From helipads to home automation systems, the Philippine capital has seen it all
Manila, one of Southeast Asia’s grand old dames, walks the borderline when it comes to the finer things in life. A handful of firsts (first trolley system! ice cream parlours! movie theatres!) were documented in this part of Asia in the early 20th century, after all. But while the veracity of some of those precocious luxuries are up for debate, the Philippine capital today offers property seekers plenty of opportunities to scrape the stratosphere of extravagance.
Leading Philippine property portal ZipMatch.com has demystified the places where these balling amenities lie in wait:
Smart home features
The Internet of Things and the smart home revolution in general has wound its way to the Philippines, despite the notoriety of the country’s Internet speeds. Among the earliest adopters are The Stratford Residences by Picar Development and Alphaland Makati Place by Alphaland Corporation, both in Makati, the financial hub of Metro Manila. Stratford Residences feature value-added services powered by Cisco Systems, including child locators, virtual concierge, smart cards, and smart work center. Alphaland Makati Place, on the other hand, boasts a home automation system, plus fiber-to-the-home technology and IP phone systems.
Helipads may not be as de rigeur in Manila as in Hong Kong or New York City, but with the monstrous gridlocks in the former — once voted the world’s worst — helicopters have become matters of life and death. JTKC Land’s 68-storey Discovery Primea, situated along classy Ayala Avenue, vaunts a helipad for the 90 lucky owners of its pre-war-style apartments. Alternatively, Metro Pacific Investments’ 53-storey Pacific Plaza Towers in the Fort Bonifacio Global City (BGC) have great landing areas for frequent chopper fliers.
True cinephiles will not be bothered to troop to the shopping mall for their daily screening fix. Several condominium projects in Manila offer working cinema rooms, some of the outstanding ones being One Shangri-La Place by Shang Properties in Ortigas Center and The Beaufort by Filinvest Development Corporation in BGC. The Residences at Greenbelt by Ayala Land Premier also has a mini-theatre for consummate movie buffs.
For the burgeoning yuppies and yuccies spawned by Manila call centres, the “hilot” or Filipino massage has become a non-negotiable after a harried day at work. For high rollers among them, it is a one-way trip to the spa and home. The Raffles Residences Makati has an exclusive spa for weary residents of its 237 private units. Still for some others, it is straight from school and shopping to the spa, as in the case of Luna Gardens by Rockwell Land, located near the Ateneo Graduate School and Powerplant Mall. Discovery Primea also has masseurs at the beck and call of home owners.
Five-star concierge services
The Raffles Residences take up the top 20 floors in a Makati building that happens to have the Raffles Suites and Fairmont Hotel Makati below them. Unsurprisingly, the Raffles apartments come with a concierge, plus a wide array of hotel services including housekeeping, same-day laundry and pressing, and, of course, the requisite shoe shine. The Residences even offer 24-hour, in-room dining. The 60-storey Shangri-La at The Fort Residences, near the shopping strip known as Bonifacio High Street, also blurs the line between hotel-style laze and private luxury, offering 96 exclusive “Horizon Homes” alongside 576 hotel guestrooms and 97 hotel residences. The Avant at The Fort by Vista Land also has topnotch services for a residential project, with an eco-friendly twist.
Sky lounges and gardens
Sky gardens and lounges have become imperatives among sky-scraping residential real estate projects around the world. Manila does not exempt itself. Great rooftop amenities can be found in Filinvest’s Botanika Nature Residences, located in the upmarket neighbourhood of Alabang, with a central garden that serves as a lynchpin connecting all buildings, via al fresco landscaped lobbies. The Viridian at Greenhills by Ortigas & Company and One Eastwood Avenue by Megaworld also show property seekers the art of moving heaven closer to earth.
Infinity sky pools
Manila hotels and residential towers have taken the lessons of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands at heart and now have their own variations of the sky pool. The infinity-edge pool at the 73-storey Gramercy Residences by Century Properties is particularly spectacular, perched on one of the tallest buildings in the country. The pools at the 45-storey One Rockwell development by Rockwell Land in Makati and the 56-storey BSA Towers by the St. Francis Square Group of Companies, located at the back of SM Megamall, are also breathtaking.