Note: Read on this article by Inquirer and learn why we are so in love with Nuvali and why you will be, too. Ayalalandbroker.com doesn’t claim any right in the materials published in this article.
“Staycation” has lately entered our vocabulary, meaning a “vacation” that doesn’t entail traveling long distances but instead takes place right in the city or town you live in, usually in a hotel, that allows you “stay” right where you are—or somewhere nearby—while enjoying the perks of the carefree life.
Last weekend, the family had our very own staycation, just crossing the vast distance of C-5 and SLEx to check in at the Seda Hotel in Solenad, an Ayala development in Nuvali located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
The trouble with staycations in the city is that, while one can enjoy the usual amenities of hotel living, one has to brave the horrendous city traffic to get there and then survive the crowds and congestion once one leaves the hotel premises for some extracurricular activity. But on the Sunday we ventured to Sta. Rosa, which lies in the nearby fringes of Metro Manila, traffic was light and easy. And when we wanted to go out for some shopping and sightseeing, we did so at a leisurely pace, not having to contend with a mob of shoppers, with the possible exception of the crowd at the newly-opened S&R outlet.
Seda itself is a moderate-sized hotel with a great breakfast buffet at the Misto restaurant, located just a short drive away from the rapidly expanding Solenad commercial complex and the Sta. Rosa township development. When we asked who constituted their primary market, we were told that it was mostly families who took advantage of the location for quick and easy weekends. The day we arrived, guests who stayed overnight after a debut held there were posing for pictures at the entrance. The day after, as we waited for our vehicle, a wedding party was holding another photo op. Seems the hotel is fast becoming an attractive venue for those seeking out-of-town venues that are nonetheless convenient to get to.
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Part of the attraction that Nuvali and Solenad hold for family groups is the sheer variety of experiences available. On our first night, we had dinner at Bistro Charlemagne at the newly-opened Solenad 3. Owned by Charlemagne Lim of Little Asia fame, the bistro serves many of the well-loved dishes that made Little Asia famous, with some offerings tweaked for variety and excitement.
Among the more memorable offerings was Lim’s own take on lumpiang hubad, a deconstructed vegetable “roll” with the mixture of veggies found between layers of crisp lumpia wrapper, bathed in a sweetish sauce. Another deconstructed Filipino classic was Charlemagne’s version of kare-kare, beef slices bathed in the classic peanut sauce with vegetables on the side.
Most filling, though, was the conversation with Lim, who regaled us with stories of his personal history in Manila’s restaurant scene, and his paean to the joys of life in Sta. Rosa, even if he must make the daily commute from his home in Quezon City to Solenad.
Before venturing to Bistro Charlemagne, we dropped by S&R for some grocery shopping. Too bad the queues were too long to allow us to apply for a membership, but we managed to do some shopping with the use of friend Jing-jing Romero’s card. It was truly enjoyable, finding items not usually found in local supermarkets, including a jumbo pack of Charmin toilet paper, which my hubby took as yet another sign of my obsession with toilet necessities.
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The next morning, after a filling breakfast at Misto, we ventured out to Nuvali’s leisure center, taking advantage of a voucher for such activities as a boat ride on the lake, fish feeding, biking and riding on an e-jeepney.
Our grandson seemed to enjoy the wind and sunshine on the boat ride, while we thrilled as the boat bobbed and weaved on the water. Since it had begun raining, we had to skip the bike rides and e-jeepney tour, but the carp in the lake obliged us by rushing for their feed.
There are other attractions that await families in Nuvali: a wildlife and bird sanctuary, gardening demos at Greens and Patches, and even a Wakepark for serious thrill-seekers. Until the end of this month, families can also discover the country’s diverse marine life in “Agos,” (a glass of the sea), an interactive and educational exhibit created by the Mind Museum at the Evoliving Center.
But since we were still some days off Christmas, and our shopping lists still needed filling, we spent much of the time shopping in the area, especially in the outlet shops at the Sta. Rosa Town Center where we reveled at the low, low prices of goods even from established local and foreign retailers.
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Spanning the cities of Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao and Calamba in Laguna, Nuvali seeks to combine residential amenities with consumer attractions, with four residential brands—Ayala Land Premiere, Alveo, Avida and Amaia Land—plus commercial development, including brand-new cinemas at the Solenad mall, business and telecoms establishments, as well as schools like Xavier and Miriam College.
Indeed, decongesting Metro Manila seems to be a most reachable goal, with the private sector, led by Ayala Land, showing the way. Opening up the area to housing development and enriching it with educational and commercial attractions guarantee a most livable arrangement for homeowners, while making the area an attractive place to visit for city-dwellers as well.
Indeed, the only downturn in our experience was the ride back home, on a weekday, which entailed all of three hours on the congested C-5. We had our weekend experiences to fall back on as we stewed on the traffic-choked highway, wishing we could be transported back to the cool, clean and bracing air of Sta. Rosa.
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