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There may be more than one community group for residents in the Fort, but the ones that is quite active is E.Q.U.I.P@BGC, a group started in 2014 by several families with young kids. They had the need to arrange play activities for their children, so they met regularly and invited other parents to join. Lately, the group, which primarily communicated via the social messenger platform Viber, expanded to include everyone who lives in BGC, not just those with yound kids.

2018 Year End Party


A year-end gathering was held on December 27, 2018 at the spacious and beautiful Coffee Project cafe at Vista Hub, BGC. Families attended to say 'hi' to each other, as well as meet the principal founders of EQUIP@BGC, Pauline Tan, who now lives in two countries during the year, and Sue Pasustento. Organizers Jac and Sandra prepared an ice-breaker game for participants, as some met for the first time only.


Coffee Treat by Malongo

Members of our community were invited through our friend in Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation to a coffee tasting event at the newly opened Malongo Cafe located at the ground floor of One Bonifacio High Street. We learned about the different ways of making coffee, as well as observed onsite coffee bean roasting that was done by Malongo's hi-tech coffee roaster.

We got to try some cold brewed coffee and some snacks. To top it all, a brand new capsule coffee maker and a few other goodies were raffled off to our lucky residents. 

Since its formation in 2014, EQUIP@BGC has grown from strength to strength, providing a platform for residents of BGC to gather together to share resources or just enjoy neighborly friendship.  With the participation and support of FBDC, it also fosters better understanding and communication between residents and the management of BGC, which is Bonifacio Estate Services Corporation (through FBDC).

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Last week, a group of neighbors in the Fort got together to celebrate mid Autumn festival.

According to Ms Audrey Ann Lee, a resident of the Fort and an associate at Zhu Kitchen at 5th Avenue, the event, one of many that she has organized and is called  the Meet & Greet lunches/dinners, was an idea by Pauline Tan of E.Q.U.I.P.@BGC, a community organization, and Chef Karl of Zhu Kitchen, to bring the community together, and "have a venue to personally meet and greet each other beyond the virtual community that we have."

"Chef Karl plans out the menu, proposes it to the organizing group and I plan out activities for the group. So we dont just sit and eat, but really have an activity to break the ice.

Initially we just opened it for adults. So moms and dads can have their me time. But for game nights, similar to the Mooncake Dice Game we would love to have the kids as well."


Dice game was played and good food was served

Ms Ann Lee had an anecdote for the dinner to share. "Funny story is, Chef Karl and I wanted deviate from the traditional dice game wherein you get to win hopia or mooncakes from the smallest to largest size (about 12 inches mooncake in diameter). So we made sure every one has a mooncake to take home and hopefully a loot from the game too.

But in 2 days of trying to find a set of 6 dice, almost all bookstores, toy stores and department stores in BGC just ran out of stock of the dice.

Luckily Puzzles, the restaurant the offers food and board games, had a box of dice from probably all the games they have.

I was asking if they sold any, but they don't.

Kevin, one of the guys from the resto, was very kind that he gave me a set of 6 dice.

I was offering to pay for it, but they wont accept my money and they said I could have it :-)

Basically that experience showed me what community should be all about - support and friendship among others." This is so true. When we open our doors to neighbors, a lot of nice things can happen.

From the photos, I saw that many dishes was served. I asked about the favorite dish.

For Ann, she said "Probably, the group's favorite would be the Taho. Hahaha. If I may speak for the group."


Food. Taho in a bucket was really popular, and I was told that the whole bucket was finished in no time.

It was a small gathering.  I was unable to attend due to other commitments, but those who participated said that they had a really good time, and the photos can vouch for that!

The participants were really serious in playing the dice game.

Marianna, one of the Fort residents who attended the event, said that while she enjoyed the taho, her favorite dish for the evening was a fish dish. 

She shared her experience of the event and told me that she and her husband were introduced to the dice game a little over 10 years ago. "We try to play every year because the kids enjoy it so much, the 14-year old is very proud of the loot he wins and shares it with us.

This year he really enjoyed himself again even after all these years of having played it!"

Ms Lee will host this community event in the future.  Watch out for the event poster in www.TheFortCity.com.


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A lot of people run or jog for exercise, but I bet few people in that group are willing to take a few flights of stairs to go up to their office or home. Even when the lifts are busy, people prefer to wait a long time to take the lift to go up a few floors. Why is that?

I kid you not, there are actually two phobias named after the fear of climbing stairs: climacophobia (fear of climbing) and Bathmophobia (fear of the sight of stairs or slopes). But the most common reason for not climbing stairs is probably the exertion that one imagines is required to climb stairs.

But there are so many benefits of climbing stairs: It is good for your heart, it can be done on rainy days, it is free, and it burns a lot of calories!

Photo: At the start of the vertical run. Each wave of start had about a dozen runners. I waited behind an earlier wave for my start.

When I first started stair walking, I did 10 floors, with a break at every two floors. I practised once every week, and it took me a couple of months to get use to doing twenty floors in one go. Two days before the third Vertical Run at Shangri-La at the Fort that was held on July 8, 2018, I practised walking up forty floors.

Since I participated in the first Vertical Run Manila in 2016, I knew what to expect, therefore I was quite relaxed while waiting for the start. 

The stairwell was well lit and clean. There were staff making cheering sound at some floors, and water was served at some floors.

My wave was scheduled to start at 10.21am. There were about a dozen of us in that wave, mostly men. 

My plan was to walk up to the top. Running would be too much for me, and I knew would have been exhausted long before I reach the top. I did not give myself any pressure other than aim to reach the top.

At the lobby, we started on time. Because it rained last night the stairwell was not too hot or humid. There was ventilation and the machine was noisy. It took me about 4 flights to get used to the sound, temperature and humidity.

I let everyone in my wave pass me, so that I could take some photos. When I reached 15th floor, I was passed by the first runner of the next wave, 10.24am. On  27th floor I was passed by a runner from 10.27am. On 59th floor by a runner from the 10.30am start. On the whole, about a dozen or two people from the later waves passed me.

I also passed a couple of 10.21am runners on the way up. 


At the finish. 

At 60th floor, the finishing floor, they announced my name and time, like they do for all runners. My time was 20 min 13 seconds, about two minutes slower than last year, but I was ok with that.  I got my finisher medal. It was very sunny and hot on the roof deck at 60th floor, so I did not stay long. The wait for the single lift going down actually felt as long as the walk going up!

View from 60th floor of Shangri-La at the Fort. You get this view either by owning a unit on the top floors of Shangri-La at the Fort, or join the annual vertical run.

When I reached the assembly area on 5th floor, the gym of Kerry Sports Manila, I had a chat with the team that flew in from Hong Kong to manage this event. I was told that the oldest participant of this run was 69 years old. The oldest runner that they had met was a 75 years old man in a Hong Kong vertical run, who finished the full challenge. This gives me hope that I can still be fit enough to do this  twenty years from now!

Finishers celebrate at the assembly area of the event, at the gym of Kerry Sports Manila, 5/F Shangri-La at the Fort.

The annual Vertical Run at Shangri-La at the Fort is a unique fun run. It may not be the most value-for-money fun run around, nor does it have much party atmosphere (which I do not miss), but it gives you an additional good reason for practising stair walking!


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Every month, a community event called BGC Yard Sale is held on a weekend at De Jesus Oval park. This event is facililated by the management of Bonifacio Global City for residents and people working in Bonifacio Global City to sell their used items. It started in mid 2016, two months after the first ever community yard sale organized in Fort Bonifacio by TheFortCity.com was held on April 23 and 24, 2016, at Megaworld Showroom, Forbestown Center. (Does any one remember that one? here is the article)

Because the event is facilitated by the management of BGC, who regards supporting the event as a community service, no rent is charged. This allows sellers to sell their items at a very low price. On the other hand, sellers have to abide by rules set by the authorities, e.g. they are not supposed to sell new items and must be residents or people working in BGC (see the full set of rules here).

Experience of a seller

I joined the BGC Yard Sale a couple of times. The first time was most memorable. It involved quite a bit of preparation. After putting all the items that I intended to sell in one place, I had to decide on the prices to sell them at, or at least to present to potential customers. Then I had to figure out how to bring the items to the venue.

I had a lot of items to sell at that time, so it was quite a physical exercise to bring the items to our booth. Oh, did I forget to mention that we had to get up pretty early to ensure that we had a chance to choose a good spot, since booth location was and is determined on a first-come-first-serve basis?

Talking about finding the right spot to set up our booth, I recall that at one of the yard sale that took place on a Sunday, a seller that we knew, had to move her booth three (or was it four) times, so that the booth could hide from the scorching sun! 

Used clothing is the most popular goods on offer at the yard sale.

There were a lot of potential buyers early in the morning. They were mostly security guards of neighboring buildings, or helpers. Expect a lot of haggling, so if you enjoy the bantering, you will have some fun in taking part in the yard sale, whether sales is good or not.




Treasure hunting in the yard sale

Last Saturday, I went to the yard sale to see if there was anything that would catch my fancy. Although I am not a big shopper, I have bought toys and books there before. And it is sometimes just interesting to see what old items people want to get rid of now. 


Some gadgets can be found at one of the stalls.

As usual, there were clothes, a lot of clothes. One booth had many ladies dresses that looked well maintained and made of good fabrics. I chatted with the seller, who was a young lady called Pia. According to Pia, she lived in BGC with her sisters, and they just had too many clothes in the condo unit that they needed to get rid of, before they could fit more in, of course!

Another stall sold vinyl records, something that reminded me of my childhood. I browsed the hundreds of vinyls, just to see if I could find artists that I could recognize. Unfortunately, I do not own a turntable, so even though I was tempted to recreate the lost memories with some of the vinyls, I couldn't. According to the lady who was selling the vinyls, her brother used to be a D.J., so many of the vinyls were used in his work. Used items are often interesting not because of what they are, but in whose hands that they passed through.


Miss Angel, coordinator of BGC Yard Sale, is always helpful to sellers in answering their questions and coordinating the renting of tents and tables

There were a lot of stalls that sold clothing. A couple of stalls sold used toys. Only one sold gadgets. A young man named Nate stood behind a table that was stacked with a range of electronic gadgets, from earphones, power banks, speakers to micro-drones. I was attracted to an almond shaped speaker that played music with a crystal clear sound. According to Nate, it was a Taiwan made speaker, presumably meaning that it was a high quality product. 

Another customer was interested in the micro-drone that he was selling. Nate played a short video made with the drone, and it was impressive. Since I showed interest in his video, he went on to show me another video he made - a video of BGC! It was a well made video that looked like one of those made by a tourism promoting authority. Now I know if I need a video made, whom I could call!


More than a yard sale

BGC Yard Sale is a place for residents to recycle their used items into cash. It is a place where would-be entrepreneurs test out their ideas or practise their marketing skills. It is a place where you can meet neighbors and make friends with them. 

If the organizers will allow, or encourage, residents to add other activities to the venue during a yard sale, like holding a community picnic in the center space of De Jesus Oval, BGC yard sale can easily become a festive community event that attracts not only helpers and guards, but all segments of the Fort community.

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Fort Bonifacio has the highest concentration of international schools than any other place in the Philippines. However, most of the time these establishments are closed to outsiders. Therefore, the international festival held annually at British School Manila is a rare chance for members of the public to go inside this exclusive school. Money raised from the event is to benefit charitable activities of the school.

This year, the event was held on 23 February. The event has three major components: a parade, international food stalls, and student performances. 

The parade started at around 5pm. Parents and children put on their best national costumes and walked around the ground to greet everyone. There were so many different countries that we lost count. Dance troops from the Philippines provided the drum beats and dancing to keep the festivity alive.

Highlight of the event was the food offering. There were 17 food stalls showcasing cuisines from all around the world. It was clear that parents of the school kids put in tons of hard work to prepare the food, and donated their valuable time to serve it. 

There were Peking duck from China (of course), beef sandwiches from Canada, samosa from India and Pakistan, food from Japan, Korea,  Thailand, and a lot from the big tent from the Philippines. We liked a lot the snacks from Ireland, which included some smoked salmon and Irish stew, and we particularily liked their free flow of Irish cream!

The most popular dessert was a rolled ice-cream located at the Chinese tent. It was not a Chinese food, but the novelty was attractive enough that people waited in line to get a taste. 

Beer and soft drinks were sold on site, but even adding in the cost of the drinks, the quality of the food and the unique ambience of the event made this festival the best-value buffet in Fort Bonifacio!


**Sorry you cannot see the video of this event any more since British School Manila does not allow any video taken within its premises.**

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[Updated on October 19, 2018]

BGC Yard Sales are organized by Bonifacio Estate Services Corporation (BESC) for residents and people working in Bonifacio Global City.  This webpage is based on information provided by BESC, but it is not an official page. Please use contact information provided here to seek further clarification from BESC.

The BGC Yard Sale is usually held monthly at De Jesus Oval, a garden located near Pacific Plaza Tower at 25th Street. Currently, it is held on the third Saturday of each month. Notice of the date of the next BGC Yard Sale is usually announced only about 2 weeks before the event.


The event is a community service by BESC to promote community building and recycling of pre-loved items, therefore no fees are charged. But there are rules to follow.

Under the new guidelines, if participants need to rent tent, tables and chairs, they have to bring these by themselves. The organizer, BESC, does not want to deal with the rental arrangements any more. 

Also, there will no longer be a requirement for a bond.

The organizer will issue a community permit to approved applicants, and the permit will serve as a pass to set up the booth.


In addition, participants have to provide proof that they are residents of BGC, or working in BGC.

Furthermore, from September 2018, sellers will be asked by BESC to sign a quit-claim form and return it to Marc on or before the day of the yard sale. A sample is shown here:


The person in charge in BESC is Marc. He is assisted by Michelle, who can be contacted via email at purchasingassistant@besc.com.ph.  You are welcomed to use your own tent, tables or chairs though, and you do not have to pay anything.

Sellers' Group

If you need to rent tent or chairs, the other sellers often arrange as a group to rent them from someone within the group. The group communicates via a Viber group, and you can ask to join the Viber group by emailing Marc or Michelle, or if you know anyone who is already in the Viber group.

Parking

Parking at the venue is not allowed, so you need to unload your items for the event and then park your vehicle else where. The nearest public parking lots are: Fort Victoria condominium, and Crescent South at 3rd Avenue. See parking map here.


Procedure:

Step 1. Register online

Residents and people working in BGC can register to join the yard sale by registering a link to be provided by the organizer about two weeks before the event.


Step 2. Pick up your community permit

Pick up your community permit on the day of the event from Ms Angel, who will be at the venue at 7 a.m. (The old rule was that the permit had to be picked up 3 days before the yard sale from BESC Office, 2nd floor, Bonifacio Technology Center Bldg, 31st Street). 


Step 3. Arrive at the venue early on the day of the yard sale.

Report to the BESC counter to pick up your community permit, as well as pay for your tents and chairs if you have previously reserved them.


This post is a community service by www.TheFortCity.com. We are not the organizer of the event. Questions should be sent to Ms Angel for official reply. Feel free to share your experience of the yard sale here. To help drive traffic to the yard sale, you can post your items in our bulletin board so that people can get excited about items to be sold at the yard sale. 


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Last weekend, we were invited to BGC's kick off for Summer on the Street. It was a fun afternoon filled with great food and even greater company. We were treated with a refreshing tropical drink at the start of the event. 


New summer drinks from Jamba Juice


I met some bloggers and like-minded writers. We talked about the food trucks and all the other food available that weekend. We were given coupons to try out some of the food, and if we wanted to specifically try something that they didn't initially provide, we were told to just ask and they would get it for us! Now that's convenient! A new found friend, Elle, tagged along to gather all the food we could carry. We decided to try Schmidt's hotdog first since it was one of the first coupons we got and it looked pretty interesting. When we got there, a line was already building up, so we waited for our turn and got to try their creation. I got 'The Julius' because you can never go wrong with bacon, can you? It was divine! I loved it. It was really filling though so after Elle and I devoured our hotdogs, we decided to just collect all the remaining food and try it once we're not so full anymore. 


Schmidt's Gourmet Hotdog's The Julius


While waiting for most of the food we ordered, we decided to get some refreshing cocktails since it was happy hour. We went to Rocket Room's booth and I got a Sakura Smile which tasted so much like a lychee cocktail while Elle got the Rocket Fuel that had jalapeno in it. She made me try it and boy was it spicy! It was a good break from all the food though, a good breather and cleanser for our palette. 


Sakura Smile and Rocket Fuel from Rocket Room


After the savory food and happy hour drinks, we decided we'd like to try some desserts! And we happen to have a coupon for The Wholesome Table and thought it was just right to get some there. For the bloggers, they gave a dark chocolate cookie and a slice of banana walnut bread. I personally prefer the banana walnut bread as it was not too sweet and had just the right amount of flavor to satisfy my craving.


Wholesome Table's Stall at Summer on the Street


The event last weekend made me look forward to summer even more. I like the laid back, casual feel of everyone and everything there which also contributed to the chill ambiance in the middle of the city. "Summer on the Street" isn't just a food festival though, every weekend this summer, they have a different event for people to choose from. I'm sure it will be quite busy in the next coming weeks. I can't wait to visit the next one!


Summer on the Street Calendar of Activities  




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I have been eagerly waiting for the opening of BGC Arts Center since I learned about it. Not that I am the artsy type. Far from it. I have not watched a musical show for so many years that I can't even remember the last one I watched. I see the BGC Arts Center as one of the facilities that will strengthen the identity of the community in Fort Bonifacio. A community that shares the same neighborhood has to have places for members to do things together, and an arts center is a place for members of this community to enjoy performing arts together, and for some of the members to put up shows for the whole community.  We do not have community sports center, or community hall, but now at least we have our arts center.

This website's article on Three New Attractions to open in December 2016 has mentioned that the BGC Arts Center will open this month, and that the Arts Center would have its first concert on December 11. I went there on that day at around 5pm, hoping to be able to get inside to take a peek.

According to the press materials from the Bonifacio Arts Foundation, the BGC Arts Center is composed of the the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, the Alveo Central Plaza, and the Sun Life Amphitheater.


The building, which is called the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, looked substantially finished, except for the eating place, which is a McCafe (Why oh why a McCafe? I do not get it.  There is already a McDonald across the street.)

I saw some security guards standing inside the building, so I pushed open a glass door and checked if the show was going ahead as scheduled. The guards let me in and sent me across the hallway to the cashier located on the other side. So the BGC Arts Center was opened!


I did not buy a ticket at that time because it was above my budget. Then I proceeded to walk around the building, taking photos even inside the Globe Auditorium and had a good sneak preview of the show later that night, as well as the inside of the theater. All the lights, seats and air-conditioning were working, and they were very nice.

The artist performing that night was rehearsing a song. There was no echo and I could hear the singing clearly. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I went back outside and asked if I could look at the other facilities. It was my lucky day. A staff of the BGC Arts Center, Ms. Martinez, helpfully guided me to the facilities upstairs. 

Ms. Martinez informed me that the arts center is on soft opening, and that it will open formally in mid January 2017.

Apart from the 500-seater flexible "hybrid studio-blackbox" which is called Globe Auditorium, the building has a big room on the second floor which is suitable for dance classes as well as recitals. It looked finished, with hard wood floor, a mirror-wall, and sound-proofed walls, stage-lighting system and working air-conditioning. Too bad I cannot play any musical instrument or have any inclination to learn ballet, so I will not be seen using that room any time soon.


We went onto the third floor, and I was shown a small space which can be used for a variety of purposes, such as workshops, exhibitions, or meeting. If the rent is reasonable, I am sure this space will be booked up easily.

When we went back to downstairs, Ms Martinez asked if I would be watching the concert that night. I told her that I would like to but the ticket price was beyond my budget. It must have been my lucky day. She told me that she had a promo code and the ticket price when the code was used was much more friendly to my bank account. How could I miss the chance to be one of the few people on this planet to watch the first show of the BGC Arts Center? I bought the ticket right away.

Now onto the show. It was called "A Very Broadway Christmas in Manila", performed by Andrew Keenan-Bolger with guest Tanya Mangalan. Prior to the concert, I had never heard of these two performers, so I went there with no expectation.

When I went back to the theater, I was late for the show. Andrew Keenan-Bolger apparently had sung a couple of songs already. Then he sang "What I did for love" from the musical "The Chorus Line". It was soothing and melodic. After that, he performed a tagalog song that I was afterwards told was called Sana Ngayong Pasko. It sounded great and his tagalog pronounciation must have been accurate too, as the audience applauded enthusiastically. After singing a Christmas song "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas" he took a break and gave the stage to Ms Tanya Mangalan.

Ms Mangalan was cast as the main character in the London run of the renowned musical, Miss Saigon, so her singing prowess was already well proven. That night, the theater was like her family room, as she used the opportunity to celebrate her father's birthday, and sang his favorite karaoke song, the title of which I cannot recall. It was a warm and intimate segment of the concert.

After Andrew Keenan-Bolger returned to the stage, he sang a few more songs, and then the evening came to an end. It was a short and sweet concert. The solo singer was a friendly and boyish singer with an operatic voice that has a bright future in performance arts.

The new theater is not very big, but it is well equipped. It does not offer grandeur, but gives you a feel of intimacy and modernity. I feel sure that I will go back there many times in the future.


My ticket to the first ever public show at the BGC Arts Center

The video below shows Andrew Keenan-Bolger rehearsing a tagalog song for the show later that night.