A creative life (Ayala Westgrove Heights)

August 18, 2008

Home is where the art is for a group of painting enthusiasts living in Ayala Westgrove Heights.

There is something about Ayala Westgrove Heights that draws out the creativity in people. This enclave in the South has been attracting a diverse group of residents: professionals and students, athletes and artists, young and old, bound together by a special sense of kinship.

This is happily evident among an informal group of artists that found themselves living here. Led by Peter Sutcliffe, an Englishman and former journalist who chose to retire in Westgrove, they draw inspiration from the environs of the place and from each other Sutcliffe has painted all his life, and Westgrove’s orchard atmosphere is an endless source of inspiration. “First of all, the landscape around here is quite v fantastic. The interior of the estate is manicured, like an English park,” he says. “I love painting trees, and I have no shortage of beautiful trees and green space.”

Built around a former orchard, Westgrove is home to thousands of mature mango trees. They flourish all over the 400 hectares of the property, dotting rolling hills, offering shade in parks, adding beauty to homes and bearing fruit for the community to harvest during the summer.

Sutcliffe generously lends his time and talent in mentoring Westgrove’s budding artists. Gabby Santos, 14, discovered that there was a painter in-her. “I didn’t know anything about brushes and mixing colors, much less painting on canvas! Before I knew it, I was looking at gray clouds, cobalt blue skies, burnt sienna mountains and trees… maybe living in this place can make you see yourself in another light, giving you more room for introspection.”

Claudia Morada, another resident, offers, “When I got here, Peter introduced. me to watercolor and oil… When I’m home, I find that it’s easier to paint, it’s like therapy for me.”

Sutcliffe and company encourage one another to improve their art, discovering new subjects and exploring new techniques and styles. It is this reciprocity and generosity of spirit that create a warm and genuine camaraderie among Westgrove residents.

It is a common sight to see neighbors painting al fresco or simply taking in the spectacular sights of Westgrove. The Orchard Hill, one of the more recently developed areas in the neighborhood, is a particularly good vantage point because of its elevation and quiet atmosphere. Sitting on an elongated hill, it gives residents panoramic views of ridges, forests and mango groves. It is surrounded by Orchard Park, a large open space with walking trails and gazebos.

On the south side of the park is a meadow-like spread with more mango trees and low grass. A small valley with a mini-forest rooted on the slopes marks the north side. At the bottom of the valley is a wide clearing for biking kite flying jogging, and of course, painting and sketching.

One might think a neighborhood this charming would have to be far from the city, but Westgrove is quite close to top-quality schools, hospitals, and retail and dining establishments. Everyday conveniences are well within reach of residents, and driving to Makati usually takes no more than an hour even with moderate traffic.

As the urban development of Metro-Manila continues to head south, the areas surrounding Westgrove have been marked for major investment by the country’s largest corporations. An early mover in the booming Silang/Sta. Rosa area, Westgrove is an already well-established neighborhood that is set to become one of the most prized locations in the very near future.

Source: Ayala Land Inc. Article Listing

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