SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 12, 2013 – 12:00am

Ayala Land COO Bernard Dy sent Spy Bits a letter denying rumors that Ayala Land, Inc. is interested in buying Manila Golf and Country Club, with plans to transfer the Club to FTI to beef up Ayala’s development plans for Bonifacio Global City. “We have no plans of acquiring Manila Golf nor are we in discussions with the management or shareholders of the Club regarding this matter. We believe Manila Golf should remain in its current location and continue to be an integral part of the community,” Dy wrote.

“We would also like to state that the master plan of Arca South (FTI) which is envisioned as a business district complimentary to Makati and Bonifacio Global City, does not include a golf course,” Dy clarified.

But a new “junior” Club member engaged in the real estate business told us he truly believes it will make more sense for Ayala Land to purchase Manila Golf because it is right next door to Bonifacio Global City, which offers higher potential since there are no height restrictions for condominiums and other structures. Arca South on the other hand is close to the flight path of NAIA and therefore makes future residents/tenants susceptible to the inconveniences that go with being located near an airport. Besides, integrating Manila Golf to BGC could go a long way in helping ease up the traffic along Mckinley and Global City, the junior member commented.

The clarification from Ayala Land certainly makes the “seniors” at Manila Golf happy because they have always been against any suggestions by “progressive junior members” to move the Club elsewhere, preferring its current location along McKinley near exclusive villages such as Dasmariñas and Forbes. It looks like the seniors have it – for now.

New iPhones: Game changer

Apple’s recent launch of the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C really shows that the company is asserting its dominance in the smartphone market with the two new models catering to the upper end and the lower segments. The lower-end iPhone 5C is obviously targeted for emerging markets particularly China, with the American company close on the heels of finalizing a deal with China Mobile Ltd., the world’s largest carrier which has a massive subscriber base of 700 million.
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However, China Mobile has been struggling to come up with enough smartphones that can be compatible with its homegrown 3G network.

The wireless market has been experiencing a surge in China, and the launch of the lower-priced iPhone will make it easy for the Chinese mass market to go digital, with Apple’s iPhone 5C priced at $99 (16-gigabytes) and $199 (32-gigabytes) for a two-year wireless contract. The higher-end iPhone 5S features a fingerprint sensor technology developed by a team of biometrics experts, which virtually does away with the need for passwords that are prone to hacking. But the more important feature though is that both 5C and 5S support more LTE (long term evolution) bands compared to any other smartphone in the market – meaning it can cover almost all of the 4G networks all over the world.

Smart phones and gadgets have become the tools for digital convergence – considered the wave of the future – with carriers tying up with content providers as seen in the recent tie-up of Globe with ABS-CBN. PLDT/Smart Communications is also poised to ride this wave of the future, going on an aggressive convergence strategy with TV5 and Cignal. Smart has been gearing up for the future, rolling out the fastest 4G LTE in the country and expanding the coverage of its “super fast” Internet connection to over a thousand sites in 180 areas spread out in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – enabling subscribers to enjoy movies and videos, upload or download photos and other content with no lagging, buffering or other delays.

EDSA has become a curse

The horrendous traffic especially in EDSA the other night triggered a lot of cursing among harassed motorists and commuters who were stranded. Many braved the pouring rain, wading along the flooded streets and dragging their feet one after the other just to be able to get home because nothing was moving – not in EDSA, not in C5, Quezon Boulevard, Commonwealth, Timog and other areas that looked like submerged parking spaces.

People were particularly pissed at the thought that they will have to go through the same situation every time the strong rains come. Worse, MMDA enforcers were nowhere to be found, and we received a lot of complaints that the MMDA traffic website was down, which made it difficult for motorists to get updates and look for alternate routes.

A lot of those who wanted to watch the Frankie Valli/The Four Seasons concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum never made it to the show, among them a senior member of society (who was celebrating his birthday) and his wife. The couple had been hoping to hear the love songs popularized by The Four Seasons like “Can’t take my eyes off you” during the concert, but the traffic in EDSA spoiled the night for them and the others who missed the show.

‘Ni Hao’ to Hola!

Maricris Zobel and partner Valeria Aboitiz recently launched the popular international magazine Hola! last week, with big name advertisers gracing the maiden issue. A lot of the guests were Filipino-Spanish but there was also a big number of Filipino-Chinese during the launch. In fact, a Filipino-Chinese guest suggested that perhaps they should also put up a magazine called “Ni Hao!” –which means “hello “in Chinese.