Kissed by the sun
CITY SENSE - CITY SENSE By Paulo Alcazaren () - September 30, 2006 - 12:00am
No matter how gloomy it gets in Manila, it is always good weather around Mount Makiling in Laguna. If it gets too hot in Manila, a refreshing shower always seems to appear every time I hit the end of the SLEX. When the metropolis is drenched in torrential rain, the slopes of this magical mountain seem to be basking in vitamin-enriched sunlight.

That is how it was a week ago when I paid a visit to the sprawling landscape of Ayala Greenfield Estates (AGE), the most exclusive residential enclave anywhere around the foothills of Mount Makiling. The stretch between Alabang – the edge of metropolitan Manila – has slowly filled out with suburban development. Countless subdivisions have enticed escapees from the city’s woes but few provide anything more than the standard gates and central amenities. Most of these developments fall flat of buyer’s expectations; mainly because of the flatness of terrain and their lack of panoramic views.

Not so with this 350-hectare development located within the historic town of Calamba. At 315 meters elevation, this place gives real meaning to high-end living. Ayala Land Premier (ALP), and its partner, the Greenfield Development Corporation of the Campos Group, pulled out all the stops in creating this view-rich, nature-filled residential retreat.

The planners of the development made sure that residents enjoyed the 360-degree vista covering Mt. Makiling, Laguna’s quaint towns, Laguna de Bay, Tagaytay Ridge and Manila’s skyline in the distance. The good thing, too, is that this property is not too distant from Manila (just 30 minutes from Alabang). With many leisure and residential destinations farther away in Batangas and Cavite, it’s always a surprise to find the Ayala Greenfield Estates gates just a short distance away from the SLEX exit – way before the Star tollway to Lipa.

You’ll know it is an Ayala Land development right from its entrance gate and picturesque drive designed by former Hong Kong based landscape architect Efren Aurelio. Noticeable, too, is the fact that there is room for expansion and room for the development’s four main phases. Phase one is all of 50 hectares on top with lots averaging about 700 sq.m. in area. The 16 hectares of Phase 2, a little below this, faces Laguna de Bay for drama and delight. Lots here average 560 square meters.

The next area is Phase 3, which hugs the central feature of the place – a world-class golf course designed by famed architect Robert Trent Jones II. Homes here are walking distance from the Ayala Greenfield Golf & Leisure Club. This phase has generous lots of about 400 to 500 sq.m. each. The fourth phase is called the Terraces – where literally the lots are terraced. Here too, residents can walk to the elegant Andy Locsin-designed Village Clubhouse. The Woodland Trails, the newest phase to open, is located right beside the 15-hectare Nature Park. The park is accessible to all these phases – it’s your own slice of rainforest paradise at your doorstep. The Nature Park features swards of trees groves, walking trails, a rustic lagoon, and a resort-class community clubhouse that melds seamlessly with the lush scenery.

Ayala Greenfield is the choice location of the Manila elite’s latifundia. People who have made it in the fields of business, commerce, law and other venerable professions make the choice to locate here as their country estate or retirement nest.

One of the elements that make this an easy choice is the central amenities and the gem of a golf course that manages to hug the site’s rolling terrain while providing golfing pleasure to a wide range of players, from scratch golfers to weekend Tiger wannabes.

Residence at Ayala Greenfield comes with an automatic share in the Ayala Greenfield Estates Golf and Leisure Club with a minimum activation fee. The course is an 18-hole, par 72, all-weather, championship golf course. I was given a quick tour of the course and the surrounding landscape by the club’s golf director, former national player Juan Miguel Rocha. Juamy, who shares a similar nickname with my own son, proudly coursed me through the front and back nines, constantly pointing out the course’s many features.

The course’s high level of maintenance is evidenced by the quality of its greens and the fast maturing trees and shrubs, despite this being a relatively young course. Trent Jones took advantage of the topography and surrounding mountain and lake views to create interest beyond the fairways and greens. Intermediary groves of trees and vegetated ravines provide additional interest to this course that rewards those who learn to read its character as it relates to the mountain and its skirt of green.

The course has been a favorite of top-end companies like BPI for its corporate competitions. Several expat groups have also played here like the Scandinavian Golf Club and the German Club, whose members raved about the course and promised to come back. Many found the course challenging but friendly to play. Of course, a post round pampering at the clubhouse – and eventually at the development’s spa and wellness center – is an added treat.

Ayala Greenfield Estates is a treat for those at the peak of their game and at the peak of their personal and professional lives. The location, security, exclusivity and seal of Ayala Land quality and enduring, if not assured, increase in value as a trophy address make Greenfield a preferred blue-chip choice. It is blessed with views, enriched by nature and kissed eternally by a sun that always seems to shine on this large patch of green.
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E-mail is welcome. Please e-mail the writer at paulo.alcazaren@gmail.com.

For inquiries about Ayala Greenfield Estates, call 728-7000, log on to www.ayalagreenfieldestates.com or email ask@ayalalandpremier.com.

ALABANG ANDY LOCSIN AYALA AYALA GREENFIELD AYALA GREENFIELD ESTATES AYALA LAND COURSE GREENFIELD MOUNT MAKILING NATURE PARK
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