As one of the dynamic leading business locations in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, offers attractive business opportunities. An integral part of the first phase of project development was the search and in-depth examination of suitable locations. In the course of this, the island of Cebu and its central-western province Toledo were identified as particularly suitable with regards to climatic, geographical and economic conditions. Cebu, above all the capital Cebu City, is the second largest economic conurbation of the country, following the metropolitan region Manila. The province Toledo with its capital Toledo City is located about 2 hours by car west of Cebu City.
Cebu has a tropical climate with only minor seasonal temperature fluctuations, but at times high precipitation - especially during the rainy seasons. Tropical bamboo species therefore have excellent climatic conditions in the country. Occasionally occurring typhoons, approaching the east of the country from the Pacific Ocean, only pose a severe threat to the eastern regions of the country due to geography and weather dynamics. Cebu as a whole is relatively well protected from such weather extremes by its central location within the Philippine islands. Toledo additionally benefits from its location as the mountainous areas in central Cebu form an additional, effective barrier. Floods and subsequent landslides were also included as risk factors in the location analysis. The Ministry of the Environment and other institutions offer detailed data and maps on this subject.
The Philippines is a centralist presidential democracy similar to Western models, with a largely independent judiciary. When it comes to organizing political and administrative institutions, the country is strongly oriented towards its former colonial power, the United States. Even though conflicts with the Muslim minority on the southern island of Mindanao continue to smoulder, security and stability on the touristically important island of Cebu and the Toledo project location in particular, are ensured.
The country possesses a large pool of workforce ranging from simple farm workers to well-trained academics - coupled with an economically favourable wage level. High unemployment is a central social problem throughout the country, which is why many Filipinos are looking for jobs abroad. Taking this into account, economic initiatives in the country are actively promoted by local politics. Cebu City in particular has experienced a steady boom in recent years, with the city also attracting employees from other regions, and even international companies. The country - still in a development phase - also benefits from its geographical proximity to countries such as Japan, China and South Korea, which are increasingly investing in the Philippines themselves.
Toledo's local economy is dominated by agriculture and mining, with copper mining in particular being an important industry and employer. The local labour market is stagnating and needs new impulses, especially for career starters and senior workers. The infrastructure, above all the transportation network, needs further investment, but does not stand in the way of the project´s economic success. For international distribution, a modern international container port and an international airport in Cebu City offer reliable access to product markets.
During the project development phase, the location Toledo, Cebu also went through extensive assessments on-site. Central location factors to be investigated included the microclimate, infrastructure, access to labour markets and the availability of suitable lands to cultivate bamboo. The availability of bamboo from existing sources has also been assessed. In the course of land assessments, more than a dozen potentially suitable agricultural areas were located and examined by experts. Representative soil samples were taken to test soil quality on suitability with bamboo. A further precondition was to exclude any sites that would require clearance of larger tree populations. Thanks to these efforts, numerous suitable sites for the project could finally be identified.