Last Updated on March 3, 2020 by Lamudi

On the House is a series of casual interviews with Philippine real estate leaders about the stories behind their personas. Lamudi’s very own CEO, Bhavna Suresh hosts the dialogues over a drink or two. Watch the videos here on our platform or listen to the podcasts in Apple Podcast and Spotify. 

Today’s guest is Raphael “Pete” Felix, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Phinma Properties, and President of Subdivision and Housing Division Association, Inc. (SHDA). Much like vodka, his choice of drink, Pete’s no-fuss and straight forward character is welcoming of external influences, reflective of his take on clutter and the concept of mentoring. 

If you’ve been following property news, you’re more likely familiar with Phinma Properties, the property arm of Philippine conglomerate, PHINMA Corp., that is now going into building co-living spaces after it ventured into co-working developments and has gained a well-established reputation in the affordable housing segment. But one aspect about the company you definitely need to know better is the cool personality of its big boss and his take on some real estate issues.  

Bhavna and Pete talked about how the real estate industry has evolved through time and the bright prospects ahead, along with regulatory bottlenecks confronting many developers nowadays. In particular, Pete shared that what makes investing in real estate a tedious process in the Philippines is the regulation that is “so antiquated.” 

“It’s not in tune with the times. Everything is law. Even the design standards are a law, so that’s the saddest part of it,” he noted while comparing the process with the U.S., where he had done real estate too.

“U.S. regulation is easy. There’s a checklist of things. And as soon as your checklist is complete, you bring it there, and it’s done. Here, there’s always something missing. They can never get it right. There’s always a problem. There’s always ‘this missing,’ ‘that wrong.’ That’s why it’s a very tedious thing here,” he explained.

On a personal level, Pete also shared how real estate has become a comfort zone to him, how he hated clutter, how he spent his first-ever check, why he doesn’t believe in best practices in guiding someone to success, and more.

Pete said: “To a certain extent, I’m not a believer of best practices. Best practices are a good statement at a given point in time. But if you stick to just the best practices, then you lose the ability to innovate.”

Show notes:

  • The one question that Pete is sick and tired of answering, but he still answered when asked anyway.  [1:05]
  • Pete discussed how modern technology has changed the way industry players do business, allowing more time for themselves. [2:11]
  • This one thing is what Pete is obsessed with. It’s not something he enjoys doing, but he’d rather do it to get rid of the thought of it bugging him. [3:15]
  • What would Pete be if he was not brought up in real estate? Pete revealed the career he sees himself ending up with if only he dares to get out of his comfort zone. [5:06]
  • What fascinates Pete about real estate? The amount of effort put into every project is horrendous, said Pete, but there is always something about real estate that makes him so excited about it. [5:48]
  • Pete compared and contrasted Philippine regulation with that of the U.S.  [6:33]
  • Pete shared one area of the Philippine system that he would wish to break the clutter down if he was given the control. [7:21]
  • The last two years, according to Pete, was pretty tough with many regulations and changes that became bottlenecks. He, however, noted some silver linings he observed since the year 2019 started. He believes that the government is in the right direction in streamlining several processes.  [7:37] 
  • Pete talked about new opportunities in the real estate market, including co-working. [8:40]
  • What did Pete do with his very first check? Where did he spend it on?   [9:02]
  • Pete recalled what contributed to the man he has become today. [10:04]
  • Pete believes that mentors are good, but external influences are what he thinks will keep things exciting. He also talked about the danger of sticking to best practices as well as the benefits of welcoming external influences. [10:23] 
  • Pete shares tips for young professionals who want to get into the real estate industry. He also talked about how the meaning of ‘working hard’ has already changed today with the advent of new technology and remote working. [11:31]
  • The three words that the world can use to define Pete. [12:38]
  • The two words that Pete uses to describe himself. [12:52]

PHINMA Property Holdings Corporation (PHINMA Properties) is a real estate developer that has a well-established reputation as one of the pioneers in affordable housing options in Metro Manila. As a subsidiary of leading Philippine conglomerate, PHINMA Corp., the company creates residences that cater to a broader market of Filipino families, combining affordability, convenience, and quality in well-built medium-rise condominiums. 

Visit PHINMA’s official developer page to know more about the company.


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