National Museum of Natural History

 

 

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Earlier in 2018, I started hosting a new TV show called CREATE. It aired in Colours channel carried through the Cignal cable subscription, and continues to air in ONE News. The show is about profiles of creative people. One episode focuses on one subject. Our first season ran well, we are now about to produce our second season. We took a break because I went on a 10 week vacation in our Toronto home. I thought it was more than appropriate to end our first season with a profile on Dominic Galicia, an architect I respect so much.

I have come to know Dominic’s work in the two decades I’ve lived in the Philippines first through the churches he’s built, and the many houses I’ve featured in Urban Zone. I love what he has done in the National Museum of Natural History.

The original neoclassical building was built in 1930 by Antonio Toledo as the Agriculture and Commerce. It had been used as the offices of the Senate of the Philippines for some time, until the National Museum started to integrate the three buildings into a museum complex – including the National Museum of Anthropology and Fine Arts. The pitch of Dominic Galicia Architects and Periquet Galicia interior architects won the bid for the restoration of the National Museum of Natural History and construction started in 2013. It took five years to complete.

The visual focal point of the new National Museum, of course, is the Tree of Life that stands in middle of the atrium.

 

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The architect, Dominic Galicia, explains to me the metaphor of the “Tree of Life” – it is both biblical, mythological, and philosophical.

 

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One of the requirements of the project was to make use of the central space created in the inner courtyard. It once was open and exposed to the elements. Dominic and his team though of creating a central structure like the tree with its canopy covering the space. It is interesting to note that the original structure of the museum does not bear any of the weight of this new structure. It is fully supported by the trunk of the “tree.”

 

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The edges of the canopy of the Tree of Life do not rest directly on the roof and walls of the old building. The weight is completely supported by the trunk of the tree which houses an elevator inside. The Tree of Life is not only symbolic, it is also functional.

 

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A current highlight when visiting the National Museum now is the taxidermies body of Lolong, the world’s largest crocodile caught and placed in captivity, who has now become the iconic “superstar” of the museum. He was caught in Agusan del Sur in September 2011 and unfortunately died while in captivity in February 2013.

 

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This is the taxidermied body of Lolong, displayed in the main atrium.

 

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Lolong’s tail

 

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The walls and windows surrounding the museum were lined with translucent prints of wildlife indigenous to the Philippines. This is the tarsier.

 

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View from upper ramp

 

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I was led to the base of the Tree of Life, where Dominic Galicia showed me the entrance to the elevator.

 

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The elevator shaft in the middle of the trunk is encased in glass.

 

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View from inside the elevator, looking up.

 

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Once you are on the top of the Tree of Life, the elevator opens to this walkway that leads to the galleries. The view from here is quite spectacular.

 

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We continued our interview here.

 

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I asked Dominic to show me the gallery where the 700,000 year old rhino bone was. Since we shot on a Monday, while the museum was closed, the gallery was locked. The actual bones of Lolong is prominently displayed, hung from the ceiling.

 

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This corner gallery is a very impressive space. It used to hold two floors. The project’s interior architect Tina Periquet removed the second floor. The tall arched windows give the larger space a unified feel. Notice the hexagon patterns repeating itself on the mosaic floor and the coffered ceiling? Not only is it visually appealing, it is also symbolic of the shape of DNA, which is the foundation of all the fossils and artefacts displayed in the Natural History museum.

 

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The display cabinet of the 700,000-year-old rhinoceros bone and hacking tool was empty.

 

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Looked like some final touches were being done in the display case. The 700,000 year old rhino bone was on the table. Note that the room was locked. None of us entered.

 

I think the rhino bone should be the star of the museum more than Lolong, the crocodile. But that can be debatable.

This find is so significant not just to the Filipinos but to the rest of the world. A bit of a background, the artifacts (bone and tool) were found in an a river flood plain in Luzon beside a butchered carcass of a rhinoceros. “The ancient toolmakers were clearly angling for a meal. Two of the rhino’s limb bones are smashed in, as if someone was trying to harvest and eat the marrow inside. Cut marks left behind by stone blades crisscross the rhino’s ribs and ankle, a clear sign that someone used tools to strip the carcass of meat.” (Source, National Geographic linked below).

Researches estimate the age of the remains to be 709,000 years old. The earliest evidence of Philippine hominins were found in Callao Cave, and dated to only 67,000 years ago. This rhino bone and tool suggests that the Philippines was occupied before the known origin of our species, homo sapiens. One of the questions is how did early hominins get to the Philippines in the first place. Read more in this National Geographic article, published in May 2018 here.

 

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The ramp to be experienced going down.

 

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A big treat was getting to walk in the private halls and offices of the museum. My imagination was working full force. What could be inside these cabinets?

 

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Interesting artifacts and fossils

 

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I did not touch

 

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Still in progress when we visited in May 2018.

 

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With the production team of CREATE. Exclusively shown in Cignal’s Colours and ONENews channels.

 

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Dominic Galicia, architect.

 

Watch the full episode here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smart + Cool: How I manage energy consumption at home

Smart Cool

We have turned into people who talk about the weather every single day. In Manila, this is the constant talk now. “It’s so hot!” and “Ang init.” Granted that we’ve been in the middle of summer, but really, it just seems to get hotter every year.

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I’m sure all of you in Manila can relate to this. How hot has it been in the city the past month? Look at the Accuweather report for May 2018. In reality it felt like a degree or two higher. It has been incredibly hot. For reference, 35 degrees Celsius is 95 degrees Farenheit — just 5 degrees away from boiling point. Source: Accuweather

If you’ve been following me on social media you know how I’ve been posting about my guilt-free use of aircon at home. Since December 2016, we have changed our units to inverter-type air conditioners. I can’t be too technical here. Basically inverter airconditoner units have a compressor that operates at high speed in order to cool the room quickly. When the desired temperature is reached, the compressor slows down, maintains same temperature, and saves energy (cost). A non-inverter aircon runs at fixed speed, so it costs you more.

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This is our Klarwind inverter air conditioner from Carrier. We got it in December 2016. It keeps our family room nice and cool. I love how the design is lipstick-thin, it didn’t obstruct the balance of our two elephant lamps.

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That is the Carrier wall-mounted split-type inverter air conditioner in our bedroom. The kids have the same one in their bedroom.

Air-conditioning units are no longer a luxury in the Philippines. Its become a necessity. Since we changed our units to inverter-type air-conditioners in our bedrooms, kitchen, living room and family room, we have noticed the dip in our monthly electrity bills. There was one month where we paid one-third (1/3) of what we spent the year before, with the same amount of use. It was my wish to eventually change the units in our guest room and study from a regular window-type aircon to an inventor. My wish came true and more after I hosted the press conference of Smart + Cool.

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With Mr. Raul Joseph A. Concepcion, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Concepcion Industrial Corporation at the launch of Smart + Cool.

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Mr Concepcion, introducing the Carrier Smart + Cool System.

The Carrier Smart + Cool is a system (Carrier Window Room AC + Smart+Cool Plug + Smart+Cool App) that uses a cool plug attached to your Carrier window air conditioner unit. It helps you to manage your air conditioner usage via a mobile app. It allows you to schedule your air-conditioner to turn on and off when you want it to. You can turn your unit on or off from even from a distance by remote. One of the most interesting functions of the Smart + Cool is it lets you track and monitor your electrical consumption in both peso amount or kilowatt usage. You can actually set a daily, weekly, or monthly budget limit and the app will let you know once you’re hitting your limit. This is a game-changer in smart appliances! Imagine, no more bill shock or guessing games!

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The day finally came when our new window-type Carrier inverter aircons for the guest room and study were delivered and installed.

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Since our house is old, and it already has existing window holes for air conditioners, we kept the model as a window-type and not the split-type wall mounted. The good thing is, this uses inverter technology – environmentally friendly, low electricity consumption, five-year compressor warranty. And that’s not even the most news-worthy part. Let me show you how Smart + Cool works.

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The Smart + Cool app allows you to control and manage your Carrier airconditioning unit from anywhere you are. You can turn it on or off when you’re on the road, or you’re at work. And it lets you track the consumption in either kilowatt or peso. I chose peso. Easier for me, budgeting-wise. But I can easily switch view to see actual energy consumption.

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The dashboard lets you control your aircon unit.

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Like yesterday, I turned on the aircon while I was out for a lunch party. I texted our the kids at home and told them to move to the guest room. The guest room is actually also my husband’s mancave. In the summer months it is the coolest place in our home. This way I didn’t have to turn on the air con in the family room.

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Here’s what it looks like on daily view. It shows that the day before, it cost us P85. And today, our running tab was at P53. I told the kids I wouldn’t let it go beyond P100 per day (for day-use, overnight is another budget limit). I’d be curious to track our consumption over night. But like I said, this is the guest room. Hmm perhaps we should do a sleep over.

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You can also schedule Maintenance Alert. A lot of consumers actually tend to disregard cleaning and maintain their air conditioners. It is so important to be on top of aircon cleaning. Our units are cleaned every six month. For our new window-type inverter unit, we haven’t set up the Smart + Cool app to do the maintenance alert yet. Note to self, set it up. This way, it’ll send me a message reminding me to have my unit cleaned… and Carrier will actually call or text me for a schedule. I love it.

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Basically that’s what it looks like on the wall. You see the Smart + Cool plug on the wall.

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This is the app looks like in Real Time.

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All that from a little cube plug that makes cooling your home so convenient and intelligent.

It’s only been a week since we’ve been using the Smart + Cool System, and I absolutely love it. With this, I can have total control of our new Carrier window-type air-conditioning unit. It has made the management of our air-con much easier. I appreciate the features of the Smart + Cool System by remote, like the on-off facility, scheduler, maintenance service, consumption manager, and real-time chat with customer service.

Watch my Instagram and Facebook page for more and current posts about how Smart + Cool has improved my life, our home, and our genuine family time. For more information Smart + Cool.

#WelcometoIntelligentCooling #CarrierSmartCool

Global Views

 

 

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Julia Buckingham for Global Views

 

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the opening of Global Views, a luxurious furniture shop in Ayala Vertis North Mall. Global Views is a US home decor wholesale company with showrooms and distributors across the US, Australia, China, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and now Manila. It offers a wide assortment of furniture and home accessories that can blend into elegant, refined, casual, and exotic settings. Global Views is the go-to design source of interior designers and decorators for residential and commercial projects. Now in Manila, Global Views is open for retail to the public.

 

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Storefront

 

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The shop window at Global Views in Ayala Vertis North

 

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Boomerang Chairs

 

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The Wiggle Dining Chairs in black, by Julia Buckingham.

 

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Just next door is another furniture shop called Home and Beyond. It is owned by the same couple that owns Global Views. In photo are the Global Views Philippines owner Josephine Lim and her team with influencers Tessa Valdes, Mikaela Martinez, Aubrey Miles, and Troy Montero.

 

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With Tessa.

 

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Home and Beyond has contemporary pieces of furniture and accessories.

 

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Cowhide rugs from Brazil at Home and Beyond. Im wearing a K&Company top, Azotea bracelet, and Rabeanco bag.

 

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With the owners of Global Views, Josephine and Frank Lim.

 

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Dwell Studio accessories.

 

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Wall sculpture that come in nickel, brass, or bronze.

 

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Detail of the wall sculpture.

 

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Kyoto cabinet.

 

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With TV host Regine Tolentino

 

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My favourite, the Link Bunching Table. Pieces with travertine tops shaped like jigsaw puzzles that link together. I also like the many choices of wall decor that come in brass, nickel, and other finishes. Here we see the Lily Pad Clusters in antique nickel.

 

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A nickel plated “gravy boat” used as a wine cooler. This, too, is one of my favourite pieces.

 

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The raindrop rug by Julia Buckingham. I had to show it to scale with my feet. I’m wearing French Sole.

 

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Visit the Global Views Manila showrooms in Ayala Vertis North Mall in Quezon City, and in Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila +63 946 3940.  Follow them in Facebook at GlobalViewsPH and Instagram at @GlobalViewsPH

 

 

My Dyson Pure Cool Link

 

 

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The Dyson Pure Cool Link has made our home healthier and safer.

 

Last November, I got a phone call from the doctor in my daughters’ school. She asked me to pick up my daughter (I won’t identify which one, to respect her privacy) because she was wheezing and having difficulty breathing. We had been warned by the pediatrician that she could develop asthma, there were already telling signs but it was too soon to diagnose. I quickly went to the school and brought her medication. We have been on asthma alert ever since.

Any parent of a child with asthma or severe allergies can tell you that we do whatever we can to prevent episodes and attacks. The most common intervention is to get rid of dust. This involves constant cleaning of your home environment. But there are so many allergens that are invisible to the eye. These can aggravate allergies or worse, can even enter your bloodstream.

Last Christmas, I received the Dyson Pure Cool Link purifier fan. As the name suggests it is a fan and air purifier in one. This is the first Dyson product in our home. And I can’t tell you enough how excited I am to finally own a Dyson – their products are not just technological breakthroughs, but also major triumphs in design.

I just love that the Dyson Pure Cool Link automatically removes 99.95% of indoor allergens and pollutants as small as 0.1 microns from the air. Just to give you an idea of what 0.1 microns means – these are particles that are 1,000 times smaller than a single strand of human hair. These particles are so small it can penetrate the bloodstream and cause respiratory diseases.

The Pure Cool Link is a well-designed vertical bladeless fan with a sleek cylindrical air purifier at the base. It has a small footprint – not bulky at all. Its sleek design goes well with any style of interiors. We’ve seen them usually in new, modern homes. But as you will see, it looks great even beside our antiques and tropical furniture.

 

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Stella was amazed at the fan. Finally she won’t be risking hurting her little fingers. The air she breathes from the Pure Cool Link has been removed of toxic fumes and odours.

 

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The remote control has the simplest and easiest buttons. Nothing frustrates me more than a remote control that I don’t understand. With the Pure Cool Link, you simply turn on the power button and control the strength and circulation. It has 10 airflow settings and an automatic night-time mode for the lightest sleepers.

 

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I love that you can rest the remote control on the fan, and it becomes one with the silhouette. That magnetized surface is perfect for storing the remote control.

 

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The Dyson Link app can automatically monitor the air quality of the room. You can use it to control the air purifier and fan from a remote location.

 

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I downloaded the Dyson Link app so we can see the air quality and purify the air in the room even before we get back home.

 

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Of course I had to try it from outside the house.

 

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The app monitors indoor and outdoor air quality. You can also check your usage and air quality history.

 

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Patrick sent me a screenshot of the app while he was at his office.

 

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Since indoor air pollution can be up to five times worse than outside (due to trapped air), we maximize the use of the Pure Cool Link by moving it around the house. Here it is in our bedroom.

 

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My tiny desk in our bedroom. Yes I have succumbed to working from the bedroom. But we will change this in 2017. I believe the bedroom should be just for resting. The Dyson Pure Cool Link has such a small footprint that it can stand anywhere a letter sized paper can fit.

 

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This uses a Dyson 360 Glass HEPA filter. It has a layer of activated carbon granules that captures odours and harmful toxins like paint fumes. The Glass HEPA filter is the reason it can stop even 0.1 microns of pollutants, as it has borosilicate fibres that are densely compacted and woven together. The filter lasts one year if you use the machine 12 hours a day.

 

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My kids are crazy into art and books. This afternoon I kept the Pure Cool Link on in the family room, so when they come home from school, the air is purified. The sensors inside the machine detects changes in home conditions. So every time I move it to a different location, it analyzes the air quality first, then cleans it.

 

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In the kids’ bedroom. The Pure Cool Link removes pollen and allergens, bacteria and mold, industrial and auto emissions, odours and fumes, ultra fine particles, and pet dander.

 

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The simplest and easiest interface on a remote control.

 

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It looks great in our family room. It can be damp in this part of the house. The machine can detect high levels of humidity and prevent poorly ventilated areas from accumulating excessive mould.

 

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Even scented candles, anti-perspirant, and household cleansers can contribute to poor air quality. We don’t have furry pets, but for those who do, the Dyson Pure Cool Link can get rid of pet dander to prevent allergies on humans.

 

For more information on Dyson Pure Cool Link, visit the Dyson concept store in Greenbelt 5 and in Century City Mall, Rustan’s Makati, and SM Mall of Asia.

 

 

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