A Walk in the South Park

If work load is just too much and people around are just becoming dementors, what calms you? Shopping? A Sneak at the movie house? Dining out with a good friend? Doing a teleserye marathon? Finding a corner to meditate? Drafting stories to write? Taking a visit at the nearby chapel? Or a walk in the park?

Park stroll at Molito AlabangIt is a Yes to most of these  possible escapes for me but drinking coffee while walking in the park is my favorite kind of de-stresser. It clears the mind, taking out unnecessary worries and rush; helps to see the bright side of dark scenarios.

Take a quick look at the four parks worth the walk around Alabang. They are near each other so you can drive from one place to the next and if you get hungry, various food choices are available too.

 

1. Molito – Quoting from my old blog post: “What draws us to come here regularly is the casual, calming ambiance. There is enough space for children to run around as they play with the colorful floor fountains and vacant seats for people to just lounge amidst the night breeze.”

..or just take that afternoon solo moment to relieve stress.

Molito Alabang

Location: Madrigal corner Commerce Avenues, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

2. West Gate – The now park was formerly a road/car parking at the center of  West Gate. It was a good idea to restructure the place so more people enjoys it with an open-air retail concept that challenges the confines of the mall setting, creating a main-street ambiance conducive to relaxation and recreation.

West Gate Alabang

Location: Entrance via Commerce Avenue, Filinvest Avenue, or Alabang-Zapote Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

3. Spectrum Center

This spot takes just a few stride from Filinvest Tent and Acacia Hotel with floor fountains and scattered round benches. It can be windy here in some afternoons, making the walk more relaxing.

Spectrum Center

Location: Commerce Ave corner Spectrum Midway, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

4. River Park, Festival Mall

Festival Mall continues to expand and this part of the development is very refreshing with the sound of gushing water, charming bridge, nice theater, and green scenery in a neat al fresco setting.

River Park, Festival Mall

Location:  Civic Drive, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

Images c/o the Parks’ Facebook pages.

Ramen House to Visit around Alabang (Part 2)

A bowl of hot ramen is always my anticipation and a meal desire over lunch or dinner (and yes even snacks). To our delight, more and more Japanese noodle chains are opening around Alabang. Feasting for a shoyu ramen overload, here comes the additional ramen indulgence Southies can explore at their liking:

Butamaru

Butamaru started a month-long ramen mission to Kyushu Island in Fukuoka, Japan and bringing their 40 years expertise in the Philippines. This is one of my favorites among my list today! Slurp the 16-hour tonkotsu broth inspired by the many variations of Hakata-style ramen; bite the chasyu (Japanese braised pork belly) in round, melt in your mouth slices.

There are just times that the taste of soup is not very consistent (too salty) so I hope they sort it out. But if prepared the right way, then ramen experience will make you go back here over and over.  Don’t forget to take a munch of Toriten, tempura style fried chicken, on the side.

butamaru-ramen-west-gate-writenowna-blog

Shoyu Ramen

Favorites: Shoyu Ramen, Tantanmen, Toriten

Address: CE405 Westgate Center, Commerce Avenue corner Filinvest Avenue

Branch: None

Hanamaruken Ramen

Get a bowl of of their Signature Happiness Ramen, a shoyu tonkotsu broth ramen topped with tender, slow-braised custom cut soft-bone rib. If the pork of other restos may feel not enough, then Hanamaruken’s portion is guarantee to fill the tummy at the fullest. It’s so huge you’ll get to think twice if you are burping for the delicious garlicky soup, the fine noodle, or the rib slab itself!

hanamaruken-ramen-alabang-town-center-writenowna-blog

Favorites: Signature Happiness Ramen, Prawn Tempura

Address: 2L New Wing, Alabang Town Center

Branches: Trinoma and the Grove by Rockwell

Asahikawa Bangaichi Ramen

This is the first international branch of the Tokyo Station Outlet that has been in Japan’s operation for 45 years. Soup for a shoyu-flavor is clear and simple, the noodle is just plain okay but I think the store is worth visiting for it still has that unique, no-frill ramen goodness. It kept a delicate distinction that I’m sure ramen-seekers would want to try. The location is very nice too as it sits beside the river with such refreshing view.

asahikawa-ramen-bangaichi-festival-mall-writenowna-blog

Shoyu Ramen

Favorites: Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen

Address: The River Park, Festival Supermall

Branch: none

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Born in Japan back in 1988 and serving in international cities as Taipei, Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, Indonesia, USA, Canada and the Philippines. It has reached 7 branches in the country including the newly opened last October 15 at Alabang Town Center. Despite the consistent expansion, I did not find anything special on their shoyu ramen, the soup is somewhat sweet, milky and creamy (not a usual criteria to address my craving) and there is nothing legendary with the quality of noodle. Maybe next time I will try the chicken ramen instead, a light chicken soup with a hint of fish(?).

hokkaido-ramen-santouka-alabang-town-center-writenowna-blog

Chicken Ramen

Favorites: Tori Karaage

Address: Ground Floor Alabang Town Center

Branches: Glorietta 4, MOA, Greenhils Old Promenade, Trinoma, Eastwood Libis, Ayala Serin Tagaytay

Photo Source: Image via FB page of each restaurant

Where to go, Molito or Evia?

Sometimes it happens on dinner time that no one feels like cooking, needs a bit of relaxing, and the little kid likes a little strolling. When this occurs, either we go to Molito Alabang or Evia Daang-Hari to cap the night with what we enjoy the most—eating, walking, and chatting while drinking coffee.

Molito is in Madrigal corner Commerce Avenue Alabang, Muntinlupa City. It has a lot of establishments from restaurants to banks, health & beauty, retail & services even grocery store (Puregold). But what draws us to come here regularly is the casual, calming ambiance. There is enough space for children to run around as they play with the colorful floor fountains and vacant seats for people to just lounge amidst the night breeze.

Molito

Molito

There are also plenty of dining selections in varying cuisines (Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Thai, American, Italian, Mexican). Some of our favorite spots are here too—Yushoken, Omakase, Chairman Wang, Recovery, Draft, Hermanos, Mr. Parks, Starbucks!

The Evia Lifestyle Center is located in the roads encompassing Daang-Hari and Daang Reyna, Las Piñas near the posh village of Portofino. This is another venue that just makes you want to linger over an afternoon siesta or a night out with a quick walk around the area while the kids stay at the mini play ground.

evia-daanghari-playground-writenowna

Evia Playground

Restaurants do not offer a wide array and exclusive line-up of cuisines yet but we always look forward to come here despite the ongoing mall construction. We usually visit Racks, McDonald’s, Coldstone, Shakeys, Serenitea, Coffee Bean, and Starbucks (with drive-thru). Rustan’s supermarket and some retails stores are already in operation. Evia offers such a vibrant set-up, high-end feel environment.

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Evia

The first phase of the development is called the Everyday Building but there are still more to anticipate according to Vista Land. People can also look forward to the Global Village Building; the Club; Serenity, where the cinema may be; Evia’s river development, a feature the developer claims to be definitely unique throughout the country.

So where is going to be your next stop? Why not both? A dinner at Molito and a dessert at Evia?

7 Hotels in Alabang

Summer staycation starts now! Here comes the fun of canvassing for hotels and this time focusing around Alabang for a possible third week of April weekend-stay. We usually go to Manila or Pasig but now it’s hard to resist the accommodation in Muntinlupa area—it’s near our place in BF Homes, offering cozy and even affordable rates. You won’t even run out of activities too because all these hotels are walking distance from the malls, food establishments, and parks or you may avail the free shuttle service for hotspots within the vicinity.

I summarized the five basic “must” to simplify the research, as follows:

  • Overnight stay for 2 adults and a kid
  • 1 Deluxe Room (Standard room)
  • Breakfast
  • Free Internet
  • Booking done directly from their website

Also included a quick personal comment for the hotels that we’ve stayed before although there is a need to freshen up some of the experience since visits have been done more than a year ago or we haven’t been there at all!

Rate: Php2,501.00* inclusive of taxes and fees (weekend promotion)

Overview: The B Hotel is a luxurious 4-star property conveniently located near the center of Muntinlupa; owned and managed by Bellevue.

b-hotel-alabang-writenowna

About the room: Approximately 28 square meters, equipped with energy-saving power-controlled switches; choice of either a king-sized bed or twin beds.

Nearby place: Molito, Madrigal Business Park and Alabang Town Center

Amenities : no swimming pool and no gym

Quick personal note: Room is nice but bed/pillow not so comfy, breakfast is better compare to other hotels but servers are not really attentive. Coffee is good!

Rate: Php3,700.00* vat and service charge

azumi-hotel-alabang-writenowna

About the room: Guests can enjoy simple modern living in this Japanese fusion-inspired room with comfortable Queen size bed and a customized Day bed.

Nearby place: Molito, Madrigal Business Park and Alabang Town Center

Amenities : swimming pool

azumi-hotel-alabang-swimming-pool

Quick personal note: The room feels and looks unique. It also has an enticing Infinity Lap Pool at the rooftop but just don’t let kids swim without a close adult supervision. Breakfast has limited selection. Coffee is just okay.

Rate: Php4,000.00* inclusive of taxes and fees (weekend promotion)

Overview: The Bellevue Manila gives businessmen and travelers a 5-star destination experience.

bellevue-hotel-alabang-writenowna

About the room: 33-square meter space with a choice of king or twin beds.

Nearby place: Festival Mall

Amenities : swimming pool and gym

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Quick personal note: We stayed at the Tower Wing (the new building) and the room is comfortably pretty. There is an individual swimming area per tower with similar pool size; each one is an exclusive use for the guests depending on which side they are staying. Check-out process is quite long and miserable but overall, we had a memorable stay. And yes, breakfast buffet is a thumbs-up but don’t rely on the extremely busy servers. Either way, they  serve a good quality mugs of coffee.

Rate: Php4,000.00* tax and service charge (special weekend offer)

Overview: The newest 5-star luxury hotel in South of Metro Manila

crimson-hotel-alabang-writenowna

About the room: 28 square meters room with customized beds and air-conditioning system that is equipped with an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) technology that allows improvement of in-room air quality by way of continuous circulation of fresh air. Choose from king or twin bed layout.

Nearby place: Festival Mall

Amenities: Swimming pool and gym

crimson-hotel-alabang-swimming-pool

Quick personal note: Children’s pool is huge and  a sure delight for kids. Breakfast service not very friendly and food on the trays are running empty without immediate refill. Coffee served not fresh.

Rate: Php4,900* vat and service charge

Parque_España_Residence_Hotel_-alabang-writenowna

About the room: 55sqm queen bed plus dining area and kitchen with complete dining/cooking facilities.

Nearby place: Commerce Center

Amenities: Swimming pool, fitness center, jacuzzi

Php5,388.00* inclusive of taxes and fees (summer promo)

Overview: The hotel boasts of cutting-edge design that offers a fresh new take on 5-star luxury hotels in the Philippines.

acacia-hotel-alabang-writenowna

About the room: Rooms are bask in a restful ambiance and peerless comfort that are elegantly designed to offer both luxury and convenience. Available via king or twin beds.

Nearby Place: Filinvest Tent, South Supermarket, and Commerce Center

Amenities: Swimming pool and gym

Quick personal note: We were here back in July 2012 with no swimming pool yet but the room itself was a good reason to stay; front desk office not yet very accommodating then so I hope they are better now.

Rate: Php7,000.00 taxes included

Overview: Vivere Hotel in Alabang is a towering 31-storey 5-star deluxe hotel.

Vivere-hotel-alabang-writenowna

About the room: The Deluxe Suite’s 35 sq. m studio type interior accommodates guests with amenities such as an intimate living area, functional kitchenette, bathroom, and a comfortable writing desk.

Nearby place: Festival Mall

Amenities: Swimming pool, gym, jacuzzi & sauna, and kiddie playroom

Quick personal note: One of the first hotels in Alabang that we’ve stayed long time ago, rooftop lama pool was cold and cozy but I don’t exactly recall the other details.

Wherever you plan to stay  from this list, I can surely guarantee an enjoyable and worthwhile Alabang vacation!

*Rates usually vary depending on the date of booking and date of stay.

Image Sources: Each room photo is c/o the Hotel website.