Built on green building standards, the EvoLiving Center is located at the heart of Nuvali, a 2,290-hectare development in Sta. Rosa, Laguna which is becoming the most preferred residential site for people living in the area and those working in neighboring cities.
I recently visited Nuvali and got a tour of its sprawling property aboard a cozy shuttle to check out the exhibit at the EvoLiving Center and other attractions at the site. I love checking out places that redefine daily life. Having visited advocacy-driven sites like Sonya's Garden (nature-inspired wellness) and Privato Hotel (endangered bird species awareness), I've learned to appreciate small efforts to take care of what we have. I've also done tree-planting at the San Mateo location which was formerly used for landfill.
At the EvoLiving Center, visitors can see an elevated map of Nuvali, depicting its North, Central, and South sectors which complement the natural lifestyle that city dwellers look for in a long-term living space. There are trees everywhere and I learned that the raw materials used in the boulevards and sidewalks within the eco-community were upcycled materials and permeable cement. Also remarkable is Nuvali's use of the double pipe system wherein white water is transformed into gray water for re-use in toilets and landscape maintenance.
The exhibit also has a lot of installations or displays that compare the old state of the property to photos of what Nuvali looks like now in 2014.
Outsiders will be surprised to know upon their visit that NUVALI’s well-manicured Rain Garden used to be a wasteland. After being transformed into a fitness and wellness enclave for aficionados of yoga, chi jogging, and capoeira, the place has become refreshing to the senses. Open to the public, the park has a manmade rainwater catchment basin which is roughly 3.2 hectares of the total land area of the property. Guests can enjoy the presence of native trees, shrubs, and more than 30 species of bamboo septum.
Nestled in the cities of Sta. Rosa, Calamba and the municipality of Cabuyao in Laguna, NUVALI is just less than an hour away from Metro Manila. To be specific, it’s a 50-minute drive from Makati City, 30 minutes from Alabang, and 15 minutes from the Sta. Rosa Exit. It's more than a green community of city dwellers who escape the hustle-and-bustle of Metro Manila. Its residents appreciate the art of space as luxury which is reflective of the scope of homes and various attractions that also include a team-building attraction called Camp N (N for Nuvali). Existing zones like Soledad 1 and 2 with various restaurants, One Evotech and Evoliving Center, Dirt Weekend Tracks, The Fields, and Greens & Patches are reliable attractions that never fail to satisfy a visit. A unique activity to enjoy in the area is bird-watching in The Bird Sanctuary where about 74 bird species have been identified so far by bird-watching experts to be present. This space continues to be the property’s serious affection to taking care of nature.
Nuvali's EvoLiving Center Exhibit
Large scale map of the 2,290-hectare property
Permeable cement blocks for sidewalk use
More Attractions In The Offing Nuvali residents and guests can also expect to find the convenience of watching their favorite movies in the area by December of this year so that they will no longer have to bother with long journeys to distant malls of neighboring cities. Plus, two more adrenaline-induced attractions will be added soon – the Adventure Tower (catching a high from a free-fall jump in a ravine) and the Rollercoaster Zipline (zip line with a twist).
It was the early afternoon and I was supposed to take a nap since I own my schedule already for not being part of the 9-5 corporate grind. My friend, however, is. We were supposed to rendezvous somewhere in Ortigas Center to go restaurant-hunting for a very late lunch.
It's not everyday that old friends catch up with each other's nitty-gritties in the city. It was fortunate that my globe-trotting friend had his daytime work adjusted to nighttime that month so he was available for a quick reunion. Jerwin is a Regional Implementations Manager for South America of a global company and he used to work for more than a year in Spain. He had the privilege of visiting Australia, Peru, a few Asian cities and other European countries because he loves to travel and experience the world. He's scheduled to return to Austria soon. We've been friends since grade school and I had the chance to experience different local destinations with him along with other friends when we were younger. As a matter of fact, we were able to trek a portion of Mt. Banahaw already.
Since we recently celebrated our birthdays a week apart, we reckoned that it was best to have a post-birthday snack at the newly-opened Boqueria Restaurante Chocolateria at the SM Megamall.
We started off with an order of the classic churros. There was an option for a dark chocolate and white chocolate dip. I chose the former as I was feeling sleepy that day and dark chocolates, I was informed once, are good for such a situation.
Pulpo a la Gallega
For a hefty meal, we had an enormous serving of Pulpo a la gallega, an octopus dish which is considered as one of Spain's ten best dishes to be welcomed by the rest of the world. I had a taste of the seafood meat smudged on a bread toast but Jerwin had the rest of the order. He obviously loved it.
We also had a large pot of Cocido Madrileño which is a chickpea-based stew that originated in Madrid, Spain and is considered as a national dish according to my friend. This one was what I had the most and filled my tummy that day.
Somewhere in Makati City, particularly in Barangay Palanan near Cash N' Carry, a convergence of wellness aficionados is taking place on a daily basis, mostly from the late afternoon to the wee hours the next day. The common goal is a good massage and the hub is called White Palace Spa.
Like a well-kept secret, personal reviews about White Palace Spa's signature massage (a combination of Swedish, Shiatsu, and Hot Pack) started to spread in the vicinity of Einthoven Street and nearby locations. Curious young professionals, couples, and barkadas even travel from neighboring cities just to avail of the 1 hour and 15 minutes service which has been a favorite also of the spa's patrons in its two Paranaque branches.
My visit of the Makati City White Palace Spa branch recently had me try its Shoulder-Head-and-Face Massage (P300 for 30 minutes). What started out to be a painful feeling from the first few constant handling of my back and shoulder muscles evolved into a remarkable sensation of relaxation. The attending masseur informed me that without the initial ache, the subsequent bliss wouldn't be as remarkable. He knew the exact body parts to handle and cause necessary friction enough to enhance the movements of my body's upper limbs, especially my elbows and fingers.
Dry Head-Shoulder-and-Neck Massage
The other parts of my body, including my neck and head immediately had a tingling sensation caused by inhibited motor-neuron excitability as a result of the right pressure given by the masseur. In short, the rest of my body felt relaxed.
Other favorite massages at White Palace Spa include the Dead Sea Salt Scrub (P650; lasting for 45 minutes) and Foot Reflex (P350; its medicinal version costs P50 more).
So-called spa-rties are becoming the preferred way to indulge in wellness activities at the spa wherein at least a group of 5 individuals is set for an appointment to avail of the 5=1 promo (5 people get one or a group member's service for free).
The place also has a separate sauna for male and female guests.
Upon request, a sweet-tasting cranberry-flavored tea from Australia is served after each session.
Clients have been making return visits at least twice a week for the relaxation and improved well-being that White Palace Spa gives them. They also appreciate that they have the option to choose between a male and female therapist.
Set An Appointment Today in Makati City!
Location: G/F Royale Regent Bldg., Filmore St. corner Einthoven St., Brgy. Palanan, Makati City, Philippines
My recent family day trip to Taal, Batangas did not just include the usual sight-seeing of century-old houses and a visit of the enormous Taal Basilica. The highlight of our tour of the province's 3rd class municipality is probably our 2-hour stay inside the Taal Poblacion ancestral home called Villa Tortuga, a full immersion in the well-preserved locality that includes donning turn-of-the-century clothes worn by folks living in the Philippines. The experience was closely tied to our so-called colonial lunch which took place in the grand-looking dining area of the house. Looking almost eclectic inside, Villa Tortuga is home to some of famous fashion designer and tourism advocate Lito Perez's collection of vintage pieces -- fixtures, furniture, and displays -- that he had creatively installed in the right corners and bare walls to render the old house its perpetual past for those who want to visit on day tours. The tour package can also be for an overnight accommodation at the house as two big bedrooms are being maintained and comfortably dressed to welcome guests who want to stay for the night and wake up seeing decors that hark back to the late 1800s.
My mom clad in old fashion
My family and I were served a filling 8-course meal that included a local favorite called Sinaing Na Tulingan, local tuna mackerel that was traditionally steamed for eight hours in a clay pot. Each viand was freshly prepared and cooked for us at Villa Tortuga by Mr. Perez's hardworking staff who are based in the area. Most unforgettable in taste for me was the Cerdo de Pina or pork cooked with hefty chunks of pineapple. Slathering its accompanying sauce on a serving of plain rice seemed enough for flavor, but there were more on the table such as the Tapang Taal or pork jerky that was fried to perfection, the Ensalada Taal or mixed vegetable salad with ripe mango bits, and the Adobo Sa Dilaw or chicken adobo sautéed in turmeric. Before the feasting started, of course, our palates were delicately prepared with the rich-tasting soup made with malunggay (moringa) and pork strip bones. We closed our lunch with the classic Filipino dessert called Suman, a rice cake served with Tsokolate Eh (rich and creamy chocolate for the old rich; not to be confused with the native Indio's Tsokolate Ah which is deemed of lesser quality and taste) for dip.
My dad donning a Spanish civil guard uniform
The dining area was air conditioned but the charm of the interiors remained intact. A mural parallel to the large dining table evoked of Taal's interesting cultural past. I'm just assuming that the painting of a river on the wall is that of Pansipit which runs along the banks of the town and neighboring locations. What seemed odd to me was a huge painting of a couple which has nothing to do with the house's history, but it somehow extends the room to fulfill the experience as one of fantasy and reality. Who did the painting belong to? Who were on the painting? I'd never know now but their eyes sure were piercing. The reality can be had outside of the dining area where old photographs of Mr. Perez's parents and grandmother are displayed.
The Tummy-Filling and Mind-Enriching Lunch Menu
Cerdo de Pina
Green Mango Salad
Adobo Sa Dilaw
It's your turn to experience my Favorite Lunch and Costume Role-Play!
Simply email Lito Perez and share that you read about it on New Self: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Colonial Experience Tour Package includes a tour of the town of Taal, its old houses, heritage locations, and churches.