Philippine Readers and Writers Festival

 

 

Poster - PRWF 2016

 

From our partners, National Book Store:

Previously known as The Philippines Literary Festival, National Book Store and Raffles Makati now present  The Philippines Readers and Writers Festival 2016 featuring Pulitzer award winning author Adam Johnson and New York Times bestselling authors Paula McLain and Anna Todd from August 26 to 28, 2016 at the Raffles Makati. Admission is free for all events.

 

Photo - Adam Johnson (credit to Tamara Beckwith)
Adam Johnson (credit to Tamara Beckwith)

 

Adam Johnson is the author of ‘The Orphan Master’s Son” which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and named as one of the best books of the year by more than a dozen publications. ‘The Orphan Master’s Son” follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea. His other works include the short story collection ‘Fortune Smiles: Stories’. The Author Spotlight event on Adam Johnson will be on August 27 at 4 p.m.

 

The Orphan Master's Son

 

Photo - Paula McLain (credit to Nina Subin)
Paula McLain (photo credit: Nina Subin)

 

Paula McLain is the author of the novels ‘The Paris Wife’, ‘Circling the Sun’, ‘A Ticket to Ride’. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her phenomenally bestselling novel ‘The Paris Wife’ was named one of the best books of the year several publications including People magazine, Chicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews among others. It is a deeply evocative story that captures Paris in the twenties and an extraordinary love affair between two unforgettable people—Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley. The Author Spotlight event on Paula McLain will be on August 27 at 1 p.m.

 

The Paris Wife

 

Photo - Anna Todd
Anna Todd

 

Anna Todd is the author of the Wattpad sensation and bestselling ‘After’ series that includes ‘After’, ‘After We Collided’, ‘After We Fell’, ‘After Ever Happy’, and ‘Before’. ‘After’ series has started out as the most talked about story online with over 1 billion reads on Wattpad. It follows the story of Tessa Young, an optimistic freshman at Washington State University, and the dark, troubled guy who has stolen her heart—Hardin. The Author Spotlight event on Anna Todd will be on August 28 at 2 p.m.

 

After

Readers can attend three days of book signings, discussions, and panels about books, literature, and culture from top Filipino writers and artists. Join Ambeth Ocampo, Nick Deocampo, Jose Dalisay Jr., Danton Remoto, Sarge Lacuesta, Krip Yuson, Dean Francis Alfar, Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, AA Patawaran, Kate Evangelista, Pam Pastor, Juan Miguel Severo, Alex Gonzaga, and many more for talks and book signings.

The events are made possible in partnership with Adarna House Publishing, ABS-CBN Publishing, Anvil Publishing, Ateneo De Manila University Press, CNN Life, Rogue, Summit Books, Tahanan Books, Team Magazine, The University of the Philippines Press, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, VRJ Books, Visprint, Inc., Young Blood, and Young Star.

All events will be held at the Raffles Makati with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. everyday. Admission is free.  Only books purchased at National Book Store, National Book Store Express, and Powerbooks will be accommodated for the signing. Books by the authors will be available on site during the event. Sign up for updates and view the complete schedule at philippinereadersandwritersfestival.com.  Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert). Tag #GoReadWrite2016 to join the discussion.

 

 

Dimensione x Secret Fresh

 

 

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I’m still thinking about the amazing show I hosted at Studio Dimensione in BGC last week. To celebrate Magis’ 40th Anniversary, Dimensione and Secret Fresh Gallery collaborated with 14 Filipino artists to reinterpret the Magis Rocky, created by one of the most influential designers, Marc Newson.

Rocky is the second of Marc Newson’s designs for children, which is a modern take on a traditional object. Rocky is a pop version of medieval jousting horses complete with a parallelogram motion that mimics the movement of a traditional rocking horse. It is made from rotationally moulded polyethylene chosen for both its durability and recyclability.

Dimensione has established a modern and design-driven aesthetic in its merchandise and showrooms. I was very honoured to have had the DAPHNE® Furniture line carried there for a few seasons. It is my go-to for inspiration and home design needs. Lately Dimensione has been pushing the boundaries of art and design by having the most interesting art shows and design collaborations involving Magis. This is a great evolution for Magis and Dimensione, who have been exclusive partners in the Philippines since 1997.

The indestructible and unbeatable Rocky was re-painted, re-surfaced, and deconstructed by 14 local artists from Secret Fresh – Renato Barja Jr., Iya Consorio, Egg Fiasco, Mark Andy Garcia, Jagnus Design Studio, Yeo Kaa, Luis Lorenzana, Galaxie Maria, Gene Paul Martin, Jason Montinola, Jason Moss, Christian Tamondong, Clairelynn Uy and JJ “Exld” Zamoranos – each showing different techniques, inspirations and stories.

These one-of-a-kind art pieces are for sale. The night of the launch, quite a few Rocky horses were bought on the spot. But you can still see the pieces. The Unbeatable Rocky is currently on display at the Studio Dimensione showroom at 28th Street cor. 7th Avenue in BGC, Taguig up to September 4, 2016.

#DimensionexSecretFresh   #UnbeatableRocky   #Magis   #Dimensioneph

 

 

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Secret Fresh artists with SF Bigboy Cheng and Ben Chan. Photo by Miguel Pastor.

 

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Me hosting. I wore a dress I bought in Cos Tokyo and necklace from Bauble Bar. Photo by Miguel Pastor.

 

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Always a pleasure being with Lucy Torres-Gomez. Photo by Miguel Pastor.

 

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We were having the funniest conversation here. With Ben Chan, Lucy, Mrs Nenita Lim, Tessa Valdes, Pia Campos and Tessa Alindogan. Photo by Miguel Pastor.

 

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Gil Coscolluela and Joey Yupangco with the representative of Magis in the region.

 

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Marc Newson’s Rocky by Magis.

 

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Christian Tamondong, “Fun Trip to Fantasy Farm”, Acrylic. “It was a sweet sunny day and Rocky went to visit Fantasy Farm. There he saw plenty of fancy plants, flowers and trees, birds, bugs and met new friends. He has so much fun and wanted to stay forever.”

 

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Mark Andy Garcia, “Sunflower Horse”, Oil paint. “It is inspired by Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings, it felt really warm and the idea of as if looking outdoor is really nice. I love sunflowers.”

 

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Jason Moss, “Pacita, your horse got loose”, Mixed media. “For this piece, the artist decided to play around with the idea of creating a narrative (situation) wherein the colour palette and patterns were influenced by the late artist Pacita Abad. The artist painted over the horse with acrylic paints and used assorted colours of yarn to embellish the rope fastened to its mouth.”

 

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Clairelynn Uy – “I know”, Acrylic. Influenced by pop art.

 

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Egg Fiasco at work

 

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Egg Fiasco, “Nebula Drift”, Acrylic. “My piece mixes references of the cosmic imagery and popular symbols using geometrical shapes and colors that are traditionally considered optimistic and cheerful.”

 

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Luis Lorenzana, Untitled, Acrylic.

 

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Galaxie Maria, “Kandinsky Lily”, Mixed media (Acrylic paint x Oil paint). “Throughout his lifetime, the artist, Wassily Kandinsky has painted horses. The thought process in its creation revolved within the contemplative question, “What it would be like if a horse dreamt Kandinsky?”. This is a tributary piece on the ingenuous indulgence of his work; as the noble creature daydreams, amidst fragments of an imbued, cascading landscape of horses.”

 

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JJ Exld Zamoranos, “Gallopolis”, Acrylic and Spray paint. “The idea is to connect the urban aesthetics, especially graffiti and street art process and applications to an unconventional type of platform, particularly the Magis rocking horse. Gallopolis, (meaning Gallop + Metropolis) is an implication of an inevitable link between two different contemporary art movement. Intimately connecting the fine art and high brow ethics to the beautiful decay of urban and low brow art.”

 

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Gene Paul Martin, “Others”, Oil paint. “It is an attempt to coat an object to alter its natural function and bringing it back to be something undefined. It is created by debris of junk ideas. Constructed by overlapping of contemplations and small talks materialized in odd shapes and shades.”

 

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Renato Barja, “Dead Horse”, Resin, Fiber glass, enamel paint, acrylic paint, epoxy, plastic wire, false teeth. “It is Barja’s 3 dimensional representation of the working class people, with the feeling of being tired endlessly, the melancholia and hopelessness. According to Barja this piece is about the people he sees everyday along the streets, lonely buses, jeepneys, hardware stores, public markets, technically the surface of society. Expressing the resignation of forsaken individuals.”

 

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Renato Barja’s Dead Horse, detail.

 

Iya Consorio horse 2
Iya Consorio, “El Kimbra”, Acrylic paint. “The concept of the horse is about a ship that sunk and eaten by an Octopus monster.”

 

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Jagnus Design Studios, Darkhorse, Gmelina wood boards. “Darkhorse is an analog interpretation of Marc Newson’s Rocky in wood. Derived from Rocky’s silhouette, its planar form is a series of varying wooden boards finished in black to accentuate the sections linked together by steel nuts & bolts. Motion is provided by the addition of a conventional rocker reminiscent of children’s old school rocking horse. The fast-growing Gmelina (white teak) wood is chosen for its durability, lightness and sustainability.”

 

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Jason Montinola, X, Mixed media.

 

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Yeo Kaa. Untitled, Acrylic.

 

These one-of-a-kind art pieces are for sale. The Unbeatable Rocky is currently on display at the Studio Dimensione showroom at 28th Street cor. 7th Avenue in BGC, Taguig up to September 4, 2016.

 

 

Belo, fairest of them all

 

 

FA Belo Pamper Day

 

I have been going to Belo religiously for over ten years. By that I mean, regular facials every 2 to 3 weeks. I have the simplest maintenance routine — Honey Almond Cleaning and Power Peel. No chemicals, no ointments, no creams, no lasers. Two times I tried laser, Picosure, for research purposes. I love the results, but I feel like I don’t need lasers just yet. This is because I am so happy and satisfied with the quality of my skin.

To give you some examples I am posting some shameless selfies here — with no filters, no make up, just woken up face, and one photo shows what I look like with my everyday makeup. With all objectivity and humility I can say I have very little visible pores on my face. Because of my treatments at Belo, I’ve also reduced the need for other skincare. I don’t use masks or creams. Once in a while, I’ll use eye cream, only because I’m jealous of my friends who buy fancy creams.

 

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A few years ago the night before I turned 40.

 

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My every day makeup involves no actual foundation makeup. I only wear foundation if I have to go on stage. For real life and events, I just dust some powder on my skin. I wear concealer to mask some dark circles under my eyes and redness around my nose. Then I focus on the yes and lips. This was in 2013 in Toronto.

 

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Breakfast at home, 2014.

 

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Another “woke up like this” shameless photo. At the beach in 2014, during our early morning walk.

 

I’m not claiming to be perfect. But whatever imperfection there is, I’ve accepted completely. I have a huge scar across my forehead due to a bicycle accident when I was 8. I have red veins that show through my skin — which I actually love, because one side spells the letter “M” in red veins. My kids think it is my mark – M for mom. I have a mole in my lip. Speaking of, I know I have thin lips but I will not get fillers, not me. Too scared of injections. My nose is funny; it points down when I smile. Laugh lines and fine wrinkles are there too. I used to obsess over my teeth as a teenager because they were huge. My parents got me braces in my late teens when my jaw reached maturity. I had to wear a headgear at night. There is no such thing as effortless beauty. Haha.

I am raising three daughters who I hope will not be obsessed by their looks. I know that consciousness about beauty and body image is part of growing up. My role as their real role model is to show them that these things are temporary and what matters most is what they have inside – their good heart, intelligence, compassion, faith, drive — these are what will give them inner strength and peace. But of course, being beautiful helps a bit up to a certain point. And by this I mean, just care for what you have and be the best version of yourself. I tell them not to worry because that’s a given. They have beauty in their genes (my mom and Patrick’s mom). So now they just have to just focus on working on their inner selves and taking good care of their skin and body.

So before you go on throwing pie in my regularly scrubbed face, let me tell you that the reason I’m blabbing about this is because you may have a chance to win my treatments too! Thanks to Belo Medical Group, they are sponsoring a very special giveaway once a week for three weeks! And on the fourth week there is a grand prize! Scroll below to see mechanics.

 

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Belo and I go way back. I am so grateful to Dr Vicki Belo for taking good care of my skin for over a decade.

 

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With some of the Belo Babies.

 

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Before treatment.

 

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My Power Peel bed.

 

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Fairest of them all! Just yesterday at Belo Shangrila Plaza where I had a simple body scrub. (I’m into wearing loose clothing these days).

 

In celebration of Belo Medical Group’s 26th anniversary, they have meticulously designed each of their 12 clinics to make all the patients feel like royalty. Their fairytale-like clinics have various unique decorations but definitely support the main theme “Fairest of Them All”.

As part of the #DaphnexBelo giveaway, I am inviting you to visit one of the 12 Belo clinics to personally see the creative set-up for this 26th anniversary. And then you guessed it, please upload photos and/or a video to qualify to win a weekly prize and/or the grand prize. Visit any Belo Medical Group Clinic. See list of branches here.

For complete mechanics for the giveaway, please scroll down.

 

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Belo at Tomas Morato, Quezon City

 

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Belo at Shangrila Plaza, 5th floor

 

 

DAPHNExBELO Giveaway

 

In celebration of Belo’s 26th anniversary, Belo is giving away the following prizes during the period of August 16 to September 12, 2016 for you, my awesome readers:

1st winner – August 22 – Glycopeel cleaning/Honey Almond cleaning and Power peel
2nd winner- August 29 – Glycopeel cleaning /Honey Almond cleaning and Power peel
3rd winner- September 5 – Glycopeel cleaning/Honey Almond cleaning and Power peel
Grand winner- September 12 – Wet and Dry Dermabrasion and Revlite on the face

 

Mechanics of the contest:

1. Post a video or photo greeting for Belo’s 26th Anniversary on Instagram and tell us why Belo is the fairest of them all. The video must be no longer than 30 seconds. Video taken inside the Belo clinic is a plus but not required.

2. Follow the Official IG of Belo and my IG in order to qualify for this contest. Use the hashtags #Belo26 #FairestOfThemAll #DaphnexBelo and tag @belobeauty @victoria_belo @daphneop

3. Posts should be made public.

4. The contest will run for 4 weeks starting from August 16 to September 12. The best answer to the question “Why Belo is the fairest of them all?” will be chosen every week for the first three weeks. Announcement of weekly winners will be done every Monday- Aug 22, 29 and September 5. Each winner for the first 3 weeks will receive Belo items and gift certificates for my favourite maintenance treatments like Honey Almond cleaning/Glycopeel Cleaning and Power peel (Total Value: P4,000+)

5. On the 4th week, the most creative video throughout the whole contest period (may include the three past winners) will be declared as the grand winner on September 12. Prizes include Belo items and gift certificates for Wet and Dry Dermabrasion and Revlite on the face (Total Value: P22,400+)

6. The winning entries will be posted on @belobeauty, the official Instagram account of Belo Medical Group.

 

Contest starts August 16. But you can start making your video now.

Good luck, everyone!

 

Alphaland Makati Place

 

 

It’s been a while since I blogged about homes and condos. I used to do it weekly because of my old show Urban Zone. But now I rarely have a chance to feature homes. I’m sure many of you are missing my house tours from UZ. It’s a good thing my friend invited me to check out a new development in Makati. I visited The Residents at Alphaland Makati Place. It is a very unique new development just at the foot of Ayala Avenue, a stone’s throw away from the Makati Central Business District and two minutes away from Makati Medical Center.

Alphaland Makati Place is an integrated urban lifestyle solution, with residential, sports and leisure, and retail necessities all in one complex. There is nothing quite like it in Makati . You could practically stay in the Alphaland Makati Place for days and never have to step out. Everything is there. Alphaland Makati Place is a complete community that will cut down on commuting, save time and energy for its residents, and minimize traffic, all in secure, private surroundings. All units are fully fitted and fully furnished, and come with Home Automation. The entire development is 100% covered by a backup generator.

Alphaland Makati Place was built by the same developer of Balesin Island Club Resort. It consists of three residential towers above a six-storey podium that houses an upscale shopping centre and a membership sports club – The City Club. This isn’t your ordinary sports club. It has state-of-the art exercise facilities and a wellness centre. Ownership of a unit at The Residences will give you the benefit of using 52 amenities in a three-hectare area. Alphaland Makati Place is designed by Wong & Ouyang who also had a hand in designing Hong Kong’s Pacific Place.

 

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Alphaland Makati Place

 

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The scale model of the development. Alphaland Makati Place is designed by Wong & Ouyang who also had a hand in designing Hong Kong’s Pacific Place.

 

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The Residences at Alphaland Makati Place.

 

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Lobby of Residences

 

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I had to take a selfie at Master Bedroom of the units I visited. Sorry for my serious face. That wraparound view!

 

Here is an example of a one-bedroom floor plan:

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And what it actually looks like. The model unit shows exactly how the units get turned over — fully fitted and fully furnished.

 

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The same room in reverse.

 

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The living room of the same unit. I love that huge window.

 

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The bedroom in this 1BR unit.

 

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The washer and dryer are hidden away behind folding closet doors.

 

The Premium Two-Bedroom looks like this:
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And the 3-Bedroom unit looks like this:
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There are a minimum of five and a maximum of seven units in each floor. Each tower has three passenger elevators and one service elevator. And as part of Alphaland’s excellent property management style, they have a maid service available for P600 per day. And should a resident wish to employ a maid full-time, there is a dormitory for staff available at P4,000 per month.

 

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The bigger unit’s living room is fitted with built in shelves, lots of storage space, and recessed lighting.

 

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Wonderful kitchen. And take note of the extra storage under the bench by the window.

 

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Appliances are built-in and the solid surfaces are seamless. These appliances are all included in the unit, by the way. All you have to do is just move in.

 

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From the living room, you can draw the sliding doors in to separate the bedrooms if you are entertaining in the living/dining area.

 

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The living room and kitchen of the 3-Bedroom unit.

 

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Bathrooms are well designed with modern fixtures in chrome and white surfaces.

 

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The second bathroom in the 3-Bedroom unit.

 

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This is the ensuite of the master bedroom in the 3BR unit. I love the double lavatory and use of mirrors.

 

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The shower area is enclosed in a domelike structure with glass mosaic tiles.

 

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The hallways leading to the private quarters in the Two and Three Bedroom units are lined with shelves and drawers. (That’s my bag, btw).

 

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All the bedrooms have huge window views.

 

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The second bedroom in a Premium Two-Bedroom unit can fit two twin beds comfortably. It also has its own bathroom.

 

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They have been well designed to be mindful of maximizing space and storage.

 

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An extra bedroom can double as a den or guest room with this day bed.

 

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Which pulls out into a trundle

 

The City Club

All residential unit owners of The Residences at Alphaland Makati Place are automatically members of the City Club. Non-residents may also purchase memberships. The City Club occupies an area of 30,000 square meters. It is within walking distance of most of the major offices, residential buildings, and commercial establishments in Makati.

 

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The City Club lobby

 

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Ownership of a unit gives you access to all the club amenities – sports, wellness, restaurants, meeting rooms and more.

 

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Boxing ring

 

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Auditorium Theatre

 

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Outdoor pool

 

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All the themed restaurants in Balesin Island Club Resort can also be find here in Makati Place

 

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The Italian restaurant.

 

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The Balesin Islander restaurant.

 

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The Balesin Islander Restaurant offers fine Filipino cuisine.

 

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The restaurant also has cosy private rooms.

 

Aegle Wellness Center

By being a member of The City Club, you have access to Aegle Wellness Center. Walking through the halls of Aegle made me feel like I was walking in a white cloud. It was so pristine and immaculate.

Aegle Wellness is a state-of-the-art Center for Longevity and Holistic Health devoted to the enhancement of health through personalized health support, medical- and science-based technology, and extensive life management tools for long-term lifestyle modification. Aegle offers comprehensive programs uniquely designed to provide the resources, motivation, and support needed to alter one’s lifestyle through sustainable holistic healthcare programs — Total Ageing Management, Medical Detoxification, Weight Management and Nutritional Intervention, Functional Exercise and Fitness Program Design, Thalassotherapy for Anti-Ageing, Longevity and Regenerative Medicine, Customized Supplementation, Women’s Health, Men’s Vitality.

 

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Aegle’s reception area just by the pharmacy.

 

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The Hyperbaric Room

 

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The hyperbaric chamber involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or tube. A hyperbaric chamber can treat decompression sickness caused by scuba diving. Other conditions for hyperbaric oxygen therapy include serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.

 

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Through an integrated approach based on scientific and medical diagnostics for early detection, prevention and correction of age-related imbalances, Aegle Wellness Center offers comprehensive evaluation of your body at cellular level for a personalized program based on your specific profile. (Source.)

 

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Therapeutic bath, located outdoors.

 

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The reception area of Aegle, leading to the therapeutic bath.

 

Alphaland Makati Place is designed from the ground up as an intelligent development, with state-of-the-art building management and security, as well as energy efficient mechanical, electrical, and sanitary systems. The complex will consume far less water and energy than comparable buildings, minimizing carbon emissions and unnecessary costs, while still achieving a high level of comfort. The project is registered under the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) rating system, which administers the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Makati Place is designed to a Gold level of certification.

In the past decade and a half, we saw a boom in the real estate market in Metro Manila. Much of this was chronicled in Urban Zone. The skyline of Makati, Bonifacio, Ortigas and Manila have changed so much. High rise condominiums and office towers dominate the city centres. And there are still more plans and promises for new condominiums.

When I saw Alphaland Makati Place already completely built with all the amenities and establishments in place, I was impressed. Not only was the place well designed and situated, it had all the amenities I would need. It even houses some international schools in the same building. No need to wait or base decisions on drawings and scale models. Everything is already there. All you have to do is move in.

 

For inquiries and a visit:
Jela G. Daclan
Email: jgdaclan@alphaland.com.ph
Cellphone: +63908-8868981 and +63977-8413884

 

 

Rediscovering Boracay

 

 

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It has been almost ten years since I’ve been back at Boracay’s White Beach. It wasn’t a deliberate absence. We’ve just been spending more time with long summers in Toronto. I was also under the notion that I had outgrown Boracay. I’d been going there since the early 1990’s. But last month, during my sister’s visit to the Philippines, we planned a four-day stay in Boracay.

We flew to Kalibo, instead of the more convenient Caticlan. I knew there would be extra land travel once we land in Aklan, but I was told that the roads were nice and the drive was pleasant. It was. This time we flew Air Asia. It was my first time to try Air Asia. I was very impressed with their snappy service.

We chose to stay at Discovery Shores Boracay. I knew about their excellent service because we stayed at Discovery Primea in the early spring. What I didn’t know, being a first timer at Discovery Shores, was their excellent location. They’re at the best part of Boracay, the northern tip of White Beach called Station 1, with the whitest and finest sand.

Here’s how our Boracay rediscovery went…

 

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Our journey started in Terminal 4 which, in my opinion, is the more organized terminal than the other three. It’s smaller and more efficient. But there are no tubes and ramps, so you have to walk across the tarmac. On a sunny day, it’s wonderful.

 

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We had five kids with us.

 

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The kids were so impressed with Air Asia’s in-flight menu (pretty pictures and bold graphic design). They ordered a feast!

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Stella’s in-flight meal. I suggest for longer flights, you pre-order your meals online for fancy hot meals.

 

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Stella and her new friends.

 

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Our land transportation to Caticlan from Kalibo was arranged through Discovery Shores Boracay. We had a private van. The trip took 90 minutes. These days there are many options, like shared vehicles or buses. You may arrange it with your hotel or on your own. On board the flight, Air Asia staff was selling land transfers as well.

 

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The Caticlan shore.

 

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Our bunnies excited to just be there already. All my three girls are wearing Gingersnaps and Melissa shoes. Unplanned.

 

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The five-minute boat ride from Caticlan to Boracay was very comfortable. The little boat was air-conditioned. We were given cold towels, cold water, and oatmeal cookies. There were lifejackets for all of us in the seat pockets in front of us. And there was a stewardess!

 

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Our home for four days. Approved by The Lily, my only child who loves doing OOTD shots.

 

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A lot has been said about Boracay’s environmental problems – over-development, algae, flooding, local governance and more. Yet one thing remains, that 8 kilometre stretch of white beach is still so beautiful. As someone who once worked on an environmental planning project there in 1995 (under my Canadian government’s technical assistance program), it alarms me to see the many violations that have been/and are still being committed. But I am also hopeful because there are stakeholders that are trying to do things to improve and preserve Boracay. I think all stakeholders, including tourists, should pause and realize that this small island can only take so much. Technically there is an index called “carrying capacity.” And we can see that for such a small place, perhaps it has been maxed out.

 

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Looking towards Caticlan, there are windmills. It’s good to see sustainable energy choices in the area. Wind power is renewable and non-polluting. By the way, my camera was set on auto. The sky just does crazy things like that during magic hour. Beautiful.

 

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In the shore fronting White Beach, they only allow eco-friendly recreational sports. I’m glad there are no more jet skis allowed there. (Yes, it has been that long since I visited white beach). Sophia and I loved the stand-up paddle board. I suck at every sport, but I’m very comfortable with anything with paddles and scuba diving. But I don’t know how to surf.

 

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David Goldberg is the owner of Heidiland, the Swiss deli located in D-Mall. David is my good old friend. We met in the 90’s when I was managing an environmental management program in the island. We helped set up Boracay Consortium, a group of multi-disciplinary stakeholders who started different programs to ensure the environmental stability of the island. It had lofty goals. Not all were met, obviously. But we started the communications and cooperation between different groups and communities. This eventually became Boracay Foundation.

 

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My family and my sister’s family stayed at Discovery Shores Boracay. More on that experience at a later post.

 

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We loved Discovery Shores. Facilities were beautiful and well-maintained. And the service was impeccable.

 

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As beautiful as our room was, we couldn’t wait to hit the beach every morning.

 

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The whitest and finest sand.

 

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I never got tired of looking out at the water. The light changes quickly. This was just after lunch. I love the silvery tones.

 

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From Discovery Shores, we were able to go anywhere in the island using their shuttle. But honestly we only went as far as D-Mall. Considering we were at the best part of the beach, I didn’t find the need to go to other places.

 

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I regret not buying these cute hand-painted creatures. They were made of seeds and husks from mangroves. No two creatures were alike. I am hating myself for not buying at least one.

 

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My daughters don’t stop drawing and painting. They carry their sketchbooks and markers everywhere they go. Scroll back up to the photo of Lily and Stella in the flight. Both had notebooks. At D-Mall, Lily drew some cute anime figures while I had my coffee.

 

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Sophia and sorbetes.

 

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Cheap lunch at D-Mall. I meant this panoramic shot for Facebook 360. Only I knew that I was taking the photo. Sorry Han!

 

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I always made sure we were back in our part of the beach during Happy Hour. This signals the start of the greatest show in Boracay, the sunset.

 

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Wearing my favourite caftan from India.

 

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Our kids created little ecosystems where crabs, snails and other creatures lived.

 

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Another folksy cover up.

 

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Me and my sister Johanna.

 

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Stella kept herself busy shuttling from beach to shore, carrying sand back and forth.

 

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Sunset usually brings down the tide. So the kids can lay down like its a big bathtub.

 

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No need for caption. Sigh.

 

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White beach at magic hour.

 

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Just when you think the sunset is over, the sky does this.

 

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Discovery Shores at night. Kudos to the lighting architects.

 

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On our third night, we took the kids to the busier part of the beach.

 

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Lily found it a bit loud, haha. I had to remind them that Boracay is many things to different people. If we found it serene and relaxing, there are others who come here to party. And that’s ok.

 

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Sophia and that fiery sky.

 

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Lily too.

 

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Stella couldn’t keep still long enough for me to capture her profile though. Here she is running around before it got completely dark.

 

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I was really pleased to see that Boracay is still all that. Yes, many of us look back at the past and think it was much better then. And it was. But Boracay is still really beautiful. I just hope that something will be done about the threats the island is facing. Before it’s too late.

 

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Seriously. No wonder we Filipinos are beach snobs… and sunset snobs. Just look at that! No filter. Oh, Boracay, you are still so beautiful.

 

Transportation:             Air Asia from Manila to Kalibo

Airport transfers:         c/o Discovery Shores Boracay

Accommodations:        Discovery Shores Boracay, Like them on Facebook,