan paparada. Pati parking very limited din kaya sabi ko sayang ang ganitong dami ng population sa FAB at napakahirap i-accommodate ang mga workers.” Tan said.
He said that when a land facilitator offered to him to build housing in Mariveles, he did not have second thought because their company normally follow the freeport area like their other investments in Angeles City, Tarlac and Zambales.
He said he told himself it is about time to penetrate Bataan for the simple reason that it is around one to two hour- drive from their place. There are Fiesta Communities in Bataan not only in Mariveles but in the towns of Hermosa, Limay, and Abucay and Balanga City.
Tan said he saw the growth of FAB that rejuvenated from the 1980s when there were almost no locators.
“I was surprised when informed that there are now around 40,000 workers and still growing. Masaya ako sa Bataan kaya when this project was offered and pointed to me, I fell in love with the place,” he said.
He said putting-up of a central terminal is just right to decongest vehicle obstructions on the roads.
Tan said the project will not stop in the central terminal. “Gusto kong makita na magkaroon ng mall dahil ang mga tao sa Mariveles town proper ay kailangan pang bumiyahe papuntang Balanga para lang magpunta sa mall and it will take 45-minute drive not to mention the risk of travelling.”
“Kung mayroon ditong mall, there will be a place for people in Mariveles as well as ang mga workers na pagod na pagod na nagtatrabaho where to relax ng kaunti,” Tan said.
“Magkaroon tayo hindi lang transport terminal kundi parang recreational area na din na sabi nga ni governor ay pwede dito magkaroon ng parang jogging park na gagawin dahil there’s a lot of trees to preserve na uma-agree ako at mukhang kailangan,” the businessman said.
Tan said he does not want the place to be like Manila that lacks nature unlike Bataan which is surrounded by the mountain and the sea like Hongkong.
He said that Bataeños are lucky for the province is also rich in water. “I will consider myself Bataeño na din dahil nga nandito na din ang place of business namin. I think pwede na din ako maging Bataeño,” he said.
“Today, we will start the initial phase of development – the transport terminal – then we will consider the add-up commercial development around this area. I want the area na puntahan ng mga tao not only the workers here but even people in Mariveles town proper na magkaroon sila ng area for them to relax and to be proud that they are Mariveleseño,” Tan said.
Lawyer Christopher Ryan Tan, Hausland Group chief executive officer, said the whole complex is about six hectares but to be developed in the first phase is the FAB Central Terminal that has an area of 7,000 square meters with parking spaces for transport groups and private vehicles.
“Nagsanib pwersa and Hausland Group at FAB para magkaroon ng central terminal dito sa Mariveles at ang idea dito ay pagtugon doon sa pangangailangan ng commuting public na magkaroon talaga ng maayos, malinis at organisadong terminal kasama ang pagkakaroon din ng convenience,” the young Tan said.
He said in the future there will be a commercial mall and some drive-thru restaurants but their dream is to have a memorial for the Bataan ground Zero Death March and a commemoration on the rise of Bataan through FAB.
At the entrance to the Mariveles town proper is the Zero Kilometer Death March monument that marks the starting point of the death march of thousands of Filipino and American soldiers after Bataan fell to the Japanese invaders on April 9, 1942.
The lawyer said they envisioned the big complex not only as a terminal but the center of their project that will link FAB to different areas not only inside but outside Bataan while offering convenience to commuters.
The young Tan said they are targeting the soft opening of the terminal on September but the full blast opening on November or December 2022.
He said that the project will be undertaken in several phases and they have invested P150 million for the facility and the whole of the land development.
The young Tan summarized the project as divided into five major zones including a central transport terminal facility, a commercial mall area with several drive-thru prime retail commercial lot spaces, a heritage tourism spot featuring the Bataan Death March, commercial offices area for tech-based companies and interim dormitories convertible to hotels and recreation areas.
Gov. Albert Garcia said that as the FAB Central has its groundbreaking, he could imagine the Grand Central Station in New York City that has served as location shootings for many films.
The governor said the FAB Central will be the center of development in the freeport. “Magkaroon dito ng walking lane, jogging lane, biking lane at lahat yan ay ikokonekta natin sa FAB Central hanggang sa FAB para ito na ang magiging sentro ng ating development sa freeport.”
Garcia said what Mariveles lacks is a place for 50,000 workers and residents to visit and relax.
“Kapag natapos na ang mall kung hindi pa payday ay mag-window shopping para maalis ang stress, magkakape kasama ng isang co-worker na matagal nang hindi nakaka-bonding. Mamasyal kasama ng mga anak, pamilya para merong quality time with the family. Yan ang isang malaking kulang sa bayan ng Mariveles na ngayong umaga ay natutuwa ako na pupunan ang pagkukulang na ito ng pamilya nila Mr. Willy Tan at Ryan,” the governor said.
Aside from Tan and his son Ryan and the governor, joining the event were 2nd District Rep. Jose Enrique Garcia II, Vice Gov. Cris Garcia, former Mariveles Mayor AJ Concepcion, some provincial board members, Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan administrator Emmanuel Pineda and other AFAB officials.