It isn’t every day that you come across a one-stop haven for all the things you like, let alone a mall with everything you need. Yet, in the middle of the Bonifacio Global City sits a mall so special, we have to say its name twice: Market! Market!

Since opening in September 2004, Market! Market! continues to redefine the metro’s shopping landscape. It has a little bit of everything for just about everyone. Located at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, it has all the essentials, including National Book Store, Mercury Drug, Kodak and Ace Hardware. Medical needs are taken care of in the medical clinics in the mall, such as Health way and Dental City, while the various beauty salons, spas, and skin care centers like Dermstrata, Bench Fix, and California Nails and Day Spa ensure you’ll always look your best for any occasion. Banks, optical shops, music stores, and Internet cafes are also located in the mall.

A FIESTA INSIDE A MARKET

At Market! Market!, you can fulfill your marketing and shopping needs all under one roof. With a wide selection of succulent fruits, garden-fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, rice, and other wet market staples, shopping at Fiesta Market is, indeed, a fiesta. Regional carts and kiosks around Fiesta Market let you experience the turones de casoy of Pampanga, the dried crispy shrimp native to Aklan, the biscocho and butterscotch bars of Bacolod, the strawberry treats of the summer capital Baguio; and the spicy dishes of beautiful Bicol, among others.

ONE BIG GASTRONOMIC ADVENTURE

While indulging oneself in the great food finds at the regional carts, the traditional Filipino fiesta experience isn’t complete without damps-style dining. A wide selection of food booths offers delectable dishes, from inihaw to sinigang to other classic Filipino favorites. The appetizing smell of barbeque from Ineng’s or the talaba from Marina Seafood is enough to make mouths water.

BARGAIN HUNTER’S PARADISE

Inside, Market! Market! is a shoppers’ haven and a bargain-hunter’s paradise. The clothes boutiques range from local to imported brands that women and men will love, while sports outlet stores offer great discounts on popular athletic brands to cater to every sports enthusiast’s needs. Kids will enjoy shopping in stores like Kids of Bayo, Anne Juleth and Orange Juice.

Priceline shopping in Market! Market! is also one of its top attractions, with stores that sell different items for only one price. As the name suggests, Vente sells different items from caps to bags for only P20! My Dollar Store and Japan Home Center offer items at one dollar and P88, respectively.

The Home Market at the third level carries an eclectic collection of furniture and home accents, including native and antique furniture at affordable prices. Visit Funktionell at the third level, or find pretty home accents at stores such as Natural Art and Abubot.

The Gift Market at the ground floor is a treasure trove of trinkets, complete with a wide array of items that suits all occasions. Party favors and cool bric-a-bracs make gift shopping a breeze. A diverse collection of pearls and semi-precious stones is available at the Pearl Market section. Fashionistas, meanwhile, will surely have a day at the Fashion Market, located at the second level.

GREAT FINDS AT METRO SUPERMARKET AND DEPARTMENT STORE

The Metro Department Store carries an extensive collection of apparel, shoes, accessories and special items — men’s, women’s, teens/children’s and home. The barong collection in the men’s department and the petite section in the women’s department are certainly worth a visit. Mothers will also have a blast shopping for their little ones’ clothes, character apparel and infant wear. The home department carries cookware, fabrics, linen and bath; plus a special section for appliances, sports equipment, power tools, car accessories, gardening tools, pet care and furniture. Unique to Metro is the wonderful selection of handicrafts and furniture from Cebu. A trip to the Metro Supermarket guarantees that you won’t want hi shop anywhere else. Metro Supermarket contains all the essential grocery needs plus a few surprises. A special “great deals” corner features cool finds at bargain prices. Hard-to-find ingredients and attractive imported products are staples in their shelve.

GIFT-BUYING MADE EASY

The new wing on the ground floor is where the fun’s at, with new shops that cater to kids, teens and adults. The Gift Factory and Blue Magic offer a wide array of stuffed toys and colorful gadgets. It’s Cool ha s a selection of cute school supplies and appealing knickknacks. Stand out from the crowd with custom-made shirts at the T-Shirt Project and then complete the day with an afternoon of fun and games at Timezone.

Truly, the fun is in the finds at this gem of a mall and market inside Bonifacio Global City.

Source: Ayala Land Inc. Article Listing

You think life is pretty good? Well, it just got better.

It’s a problem that most people would rather have. Can’t decide between a pair of Havaianas or Crocs? Or a pair of shades from G-Force Oakley or Rudy Project? Confused about choosing from a wide selection of the finest restaurants like Abe, Duo, Portico, or Mini Shabu-Shabu? In a dilemma where to have coffee with Bo’s, Figaro, Starbucks, Seattle’s Best and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the same area? Or in a quandary about which shop or dining establishment to splurge on any given day?

Just like the exciting panoramic canvas of popular Ayala Malls like Greenbelt 3 and Alabang Town Center, Bonifacio High Street is a kilometer-long boulevard of green landscapes that encompasses Serendra and 3rd Avenue with interesting and well-known stores, various interactive artworks in the center, plush offices and residences on its upper floors.

A unique novel concept, shopping and dining at the never overcrowded Bonifacio High Street is a one-of-a-kind experience that’s comparable to a leisurely stroll in equally trendy places like Soho in New York, Lincoln Road in Miami, Santana Row in San Jose, Third Street Promenade in Sta. Monica, Rodeo Drive and The Grove in Los Angeles.

The 36-hectare big Bonifacio High Street is also distinguished by its own retro architecture, spacious walkways and stunningly beautiful sculptures created by acclaimed Filipino artists Reg Yuson, Conrado Velasco and Ronald Achacoso.

Of course, it’s the establishments that define a shopping center and with over 150 merchants offering a wide range of concepts and brands spread across the length of almost a kilometer, BHS certainly does not disappoint in terms of diversity, overall value and cutting edge appeal. These 150 stores are from Serendra side all the way down to Bonifacio High Street.

Aside from those already mentioned above, there’s David and Goliath,an interesting store for children and infants from 3 months-5 years old that offers shirts with humorous prints and texts. There’s Maxiworks, a hobby, gifts, and toy store that offers educational toys and infant developmental toys. And then there’s Mizuno, the first stand-alone store of this Japanese brand of serious sports gear for serious sports like golf and badminton.

The bestsellers are of course, the main reason why Bonifacio High Street remains frequented by its growing number of regular patrons. Krispy Kreme is one of them. The loyal following of this joint is one big reason why it has already sold more than 40,000 doughnuts since it opened late last year.

Another is Crumpler, the hip Australian brand of backpacks and other quirky bags is also one of BHS’s top draws along with the very first on-ground store of Crocs and the biggest store of All Flip-Flops worldwide. All Flip-Flops is where Havaianas are exclusively sold. Springfield and Ecco are likewise BHS favorites, with its equally wonderful collection of fashion for both men and women.

As for the ever reliable staples, you can count on names like Adidas, Nike, The Spa, Dimensione, Fully Booked, Hobbes and Landes, The Picture Company and Timezone to deliver when it matters.

If it’s wellness you’re looking for, wellness is what BHS offers you with stores like Lush, Fruits and Passion, The Natural Source and Face Shop. All stores provide enhancements for natural beauty.

Other establishments worth mentioning include 2nd level mainstays like the Makati Eye Laser Center clinic that offers services such as lasik, epi-lasik, lasik for presbyopia, conductive keratoplasty, multi-focal implants, cataract surgery and general eye care. And then there’s also Intergrow Children’s Activity Center learning center that offers different services such as Kumon Math & Reading, Preparatory Class and summer courses such as Art Workshop, Fun with Mr. Sun and Read & Write On.

Outside of its establishments and appealing aesthetics, Bonifacio High Street is fast becoming its area’s best kept secret because of its strategic location which is just about accessible to most, if not all parts of Metro Manila. Linked directly to the major thoroughfares of EDSA and the C-5 highway, it can also be reached by upscale residents from Quezon City, Makati as well as the Ortigas business districts. Likewise, its proximity to the South Luzon Expressway makes it within reach for those who live in Parañaque, Muntinlupa and other communities on the southern corridor.

At Bonifacio High Street (BHS), people who are willing to have the good things in life wouldn’t be disappointed with the fine selection of shops and restaurants offered by the recently-opened chic and innovative shopping center located at Bonifacio Global City, just a pebble’s throw away from The Fort and Market! Market!

While the stores are pretty much the stars of the place, not to be overlooked is its interactive park where shoppers, diners and just plain promenaders can simply chill out with nature or enjoy some of life’s almost forgotten pleasures, like kite flying. sessions that appeal to both the young and the young at heart.

And of course, events held at BHS are worthy of being called events, be it a jazz fest or bands or face painting and henna tattoo.

So you think life is already good? Well, it just got better with Bonifacio High Street. It’s modern living at its innovative best.

Source: Ayala Land Inc. Article Listing

Manila Bulletin 2/29/2008

At Bonifacio Global City, going around the vast modern community will soon be a luxurious bus experience onboard the Mercedes-Benz O 500 M 1725. The buses are the newest fleet of commuter vehicles that will ply the BGC-Kalayaan-Market! Market! route.

“The Mercedes-Benz O 500 M 1725 was built for smoother, quieter rides and is designed for both metropolitan and provincial travel. What makes every passenger’s experience rewarding is that ease, comfort and safety are assured with features that only Mercedes-Benz can give,” said Felix Ang, CATS Motors, Inc. president, exclusive distributor for Mercedes-Benz in the country.

The buses, referred to as ‘coaches’ are the same motor coach service in bus routes from London to Istanbul. The buses will ply the route starting March and will be used as transportation for commuters within BGC’s commercial districts, such as Bonifacio High Street, Serendra and Market! Market!.

“The new fleet of shuttle coaches is a testament to the ease of urban living a masterplanned development like Bonifacio Global City can provide,” said Vince Tan, chairman, Bonifacio Transport Corp. and FBDC EVP.

Friendly ride

One of the principal features of the new shuttle coaches are the low floors and wheel-chair provisions which make boarding easy even for the handicapped. The low floor is also an advantage for women professionals who usually have a hard time going up public buses in work clothes.

The spacious interiors make for a very comfortable ride, as the two-seater bus compartments provide much-needed space for commuters who wish to rest and hate being bumped specially during rush hours. The aisle is surprisingly wide, and the middle seats are placed sideways, creating more room for those alighting to and from the bus.

Motoring technology

The advance technology applied to the Mercedes-Benz O 500 M 1725 is the coaches’ main feature. Because of the coaches’ air suspension, the rides are smoother and more comfortable. The Mercedes-Benz O 500 M 1725 also has a modern programming which can make the bus run on a specified speed. This makes sharp turns smoother, emphasizing the coaches’ safety features.

The technology also helps in the coaches’ maintenance as warning signs on what must be done to keep the Mercedes-Benz O 500 M 1725 on tip-top shape regularly flashes on screen such as fuel level, A/C maintenance, and the like.

Environment-friendly

The project is a joint venture of CATS Motors and Bonifacio Transport Corporation which aims to reduce carbon emissions within Bonifacio Global City. The coaches are known to use only the best fuel for buses which emits less carbon residue.

The bus ride also promotes a more environment-friendly lifestyle.

“The impetus to promote a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle is also evident,” said Tan. “The shuttle coach can comfortably seat 20 people and can actually serve as a convenient, fuel-efficient transportation alternative, which means they won’t have to take their cars out, add to traffic congestion only for a 10-minute drive.”

Source: Ayala Land Inc. Article Listing

Bonifacio High Street truly epitomizes the spirit of Bonifacio Global City and the balanced live-work-play lifestyle it encourages. Pioneering the concept of mixed-use developments in a unique main street setting, Bonifacio High Street is comprised of nearly a kilometer long landscaped park with restaurants and retail stores on the first floor, and offices on the second floor — including large and pioneering companies like Del Monte Philippines and BayanTrade to name a few. The calm scenery has an obviously uplifting and relaxing effect on the office workers of Bonifacio High Street. “I love coming to work!” asserts Michelle Dabuet, Marketing Head for BayanTrade. “We actually encourage our employees to bring their family members,” adds Dante Briones, President and CEO for BayanTrade. The park features family-friendly interactive artworks that encourage thinking and exploration. This unique experience becomes a strong factor for drawing people to the location. “Bonifacio High Street attracts people from as far as Quezon City in the north, and Alabang plus other areas further south.” says Jun Bisnar, Head of Commercial Operations for Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC).

Bonifacio High Street sets the stage for a balanced lifestyle that is conducive to mental and physical well-being. While mostly urban in nature, the pace of work and life is manageable, or as aptly stated by Marivic Anonuevo, Group Head for Corporate Business of Ayala Land, “It’s fast-paced but Bonifacio High Street provides more stress breaks and relievers.”

Live, Work, Eat!

At Bonifacio Global City , dining has come to mean more than the typical hour-long break. In this city, the dining experience provides another opportunity for residents, tenants and visitors alike to bask in the relaxed aura of Bonifacio Global City . From the high-energy spots of The Fort Square to new dining establishments in Bonifacio High Street , Bonifacio Global City will never fail to disappoint varied tastes.

CJ Jesena, Senior Division Manager for the Ayala Malls Group, describes some of the unique culinary spots of Bonifacio High Street. “Mary Grace which started as a kiosk in malls, opened their first cafe in Serendra, Bonifacio High Street called Cafe Mary Grace,” Jesena explains. “From the L’Opera group, they opened Balducci, which features a more casual, rustic and laid-back feel.” Larry J. Cruz opened two restaurants, including Larry’s Cafe & Bar, which offers light dining and Abe Restaurant, which specializes in Kapampangan fare. Further down Bonifacio High Street you’ll find Texas Roadhouse Grill and Mini Shabu-Shabu — just two of the many unique restaurants which have recently opened. Proposing this unique dining concept to owners of restaurants and cafes was met with positive response. “Anna Rocha (owner of Tatami] loved the concept while Larry Cruz saw the opportunity,” he says, proudly.

Wired and Ready to Go

As the country’s next premier CBD, Bonifacio Global City is fully equipped with amenities that encourage the wireless lifestyle. At par with the technological-savvy of the modern urbanite, several areas in Bonifacio Global City are Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing for high-speed internet surfing — an unquestionable tool in this era of efficient technology. Moreover, plans to fully wire the city are underway and soon enough, internet surfing will be possible at any point within the territory.

Complementing the technological advancement is the fact that a 25-hectare portion of Bonifacio Global City is a PEZA-accredited IT Zone. As an IT Zone, Bonifacio Global City locators enjoy generous government incentives like tax holidays and other benefits,” says Henry Yap. Head of Property Planning and Design for FBDC. “It is also easier for foreign companies to bring in their foreign executives because of the ease in obtaining work permits. The companies or locators also get tax incentives when they purchase land or export products,” Yap explains.

Source: Ayala Land Inc. Article Listing

Bonifacio High Street

August 18, 2008

Philippine Star Interview with Marivic Añonuevo, Senior VP for the Corporate Business Group of Ayala Land, Inc.

Marivic Añonuevo, senior VP for the corporate business group of Ayala Land, Inc. Whoever thought you could mix business with pleasure, which are traditionally strange bedfellows? Well, at Bonifacio Global City, anything is possible.
Ayala Land, Inc. together with Evergreen Holdings, Inc. (Campos group) fully acquired Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation in 2003. The partners strengthened Bonifacio Global City’s financial stability with a sustainable vision of the future.

With Bonifacio High Street as their latest development venture, Ayala Land’s vision is to make it a dynamic, thoroughly modern district and community that will feature a mix of commercial, residential and retail areas. Since Fort Bonifacio is billed as the next business district, due to its central and strategic location, Bonifacio High Street is the area to watch out for.

Imagine a one-kilometer long mixed-use space occupied by retail stores and restaurants on the first floor with corporate offices on the second floor occupying the Main Boulevard Blocks. There is also efficient traffic management, ample parking spaces, dedicated bus lanes and pedestrian walkways in this prime space.
To further explain the office side of Bonifacio High Street, The Philippine Star recently interviewed Marivic Añonuevo, senior VP for the corporate business group of Ayala Land, Inc.

PHILIPPINE STAR: What makes Bonifacio Global City the ‘Home of Passionate Minds’?

AÑONUEVO: Bonifacio Global City was not going to be a city that is just about work. It would allow business people and other professionals to stretch their creative potential to the fullest extent.

Why did you decide to put offices in Bonifacio High Street?

Bonifacio Global City is the next big thing. It is strategically located because it remains connected to other business districts and is well situated between EDSA and C-5 with a lot of access points.

How was the office concept of Bonifacio High Street developed? Was it inspired by foreign corporate centers?

Bonifacio High Street was inspired by the Main Street, USA concept that celebrates a work and play environment. We also drew inspiration from Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and The Grove in LA. For the office side, this is the only environment that encourages creativity and productivity amidst the greens. We weren’t planning to put just offices but a park as well for breathing space.

Since this is a very fresh concept, what makes you think this concept will work in the Philippines?

When you work, you also need to de-stress. This doesn’t apply only to Filipinos but to all human beings for this matter. It is such a refreshing idea to be working in this environment where you can de-stress once in a while and you can go back to your office feeling refreshed, recharged and renewed.

Bonifacio High Street

How did you choose the companies that would occupy the second floor of Bonifacio High Street’s blocks?

At first, we thought that the tenants would be small entrepreneurs or start up companies. Surprisingly, our own subsidiary (Community Innovations, Inc.) and even big corporations were attracted to this place. We did not implement specific zones for the offices but we do have a good mix of tenants from a venture capitalist to a distribution company and even an eye center.

How big are the offices? Is there a standard size?

The sizes of the offices start from around 70 square meters to about 800 square meters, which is one whole block.

How do you lease the offices? What is the percentage of offices that are leased out?

Actually, we lease the offices by units. Some tenants opted to combine units to get a bigger area. Some took the entire block. The offices of Bonifacio High Street are now 100 percent leased out.

If an office wants to re-design the place, what are the restrictions?
Anything inside is their call. They can’t tamper with the fixtures outside.

What are the restrictions in terms of signage?

As a matter of fact, we are very strict on signage. We have some limitations. If you get a sizable amount, let’s say the whole block, then you are allowed a signage outside. Otherwise, we just have outside directories so as to prevent clutter in the area.

How would you convince companies to relocate to Bonifacio Global City?

Well, the relative land value in Bonifacio Global City is lower making the rent a lot cheaper compared to Makati or other central business districts. There is also not much traffic within the development. BGC has been masterplanned to be pedestrian friendly. In fact, you could walk from Bonifacio High Street to Serendra or Market! Market!

There is Makati Eye Center, Super 8, Integrow (a pre-school), Steel Asia, Del Monte Philippines, Bayantrade and Community Innovations, Inc. to name a few.

In conclusion, given how Metro Manila lacks parks and walkways, Anonuevo proudly shares that Bonifacio High Street offers something different: It is a place where you could work and play, but still enjoy the greenery and the scenery. This is such a novel and refreshing idea for an urban area.

Source: Ayala Land Inc, Article Listing

Key indicators point to the sustained growth of the 240-hectare Bonifacio Global City located within the progressive city of Taguig. In 2007 alone, the premier business district witnessed the completion of three office towers and six residential buildings. Within the next 12 months, seven more residential and another four modern office buildings will be completed.

Accounting for a gross floor area of 2.62 million square meters for completed, on-going and proposed new developments covering 125 projects, Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is clearly on its way to becoming a major business center of Metro Manila. The ongoing planning of about 3 to 4 luxury and business hotel projects in BGC is another clear indication that BGC is becoming the preferred location of various businesses and offices.

The three recently completed office towers are a welcome addition to the business district’s existing office inventory. BGC has a long list of multinational companies wishing to locate and to join the ranks of Ascendas Philippines, Sony-Ericsson Philippines, GE Philippines, Orica Philippines, Deutsche Knowledge Service, Tetra Pak Philippines, Wrigley Philippines, HSBC, Del Monte Philippines, Community Innovations, Inc., Hanjin Philippines as well as NEC Telecoms. These firms have set up offices in the area. The Singapore government is also constructing a chancery in the district where many expats have taken residence.

Of the 17 completed in 2007, six were residential buildings that will be home to new residents and families in the next few years. The needs of the fresh wave of Bonifacio Global City offices locators, residents, and visitors will be met by retailers, service providers and other merchants in the close to 10 new commercial buildings completed during the year, including one that is dedicated to institutional uses. In 2008, the construction of two landmark projects is expected to begin. These are the new offices of the Philippine Stock Exchange as well as the world renowned luxury hotel ShagriLa.

During peak hours, starting from 6:30 till 9:30 am and from 5 to 8 pm, around 5,000 to 7,000 vehicles go through the four main entrances of BGC attesting to its many attractions and central location. A series of strategic access points in the east, west, north and south that allow for smooth-flowing traffic explains the fast take-up rates across all segments (office, residential and commercial) in the area and the good business enjoyed by most commercial tenants.

The newly opened Bonifacio High Street continues to attract residents, tourists and expatriates because of its blend of unique and popular retail, dining and leisure activities. When Bonifacio High Street opened in March 2007, its weekday crowd was estimated at 6,000 to 7,000 shoppers and promenaders, which rises to 16,000 people on weekends.

As even more residents and office locators flock to the business district in the coming months, the development momentum of the area is bound to speed up even more and give credence to its assertion of being a premier business district of Metro Manila.

Source: Ayala Land Inc. Article Listing

Business World 04/08/08

Ayala Land to build first Global City HotelAYALA LAND, Inc. is building the first luxury hotel at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig together with the Shangri-la Hotels Group as it capitalizes on the booming demand for hotel rooms in the area.

The project is part of the development of the West Superblock area, which will also feature a new premium grade office building that will house the unified Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and a museum, Ayala Land President and Chief Executive Jaime I. Ayala said in a report.

Marivic Añonuevo, corporate business division head of the property unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., said the four-star hotel would rise near Bonifacio High Street and Serendra.

Construction of the four-star hotel will start in 2010. It is expected to be completed a year later. “We’re also finalizing our [hotel] operator there,” she added without citing investment figures. Ms. Añonuevo said the hotel would still cater to business executives since hotels aimed at this market are suffering from tight supply.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ayala said construction of the new PSE building is expected to start in the second half, making it Ayala Land’s first premium headquarters-type office building project since 1998.

He noted that land values at Bonifacio Global City had nearly doubled in the past two years, almost close to land values in some areas of the Makati central business district.

“[At Bonifacio Global City], value appreciation has been even sharper as our priming activities continue to bear fruit and attract more and more locators and land purchasers,” he said.

Ayala Land will also co-develop a 7,377-square meter property at the corner of Ayala Center in Makati. The $153-million project, which Ayala Land signed with the Kingdom Hotels Group in March, is expected to kick off the redevelopment of the area.

The venture will include the development of a 300-room Fairmont Hotel, a 30-suite Raffles Hotel and 189 Raffles-branded private residences.

Ayala Land has earmarked P24.3 billion in capital expenditures this year, P10 billion of which it plans to raise through bank loans and bond issuance. Of the total budget for 2008, only 1% will go to the hotel business, which is categorized under the company’s support businesses along with property management services.

Ayala Land posted a 13% growth in net income in 2007 to P4.4 billion, while consolidated revenues inched up by 1% to P25.7 billion from the year earlier.

By Ching M. Alano

It’s the city you’ve always fantasized about. A place where you can live, work, and play. And yes, also a place where you can laugh, love, and live your passions to the fullest. Your fantasy just came true with Bonifacio Global City (BGC), a city that works, a city with a soul.

Think of coming home to a place where everything runs efficiently — the buses work, people can walk around, and  everything you need is in one place. There’s something to nourish the body, nurture the soul and, yes, feed the passion. Think of a city where passion and functionality mix, thus maximizing the productivity and creative potential of its residents.

It was passion that compelled the forward-looking people behind the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC) to dream of a city with a soul and to make it happen with Bonifacio Global City.  After all, FBDC has the expertise and track record of the country’s most reputable names in real estate development, Ayala Land and Evergreen Holdings of the Campos Group. Within the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is  a cosmopolis of residential areas, offices, commercial blocks, and parks on all of 240 hectares of prime property in Taguig, without a doubt today’s fastest-growing city that’s only minutes away from the business hubs of Makati and Ortigas Centers.

FBDC’s vision, however, was not simply that of a development project of concrete-and-steel. They wanted a place that’s got parks, trees, and lots of greens — an oasis amid the metropolis’s asphalt jungle. They wanted a place where the air is fresh and clean. They wanted a high-quality environment that’s conducive to living, working, creating, recreating, procreating, and raising a family. They wanted to create a premier business district unlike any other that celebrates creativity and the sweet successes of both work and play — where every piece of property is a hop or two away from a main thoroughfare or a patch of sprawling greenery.

Imagine a network of pedestrian-friendly roads, walkways, and plazas, enhanced by landscaping, destination retail establishments, and public art. At BGC, every piece of property is designed to give residents the quality of life they richly deserve. And to make that possible in your exclusive home/office/leisure address in the city, everything you need is at your fingertips. High-tech offices, bustling retail outlets, international schools, a five-star hospital, and banks are just a few steps away from your doorstep. What more can a city denizen possibly ask for?

“These are very exciting times for us,” says the visibly elated Meean Bautista-Dy, executive vice president of FBDC, “We’re at the stage where we see real communities growing. We have a growing residential population where you see a lot of young couples, young families finding a home in BGC.”   Meean hastens to add, “We also see a growing community of professionals as we see more and more offices finding a home in BGC. These are professionals of a slightly different mold, slightly different mentality who enjoy the open space, the  promenade and the amenities and conveniences offered by the city.  And we have a growing community of people who are passionate about their interests and hobbies — they, too, have found a home for their creative expression in BGC.  We see BGC evolving into a city that is not only dynamic but also culturally diverse and innovative.”

Given this kind of people and community that is attracted to BGC, the city must be able to complement the people’s forward-looking mindsets.  And the best way to showcase this dynamism is a piece of mixed-use development that runs from Market! Market! to a kilometer stretch of pedestrian retail and office promenade called Bonifacio High Street. While Market! Market! is a shopping mecca offering a thousand and one finds in retail, food, and entertainment, Bonifacio High Street (BHS), which starts at Serendra, is a 40-meter-wide and one-kilometer-long  development of popular retail and office establishments punctuated with public art and lots and lots of open space .   Serendra is a 12-hectare residential condominium project featuring one-of-a-kind shops and fine restaurants that offer slightly different cuisines from French to Spanish, Italian, Thai, and Filipino.

“Bonifacio High Street has helped define what BGC is all about — a concrete example of a place where you can live, work, and play,” Meean points out. “The original idea behind BGC was to create another business district, another home for the growing business community in the country. Perhaps it is also designed in such a way as to attract a slightly different type of professionals, different types of companies, as you can tell from our tagline ‘home of passionate minds.’ Really, this is a place that excites creativity, a different way of thinking. It’s a place that allows you to be yourself, to find people of common interests.”

The underlying objective was to create a business district with a different flavor. Meean stresses, “In the master plan, we really thought of how people would live here, work here, and play here all at the same time and so we designed a mixed-use development with ample space for play and recreation.  We had to think about not just a space for work, which is obviously very important and at the heart of it all, but also the residential and retail components. This is reflected in the mix that is deliberately delivered,  the physical network that allows you to move around easily, the open space that connects you to the outdoors despite your being in the heart of the city.”

With their passion for perfection, there are some things that are fundamental to Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation: creating a city that works, in providing a sense of place, and in evolving a city with a soul.  Meean elaborates on these three points:

A city that works. “There is a hardware side as well as a software side to this — the hardware being the physical plans and infrastructure of the city  and the software is how everything is being managed and what experience is being delivered.  For example, the grid system we developed for our road network allows for a more intuitive, easier-to-follow system, and much faster navigation.  There is the deliberate choice of low-emission buses for the expanding bus fleet within the city which helps maintain the clean-air environment we want for BGC.  The professional estate management also ensures that rules are followed, development is disciplined, and the original vision is adhered to.”

Sense of place. “Once you enter BGC, you know you’re in a different place, what with a lot of the iconic building designs, the abundance of open space, the innovative outdoor art installation, the engaging  activities and events, and the relaxed atmosphere being experienced now among the growing professionals and residents, making BGC a totally refreshing, new city development. For instance, Bonifacio High Street will provide you a different sense of place. BHS is perhaps unique in the country, having as much open space as you can use and boasting of retail establishments (a delightful mix of fashion, health, beauty, sports, technology, all the way to the basics) on the ground floor and offices on the second floor. There’s as much open space you can actually experience, view, and enjoy visually.”

City with a soul. “It’s like going to other cities elsewhere and as you see the iconic structures, you know you’re in that city. That’s probably the hardware side of it. The software side is that there are programs at BGC that foster the arts as well as the different passions in life. Aside from the events that occasionally draw big crowds, there is a regular arts program in the city. While this may have started with iconic art piece installations, BGC is currently home to bikers, runners, fashionistas, even little girls from the community who take ballet classes here!”

This summer, BGC plays hosts to a number of exciting events that revolve around the passions of play, music, and art among the people who live, work and play in the City.  What started as one event with the fun run four years ago, Passion Fest has now evolved to embrace interests not only on play but also on art and music (see related story on Page 8).

So, what’s your passion?
“This summer, we will have events that you probably haven’t seen in the country,” Meean notes. “This is in line with BGC being innovative, a place where you find new dreams, learn new interests, meet people of like minds. What we’re  trying to attract is a community, of both professionals and individuals, who really wants to pursue a passion, be it their work or some other hobby they might have. Here, they can grow their interests, improve their skills in an environment that allows them to do just that.”

Actually, BGC, which began construction in 1995, is just in its early teens. “We still have a long way to go,” says Meean, “but there’s enough going, there’s substantial construction, the community is growing.” At BHS alone, which is the heart of this city, there is so much going on and even more that is yet to come. “What you see now is only half of BHS,” Meean reveals as this writer revels in the sights around Bonifacio High Street one frenetic afternoon. “With the very good acceptance of BHS by the public, we’re looking forward to expanding it and offering more to the BGC community. The idea is for BHS to be a one-kilometer stretch of promenade. We’re only halfway there. We’re currently planning the second half of BHS.”
Among the famous tenants of BHS are Nike, Fully Booked, and The Spa. Then there are its restaurant tenants — notably coffee shops like Bo’s Coffee, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Figaro, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Starbucks where, on some balmy afternoons, you’ll see a bevy of java hounds getting their caffeine fix and nursing their cups of coffee while sharing animated conversation out in the open air without a care in the world.

So, what else is brewing at BHS?

“We will have more facilities for the outdoor type of sports — running, biking, Frisbee — so residents can come out and do their sports at their own pace and with all the outdoor space they need,” Meean shares.

Also soon to open at Bonifacio High Street are the retail outlets Jump, Verzio, The Stockmarket, Olivers, Aldo Accessories, Gap, and Dimensione.  Coming soon to Serendra are The Healthy Kitchen, Cafe Via Mare, and Printed Matter.

Another coming attraction is the Mind Museum which will be at the western end of Bonifacio High Street, which people certainly would want to visit (see related story on Page 4). In fact, the Mind Museum will undoubtedly become a main attraction of the BGC community when it opens its doors to the public in the next few years.

As BGC continues to grow, so does its community. And of vital importance to BGC is “pedestrianization.” Says Meean, “BHS is an embodiment of that. In fact, this is a main avenue for us. Its 40-meter-wide park is nearly as wide as Ayala Avenue. As you can see, cars are not allowed here. So here along BHS, it’s all about letting your children run around, feeding your pets, playing and interacting with the art pieces – experiencing them, not just looking at them.”

And yes, people can sit on the grass if they so wish – in fact, it is encouraged. The workaholic Meean chooses a nice spot on the grass, opens her laptop, and tells us, “You can sit on the grass, work on your laptop, do your brainstorming with your team outside and yes, you can say it was a productive day!”

Indeed, with 45 percent of land dedicated to open space, BGC is pushing for a pedestrian-friendly environment with a passion. Meean asserts, “We’re very disciplined in terms of the densification of the place and we’re very particular with our landscape.”  Residents especially appreciate the activity park that’s dedicated to them. “Here, they can walk, bring their pets around,” Meean elaborates. “And we’ll be putting up jogging paths around BGC where people are safe to run.”

Just as important as the pedestrianization of BGC is the public transportation and mobility within the City. There’s a shuttle service that links Bonifacio Global City and Metro Manila’s Light Rail Transit (LRT). “Furthermore,  the Bonifacio Transportation Corporation recently acquired six brand-new Mercedes Benz buses to add to its 17 existing buses,” Meean informs us. “They’re very low-emission diesel buses that are environment-friendly. We’re the first city operator in Metro Manila to use this kind of bus, which can accommodate 70 passengers for a one-way ticket that only costs a minimal fee. ”

But of course, BGC is also not lacking in outdoor events like concerts.  It  has played host to international concert artists like the bootylicious Beyonce and the multi-Grammy awardee Christina Aguilera.

Running a city as humongous as BGC is an equally humongous job. All its utilities are provided through underground infrastructure. Its underground drainage facilities can accommodate 2.2 million liters of water so flooding is no problem. There’s uninterrupted electrical supply from Meralco via underground lines. Its fiber optic cable network supports a wide range of telephone, video, and data applications. It’s got its own water and sewage system run by the Bonifacio Water Corporation and operating 24/7. And no need to worry because security is top priority at BGC. There are roving guards on duty round-the-clock. There are security posts all over  Bonifacio Global City, and police ready to assist are just a dial away.

Ah, living in the city with its daily rat race has never been this worry- and hassle-free! Now, city folks can have more time for things that truly matter. They now have more time to indulge in their passions.

About time, don’t you think?

August 18, 2008

P9B St. Luke’s Global City Project Nearing Completion

Phil Star 7/23/2008

St. Luke’s Medical Center’s excellence in health and medical care traditions honed for over 100 years will soon have a second state-of-the-art building right in the heart of Global City in Taguig City.

The ambitious P9-billion project, arguably the biggest single-construction hospital undertaking by St. Luke Hospital, will occupy much of the 1.6 hectares of prime space accessible from all points of Metro Manila and neighboring provinces in the Global City.

More than 600 patient beds can be accommodated on a single day with excellent health care for which the hospital became noted that led to it becoming the first hospital in the Philippines to be accredited by the prestigious Joint Commission International, a subsidiary of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCHAO) in the United States.

Slated to be completed in October next year, the hospital will also have modern medical arts building for well-appointed medical practitioners and administrative staff. Also, the hospital will have available parking space for 1,400 vehicles on top of the helipad big enough for Huey helicopter to land.

Top businessmen and government officials attended “topping off” ceremony recently for the 14-story structure, that also boasts of a modern helipad primarily designed and included in the project for best and fastest medical emergency transportation.

“This topping-off ceremony marks another big and exciting milestone for St. Luke’s Medical Center and our community,” said Robert Kuan, chairman of the St. Luke’s medical Center.

St. Luke’s opened its doors in 1903 with a nine-bed ward. The tradition of excellent care has been and continues to be the hallmark of St. Luke’s. It has transcended tall odds, even wars and today, or 105 years after, the hospital, located in Quezon City, has kept its tradition to become one of the best in the industry.

Seventy percent of the funding for the P9-billion project is being sourced from internal corporate funding, while additional funding is being raised through loans and philanthropic donations.

Among the guests were members of the hospital’s board of trustees led by chairman Robert Kuan and president Joe Ledesma, Fernando Zobel of Ayala Development Corp., Jimmy Ayala of Ayala Land, Inc., Butch Campos of Fort Bonifacio Development Corp., and Taguig City officials led by Vice Mayor George Elias, among others.

“We are challenged by our continuing success. Modesty aside, our biggest competition is ourselves. St. Luke’s-Global City is a tangible symbol of our commitment to deliver the highest quality care to Filipinos, our neighbors in Asia, and now the world,” said Ledesma.

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