FOURTEEN years ago, Romeo Ang and his wife Ching started ROCH herbal capsule, a dietary food supplement that gained popularity across the country, especially in Southern Philippines.

Some years down the line, however, the business did not as go smoothly as planned, with competitors gaining ground and others producing fake ROCH capsules, that caused the company’s sales to drop by more than half.

In 2010, the Ang family decided to rebrand to CHRO PLUS, with exactly the same formula and effectiveness as that of ROCH. But they also saw that venturing into real estate would be a wise move to diversify their investments, especially when fierce competition marked the food supplements business.

“The real estate industry is a fast-rising, sunrise industry here in Cebu,” said the Filipino-Chinese businessman in an interview during the grand opening and blessing last Friday of Trillium Residences, an 18-storey condominium on Molave St. in Cebu City.

Since the project’s launch four years ago, RCAB Properties Inc., the developer, has sold 82 percent of 123 units. Its main advantages are its location, within walking distance to Cebu Business Park, as well as the highest ceilings among condominiums in Cebu City.

“I considered (the first project) successful…We are looking forward to our next project,” said Romeo, adding that the focus in the short-term are vertical developments within Cebu City and Mandaue City, considering the scarcity and high prices of lots in Metro Cebu.

As a spinoff to its first project, Romeo, RCAB Properties president, said they will venture into another vertical real estate project adjacent to the Trillium Residences, which will be launched in the third quarter of next year and will be operated as a condotel in roughly four to five years.

The second project, which is eyed to have roughly 170 units, may cost him more than what he spent for the first development, approximately P180 million.

“The demand for hotels in Cebu is rising with the incoming new terminal of the Mactan airport. It will bring more direct flights to Cebu. With stronger ties to China and Russia in the current administration, we can expect more Chinese tourists probably this year and next year,” Romeo added. “We don’t intend to stop our (food supplement) business because we can see that many people still benefit from it.”

But to date, the core business of the family is real estate.