Rhaine Pepito: Passion for Volunteerism


“I couldn’t express the happiness I feel whenever I extend myself to those in need. I find fulfilment when I bring happiness with the little deeds I do and I am very humbled to have the privilege of making people smile by just sharing my time and attention,” Renato “Rhaine” Pepito, Founder of Child Protection Brigade Volunteers Organization, shared.

Renato Rhaine Pepito, a 29 year-old Social Work student of Lourdes College enjoys having kids around. After his exposure with Community and Family Services International (CFSI), a humanitarian organization committed to peace and social development, with a particular interest in the psychosocial dimension, guided him to his passion and calling in life to found an all-volunteers organization—Child Protection Brigade Volunteers Organization.

The Child Protection Brigade Volunteers is a group of young people who commit their time and efforts in serving disadvantaged children in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. Their group provides medical and social services to several children’s groups all over the city and nearby areas.

 The programs of the group include non-formal education, feeding program, and basic first aid to the children who are either living on the streets, in orphanages, or in evacuation shelters.

The Power of Volunteerism

Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place to live in. Even helping out with the small tasks in your community can make a real difference to the lives of people and organizations in need.

Dedicating your time to volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network and boost your social skills. Aside from that, experts report that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns that relieves you from stress. It also makes you healthier because moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, and control over one’s fate, strengthen the immune system.

Rhaine, as he is fondly called by the kids he serves, told Primavera Residences how he was able to pursue his passion for volunteerism.

“Basically, I just do what I need to do for the community. Being a volunteer is more than just appreciation and acknowledgement. We serve the larger community without the eyes of the media and other people. We do what we do best and we are happy and proud that we deliver smiles and laughter to those people who are in need. We walk with our hopeful hearts to elevate the future of those disadvantaged individuals and we talk nothing but bringing out the best in them,” Pepito shared.

This December, as we celebrate National Volunteer Month, Primavera Residences personally asked him questions and these are his answers:

Do you consider volunteerism as a life-long career?

“Being a volunteer is a priceless job and no amount of money could ever repay the fulfilment you get from volunteering. I wouldn’t close my doors to other opportunities though, but rest assured that I will forever be serving the marginalized.”

Why is being a volunteer a need in this society?

“Tough question. It is truly a need and a must in our society to have volunteers since majority of our social order around the globe are suffering from different social issues, misery and anguish. With the help and support of volunteers doing community works or individualistic intervention. we can generate great wonders and changes in every person we encounter and come across with. Volunteers are essential and crucial in this generation for they play a vital role and function in our society.”

What do you want to say about being a volunteer?

“There are tons but I’d explain it in the simplest way I can. Being a volunteer is the toughest job, from planning to implementation, from time to effort, from breakdowns to breakthroughs, truly, being a volunteer is tough yet fulfilling at the same time. It’s not just making a difference but it’s something words could ever comprehend. A turning point that will change their lives not just today but also in the future.”

In the case of other volunteers, on behalf of them, what do you want to share?

“On behalf of the volunteers I have met, spoke and worked with, I would simple say: ‘Life is short so make the most of it’. It is just right to share our blessing not just by donation and solicitation. I am also grateful to have shared your time, presence and care to those who are in need.  Thank you for making a difference in this world by doing noble deeds. Let’s continue sharing and inspiring the world to do the same.”


This National Volunteer Month, Primavera Residences, an advocate of sustainable development and volunteerism, puts the spotlight on volunteers like Rhaine Pepito who offer their time and effort to support those who need it the most.

Do you have a volunteerism story to share, too? Feel free to comment below.

Italpinas Chairman Cited Among BizNews Asia’s Top 24 CEO in PH



BizNews Asia, the country’s largest weekly business and news magazine, celebrates its 13th anniversary by honoring 24 of the Philippines’ leading CEOs and business tycoons at InterContinental Manila last November 25, 2014.

Also previously listed to be one of the Most Influential People in the Philippines by BizNews Asia, Italpinas Chairman, Dr. Jose “Joey” P. Leviste, Jr, is now cited as one of the 24 leading CEOs in the country.

Management Excellence Awardees

Together with Bangko Sentral Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr, SM Prime Holdings President and CEO Hans Sy, and Metrobank Chairman Arthur Ty, OceanaGold Philippines and Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-development Corp (ITPI) Non-executive Chair Jose “Joey” P. Leviste, Jr. are this year’s Management Excellence Awardees.

“I am very grateful that BizNews Asia selected me as one of the Management Excellence Awardees this year. It’s certainly a distinguished group of honorees that I was fortunate enough to be part of,” Leviste said. “On my part, I am happy that I was given this recognition, not so much for myself, but for the people I work with in companies such as OceanaGold Philippines, Constellation Energy and Italpinas; for the good work they have done in the area of sustainable mining, renewable energy, and green buildings.”

Dr. Jose P. Leviste Jr., together with ITPI CEO and Arch. Romolo V. Nati and ITPI President Atty. Jojo Leviste III, share the same vision and passion in promoting sustainable developments in the Philippines. He is a seasoned Filipino renewable energy entrepreneur, being the Chairman of OceanaGold Philippines, a sustainable mining corporation and Constellation Energy Corporation, a renewable energy company. He is also the Chairman-CEO of Enactus Philippines, an international non-profit organization that brings together business leaders and universities to promote business projects that create positive impact to their communities, and also chairs PRIMEX, the biggest Filipino consultancy firm of ADB.

Dr. Leviste graduated in Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University with an MBA degree from Columbia University and an MA Economics degree from Fordham University in the United States. He was granted a Doctorate in Humanities, Honoris Causa from the Nueva Vizcaya State University for his work in social, civic and community work as Chairman of OceanaGold Philippines.

Multi-awarded sustainable developer

“Apart from being associated with different corporations, I am proud to chair Italpinas because of the good work it has done in the real estate sector. It is a unique product catering to a new market. Italpinas is a prime mover in one of the most promising cities in the Philippines, which has become the center of academic institutions and a center of good governance,” Leviste shared.

Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-development Corporation (ITPI) is a specialized real estate developer that practices ecologically sound and state-of-the-art design paired with the use of renewable energy technologies. ITPI’s premier project in Cagayan de Oro – Primavera Residences, a green, mixed-use development – was built to serve the city’s increasing demand for affordable housing with sustainability in mind. It was awarded this year as the Best Mixed-Use Development in the Philippines by the Asia Pacific Property Awards.

A Culture of Excellence

“We have to develop a culture of meritocracy. Not only in our companies, but in this country. We have to develop a culture of integrity and high performance, and we have to develop a culture of excellence because it does not matter whether the company is big or small but it matters if you trust the culture of meritocracy and excellence,” Leviste declared.

He added, “Italpinas is certainly not one of the largest companies in the real estate field in this country but I’m proud to be associated with it because of the professionalism that its management exhibits and the Italian creativity of its people. I am also proud that it has selected Cagayan de Oro as its first city to create a positive impact to the environment.”

Primavera, Smart Give Full Support to Xavier Ecoville’s PagBAG-o Project


A chance for change. This is what PagBAG-o Project wants to impart to every Sendong survivor in Xavier Ecoville. The project is a collaborative effort between the unemployed housewives of Xavier Ecoville and the Xavier University alumni, supported by different establishments in Cagayan de Oro.

“As the PagBAG-o Project celebrates its first year anniversary, we do not only laud the Kagay-anons’ creativity but also their resiliency. Seeing our villagers elevate their lives through different enterprises inspire us because these projects don’t just give them the chance to earn but also gives them a lifetime opportunity to embrace change for themselves and for the community,” Therese Baliwag, Xavier Ecoville Development Program Officer, said.

As part of its continuing efforts to boost Xavier Ecoville’s livelihood program while advocating sustainability, Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), in partnership with Primavera Residences and other stakeholders, has provided support to its bag-making enterprise, the PagBAG-o Project.   Aside from producing katsa bags, PagBAG-o sewers also upcycle used tarpaulin banners.  Tarpaulin materials used for marketing and advertising are made into eco-friendly bags to lessen waste by repurposing it into useful, high-quality bags.

Project Zero, a similar program in GK Sooc, Iloilo City became the blueprint for the tarp bag program. “Inspired by the success of the project in Iloilo, we thought of replicating it in CdO,” Judee Caroline Chaves, Smart Sr. Public Affairs Officer, said.  “Last July, Smart and Ecoville representatives visited the Iloilo community, and by August, we invited the GK Sooc sewers to CDO to teach Eco-ville housewives techniques in sewing tarp bags,” Chaves shares.

In continuous support of Sendong survivors, different creative groups from CdO came together to organize the trainings, conceptualize the activities, and design the bags. “Aside from providing livelihood opportunities for mothers, this project truly showcases the generous spirit and skills of Kagay-anons.  The PagBAG-o project brought together CDO’s best talents, in support of a great cause,” Chaves said.

Primavera Residences supports sustainable projects

Primavera Residences, the first eco-friendly building in Cagayan de Oro, fully backs this project by promoting the city’s campaign to a clean and green environment.

“As a sustainable developer, we consider it not only our social responsibility, but a huge honor on our part to be able to support a very worthwhile project. The PagBAG-o project not only helps the environment but also provides assistance to the communities that need it most. This has always been the advocacy of Italpinas, and through supporting this project, we hope that more and more people will take part in generating ideas that could help promote sustainability while also addressing livelihood requirements of communities,” Jane Montebon-Duterte, PR & Marketing Manager of Primavera Residences, declared.

These upcycled bags will be featured in a photo exhibit this coming November 15-23 at Limketkai Center. The event’s highlight and finale is a fashion show with the bags modeled by local ambassadors on November 23, 4PM at Rotunda Limketkai.

“This is a celebration of Kagay-anons’ creativity, resiliency and community spirit. This project also promotes eco-friendly products that would change the buyers’ perspective on purchasing quality goods. This means more reason to also give back to what nature has provided us. Thus the start of eco-friendly enterprise of quality bags,” Baliwag concludes.


For more information about Primavera Residences, the country’s premier eco-friendly development, visit www.primaveraresidences.com.

Italpinas President is Finalist in this Year’s Asia CEO Awards


The prestigious Asia CEO Awards has presented the shortlist of finalists for the 2014 awards, and the main event is set on November 12, 2014, Wednesday, at the Grand Ballroom of Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila.

With the theme “Emerging Asia”, business leaders from several industries in the Philippines were carefully selected, highlighting the country’s shining examples of good leadership. The awards recognize extraordinary leaders who have demonstrated outstanding achievement for their organizations and contributions to others.

This year, Primavera Residences’ developer, Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-development Corporation (ITPI)’s President Atty. Jose “Jojo” D. Leviste, III, is one of the finalists in the 5th Asia CEO Awards in the category of SPi Global Young Leader of the Year.

Pioneering sustainable real estate developments in the Philippines, Atty. Jojo is passionate about environmental design and urban planning. Aside from being ITPI’s president, he also serves as the President of Constellation Energy Corporation, ITPI’s sister company that is engaged in the business of renewable energy, including geothermal, hydro and wind.

“We want to be thought leaders. At first at the level of our projects, but in the longer term I would like our ways of thinking (in relation to design, efficiency and quality of life) to spill over and influence what Filipinos should come to expect of our living environments in a wider sense,” Leviste expressed.

Making a difference

Atty. Jojo Leviste is known for his passion in helping the country become a more sustainable, progressive nation through his extensive knowledge and application of the best practices in renewable energy and environmentally sound projects. The companies he lead – ITPI and Constellation – are built upon the philosophy of making a difference in property development in terms of sustainability and environmental impact.

ITPI’s premier project in Cagayan de Oro – Primavera Residences, a green, mixed-use development – was built to serve the city’s increasing demand for affordable housing with sustainability in mind. It was awarded this year as the Best Mixed-Use Development in the Philippines by the Asia Pacific Property Awards.

“I envision a future where man and nature work in harmony, I believe, together with my business partner, that ITPI is shaping the region to become a healthier, sustainable place to live in,” Leviste said.

The Asia CEO Awards 2014 and title sponsor, PLDT Alpha Enterprise, have 10 categories including two new award categories: Hospitality Award and First Carbon Solutions Green Company of the Year. The other categories are: Oracle Technology Company of the Year; CSR Company of the Year; SPi Global Young Leader of the Year; SHORE Solutions Most Innovative Company; NEC Quality Company; Jones Lang LaSalle Expatriate Executive of the Year; Smart Communications Global Filipino Executive; Meralco Top Employer Organization; and the KPMG Executive Leadership Team.

To know more about Italpinas and its multi-awarded project, Primavera Residences, visit www.primaveraresidences.com or call 088-880-5002.

Cagayan de Oro Developer Joins Rome Business Event, Promotes PH and Cagayan de Oro Investments

Rome event
ITPI’s Architect Romolo Nati together with Philippine Ambassador S.E. Virgil Reyes (middle)



Italpinas’ multi-awarded architect and CEO, Romolo V. Nati, attended a business event in Rome last October 18, 2014 with the theme “Business Meeting to stimulate and strengthen the cultural and trade exchange between Italy and the Philippines”.

The meeting at Luigi Pigorini Museum, Piazza G. Marconi 14 in Rome was sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Rome, headed by Ambassador S. E. Virgil A. Reyes Jr. and organized by Mrs. Marie Luarca-Reyes of ENFiD.org, Michele Piacentini of LESARTISTES.it with the coordination of the Study Legal Cardia.

During the recently conducted meeting, Architect Nati talked about how he started promoting green developments in the Philippines and discussed to the Italian business community the favorable business and economic climate for Italian investors.

“As a developing country [Philippines], the success rate in investments is actually above average. Since 2006 to 2013, there is a rising middle class population. This results to a high demand on housing, providing a great opportunity for real estate companies,” Architect Nati said.

Italpinas, a joint venture success story

Since ITPI started in 2009, CEO Architect Nati believed that investing in the Philippines could bring about successful and mutually beneficial partnerships for both countries.

“I am glad that the Philippine Embassy in Rome considers Italpinas a success story and a prime example of a joint venture between the Philippines and Italy. The Philippines is a growing country and I am inspired to continually encourage the Italian companies to see the good opportunities in the Philippines,” Nati expressed.

“The success of Italpinas especially our premier green project in Cagayan de Oro Primavera Residences, is an example of a fruitful collaboration. As a multi-awarded and well-recognized development, the company is doing good and will continue producing eco-friendly developments in alternative cities.”

Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-development Corporation (ITPI), is an Italian-Filipino green property developer that specializes in sustainable development. Its first project is Primavera Residences, the first eco-friendly condominium development in Cagayan de Oro which has been awarded as the Best Mixed-Use Development in the Philippines by the Asia Pacific Property Awards.

Primavera Residences Architect Joins World Architecture Festival 2014

RVN talk at WAF2014

Did you know that Italian architect and Primavera Residences developer Arch. Romolo V. Nati is currently at the World Architecture Festival 2014 in Singapore? Can you imagine a Cagayan de Oro green property developer being with the world’s top architects and as one of the guest speakers at the festival? Primavera Residences, along with its developer Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corp. (ITPI) couldn’t be more proud of this honor.

The World Architecture Festival 2014 is an annual and largest celebration of architectural marvels in the world. It is a three-day event that started last Oct. 1 and ends today. It is also a global competition that seeks to honor the best in building design.

Arch. Nati gave a talk on Resilient Developments for Vulnerable Environments focusing on the Philippines during the second day. He was also elected as one of the judges for the shortlisted entries under the House category. Joining him at the festival is ITPI President Atty. Jojo Leviste.

RVN & JDL at WAF2014

In his talk, Nati stressed the importance of high-performance design in buildings in order for it to be sustainable and at the same time reduce the impact on the environment.

“The Philippines experiences frequent natural disasters every year. This makes the country very vulnerable as houses in the Philippines are generally not built to withstand extreme weather conditions.

As a developer, our designs very well address this issue. By studying nature and the local climate of an area, we are able to design buildings that not only mitigate environmental impact but can endure extreme weather conditions,” shared Nati.

Atty. Leviste also shared his views on the company’s participation at the festival: “We are very proud to be part of this prestigious festival. It is indeed an extraordinary experience for us. We are thankful and honored that we had the opportunity to showcase our sustainable projects and share our ideas with the best architects in the world.”

RVN & JDL @ WAF2014

ITPI is the developer of Primavera Residences, an Italian-designed green condo complex located in Uptown Cagayan de Oro. Primavera Residences is Cagayan de Oro’s first eco-friendly mixed-use development. It comprise residential, commercial, and office units for purchase and rent. All units are ready for occupancy.

Want to own a Primavera Residences unit designed by an Italian architect? Grab this opportunity and call us at +63-917-7921080 or visit our website www.primaveraresidences.com.

Interested to invest in our other projects? Check out: www.italpinas.com.

The Personal in the Creative: Architect Basa Shares her Preferences in Designs

entry no 5 Salvaged Wood Revolution_smallSalvaged Wood Revolution. Behind this dramatic title is the simple but very important act of one community in Surigao del Sur.

“The community makes use of the driftwood abundant in their waters,” said architect Marianne Basa, the winner of the Earth Day Photography Contest of the Primavera Residences.

On a vacation in Surigao del Sur, she and her companions got interested when they chanced upon a group of men crafting beautiful implements from scraps of wood.

“As we were driving along the coast of the province, I saw so many driftwoods,” said Ms. Basa. “I found it such a waste to have all these really good wood just floating, unused. So I was interested when we saw these men actually turning them into beautiful works of art, or at the very least, functional things.”

The rich textures of the photo, surprisingly, are in contrast with Ms. Basa’s architectural character. “I love modern and minimalist designs, with spaces really maximized,” she said.

Big windows. This is what she immediately says when asked for her preference. “It’s airy, and gives ample light,” she said. Maximizing the habagat and the amihan, she says it is lucky for her that she is based in a province with cool temperatures.

She is also optimistic about Bukidnon – her base at the present after doing architecture work in Singapore for some time. “There’s no question if the people here can afford it – there are a lot of potential clients,” she said. “The current bottleneck though is that they are not yet educated about the benefits of having an architect design their house. They think they could save by doing their own designs. What happens is they have really huge houses but the spaces are not maximized, the features are not in harmony. But it’s a challenge I am willing to take on.”

For cramped spaces in urban centers, she recommends height. “High ceilings are very good for ventilation,” she said. “Also, I really recommended high levels in the house. My designs always have a set of staircase. It’s basic. Warm air goes up so there’s movement of air if you have levels. And for wall-to-wall houses, my advise is don’t fill your space with things. It will stifle the air circulation.”

But she says she really does not have a particular style or a designer she would recommend. “You have to be flexible,” she said. “Your client’s preferences differ. One may not like modern designs. And I don’t want to limit myself.”

Her preferences for interiors though are a different story, more reflective of her flair for contrasts and highlights in her photography. Her office, she shared, is a mixture of hot pink and purple. “I am very kikay,” she said. “My building designs are minimal but what I like to put inside the rooms are different.”

Not different from what the community had been doing, Ms. Basa likes salvaging materials from old houses to form them into something new and unique. “I have recycled old scaffoldings, for example, and put them up as feature walls for example,” she shared.

The preference for talk pieces and quaint interiors reflects in her photography that she does as a hobby. Admittedly, she prefers shooting portraits and macros to landscapes and street shots. For this reason, she was not very confident in joining the photography contest of Primavera. “How can I put in the theme in portraits?” Instead of joining the landscape bandwagon just to satisfy the theme, she took her portraits to a higher level to convey something deeper than the textured skin she captured.


She and her husband of three years sometimes accept requests from friends for a very low price she says it is really like doing it for free. She loves shooting pre-nuptials that include designing. “I like working in themes,” she said. “I like dressing up the people I am to shoot.” Again going back to her contrasts, she is especially fond of going for elaborate dresses and makeup when the background is simple like a bodega or a bahay kubo.

In her work as an architect and with her family engaged in construction, she prefers to have her photography as a past time.

“I don’t want to get pressured,” she said. “If I do it as a hobby, I find it fun and interesting. But if I make it as my living, it would be different. I might be constrained with my personal expression to satisfy my clients. But my husband is really encouraging me to pursue my photography. He’s a huge fan,” she laughs.