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Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines


Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines

August is officially recognized as Buwan ng Wika. According to Proclamation No. 1041 under former President Fidel V. Ramos, National Language Month is a celebration of the country’s heritage. Both the government agencies and the private sector are encouraged to participate in programs boosting the national language and instilling community awareness. With all the energy involved in these ethnic activities, it is only appropriate to feature Filipino culture through one of its best modes: food.

There are a lot good Filipino restaurants out there, and many do not just present their best version of our top local dishes. These places go the extra mile by serving them in a set-up that feels like a Filipino home, too. If you’re away from home and are looking for authentic local dishes in a Filipiniana-themed restaurant, be sure to consider the places on our list.

XO 46 Heritage Bistro

Salcedo Village, Makati City

The name of the restaurant itself signifies its strong ties to the nation. ‘XO’ stands for extraordinary, in reference to 1946 or the year that the Philippines gained its independence. XO 46 is a restaurant with a distinct Filipino-Spanish style, with well-appointed settings and perfectly uniformed staff. This multi-awarded bistro by Advent Manila Hospitality Group, Inc. presents local cuisine and culture in an exceptional manner.  Their food is not only delicious and hearty but pleasing to look at as well. Try the best-selling crispy binagoongan and end the meal with the colorful and sweet sapin-sapin bahaghari.

Ka Lui

Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The restaurant comes highly recommended by residents of the city. It is not hard to see why. Upon entering, diners are instantly welcomed by its wooden and bamboo interiors. Ka Lui has a homey feel to it but there is no mistaking that it is a good place to eat. There are real fruits and vegetables on display along with select art pieces for sale. The capiz décor, batik fabrics, and wooden masks set the right mood.

Ka Lui’s menu is mainly composed of the day’s freshest seafood catch, vegetables, and fruits. These can be prepared kilawin style, made into sinigang soup, or mixed into a healthy salad.

Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines
Photo via Depositphotos

Bale Dutung

Angeles City, Pampanga

Celebrity chef Claude Tayag has been serving Kapampangan cuisine from his world-famous restaurant Bale Dutung for many years. It was made popular by the late Anthony Bourdain way back in 2008 when he visited the place as part of his Philippine tour for his now-defunct show, No Reservations. ‘Bale dutung’ actually means wooden house, and this one—home to the Tayags—was built in 1991 using recycled wood and other materials. It has a Filipino countryside feel to it, accentuated by several artsy elements.

A three- or four-hour semi-buffet lunch is a degustation menu that includes select dishes representing the province well, though lechon or roasted pig usually takes center stage during the meal.

STK ta Bai! sa Paulito’s Seafood House

Cebu City

This is unmistakably one of the best seafood restaurants in Metro Cebu and possibly the province itself. STK ta Bai! is a casual restaurant, to be sure, but diners are treated to the old-world charm it exudes. The decor and generous Philippine memorabilia nonchalantly on display, deserve a closer look as they could yield pleasant surprises, just like their food.

STK ta Bai! has been serving traditional Filipino fare since it was first established in 2002. As their name suggests, they have various items prepared the STK (SuTuKil) way: sugba (grilled), tuwa (soup) or kilaw (raw and marinated). A definite must-try for those visiting the restaurant for the first time is the grilled tuna jaw with sumptuous baked scallops.

Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines
Photo via Depositphotos

Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant

Intramuros, Old Manila

It would be difficult to complete this list without mentioning this gem from the historic walled city. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant is an immersion into Philippine culture, without a doubt. Visitors are instantly transported to the 18th century as soon as they start walking up its stairs. This dinner affair will be filled with a heady mixture of authentic Filipino dishes served buffet style alongside a cultural show. Brave diners can even dance along with the performers to work off some of their meal.

Kusina Luntian

Baler, Aurora

As a nod to the father of the national language President Manuel Quezon, his hometown is featured on this list. Kusina Luntian is a very unassuming restaurant. It is more of a nipa hut, actually, though the charming experience is unmistakably Filipino. Diners use their hands to enjoy the simple yet delicious comfort food served on a banana leaf. It is composed of rice, a tasty protein, salted egg, and some fern salad.

Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines
Photo via Depositphotos

Balik Bukid

Davao City

Enjoy clean, organic food prepared Filipino-style from this farm-to-table restaurant. No visitor to Davao City should leave without dining at Balik Bukid. It is a place to appreciate healthy food served in natural wooden bowls and plates. Philippine artwork and handicrafts made from recycled materials adorn its interiors. Visitors regardless of nationality are sure to admire its wonderful Filipino vibe, which is made even more festive whenever there are cultural shows to heighten the dining experience.

Do you agree with our choices? List your own choices in the comment section below.

Q&A: How does a home appraisal work?


Q&A: How Does A Home Appraisal Work?

Estimating the value of a home can be based on opinion. This can otherwise be called an opinion of value. While an actual sale of a home could transpire under such circumstances, it is more difficult to do so when seeking a housing loan. Lenders will turn to appraisers to determine the fair market value (FMV) of a home.

Also, buyers might have a personal opinion as to how much a home is worth, but this would not be a reasonable basis for its actual value. This is what makes home appraisal a necessary process. It serves as a good starting point when it comes to its price by providing evidence of its worth.

Q: What is the home appraisal procedure?

Presidential Decree No. 464, Section 3 (d) defines appraisal as “the act or process of determining the value of a property as of a specific date for a specific purpose.”

Section 5 further states that “all real property, whether taxable or exempt, shall be appraised at the current and fair market value prevailing in the locality where the property is situated.”

Home appraisers are required to perform impartial estimates to determine the FMV of the property against other similarly situated houses in its district. There must be a date when such appraisal was made, indicating why it was requested. It usually involves purchase and sale transactions. This gauges the propriety of its price given its physical state, site, and characteristics.

There are also times when home appraisals are also required in times of refinancing. This would guarantee that the borrower is indeed borrowing less funds than the property is worth from the lender. It would protect the lender in case the borrower defaults and would have to sell the mortgaged property to recover the borrowed funds.

Q&A: How Does A Home Appraisal Work?
Photo via Depositphotos

Q: Who hires the appraiser?

This process is undertaken by a disinterested third party to the transaction, ideally a licensed real estate appraiser. It is the lender that is tasked to hire the appraiser. A higher appraisal price might favor the buyer when it comes to sales, or the homeowner in case of refinancing. This would work to the disadvantage of the lender because the loan given could result to an amount higher than the real FMV of the property. The extent of the loan should ideally be less than or equal to eighty percent the FMV of the property mortgaged as security.

A seller can explicitly state that cash payments alone and not bank loan transactions will be accepted. Cash payments would necessarily rule out the need to have an appraiser because there is no need to take out a loan to settle the rest of the contract price. An appraisal should ideally come before listing a home for sale due to the likelihood that the appraised price would be set below the agreed purchase price. This would force the buyer to look for other means to secure funds for the shortfall in case the seller has already accepted the offer.

Q: What does an appraiser usually look for?

An appraiser would need to take actual measurements of the improvements to get its floor area, note its features, and find other factors that could influence its price. Field work also entails researching on the property’s surroundings and finding out the contract price of recent sales in the area. Note that evidence of its lot area will be required in order to make an accurate assessment. Providing a lot plan and the certificate of title is firm evidence of its lot size. Anything that has an aspect of permanence or attached to the home will likely be included in the appraisal.

Q&A: How Does A Home Appraisal Work?
Photo via Depositphotos

Q: What are the ways to determine value?

An owner will naturally want to get the best price for the property being sold. This could be based on a mixture of factors, such as its acquisition cost, sentimental value, included movables, and embellishments. With the exception of acquisition cost, however, these have little material effect on its FMV. To determine its value, Philippine real estate appraisers use three approaches:

● Cost Summation – land value is summed up with the value of the depreciated improvements
● Sales Comparison – FMVs of similar properties in the vicinity are compared to the home being appraised
● Income Capitalization – used for investment or commercial properties to determine how profitable a property is

Q: How long does it take to complete an appraisal?

The process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the size and complexity of the home. An appraisal can extend beyond the home inspection and includes a survey of its neighborhood or surrounding area, though. This could potentially yield information on similar properties that were sold within the year or so.

Q&A: How Does A Home Appraisal Work?
Photo via Depositphotos

After the fieldwork, an appraiser would then return to his office to draft the appraisal report. The length of the report would again depend on the complexity of the task. It can take anywhere from a day to a few months to prepare the report. This would depend on the speed at which the information is acquired and the amount of data involved in the undertaking.

Main photo via Depositphotos

The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque


The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque

There is hardly any reason not to invest in Parañaque. Its economic prospects remain bright, given all the projects coming its way from the public and private sectors. The city is experiencing a robust construction boom in terms of infrastructure, academic and medical institutions, and residential and horizontal developments. Its direction for the future may serve to justify why it is one of the choice locations in the country.

Public sector participation

The Philippines remains to be one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economies. According to the World Bank, its economy is expected to grow by 6.7 percent for 2018 and 2019. The government’s ability to complete its infrastructure projects is the key to bringing in continued investments in the country. President Duterte’s administration is doing its part through the 75 flagship projects making up the “Build, Build, Build” program.

The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque
LRT. Photo via Depositphotos

In line with this is the Department of Transportation’s Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) project, which is at 92% completion. Located at the fringes of the Coastal Road, it is an intermodal transport terminal that is targeted to help decongest vehicular traffic in Metro Manila. This will be linked to the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 extension and other public transportation routes. Government initiatives like this will likely propel the city’s already booming business sector even further.

The Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 extension will have five stations within Parañaque City:

● Aseana Complex
● MIA Road
● Asia World
● Ninoy Aquino
● Dr. Arcadio Santos Avenue

Where the action is

This bodes well for Parañaque and will complement the continuing developments in Bay City. The latter is set to become the country’s leading destination for entertainment, resulting in an increase in tourism. Integrated resorts such as Okada Manila, Solaire, and City of Dreams Manila have already established their presence in the area. Other companies have followed suit, locating their businesses around their respective vicinities. The same trend is expected for the five new LRT Line 1 extension stations. There will be more companies looking to capitalize on the economic effects of these developments in the rapidly shifting business landscape of the city.

The main business areas of Parañaque, such as Baclaran, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, BF Homes and Don Bosco, will naturally benefit from all these developments. Baclaran itself has an existing endpoint LRT station, which is teeming with flea markets and vendors. The district also houses The National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, where droves of devotees and simple churchgoers alike regularly flock to. Soon, 3,500 vendors from the Roxas Boulevard service road will be relocated to an air-conditioned, four-level commercial building. The neighborhood will also see the construction of a city university and a hospital.

The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque
City of Dreams Manila. Photo via Shutterstock

About seven kilometers away is Dr. A. Santos Avenue (formerly Sucat Road), a major artery of Parañaque. Places of interest in the area include two SM Cities (Sucat and BF Parañaque), Waltermart, Shopwise, Olivarez College, Patts College of Aeronautics, and Medical Center Parañaque. BF Homes contains President’s Avenue and Aguirre Avenue, a bustling food paradise where established and new restaurants are regularly packed with enthusiastic diners. To the north of it is Barangay Don Bosco, home of the Parañaque Doctor’s Hospital, as well as the busy Doña Soledad Avenue that connects to another SM City (Bicutan) as well as the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

The beauty of it all is that Parañaque is not far from NCR’s major central business districts (CBDs). It is about 10 kilometers from Makati, 8 kilometers from BGC and 6 kilometers from Filinvest Alabang. But the city itself is home to a wealth of top businesses to work for, including Zuellig Pharma Corporation, Mondelez Philippines, Johnson & Johnson Philippines, TGP Pharma, Toyota Bicutan Parañaque, and Okada Manila.

With all the present business establishments and future ones that are expected to appear soon, one cannot deny that Parañaque is a serious contender for those looking for a place to relocate. In spite of all its commercial activities, the city is still considered more easygoing compared to other highly-urbanized cities in the Metro. It strikes a good balance between residential living and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

An enviable address

Life does not need to be spent on the road, a good chunk of it at least. The Duterte administration is doing what it can to ease Metro Manila’s unforgiving traffic situation. Regardless, finding ways to reallocate more minutes of you daily commute to time spent with family and friends is always ideal. Parañaque City is clearly at par with the more developed cities of the Philippines in terms of conveniences and places of interest. Why not consider a residence that is within striking distance from it all?

Alpina Heights is one such location. Developed by Alpina Heights Properties Corporation (AHPC), this condominium is situated within 1.5 kilometers from the Sucat Exit via the West Service Road. This makes it easy to access the SLEX when trying to reach the aforementioned CBDs. Premiere institutions such as the Asian Hospital & Medical Center, San Beda Alabang, and De La Salle Santiago Zobel are just six to 10 kilometers away. However, Alpina Heights provides more than just an ideal address. The project itself is just as remarkable.

The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque

Artist's rendering of Alpina Heights

This pre-selling condo will be composed of five low-rise residential towers over a spacious 5,736 sqm lot area. There will be plenty of open spaces (over 50 percent), which will be surrounded by genuine pine trees. Its community feel is specifically intended given its low-population projection. Each tower will only be six to seven stories, having an optimal seventeen units per floor. The ground floors of the first two towers alone will house commercial units and parking slots, reducing the residential capacity even further.

Investors can currently choose between one- or two-bedroom units. AHPC, however, allows units to be combined for buyers looking for more space. Residents will enjoy sustainable features such as solar-powered common areas, a water treatment facility and rain water conservation. There is no need to debate the future viability of Parañaque City. With all these aspects, the same can be said of Alpina Heights. It is a good investment located in a city that has so many opportunities for business, recreation, education, and more.

Move to one of the most dynamic and forward-looking cities of Metro Manila. Call (+63) 9178427512, e-mail sales@alpinaheights.com, or visit alpinaheights.com to learn more.

Main photo by Ramon FVelasquez via Wikimedia Commons

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?


What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?

In the recent years, traveling has become a part of every person’s way of life.

Be it domestic or foreign, the experience of traveling has elevated to accommodate the demand brought by the large influx of tourists. All kinds of tourist attractions, culinary hotspots, and—most of all—topnotch accommodations have been thrust in the limelight to suit every travelers’ needs.

The National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) projected a whopping 7.4 million international arrivals for this year. The arrival of international tourists in the Philippines alone peaked in the January-February 2018 period as 1.4 million visitors were recorded, marking a 16.1-percent increase compared to the same period last year.

This means bigger things are in store for those with businesses involved in tourism. Hotel alternatives such as Airbnbs—especially those situated in cities—are in demand at present.

Discover the qualities of an Airbnb-worthy investment and bank your money on the booming industry with a property that is sure to be a blockbuster when it comes to travel accommodations.

Advantageous location

Tourists want accommodation where they can easily enjoy everything that a place has to offer. Airbnbs located near major malls, parks, and other commercial establishments and attractions tend to be the most rented.

In Metro Manila, an advantageous location is even more of a priority given the heavy traffic in its major thoroughfares. A perfect Airbnb would mean a property in close proximity with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). With this, guests would not have to worry about being late for their flights since the airport is just a few minutes away. Plus, it would be easier for those who are commuting to their destinations.

Staycation-conducive amenities

Giving guests the perfect stay nowadays does not merely translate into making a place feel like home; it means giving them a place better than home. People who go on either a vacation or staycation look for accommodations that will help them escape all their worries so they could enjoy blissful relaxation.

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?
Photo via Depositphotos

Nothing can be more perfect for a staycation than a soft and clean bed, cool air conditioning, and fast Wi-Fi connectivity. Aside from those, investing in a property with a pool and other amenities for relaxing such as a spa or sauna would entice more guests to stay in your Airbnb. With those features nearby, the stay in your property is already enough to be dubbed as a vacation.

Functional furnishing

Since visitors in an Airbnb usually stay for at least a week or longer, furniture that will meet their basic needs is a must. Fundamental household amenities such as numerous power outlets, a refrigerator, stove, television, and shower are essential since guests will be treating your Airbnb as their home for a period of time.

Balancing that functionality with comfort is also important. Equip your property with comfortable chairs. More often than not, people who rent Airbnbs are usually in large groups. Sofas which could be converted into a bed are perfect for big groups of friends or large families.

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?
Photo via Depositphotos

Moreover, good interior design for your unit would result in more traffic for your rental, thus bringing in more profit.


Maintaining an Airbnb entails a lot of cost and effort on the host’s part. Since you have to worry about regular cleaning services, taxes, repairs, utilities, it is good to keep in mind a property that is worth its price.

Peaceful neighborhood

Not only will it give guests the peace they crave, but a condominium in a quiet neighborhood would make for a perfect Airbnb since it gives them a sense of security.

Places in the outskirts of densely populated cities would be better suited for those looking for a stay away from stress as they can enjoy a tighter knit community where they can feel safe and secure, even if it is just for a little while.

A getaway experience at Alpina Heights

Alpina Heights, a mid-rise condominium development in Bicutan, Parañaque, checks all of the qualities of a perfect Airbnb unit. It is close to NAIA, and shopping centers such as Alabang Town Center, SM Bicutan, and Festival Mall Alabang are just a few minutes away.

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?
Artist's rendering of Alpina Heights

Pre-furnished units are available for the taking, leaving you with fewer things to worry about when you set up your property for rental at Airbnb. A poolside lounge, 50 percent of open space, a gym, and more exciting facilities are available for the perfect getaway in the city.

For an affordable price, potential investors for an Airbnb unit are guaranteed high quality and an elevated standard of accommodations for their future guests.

Cash in on the possibilities of Airbnb with a unit at Alpina Heights. Call (+63) 9178427512, e-mail sales@alpinaheights.com, or visit alpinaheights.com to learn more about their preselling condo units.

For OFWs considering property investment, the time is now


For OFWs considering property investment, the time is now

The Philippines is still very much an attractive real estate destination. Its economy remains strong with a GDP of 6.8 percent forecasted for 2018 and 6.9 percent for 2019. This stable growth makes investing in the country a solid option not only for local residents but overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as well. Vacancies in Metro Manila were reportedly on a decline for the first quarter of 2018. At a vacancy rate of 12.4 percent, it appears that residential condominiums can be a good source of lease income. This is an important detail to know for OFWs who are contemplating investing in real estate.

High investor confidence

The real estate investment bubble does not appear to be bursting anytime soon, if there was one. The market is highly competitive and demand for new developments is quite high despite rising property values. Luxury residential condominiums can command prices of up to Php 400,000 per sqm. On the average, however, projects are selling at Php 167,000 per sqm. This is up from Php 113,000 per sqm based on similar values in major CBDs around Metro Manila six years ago.

Demand is bolstered by a low supply of 12,700 residential units for 2018 and a low vacancy rate. The Manila Bay area, which in large part is situated in Parañaque City, is joining Makati City as among the most favorable locations in the Metro. There is an uptick of companies purchasing residential properties in such locations, as well as in interest coming from Chinese nationals. It has accessible commercial, office, and leisure facilities that appeal to this ever-growing market. OFWs looking to capitalize on this property boom and potential lease income would do well to follow suit.

Points to ponder

However, there are some things they must consider before doing so. They must first determine if the investment is for personal use or for lease purposes. There are a lot of OFWs who are originally from the provinces outside of Metro Manila. Those looking to purchase a residential condominium for lease purposes might want to consider units in or near the NCR region’s main CBDs. This is where on would currently find most of the rental action. Acquiring a condominium in the province is also a good idea because of the potential increase in property values, though lease demand might be different.

For OFWs considering property investment, the time is now
Photo via Depositphotos

Having selected a residential unit, OFWs need to consider how they will be able to maintain it. There are different aspects to renting a property. Prior to leasing, the unit has to be marketed, be viewed by an interested tenant, and have its corresponding lease documents prepared. When it is rented out, someone needs to perform necessary repairs and renovations during and after the contract of lease. There is also the payment of real property taxes, collection of rent, and payment of association dues to take care of.

These tasks could be assigned to a relative assisted by a real estate broker as well as a contractor. On the other hand, it would be more convenient to have a tenancy management firm handle all of these duties. OFWs, by the nature of their work, would not always be present in the country. To be clear, these are just some of the realities that buyers of residential properties intended for income should be aware of. It should not dissuade them from pursuing an investment opportunity, especially if there is one that offers good value for money.

Formidable partnership

A good example is Alpina Heights by Alpina Heights Property Corporation (AHPC). It is a low-rise residential condominium project located in Parañaque City, an area that is experiencing high demand and low vacancy rates. Alpina Heights was created to exude a “community feel,” with plenty of open spaces and low-density population occupying its 5,736 sqm lot area. AHPC has just opened its second of five towers for sale to the public. This gives plenty of opportunities to benefit from its low preselling condo prices and high appreciation in property values.

For OFWs considering property investment, the time is now
Artist's rendering of Alpina Heights

OFWs and other investors would be pleased to know that each unit is turned over pre-furnished. All a residend would need to move in are their mattress and personal belongings. Still, there is more to this project to appreciate aside from its excellent amenities and relaxing pine tree surroundings. Its common areas are solar-powered and units are designed to allow maximum natural light, assuring that the unit is eco-friendly, as wells energy- and money-saving.

The icing on the cake is AHPC’s partnership with Santos Knight Frank (SKF), which brings world-class property management expertise into the project. SKF also provides Tenant Representation & Office Agency along with a list of other specialist services. This tenancy management option gives OFWs peace of mind knowing that their property investment is in good hands during their absence.

Learn more about why Alpina Heights is the ideal property investment for OFWs. Call (+63) 9178427512, e-mail sales@alpinaheights.com, or visit alpinaheights.com.

Main photo via Depositphotos

Why low-density living is good for you


Why low-density living is good for you

Modern trends dictate that everybody should go after residential spaces in jampacked cities. Urban areas present more business and job opportunities, which can draw relocators. Unfortunately, living in these places also usually means being caught up in the stress of a higher density lifestyle.

The more people flock to high-traffic locations in the metro, the better it is to explore the possibility of acquiring dwellings that offer low-density living. Maintaining such a lifestyle is not only ideal for the young professional but also for families and those seeking a more intimate setting with friends and loved ones.

Discover the benefits of living in a low-density condominium in the modern age. Who knows? Maybe this is the perfect lifestyle for you.


Living in the busier parts of the city almost guarantees that there will be little privacy for you. Compared to the usual notion of high-rise condominiums, low-density condos have fewer units.

Since low-density living ensures that there is more room for you to breathe, having time and space for yourself and your family is not a problem. While a sense of seclusion is definitely an assurance, low-density condominiums also foster more intimate relationships between you, your family, and the community.

Why low-density living is good for you
Artist's rendering of Alpina Heights façade

Potential buyers who have privacy as their number one priority should consider Alpina Heights as their top choice. Located in Bicutan, Paranaque, you can enjoy easy access to major commercial hubs in Metro Manila, and at the same time retreat to a more secluded life by living in the outskirts.

Peacefulness and security

Tired of all the noise and hassle brought by living beside the metro’s major thoroughfares? These things would not plague you if you live in a low-density area. In fact, these kinds of places offer you the opposite. Low-density condos such as Alpina Heights have amenities such as gazebos and parks, which allow you those much-needed moments of peace and quiet.

Why low-density living is good for you
Photo via Depositphotos

Since low-density condos mean fewer residents, it is most probable that fewer guests go in and out of the building, too. With a lower volume of visitors on a daily basis, you can sleep well at night knowing that there is better security where you live.

Safety should be one of the top priorities of a buyer. With 24-hour CCTV camera surveillance and roving security, rest assured your safety is their priority, too.


Much of the demand for residential spaces lies within the central business districts (CBDs) in Makati and Bonifacio Global City, among others. Thus, prices for condominiums are sky-high in those areas.

Offering a low-density lifestyle, Alpina Heights boasts of affordability and top-notch quality. Deals are truly irresistible as you can get pre-furnished units for functional living that you can get without breaking your bank account.

Invest in a lifestyle that is sure to bid all of life’s stresses goodbye and get more value by paying less and experiencing more.

More space

If the ideal home is where there is more room to move, then a low-density condominium is the perfect choice for you. Trapping yourself within the confines of a tight concrete jungle for the sake of convenience in commuting is not worth the price, if you think about it.

With fewer units, low-density condominiums offer more space than high-rise residences in high-density cities. This is especially ideal for buyers who live with their families since there is more space for household activities.

Why low-density living is good for you
Two-bedroom unit at Alpina Heights

Alpina Heights in Bicutan spans more than half a hectare of development. Even more, 50 percent of its lot consists of open space where residents can enjoy the fresh air and environment. Aside from this, a poolside lounge and sitting area, cafe, basketball court, and Jacuzzi are available for everybody’s leisure, too.

Buyers can get a unit as big as 25sqm with two bedrooms, two balconies, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, and two baths for an affordable price.

Better facilities

Facilities and utilities are definitely better when there are fewer people to share them with. Fewer residents means that the chances for damage are minimized and the ease of maintenance maximized. When staying in a condominium of lower density, you can enjoy common areas in their prime condition.

Not only are the common amenities better in low-density spaces, but so are the individual units. Alpina Heights ensures the high standard of their units; they are pre-furnished with basic appliances and basic household furniture, which is perfect if you like the idea of living large.

Why low-density living is good for you
One-bedroom unit at Alpina Heights

What’s more, sustainability is a guarantee. Solar energy is used for common areas in Alpina Heights, and there are facilities for water treatment and rain water conservation. Dual flush toilets, LED lighting in common areas, and maximized natural lighting are also offered.

Take advantage of the low-density lifestyle offered by Alpina Heights. Call (+63) 9178427512, e-mail sales@alpinaheights.com, or visit alpinaheights.com.

Main photo via Depositphotos

AHPC unveils Alpina Heights Tower II


AHPC unveils Alpina Heights Tower II

Alpina Heights Properties Corporation (AHPC) recently held a soft launch for Tower II of their Parañaque-based condominium Alpina Heights. This next move occurs after the success of Tower I, which is 92 percent completed. During the event, AHPC discussed some of the unique design aspects of Tower II, as well as their partnership with leading property management firm Santos Knight Frank (SKF).

A new tower rises

This AHPC project is located just a few kilometers from the Sucat Exit. It can be accessed from the West Service Road, and is close to multiple educational institutions and shopping centers. Construction on Alpina Heights began in July 2016, and it will have five towers upon its completion. The entire development covers a wide area of 5,736sqm, and will include plenty of room for open spaces.

AHPC unveils Alpina Heights Tower II
Scale model of Alpina Heights

Tower I rises six floors, with nine commercial units on the ground floor. On the other hand, Tower II will be seven stories high with only two commercial units. Both towers offer one bedroom units (27sqm), which can be combined to create a two bedroom unit (54sqm), but Tower II will also offer standard two-bedroom units measuring 42sqm.

High quality and good value

At the event, AHPC sales manager Fred Pollard has provided some general information about the company and its namesake project.

“AHPC aims to provide good housing and developments of high quality, which (are) also affordable, giving a competitive edge and offering a good value proposition for its shareholders,” he said.

Pollard also highlighted the “community feel” of the project as opposed to the high-rise, high density residential projects that is quite common in Metro Manila. This, he explained, differentiates Alpina Heights from the rest of the pack. Its low-population density will allow its residents more room to move about and enjoy the quality amenities of the project.

AHPC unveils Alpina Heights Tower II
AHPC sales manager Fred Pollard

Another benefit cited is the strategic location of Parañaque, which is right between two major CBDs—Makati and Filinvest City. Parañaque also houses the country’s major airports and contains a large portion of the booming Bay City. These accessibility-related aspects alone are sure to influence the appreciation in property value of Alpina Heights.

When it comes to the quality of deliverables, Pollard mentioned that the only difference between AHPC and other developers is branding. He was aware of the brand recall advantage of other real estate developers, but he is confident that AHPC can catch up.

“Give it two to three years and we will be up to par,” he claimed.

AHPC unveils Alpina Heights Tower II
Two-bedroom unit layout at Alpina Heights Tower II

AHPC unveils Alpina Heights Tower II
Two-bedroom unit layout at Alpina Heights Tower II

Pollard also noted that Alpina Heights units are pre-furnished. Investors only have to install a mattress and bring in personal items to move in. This is in contrast with other developments, which usually turn over bare units. Some of Alpina Heights’ deliverables are a split-type inverter air conditioner, induction stove, refrigerator, and water heater.

Flexibility and sustainability

Project Architect Joel Manankil expounded on the design features of Alpina Heights, focusing on the project’s aesthetics and sustainability features. Drawing inspiration from the Swiss Alps, the development will be surrounded by pine trees. Arch. Manankil shared, “Buildings need character in order to be remembered.”

AHPC unveils Alpina Heights Tower II
Project Architect Joel Manankil

Taking pride in Alpina Heights’ green initiative, Manankil noted that the entire development will have solar panels installed in its common areas and also maintain its own sewage treatment plant. All the units will also have at least one electrical socket and one LED light powered by the solar panels. Arch. Manankil said buyers have an option to add more for a price. “I designed it so that it can be very flexible for buyers,” he explained.

Solid partnership

Adding to the project’s value is its partnership with SKF. The property management firm has a 24-year track record, is 100% Filipino-owned, and delivers a comprehensive range of property services to its clientele. Their expertise will come in handy, especially for Alpina Heights investors like OFWs looking to lease out their unit but cannot manage it personally.

According to SKF Director, Property Management Business Development Edwin Samarista, the company will go all out in servicing Alpina Heights’ investors, and that tenure will not be an issue.

“For as long as the condominium corporation wants us, we will stick with them,” he assured.

To inquire about the units of the newly launched Tower II of Alpina Height, call (+63) 9178427512, e-mail sales@alpinaheights.com, or visit alpinaheights.com.

Here’s how you can effectively plan for your retirement


Here’s How You Can Effectively Plan for Your Retirement

In making plans for your future, the first thing you have to be certain of is your goals–a clear picture of where you want your life to be in the years to come. The very same thing can be said in preparing for your retirement.

In the Philippines, while the ideal retirement age is 65, many still have the physical and mental capacity to work even way past the age of 70. No matter when you decide to retire, it is a must for you to envision how you are going to spend the rest of your life after many years of working.

For most people planning for their retirement, the first thing on their list is a home. After all, it does not really sound practical to pay for monthly rent when you are already relying on your limited retirement funds.

This makes real estate investment attractive for Filipino professionals who proactively plan their retirement. With the many purposes a property can serve, the real estate market has been the go-to place for Filipinos to invest. In fact, as many as three in four households already own their place of residence, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' Consumer Finance Survey in 2014.

If you have yet to have a dwelling to call your own, below are some considerations you have to take when planning for your retirement and home investment.

Here’s How You Can Effectively Plan for Your Retirement

Where should you start?

There is no harm in starting as early as possible. Some millennials start investing in their early 20s. Start with saving a small portion of your income to a bank account. When you get the hang of it, make it a point to allocate 20 percent of your monthly income towards your savings.

It sounds easy, but saving is not for the faint of heart. While you are not encouraged to deprive yourself of new clothes, travels, or the latest gadgets, it is still ideal for you to practice discipline and avoid spending too much for things you do not necessarily need.

Once you have a comfortable amount of savings and you feel that your finances are already in check, you can begin investing in an affordable home.

What kind of home should you buy?

If you are saving up to buy a property that you are also thinking of settling in for good after retirement, then you have to make sure that your home possesses certain features such as open floor plans, accessible kitchen counters, wider doors, higher electrical outlets, plenty of light, easy to open windows, and a first-level bedroom. These design features will let you live through your retirement years as comfortably as possible.

Another important factor in choosing your retirement home is the location. This, of course, will depend on the kind of lifestyle you currently have and wish to have when you retire. Whether you want to live in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city or in a tranquil countryside, you have to make sure that your home is close to health institutions, banks, the market, and other places of interest. Your home should also be accessible from the main road. Nearby lifestyle and other commercial centers are also a plus.

Here’s How You Can Effectively Plan for Your Retirement

How sound is your financial health?

As mentioned earlier, you have to be able to save now and save more as much as possible. However, you also have to take a look at the bigger picture and consider other things. Ask yourself about your financial responsibilities. A bachelor whose entire income goes straight in his pocket may have different sensibilities from those who have responsibilities with their siblings or parents.

Further, think about your current expenses and outstanding liabilities. Perhaps settling your credit card bills first would be a good idea before committing to an investment. Allowing yourself to be free from these debts will give you the leeway to make investments in the future.

It is also equally important to set up an emergency fund, as you can never be certain of the things that might happen. A contingency fund will help you build a buffer should unforeseen circumstances hamper your financial strategy.

How concrete should your plan be?

The more concrete a plan is, the more you will be able to stick to it. Planning for your retirement takes logic and some math.

In a think piece published in Manila Times, a financial planner explained that while no formula can specifically address your retirement needs, there is a logical way to estimate how much you will need for your golden years. He said a rule of thumb that planners use is that 80% of your current income should be enough to cover for your retirement income and support your standard of living. If this suggestion is overwhelming to you, then it would best to consult a professional.

Here’s How You Can Effectively Plan for Your Retirement

Everyone wants to experience a happy and contented retirement. However, it is what you do in your youth that would ultimately dictate how enjoyable and relaxed you will live your life in those sunset years.


Main photo via Depositphotos

The Alpina Heights Tower II soft launch



The Alpina Heights Tower II soft launch

Whether you are looking to buy a condominium unit as an end user or an investor, Alpina Heights Properties Corp. (AHPC) is making your decision easier with their maiden project, Alpina Heights. The entirety of the project was launched a while back, but the brisk sales of its first tower has prompted them to step up the soft launch of Tower II, which will take place on Saturday, July 7 from 4PM to 8PM at Soma Bistro in Green Sun Hotel in Makati.

A hard-to-beat location

When it comes to accessibility, Alpina Heights has you covered. It is just a few kilometers from the Sucat Exit and may be accessed through the West Service Road. There are multiple shopping centers within its immediate vicinity. SM Hypermart is the closest at 1.5 kilometers away. A bit farther but still accessible in just a few minutes are the shopping and dining options of SM Bicutan. The famous Aguirre Avenue and its gastronomic delights are a mere 20-minute drive, while Alabang Town Center is but a short 7 kilometers away.

Educational and medical institutions are also plentiful, which includes San Beda Alabang and the Asian Hospital & Medical Center.

Moreover, the Makati central business district is an easy drive away, as are the corporate and recreational offerings of Bonifacio Global City and those of Alabang.

Getting your money’s worth

The development itself is currently being built on over half a hectare of prime residential land. Alpina Heights will have five mid-rise buildings, each measuring an ideal six stories high. Aside from high-quality amenities like a well-equipped laundry area and a swimming pool with lounge, it boasts sustainable features too. Units are designed to maximize natural light, and common areas are powered via solar panels.

The project’s “live above your standards” motto goes beyond its sustainable features and premium amenities, however. This promise extends to its affordability as well. The spacious one-bedroom unit is 28sqm and priced at Php 2,250,000. A two-bedroom, 41.2sqm unit can be purchased for Php 3,450,000. All units also come pre-furnished with an air conditioning unit, stove, and refrigerator.

Aside from being well-priced relative to their size and design, these units can also be purchased through flexible payment options.

Worth looking into

Of course, reading about Alpina Heights is not the same as actually being able to inquire directly from AHPC’s officers and sales team. Their upcoming event at the Green Sun Hotel’s Soma Bistro will be a showcase of the project’s preselling condo units and the perks one can take advantage of as a buyer. As they view model units up close, lucky attendees can also look forward to big discounts and on-the-spot prizes to be given away.

To inquire about Alpina Heights and their upcoming event, call (+63) 9178427512, e-mail sales@alpinaheights.com, or visit alpinaheights.com.

10 LGBT-friendly places in Metro Manila


10 LGBT-friendly places in Metro Manila

Depending on the circumstance, the level of acceptance felt by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines varies. In 2013, U.S.-based Pew Research Center surveyed 39 countries and found that around three in four Filipinos believe homosexuality should be accepted by society. More LGBT individuals are also now holding positions in the government. Then there is the increase in the non-stereotypical portrayal of homosexuals in the media.

On the other hand, LGBT individuals are still at a disadvantage in many ways. While homosexuality is not criminalized in the Philippines unlike other nations, equal rights are something that the community is unable to enjoy. Same-sex marriage is not legal, and a law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT members has yet to be passed into law.

There is still a great need for Filipinos to be educated further about gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Despite the small progress the Philippines has made in accepting the broad spectrum of LGBTs as respected members of the community, there are still cases of judgment and prejudice against them. It was and it still is not easy for members of the LGBT community to find a place they can call their own.

In their continuous fight and struggle for recognition and equality, many establishments have committed to giving them a place that they can call their own and space where they can feel that they belong. Here are some of the most gay-friendly places in Metro Manila where LGBT members can freely express themselves.

10 LGBT-friendly places in Metro Manila
Rainbow Pride Flag. Photo via Depositphotos

Pineapple Lab

For those wanting to enrich their cultural knowledge, Pineapple Lab is the perfect place to be in. Pineapple Lab is an arts and performance hub showcasing stellar works not just of Filipinos but of international artists and collaborators as well.

This hub hosts monthly events, visual art galleries, performances, workshops, and gatherings for art-savvy individuals. In celebration of Pride Month last year, it hosted a mixer featuring local gay icon Jolegend Slaydangal as well as a screening of the 2012 coming-of-age film Mosquita y Mari, which tells the story of two teenage girls discovering their sexuality as they grow closer together.

Pineapple Lab is at the heart of Barangay Poblacion in Makati City.

Le Miel Cafe

This place is definitely for those with a sweet tooth. Aside from its fancy drinks and its own take on Korean shaved ice dessert Bingsu, Le Miel is known for its Pride-flag inspired Rainbow Mille Crepe Cake, a festive treat with 25 layers of crepe laced with five different fruity flavours.

Situated at The Hub in Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City, Le Miel became the favorite hang-out place of LGBT members living and working within the area.

Boho Sarapsody Bistro

Unlike other hang-out places mentioned here, Boho Sarapsody Bistro has a very laid-back and homey environment. Tucked in the side streets of Cubao, this house-turned-tambayan rose to become a popular spot for the members of the LGBT community to chill, enjoy live acoustic music, drink, eat tasty grub, and socialize with their friends.

Commune Café + Bar

Nothing is as rustic and as cozy as Commune, a cafe and bar which serves variety of coffee and great food selections. Raved as an LGBT-friendly space, Commune is remembered for setting up a communal table inside the cafe to encourage people to initiate small talks. With the cafe's warm and welcoming feel, it has been a favorite meetup location of people who met through dating apps.

Commune is located along Polaris St. in Makati City.

10 LGBT-friendly places in Metro Manila
Same-sex couple. Photo via Depositphotos

LoveYourself Clinics

LoveYourself is a community organization with a mission to raise awareness about sexual health, particularly amongst the LGBT members. The group has two community centers, LoveYourself Anglo in Mandaluyong and LoveYourself Uni in Pasay. These clinics offer free HIV testing, counselling, and treatment.  What sets these clinics apart from others are their friendly and approachable volunteers who all contribute their time to ensure that LGBT members have a safe space to discuss their sexual health.

Recently, the group launched Victoria By LoveYourself, a community center focused on transgender health and wellness services. It also offers free HIV testing and treatment.

O Bar

When it comes to party and fun, O Bar will never run out of tricks up its sleeve. O Bar is popular for its massive performances by drag queens and sexy male dancers. For LGBT members who want to dance like no one's watching, there's no place like O Bar.

O Bar is located at Ortigas Home Depot along Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig.

Nectar Nightclub

Located at the Fort Strip in Bonifacio Global City, the Nectar Nightclub primarily caters to LGBT members, offering them the premium club experience. Local and international DJs are usually seen headlining the club. There is no dress code; the only rule is for clubbers to have fun and enjoy their night.

10 LGBT-friendly places in Metro Manila
Drag queen. Photo via Depositphotos

UP Center for Women's and Gender Studies

The first building in the University of the Philippines-Diliman to have gender-neutral comfort rooms, the Center for Women's and Gender Studies is the go-to place for LGBT literature. It has a collection of books, research papers, journals, and studies surrounding gender and feminism in its library. It is also known for the Kalinga Day Care Center, a gender-fair and peaceful learning environment for children.

The center is located inside the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.

Metropolitan Community Church Worship Center

In the Philippines, LGBT members and religious groups do not really work well together. Good thing there is the Metropolitan Community Church, a group that fosters the spirituality of individuals belonging to this special community. The Metropolitan Community Church Worship Center in Palanan, Makati provides a haven where people can freely practice their faith regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

Musix Box Bar

This one is for those who enjoy a good old-fashioned karaoke. This free entrance bar along Timog Avenue in Quezon City welcomes LGBT members who either want to showcase their singing talents or just to casually enjoy the bar while listening to classic karaoke songs.


Main photo via Depositphotos