Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nuvali: Evoliving in the South

NUVALI is a master planned eco-community development that combines green building technology with sustainable architecture and construction. It espouses “Evoliving”, which is the seamless weaving of life, nature and technology for a healthier and less stressful kind of life where people and nature thrive in harmony.

Last week regardless of the current weather forecast, my family managed to visit another attraction in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It is becoming popular to all travelers like me for it provides a different eco-thrill for a family in tow. This is our first visit to an urban development community site which is part of the private subdivision projects of the Ayalas.

The main attraction at the moment is the Solenad— a commercial area compared in the luxurious food and shops in Greenbelt, Makati. The only difference is that, you have a more greener scenery and mountain landscape of Mt. Makiling.  Plus factor is the mix of environmental activities that your family can enjoy.

It's also my first time to see bunch of Koi and my kids was so excited feeding them. There's a boat ride to the man-made lagoon for P30 pesos each and one can imagine how lucky are those who are near the place to enjoy true God's gifts of nature.

So, while it's under development period, grab a time and visit the place.


Nuvali is a 1,600 hectare development envisioned to be the country’s next urban center. Developed by Ayala group, It is located in Laguna and is covered by the cities of Sta. Rosa and Calamba. It is only 40 kms away from Makati (50 min) and 25 kms from Alabang (30 min). Nuvali is along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road.

From Metro Manila, it is accessible via South Luzon Expressway with the following exit points: (a) Exclusive access at Mamplasan, Sta. Rosa; (b) Sta. Rosa- Tagaytay Road; (c) Malitlit (Asia Brewery) and (d) Silang.

As the next urban center, Nuvali will integrate a mix of land uses which are vital to support a modern metropolis. It will have a central business district with traditional office buildings and business process outsourcing campuses, retail centers, residential developments, schools, institutional and civic areas, among others.

Nuvali will redefine urban living by hinging itself upon sustainability to distinguish itself from cities as we know it, of highly dense urban centers. This means that Nuvali will contain the elements that bring forth economic prosperity, while keeping check of social needs to foster true community building, all in an ecologically sound environment.

Ayala Land believes that only in striking this balance will it assure the value appreciation of Nuvali for generations to come. This is the same long-term outlook in large scale developments that enabled the company to shape the Makati Central Business District, Ayala Alabang and Madrigal Business Park, Cebu Business Park, and Bonifacio Global City. With this vision of sustainability, Ayala Land finds assurance in its plans for Nuvali as the up and coming metropolis.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

BATANES: Start of Nature Exploration

DAY1: I was standing in massive green cliffs rising from 50-70 meters above sea-level and as I stood still, it’s like I was at the top of the famous cliff of Moher in Ireland. Taming the cold easterly winds and enjoying the panoramic view of the 35 km² Batanes Island. Wow! Yes, I thought I was only dreamin’ but no, it’s not. This is real. I am here, with my newly found friends, enjoying the serene beauty and breathtaking landscapes and seascapes of the northernmost tip of the Philippine archipelago — Batanes.

I have been so lucky that I have made it to join Mandy Navasero's Photo-Safari Tour in Batanes last April 1-4, 2011. (My gratitude to the Almighty for allowing me to see His wonderful creations. This is an experience that I won’t forget.) This trip is another treat for me and an escape from a hard day’s work. A fun and nature adventure courtesy of my boss Madam Nila. She and her husband Ronnie joined Mandy’s photo-safari and for reasons that I share same passion for photography, she decided to tag me along. hehe

Mang Roger conducts his tour briefing 

As I have said in my previous post, I almost didn’t make it to the airport but fortunately, as my boss said, I was meant to go there. So, here I am making notes again to share a bit of info about this once in a lifetime nature adventure in Batanes. 

For almost two hours, we were traveling. We arrived at the Basco airport via Sea Air around 7am. But prior to that, for some reasons, management announced that our luggage will be withheld till the following morning.

After staying for a while at the airport, a van brought us to a restaurant for breakfast briefing headed by an eloquent resident tour-guide Mr. Roger Amboy. Mang Roger as many called him, is a familiar face among Ivatans (natives of Batanes). He’s been doing this for 20 years and that’s the reasons why he knows every corner of Batanes. Then he moved us to the famous Batanes Seaside Lodge-our official home for our 3 nights and 4 days stay. Everyone was so excited already and we hop-in to our designated 12-seater jeep.

During our trip, he is giving us a brief lecture about the history of Batanes. He even cited personalities who went there. He told us lots of stories as we moved from one location to another. I saw how Mang Roger managed the tour, how he made his guests comfortable during the trip and got them to enjoy every destination that they visit. Participants like me

Batanes21 group pix at the entrance of Japanese tunnel
Bulacan beauties prepare their gadgets as they move through the tunnel :)

Our first stop is the Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel. It served as hideout for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The tunnel is pitch black even during daytime and as we passed by, we had to turn on our flashlights. As we dive into the tunnel, 10-feet vertical drop, Mang Roger simultaneously narrated to us some events that had transpired during those periods. From what I see, this underground passage has five chambers, one leads to a cliff and the others are exits to the road. As we walk, we had to be watchful because the passage is a bit narrow and the ceiling is inches away from the head.

30-minutes of tunnel spelunking is an experience that really excites every tourist who visits the place. Though its not as famous as other tunnels, this Japanese-made tunnelscape made you realized how it feels when you are virtually being squeezed by the earth's mouth..tremble yourself as Americans bombarded this island during the World War II.

( Watch out for my next post soon..)

Monday, April 11, 2011

BATANES: The Departure

AN EARLY WAKE UP CALL  arose me from a good night sleep last  April 1, 2011. I've thought that I might have been a victim of the April fools' thingy but at the back of my mind, even If I am partly conscious, I am sure that this call is of utmost importance to me at that very moment. But I was unperturbed, still. 

After almost an hour, the alarm got my attention again from stupor when I heard "Mandy's voice and glanced at the time on my mobile, it's 4:30am. For no reasons at all, I do not know why my alarm  keeps on ringing. Honestly, I'm weighing myself if I will still go or not with my appointment with Mandy.

I had to decide right away or else, its now or its never. Our flight schedule is 5:45 and worst is, I'm still in Quezon City. I want to fly to be able to get there easily, I told myself, but reality tells me to comply with how the system works. To tell you, I have some inhibitions: that maybe this trip is not for me, that I have more things to accomplish and prioritize for or the fact that I could not wake up on time due to staying late in office the previous nights. I looked out of the window and asked God for a sign. 

Suddenly, Mandy called and said that she had my boarding pass secured, that I had to be there before 5:30. Immediately after this I took my luggage, ran to the dark corridors of the street, hopped on a cab to the airport and tell the driver, "Don't ask me how much I will pay you, but please get this goddamn taxi to the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) in less than 30 minutes."

And so we flew like hell as if the cab I was in is the king of the road. But a few meters away from Sanctuarium (Crematorium) in Araneta Avenue, police patrol held us for over speeding with my PhP300 worthless explanations. Thanks to this gallant driver who made my day and made me reached my destination very right on time.

So This is It! This is really for me. I am destined to go to Batanes.... not just to explore the place but to make wonderful and memorable stories once again for my almost dying travel blog :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Manor cut at 50 percent discount

ARE YOU A TRAVELLER? If you are a frequent Baguio traveler who enjoys the cool breeze of the Summer Capital, this holiday season is for you. Enjoy your precious time to relax and commune with nature as you celebrate the season with families and friends even lovers and honeymooners out there.

The famous Manor Hotel in Camp John Hay bounches back with its special 50% discount on its suites up to December 23, 2009. These special rates are being offered only to guests and frequent visitors of the hotel. Please hurry and avail this very, very big discounts.

    * Superior room = PhP2,900 for couple/night
    * De luxe room = PhP3,150 for couple/night
    * One bed room Suite =  PhP3,850 for 3 persons/night
    * Elegand Suite = PhP6,150/night for 4 persons

The Making of Carabao Island Airport

Quite intriguing? Well, if you are an adventurer like me and a bit curious of what this place looks like, you would be tempted to search or go to Carabao Island yourself. It is believed to be the next tourist destination in the Philippines to look out for by travellers and adventurers as well. Located in San Jose of Romblon province and only 20 minutes away by boat from Boracay Island. This has remains to be one of the unexplored islands yet in the country. But government and investors alike are already eyeing and pinning this island spot to be a lucrative one.

Why did I say that Carabao Island would be the next tourist destination? Because Carabao Island and Boracay are alike in many ways. It also has the same powdery white sand but with a much longer shoreline. It has the very same natural beauty of Boracay back in the 1980s when structures are not yet sprouted like mushrooms along the shoreline.

Probably in the next estimated years to come, Carabao Island will be the next tourist haven in the Philippines. There are reports that the Philippine government agencies are negotiating with a Korean-led estate company for the development of an international airport project in San Jose town worth to be PhP5 billion. The airport will be an alternative route and an additional one to accommodate more visitors besides having the existing Caticlan airport in Malay, Aklan. Once the entire project is completed in 2012, the 3.7 kilometer long airport will make room for wide-bodied jetliners like the A-330.

The airport also would ease travel time and inconvenience for foreign tourists and locals who wish to visit Boracay. At present, there are lots of transfer you have to go through before you arrive to Boracay. One, to make a flight to NAIA, and then transfer to the Domestic airport, then fly again to Kalibo. Lastly, a 15 minute ride to a ferry boat transfer before you reach Boracay. An almost half a day was spent due to unnecessary travel time.

With the newly discovered Carabao Island and the ongoing airport project, it is predicted that by 2012, business opportunities will also come along. Romblon as well as other nearby provinces will have this kind of opportunity in terms of catering their local products and promoting the towns. With this plan in mind, our country may be able to compete with other major tourist destinations in Southeast Asia like Phuket in Thailand and Bali in Indonesia.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sanctuarium of the Philippines

As a country who is bounded by traditions, are we still for a traditional burial or now thinking for an alternative and practical ways specially in times of recessions.

We are accustomed to burying our deceased love ones the traditional way because of the belief that the soul of our departed will continue to be with us even after death. We still prefer for a physical presence of the person in the traditional ceremony for we are still bounded with their memories and that's what we cherished.

While our cab is heading Jack terminal bound for Laguna last hallowen, we passed through the Araneta avenue and saw flock of people inside and outside Sanctuarium- a towering 12 storey complex which is considered as the largest columbarium in Asia and stands out along the line of funeral parlors who do same business in this area.

Over the years, traditional burial has been overshadowed by the growing numbers of people who are willingly and prefers cremation of their love ones because of financial consideration. It is now gaining popularity among Filipinos nowadays and already being offered by well known funeral operators. Needless to say, with the boom of our population, public cemeteries are crowded and traffic jams builds up heading to cemeteries especially on this occasion. So people see "cremation" more economically in the long run".

Why cremation?

Cremation according to Wikipedia is the process of reducing human remains to basic chemical compounds in the form of gases and bone fragments. Cremation may serve as post funeral rites-an alternative for internment for the actual body in a casket. Once a body is cremated, ashes are placed in an urn and is surrendered to the family so they wish to bring it home or prepare for a disposal ceremony.

Crematorium operators such as Sactuarium, is a the first of its kind in our country and has everything in one roof. If you are in this kind of business, in order to compete, innovations is prescribe. The Sactuarium has a luxurious vigil chapels with air-conditioned family rooms, a Budhist temple for our Chinese brothers and a Sky Garden at the roof deck. The facility also has underground secured parking, coffee shops, convenience store, flower shops, audio-visual library and the state-of-the-art crematorium. This is a total memorial service in a 12-steps feature sets.

So how much it cost to avail this services? I got this breakdown from a research work:
  • one vault - P115,000 - P165,000
  • one vault and cremation - P130,000 - P180,000
  • one vault, cremation and services - P155,000- P365,000

Part of the service includes transport of the deceased to the Sanctuarium to the hospital, embalming, use of standard casket for funeral ceremony, the use of vigil chapel, documentation assistance such as registration of death certificates, securing permits, and other mementos such as audio and video presentation.

As I see it, the Sanctuarium will become a showcase and standard bearer of a totally new concept in memorialization. It house 5-Star amenities to service the living while being the final resting haven for the departed loved one. Apparently, the Sactuarium offers the best alternative to overcrowded cemeteries that are open to the elements. There is no question that the building will set the standard in the future.

Now regardless on our own personal belief and priority in life, the world is changing and its upon us on how we approach the new paradigm of Filipino tradition and custom.

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