Thursday, April 10, 2014

Playtime at the SandBox in Alviera

Last Saturday, Travel Junkie Manila was invited to the media launch of SandBox, Alviera’s first main attraction.

Just like you, I wondered where is Alviera and what is the Sandbox.  As it turned out, Alviera is Ayala Land’s, in partnership with Leonio Land, latest large-scale, integrated mixed-use development that is situated in Porac, Pampanga.  It is a 1,1285-hectare township designed to seamlessly combine urban living with nature.  

Alviera is set to become the regional growth center of Central Luzon complete with a commercial district, business and industrial park, university zones, retail centers, a country club, recreational areas, and residential neighborhoods.

On the other hand, the SandBox  - Alviera’s first main attraction, is an outdoor playground for people of all ages.  It is a seeming great place for family picnics, team-building sessions, sports and active lifestyle enthusiasts, outdoor hobbyists, and outings with friends.  It has a themed kiddie playground with picnic areas, mini-golf, camping sites, a courtyard and an open field for field and other outdoor activities.There is also the pump track, a 5,000 sq-m bike track for all types of bikes and skill levels. Its name originates from the pumping motion used by the riders’ bodies as they create momentum around the tracks.


Though when we got there, the Sandbox was short of being finished.  The rollercoaster zipline were still missing a few tracks. The mini-ATV track still needed some work, and the grounds still can use a bit of landscaping work. Nonetheless, the foundations were already laid down and they did promise that it would all be completed on April 12, 2014 for their public launch. 

As for now, get a glimpse of the SandBox by looking at some of the photos I took last Saturday. 

The SandBox is Alviera’s first main attraction.
The Aerial Walk Challenge is a high rope adventure course of nets and rope walkways. The Aerial walk is a series of activities that will test each user’s agility, balance, and flexibility. 
The Sandbox’s Giant Swing is the country’s tallest swing.  The swing can accommodate three guests at a time and creates the back and forth movement at ten meters above ground. 
Picnic tables are scattered around the grounds. 
The Adventure Tower is a five-storey structure that features a couple of activities such as rappelling and wall climbing. It also serves as a viewing deck and the jump off platform for free fall and rollercoaster zipline. 
The Avatar One is the Philippines’s first rollercoaster zipline. One doesn’t just zip down the 180-meter (length) course but zigzags along starting from 12 meters high. 
The SandBox also offers ATV rides around the property.   


The SandBox's official launch is this 12 April 2014 , Sunday.
Here's how to get from Manila to Alviera. 



Expect it to be hot and windy at the Sandbox so don't forget to bring the ff: 
1. Umbrellas
2. Caps or hats
3. Sunglasses
4. Sunscreen
5. Change of clothes
6. Towel
7. Hand Sanitizer


*The SandBox is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 AM - 5AM.
Booking guidelines and details are available on www. alviera.ph. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One Night in a Whole New World (Hotel)

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away.


And either you’ve been a good soldier and have planned way ahead or you’re still racking your brains for what you and your sweetheart might be doing on V-Day.

I haven’t done any planning of the sort because my heart is on the other side of the world. But because I am full of love and happiness, I would love to get yours all warm and mush on the big day. So here’s a suggestion if yet you still don’t have a plan.

GO ON STAYCATION.

Yes, check-in to a hotel and just stay put. Avoid the agonizing hours of inching your way across the metro, playing chase around the parking lot, or queuing for a table at a much-hyped restaurant. Then again, you are going to be with your sweetheart so those things should not matter. But just in case you're the impatient sort, I believe it’s one of the best ways to spend the day – next only to going on an actual holiday.

I am sure you can think of several wonderful things to do in a hotel room with your honey but this suggestion also applies to the single ladies out there. In fact, two girlfriends and I went on staycation at the New World Hotel in Makati. My friend Chinggay and Issa checked-in right after lunch as I had to attend an all-day event. When I finally managed to get to the hotel and settle down, we footed it across to Greenbelt 2 and had supper. We went to namnam for its Filipino comfort food. After a hearty supper, we went back to our hotel room and did the ff:

1. Commented on whatever was on the telly.
2. Gabbed.
3. Soaked in the tub.
4. Tarot Card reading c/o Chinggay.
5. Gabbed.
6. Slept.

The next morning:

1. Joined the other guests for the hotel's breakfast buffet.
2. Swam in the pool.
3. Had mid-morning snacks at the Residence Club's Living Room.
4. Gabbed.

After which, we checked out.



Save the movie-and-dinner date for another Saturday night.
Do something different on this day of hearts.

"A whole New World with you."

New World Hotel's ground floor lobby is sleek, neutral, and contemporary. 
Didn't know there was such a thing!
We had to check-in at this reception area on the 24th floor.

Our home for the night!
Two beds for three girls. Aaack! But they were really comfortable!
"Friends" was on the telly that night. 

That divider slides open to the bedroom. I had my tarot cards read by Chinggay while I was in the tub.

This seems to be a good peg for shelves. 


We were still figuring out what to have for morning Merienda. 



Sofas and tables share space in the Residence Club living room. 
These biscuits and biscotti were good. 
You can either serve yourself or wait for a pretty lady to help you.
"Coffee, tea, or me?" 

They're using Philippine honey!
Here's the Makati Skyline from the balcony. 
Issa decided on a pot of hot chocolate. 
I had iced tea and a bottle of water.
Hair still wet from our morning swim. 
Right across the hotel is Greenbelt 3. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Morning at Ayala Triangle Park

So what exactly does one do in Makati at 7 A.M.?


That’s the question I had to answer when I found myself in Makati way too early for an appointment. I’ve been helping someone with his English and I didn’t want to be late for our breakfast chat. Makati,  it seemed, was savoring its morning sweet spot – when the night owls were heading back to crawl under their rocks while the office workers were inching their way to the central business district.

There was one thing, though, that I knew for sure – I was hungry. I passed up breakfast to beat the morning rush and was now starving. Even if a breakfast meal at one of the fast food chains was the obvious choice, I opted to go classic Pinoy and  walked to Pan de Manila. Eight pieces of pan de sal should do it, I supposed.  I admit I can gobble up eight pieces of that fist-size bread in one sitting. And so with the warm brown paper bag in my hand,  I went through the underpass and walked up to the park.

I must confess that I have a love-hate relationship with this park. I love that it actually exist, a seeming green haven amid the hustle and bustle of the business district.  On the other hand, I hate that it has been dubbed as our local Central Park.  It takes more than just being surrounded by skyscrapers to earn that title, I imagine.

I entered the park through the fountain area of Tower One, which was practically deserted except for a mother and her child. More people came into view as I further walked inward. Runners were making their rounds; office workers passing through; and people on benches were busy with their mobile phones. 

I wanted to sit on the grass but unfortunately, it was wet. So instead, I had to make do with the stone benches around the square where they staged the lights and sounds show during the holidays. Interestingly enough, I overheard the couple sitting on the next bench talking in Hindi while two older east Asian gentlemen animatedly conversing in Chinese. I spotted a couple of white people amid the joggers and another one working on his laptop at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

To my right was a woman busy with her mobile.  Thought she might be hungry too so I offered her a piece of pan de sal which she declined. As I was happily stuffing my face with freshly-baked bread, a man came up to her and kissed her. She giddily kissed him back and entwined her arms with his. He then took her bags and they happily walked away and out of the park. Who knew lovers meet at the park early in the morning? I certainly didn’t. I then looked around and apparently they weren’t the only couple in the vicinity. The others were either walking hand in hand or sitting next to each other, showing some mild public displays of affection.  


I eventually  finished off the entire bag of pan de sal and gulped down my tumbler of orange juice. And as I footed it back to my side of Ayala Avenue, cars were beginning to pile up at the intersections. It seems that the workforce has reached the CBD and another workday is about to start.  

RESTAURANTS READY TO SERVE YOU BREAKFAST AT 7:00 AM
1. Chef Lau's Pugon Roasters
2. Cafe Momo
3. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf


Ayala Tower One fountain area is almost deserted at this time of the day.

If you want to run, make it Makati? 


He's doing some push-ups!



Green in the concrete jungle. 


Maintenance work starts really early.


Cafe Momo is one of the three restaurants that serves breakfast at the park. 


Dogs are walked around the park, too. 

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