Valentine’s 2017: Fun and Unique Things to do Around Manila


“Valentine’s day is an opportunity for couples their love for each other. But the showcase of love should not start and stop at that day, but rather should continue for the rest of the time they are together” Author Unknown

It is that time of the year again where for a full week (or at least on Valentine’s Day), you are seemingly surrounded by couples regardless of wherever you might be. Shopping malls would rejoice for they will be raking in extra revenue during the loved up week; couples would bask in the warmth of a day that was specially dedicated to their love and those not in relationships are constantly reminded of how glaringly single they are. Fortunately, the day of hearts is not only reserved to those in committed relationships; but it is also a day everyone can enjoy.

If you are part of a couple who is tired of the usual activities (Let’s face it, most restaurants are fully booked and the standard chocolates and flowers seem cliché) or someone just looking to have a little fun with your friends, here are quirky and unique things you should try around Manila this Valentine’s week:

1.) Have your fortunes read in Quiapo

Whether by pure curiosity or keen interest, there is a certain allure in knowing what the stars and the future hold for you. You might be skeptical as to their accuracy and veracity, but whether you believe them or not, listening to fortune tellers of Quiapo is an offbeat way to spend Valentine’s Day—and they are worth listening to! Select a medium (palm or tarot) and listen to what the future holds for you. If you have a date with you, you can even get a reading on your future as a couple. A quick caveat, though: Not every prediction you hear would be positive. But hey, you do not necessarily have to believe in all of them.

2.) Bird watching in Nuvali

Bird watching in the Philippines is already steadily becoming a thing, and though it may seem like a dull idea for a date, there are a lot of benefits attached to it. Apart from the obvious calm and tranquility you get from just observing avian life, bird watching teaches you mental alertness as well as patience—two desirable characteristics your date could pick up. Also known as nature’s yoga, birding also allows you to appreciate the beauty of nature. If you and your date are nature lovers, this activity is definitely for you. Single individuals would also love this opportunity for relaxation without the usual crowd of couples around them.

3.) Explore abandoned heritage buildings

On an ordinary day, you would have probably scoped out any Manila shopping mall and looked for things to do. If you have lived in Manila all your life, there is a good chance you have already been to most of the malls in Manila. With this in mind, it would be a good idea to venture into something a little less usual—particularly if you are on a date. Inject a bit of fear factor and a dose of culture and history and take your date on a tour of the city’s abandoned heritage buildings. There is no shortage of these buildings around Manila; the Metropolitan Theater and PNR Paco Station are a couple of them just to name a few. If you or your date are avid “Instagrammers,” you are guaranteed to have great raw material for your feed—no filter needed!

4.) Explore Intramuros on a Segway

Intramuros is a well-known dating place for lovers, and over the years, it might have become a little cliché. Well, to add a bit of spice to your usual tour, why not explore the place on a Segway? It is definitely an offbeat way to navigate your way around the historic district. Apart from the that, there are a lot of activities and games you can think of while you are on your segway—making your date extra fun and extra memorable.


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Dating 101: Five Fatal Movie Date Mistakes To Avoid


“If you treat the first date as an interview, it will feel like one. Just be yourself and let your personality shine.” -Author Unknown

We have all known that dinner coupled with a movie date is a tried and tested formula and with Valentine’s Day coming up, couples will certainly be queuing up to buy tickets to see any blockbuster movie. So, what makes a movie date tick? Why is it the activity of choice for couples who are still getting to know each other? Apart from the obvious fact that there would be less talking in a movie theater (thus significantly decreasing the likelihood of saying the wrong things), it would also be exceptionally difficult to fumble a movie date. After all, you and your date would only have to sit back, relax and watch the show. The movie would also leverage what you and your date can talk about over dinner.

However, this does not mean that every movie date is a guaranteed success. So, before you consider having your Valentine’s Day date in any Solenad cinema or movie theater, take a gander at the fatal mistakes you should avoid:

1.) Arriving late

Regardless of whether this is your first date or not, arriving late is not only rude, but it would also mean you would miss the first few minutes of your show. Unlike a restaurant which may hold your reservation for fifteen minutes or so, the movies must go on with or without you. You cannot rely on previews and ads to serve as your buffer, so it helps to arrive early. To make sure you do not miss the movie’s introduction, set a time up for you and your date to meet an hour earlier than the movie is scheduled to start.

2.) Arguing about which movie to see

While the inviter usually dictates which movie to see, it would be great if you also took your date’s preference into consideration. You may be all psyched up to see a particular action movie, but your date is more inclined to watch a romantic comedy. In situations like these, it would be best to compromise and remember to be flexible. If you chose the movie the last time, it might be a good idea to let your date pick the film this time.

3.) Playing with handheld devices

Let’s face it, you are not going to like every movie you would see, but it would be the height of disrespect to show absolute disinterest in the film to your date. In the previews, you are always reminded to keep your phones on silent or off during the movie and for a good reason. It would not only be rude to your date but the people surrounding you as well. If you happen to be on call or asked a babysitter to call you should there be an emergency, give your date a heads up regarding this before hand.

4.) Talking during the movie

While you cannot stay absolutely silent for the entire duration of the movie, you cannot also have a full-blown conversation with your date. Keep your voices to a bare minimum and as much as possible, save any talking for later. You would not want other patrons to throw you looks of annoyance which might escalate to having the movie attendant usher you outside—an embarrassing feat to occur on a first or any date at all. If you and your date want more time to talk, do it in the vicinity of a coffee shop or restaurant.

5.) Never doing anything else

Catching a movie is an excellent idea for dates, but when it is all you would ever do at dates, it can easily get tedious. Inject a little more spontaneity into your dates, and look for something that provides more opportunity for you and your date to have a decent conversation. Remember, movies are great, but if it is all you and your date would ever do, either of you might be using the movie to serve as a buffer to avoid having a real conversation.

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Water Surfing and Wakeboarding Safety Tips



“To stay the course, sometimes you have to make waves.” -Author Unknown

Undoubtedly, water sports in the Philippines has become rather popular that more and more individuals are engaging in this type of sports. In fact, water surfing and wakeboarding in the Philippines has become popular over the years. True enough, with the high adrenaline and endless fun provided by both activities, it is easy to see why thrill seekers and water sports enthusiasts would flock to it.

However, it can be easily dangerous as well if safety precautions and practices are not strictly adhered to. Before you plan a fun frolic on the beach, here are some safety tips to make sure your water excursion stays safe and fun for everyone.

1.) Check the weather

Before heading out to the beach, it is always ideal to check for the weather conditions and if it would be a good day to spend swimming. Similarly, you should do the same if you plan on surfing or wakeboarding. No matter how excited or how prepared you are, you should not risk the boarding through an inclement weather and neither should you when it is extremely windy out as the water can become choppy. Generally, rain can impact visibility, so it is best to save your date with the ocean for another day.

2.) Wear Life Jackets

No matter how skilled you are at swimming or how confident you are in the water, a life jacket makes the difference between drowning and staying alive whenever you are wakeboarding or water skiing. You will never be able to predict what could happen in the water and your only hope is to prevent it by wearing an appropriate preventive suit. Riptides can happen, you could crash which would leave you unconscious and several others which are all dangerous enough without the risk of you drowning.

3.) Avoid crowded areas

Apart from keeping yourself safe in the water, it is also important to keep those around you from harm. This should go without saying, but it is best to surf or wakeboard where there are no other people and when there are no other vessels in the immediate vicinity. Should there not be enough room for passing, then it is understandable that water surfing and wakeboarding should be stopped and postponed for another day.

4.) Have two persons with you in a boat

If you would like to surf or wakeboard in deeper waters, it is best if you have at least two people in the boat with you rather than just the driver. The driver would not be able to keep his eyes on you as he would most likely focus his attention out in the ocean. Having another person with you who can watch you as you waterski is ideal as they can readily report to the driver to stop should anything go awry.

5.) Know the layout

Prior to your water excursion, it is best if everyone involved would have a thorough knowledge about the water environment. This would include you, the driver, your designated watcher and everyone else involved. This is not limited to knowing the size of the body of water but also knowing where the boundaries are situated, the location of any hazards such as pilings, stumps, and buoys. All of these is essential in avoiding any potential harm that may come unto you during the course of your activity.

Water surfing, skiing, and wakeboarding are just some of the great activities you can enjoy on the water. However, just like any sports related activities, there are certain dangers involved, so it is always best to keep yourself safe as a prior knowledge to some of the safety tips can be the difference between drowning and survival.


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Ayala Land’s Nuvali Hosts the Mountain Bike World Championship Qualifier in Asia

Nuvali celebrates 8 years of congregating cyclists of varying skill levels from different provinces and countries at Dirt Weekend Bike Festival. This year, it will host Asia’s qualifying leg for the 2017 Cross Country Marathon World Championship on November 11 to 12. Since its started in 2009, it has been growing into an annual platform for cyclists to showcase their skills and continuously elevate their performance and become globally competitive. The qualifying race is open to all from ages 19 years old and above. Nuvali will also hold the annual Cross Country Fun Race, which runs for 35 kilometers around the estate.

dirt weekend 2016“Nuvali is known as a popular destination for mountain bikers with its natural trails and dedicated lanes that encourage biking as a sport and a mode of transportation. We would like to take this a step further and serve as venue for world-class competitions in order to recognize local talents as well as give our athletes a chance to compete globally,” said John Estacio, Nuvali General Manager.

This year, Nuvali once again partnered with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the international governing body on sports cycling events. The world championship qualifying race is part of the UCI World Marathon Series which will allow the top 40 riders to score points for their UCI Mountain Bike (MTB) Marathon Series ranking. International participants include riders from Japan and Portugal.

The Dirt Weekend Cross Country Fun Race will feature age categories from 15-19 years old to 50 years old and above for the Masters Category. There will also be a special category for “fat bikes,” equipped with oversized tires.

“Mountain biking and the balanced lifestyle we promote here in Nuvali naturally go together, boosting the prestige of Dirt Weekend as a competitive cycling event through the years,” said Estacio.

“We are excited to be back here in Nuvali for Dirt Weekend. This year, we take the competition up a notch with new and longer routes at 90Km from 70Km last year, designed to challenge the local and international cycling community with a noteworthy qualifying race.” said Geoff Kronenburg, UCI Technical Delegate.

Last day of regular registration to Dirt Weekend is on October 25. To register online and for more details about Dirt Weekend 2016, interested parties can go to or for mobile devices.

Nuvali is Ayala Land’s sustainable estate that sits in the cities of Sta. Rosa, Calamba and Cabuyao in Laguna. It features a diverse mix of quality residential and commercial developments to support local economic growth.
To get to Nuvali, private vehicles can pass through Mamplasan, Sta. Rosa, Eton-Greenfield, Silangan, or Canlubang exit along South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Public transportation to Nuvali is available from major jump-offs such as Makati, Bonifacio Global City, and Balibago.


Tree Care 101: Pruning Young Trees


“Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.” –B.K.S. Jyengar

There has never been a time more crucial and more urgent than today in planting more trees. Trees are not only an excellent source of shade and add to the aesthetic appeal of our years, but they also provide humans with oxygen. However, recently due to the mass industrialization of many local cities, we have seen and observed our mountains lose their tall majestic trees and have less verdant foliage. Instead, they have been replaced with economic infrastructures. Our balding mountains and the reality of global warming effects are reasons enough for us to plant more trees. Locally, if you want to do your part in helping out the community and raise awareness, there are a lot of activities involving tree planting in the Philippines.

But you should not let your endeavors stop only at tree planting. All of your efforts will be for naught if your planted tree is not given adequate care as it would only perish and die. So, if you are committed to caring for your trees start by taking a gander at this article about pruning. Though pruning might seem like a painstakingly meticulous job to do, it is actually essential in developing young trees with strong structures and desirable forms. Here are several methods you can do:

What you need: Pruning Shears and Pruning Saw

Approximate time: Five minutes (Depending on age)

1.) Commence your task by having the necessary tools for pruning such as your pruning shears or a pruning saw to be used for larger limbs. These two tools will assist you all the way and make pruning much easier and convenient.

2.) Pruning should start by removing structurally weak and dead limbs first. Cut off those limbs that appear dead or those with distressed leaves. This is a must for your tree to stay healthy.

3.) Outside the branch collar and approximately near but not completely flush to the trunk, create pruning cut. This is a great pruning technique provides a feasible growing branch bark. In turn, this will improve wound closure.

4.) Fork codominant trunks should be pruned to one dominant trunk. In essence, this reduces multiple problems which would include but is not limited to poor form, excessive pruning, and tree health problems.

5.) Functional limbs should be left alone on planted trees. Pruning for form should commence only in the second or third year of a tree’s life.

6.) Permanent branches should be pruned only up to a desirable first branch height which is approximately eight feet at maturity. If the trees you are pruning are ones located in your yard, consider that urban and yard trees would require raised base for access and yard work

7.) When pruning branches, leave space of at least twelve to eighteen inches apart—especially after several years of a maturing tree. Wait for a period of time wherein the growth of the tree becomes more rapid and do not hastily proceed to prune during the first few years.

8.) Tree biology is an important aspect to consider when pruning. To illustrate: Should permanent branches be shortened, it must be pruned back to a lateral branch or bud where immediate growth response can be stimulated and initiated. This would effectively limit dead wood (a contributor to the possibility of tree disease).

9.) Disregard sealing a wound with a dressing after pruning as it has been found to be ineffective during the healing process. Instead, do not seal pruning cuts with wound dressing unless you are doing so for cosmetic or aesthetic purposes.
If you want your planted trees to flourish, grow strong and healthy then mitigate the possibility of various tree diseases by appropriately pruning them. The goal in training these young trees is to establish a stronger trunk with sturdy and well-spaced branches which would produce healthier trees.


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Biking 101: Ten Ways to Stay Safe While Biking


“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” –John Howard

Getting yourself on a bicycle and pedaling away is an excellent way to stay active, fit and healthy. Apart from that, it is also one of the spectacular ways you can keep fit while transporting yourself from one place to another. In fact, recently biking in the Philippines has seen a surge in popularity and for good reason: with the roads perpetually teeming with cars, biking seems to be the only sensible way to traverse and maneuver one’s self through traffic.

However, riding even the most reliable and trustworthy bikes does not preclude you from exposing yourself to risks towards your health and safety. While negotiating your way through traffic even in the most casual neighborhoods, you are exposed to a lot of aspects and factors that could make what would otherwise be a fun and active venture into a safety risk. Travelling in a bike leaves you very exposed and if you are traveling at relatively high speeds, the chances for the risks happening becomes higher. With no metal frame to blunt whatever hits you, it would leave you with practically nothing to serve as a buffer for anything untoward that may happen—making you take the full brunt of the force. This is why it is imperative to be aware of some of the most basic safety biking tips—as forewarned is forearmed.

1.) Wear a helmet. This needs no elaboration but some of even the most seasoned cyclists would neglect this vital safety tip. Cycling without a helmet can greatly diminish your chances of survival if you are unfortunate to get hit and will always guarantee you better odds than going bare-headed. Remember, you are never quite in full gear if you are not in a helmet.

2.) Be seen. As much as possible, dress in a garb that would keep most of your body covered as well as noticeable. Go neon or fluorescent and disregard fashion edicts for a moment. Wearing reflective clothing or bright colors will help you get noticed as you cycle through busy roads, so make sure you are easily seen.

3.) Protect yourself from the sun. Sunburns are no fun and if you are on the road for a prolonged amount of time, your chances of getting them are higher. Wear sunscreen at the back of your neck and any exposed areas. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses.

4.) Be alert. As fun as listening to music while cycling around sounds, you need to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Your focus should not be diverted elsewhere and you need to hear everything as you possibly can at all times.

5.) Know the weather forecast. This will enable you to gear up appropriately. If there is going to be a rain then you would need to use waterproof gear. This would also help you decide if the weather condition would be good enough for you to take your bike out.

6.) Install rearview mirrors. Rearview mirrors give you the convenience of looking over your shoulder without swerving so much. It would also help you see what is behind you at all times which is incredibly vital when you are traversing busy roads.

7.) Always carry a cell phone or an ID. Should you need a ride for whenever your bicycle is busted, your cellular phone can be of use. If anything unfortunate happens to you, your identification card will help identify you.

8.) Bring drinking water at all times. Cycling under the heat of the sun can potentially dehydrate you which is why you need to come equipped with a bottle of water at all times. This would also aid you for longer rides regardless of whether they are during the day or night.

9.) Ride with traffic, never against it. Should you ride against traffic, it would be practically impossible for you to make a right turn and you are twice as likely to get into an accident should you ride on the left side of the road. This is because drivers who are entering the road from the driveway rarely look right for oncoming traffic. Keep yourself safe and ride with traffic.

10.) Always be ready to yield. Last but definitely not the least, always be ready to yield. Though drivers should learn to share the road, know that you cannot make them. And forcing them to do so would be precarious seeing as you are on a bike. Go slowly enough so that you can stop or give the right of way at a moment’s notice.

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