Yes! I was in Manila for one week and it was one eventful trip filled with road trips, food adventures, and appreciating the good life has to offer. It was a pleasant surprise and I am just thankful that my company allowed me to go on leave even on short notice (maybe because, I didn’t avail my annual leave this year).
Here’s my itinerary during my 7-full day of stay in Manila (and partially in Tagaytay area). If there are some lessons that I’ve learned during this trip, you’ll see it highlighted on the daily activities.
Day 0 – Sept16: ARRIVAL
An early morning flight requires you to be in the airport the night before. So after office, I went home, packed my things, and headed straight the airport early, in case there would be some immigration issues especially with the OEC (a sort of Exit Permit requirement for Filipino expats). Good thing there was none.
The flight went on smoothly and on-time, but it was raining when we reached NAIA International Airport in Manila that afternoon. While it’s expected (advance info provided by accuweather.com), I had high hopes that it won’t rain that much!
Late check-in at ASCOTT MANILA was a breeze. We were given a room upgrade and it was strategically located right where we can see Uniqlo (a popular Japanese clothing brand) in Glorietta 5. The hotel room was spacious and well-equipped for a serviced apartment category. The hotel is located right at the entrance of the mall so I was excited to go out after a quick nap while waiting for my son who will be staying with me overnight.
Little did I know that malls in the Philippines are closed as early as 9pm! I was even expecting them to be open until 10 – 11pm but they were too eager to go home, traffic maybe? My main concern is to get cash from any automated teller machine (ATM) and have dinner somewhere close to the hotel. Good thing the mall security allowed us to enter and we also found an open Korean restaurant within Glorietta 3 (our first of the many samgyupsal meals).
Day 1 – Sept 17: MAKATI AREA
The first official day began with a hearty breakfast from the hotel. My son and I had a meaningful conversation and we also prepared for our first shoot together. I am looking forward to having photos with him since I would usually take Jasmine’s photos when I am in Qatar. Our agenda is also to visit the biggest UNIQLO branch in Southeast Asia located in Glorietta 5 in Makati.
After a lunch meeting with the sponsors, we went straight to our first showroom visit inside the Glorietta mall. Afterward, Johann also has to go back home that afternoon since he still has school the following day. And so, I have to go through the rest of the schedules alone.
Day 2 – Sept 18: AYALA VERTIS NORTH and AYALA CLOVERLEAF
Breakfast at the beautiful Misto at Seda Vertis North. I’m quite familiar with this place being close to where we are staying whenever we are in Manila. The hotel has a nice ambiance and serves good food, too. Since our morning itinerary is to cover the showroom in the nearby residential tower and a tour around Ayala Vertis North Mall (which, surprisingly will open at 11am!) so, Seda Hotel was the perfect meeting place for the team.
Vertis North brings new energy to Quezon City an up-and-coming central business and lifestyle district – an address presenting a full range of opportunities, master-planned for centrality, connectivity, and efficiency. Leading the concept of a City Center, synergized by a destination so complete.
Heavy rain poured out in the afternoon delaying all our schedules towards the next itinerary – the Ayala Cloverleaf in the historic Balintawak. It is a newly developed commercial and residential center which serves as the gateway to Metro Manila for those coming from the northwestern part of the metropolis. It is the first pocket urban development of Ayala Land in Balintawak, accessible from two gateways, EDSA, and A. Bonifacio Avenue.
Day 3 – Sept 19: NUVALI and KASA LUNTIAN
It was an early morning road trip to Sta. Rosa, Laguna (South of Makati) with a different team to help me navigate two itineraries for the day – NUVALI in Sta Rosa and KASA LUNTIAN in Tagaytay.
NUVALI is the Philippines’ first and largest eco-city development, built on the principles of sustainable design. A project of Ayala Land, NUVALI is a 2,290-hectare mixed-use development that straddles the cities of Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, and Calamba in Laguna. This integrated self-supporting eco-city is home to a vast gathering of residential communities, business spaces, prestigious schools, shopping centers, and the 150-room Seda Hotel – Nuvali.
As always, afternoons are made difficult by heavy rains. But our team was determined to proceed as scheduled. We are headed to the scenic KASA LUNTIAN – Alveo Land’s first foray into leisure residential condominium developments providing an intimate respite from the demands of the city. Located on the quiet side of the ridge, Kasa Luntian is a touchstone community that nurtures intimate escapes for families in a lush Tagaytay setting.
Spent the rest of the night in Kasa Luntian… and I’ll tell you, that was the most relaxing “Me-time” I had in a long time.
Day 4 – Sept 20: TAGAYTAY AREA
Of course, I would let this trip pass by without taking advantage of Tagaytay is known for. Coffee with a view, a sip of the famous Bulalo, and their signature spa.
Day 5 – Sept 21: BGC AREA
Another place that I don’t want to miss visiting whenever I’m in Manila is the BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY – it is like the Philippines’ little Singapore, a breath of fresh air, a new financial and lifestyle district in Metro Manila developed by Ayala Land and its partners.
Related blog about BGC: Photowalk Manila: The different colors of BGC
This time, I was specifically focused on showcasing the lifestyle of condo dwellers in BGC area: the proximity to workplaces, to lifestyle centers and the malls… to practically everything my feet can reach. In this walkable city, you will be amazed by the colors, the vibe, and the synergy that it exudes. The office towers, the luxurious hotels, the lifestyle malls, the cafes and restos offering cuisines from all over the world… feels like a world on its own. This is the future… and how exciting it is to live right at the center of it all.
Day 6 – Sept 22: FREE DAY with Family
Sunday is FAMILY DAY in the ultra-conservative Philippine society. And in this quick trip to Manila, I specifically reserved a day to spend with my loved ones. Just catching up with the latest in the family, and to spend the whole day at the mall while having another samgyupsal meal (I didn’t know that they’re also raving for it).
Day 7 – Sept 23: FREE DAY going to Airport
Traffic in EDSA (Manila’s main thoroughfare) is quite bad. Well, it could go worst especially during rush hours. So I thought I have to move closer to the airport so I could just explore the nearby area prior to departure. While it is not included in the official itinerary, I thought it would save me time while checking out some brand new hotels close to the airport.
I wasn’t able to visit many of them but it was nice to know that branded hotels like Holiday Inn, Hilton, Movenpick, Sheraton, and others are just across NAIA International Airport – Terminal 3. If I had time, I would also love to visit Okada, City of Dreams Manila, and Conrad Hotel. But I guess I can do that on our next vacation in 2020.
ABOUT THE COVER IMAGE
This trip was sponsored by Ayala Land International Sales in order to give our Qatar readers a glimpse of the actual lifestyle in each of the highlighted projects/areas. More social media updates and feature contents are coming up in the next few days leading to their Qatar Roadshow in October 2019.