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Food
newbie

A new place has opened at 5th Avenue on the ground floor of One Bonifacio High Street mall to serve you coffee. But it is not a coffee shop. It is a coffee pick up point that looks like a shop, and occupies possibly the most expensive retail space in Fort Bonifacio.


It is a pick up point because you are supposed to order the coffee online from its mobile app, and then go to the shop to just pick it up. 

There are simple tables and chairs, but no power outlet. You are not supposed to linger.

Your payment online is cashless, and so is the payment if you buy at the shop. Either credit card or mobile payment app like Paymaya or GCash. No old school here.

Since the parent company is an apparel shop, do not expect everything to make ordinary sense. It makes style. So please, do not ask why the door is placed at an angle. 

Nor question the need for an enclosed tall plant in the middle of the shop. It is not a canteen that needs to squeeze as many tables inside as possible.

What about its raison d'être, the reason to exist, coffee? You can customize it any way you want, more than you can do so with the McDo ordering machines. Except you can not make it more sweet. Or less hot.


Apart from the usual espresso drinks, you can order a brown sugar latte!! Any drink with brown sugar pre-mixed nowadays will instantly put you in the hip crowd. Ordinary people have to scoop brown sugar with a spoon, put it in the cup and stir it by themselves in the old, uncool way.


The brown sugar latte was good, and it was made by a barista with latte art. See, not everything there is automated! so you are not really buying coffee from inside a giant vending machine.

I guess this is the coffee version of iPhone. "We give you a quality product with minimalist design, served our way."


Because Coffee opens Mon to Fri 7am to 8pm, Sat to Sun 9am to 8pm at GF of One Bonifacio High Street mall.




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Fun and Learning
cywong

On the first Saturday of May, we visited the Pretty Huge Obstacles,an indoor obstacle course facility located at SM Aura. It was not officially opened. The main entrance was not ready, and some touching up were still ongoing, so they charged a pre-opening price of P600 per head, instead of the regular price of P1,000. We were happy to get this lower price, since all the obstacle stations were completed. 


While people could just walk in at any time during the opening hours, they actually have free (after paying entrance fee) introduction classes at prescribed times that last for 1.5 hours, so that visitors could get the basic techniques to tackle the various obstacle stations. Each class session had a group for kids, and another one for adults.

At the beginning of a class, coaches asked participants to do some warm up exercises, starting with jogging at the running track. Adults had to do more strenuous exercises than kids.


They then were moved to obstacle stations. There were obstacle stations that were more suited to kids than adults, and others the other way around, but even the kids ones were challenging for adults.


A lot of obstacle stations there are built primarily for adult size and require strong upper body strength, like hanging one's weight from pegs. The kids obstacles (which I think if you are a grown-up and are not embarrassed easily, can also use) are brightly colored and challenge mostly the balancing and muscle control skills of the users.


There are also a lot of weight-training equipment, like sandbags for carrying, and loaded cart for pulling or pushing. My 11-year old and her friend attended the class, and picked up a lot of tips on how to tackle each obstacle smartly. The coaches were nice, but they would also push the participants a little when the participants wanted to rest for too long.

Even though the place is not air-conditioned, it is well ventilated with huge ceiling fans. It is definitely a welcome facility for people into fitness activities, and those of us who live in the Fort Bonifacio area are very happy that it is located within our vicinity.

Pretty Huge Obtacles is currently open from Tuesday to Saturday, closed on Monday and Sunday. Their entrance is located on the right hand side of the parking lot entrance across SM Aura office tower.

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Transportation
newbie

I went to Uptown Mall last Saturday (April 6) morning to try out Grabwheels, E-scooters offered by Grab. They give 2 hours of free ride to any one who dares to try it!

Easy Peasy

It was quite easy to get hold of a Grabwheel. I downloaded the mobile app at one of the four kiosks of Grabwheels located around Uptown Mall and Uptown Parade, left my driver's license with the Grab employee, scanned the QR code on the E-scooter that I intended to ride, and off I went! It was a breeze compared to the experience I had with the shared E-bike that I tried at Stopover Pavillion two years ago.

Riders have to wear a helmet, and they let me wear my own helmet, which was great. Only persons over 18 years old are allowed to borrow the E-scooters.


DOs and DON'Ts

I was told that I could ride anywhere within BGC, but only on sidewalks. There is a long list of do's and don'ts, but in my view, these are the top items.

Ride experience

I am an experienced kick scooter user, so it was very easy for me to ride the Grabwheels. But the control is so simple that I think anyone can ride it any way, once one get comfortable with the start and stop techniques.

The Grabwheels have a top speed of 17 km per hour, which is quite fast for sidewalk traffic, since pedestrians do not expect and cannot hear you coming.



However, it was not easy to confine my ride to the sidewalks, since many sidewalks do not have smooth ramps. There are "ramps" that have a 2-inch curb that a E-scooter cannot ride up. Many sidewalks do not have ramps at all. In addition, some sideways are narrowed by planter boxes or space reserved for planter boxes, and boarded up construction sites.

When there is no ramp, lifting the E-scooter up is not easy. It weighs much more than a regular kick scooter.

Boundary issue?

I was going to ride the Grabwheels in Bonifacio High Street, but after I crossed 32nd Street at the junction with 11th Avenue, I was stopped by a BGC marshall who told me that Grabwheels were not allowed outside Uptown area. I asked what about other E-scooters, and they said other E-scooters were allowed. 


If Grab wants to offer Grabwheel as a paid service, they will need to sort this out with BGC authorities.

[Update: on April 9, I saw two ladies riding Grabwheels in Burgos Circle. They said they crossed 32nd Street from S&R supermarket. Either BGC authorities have changed their policy, or they do not man all entrances to Central BGC.]

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What can it be good for?

I enjoyed riding the E-scooter recreationally, and it encouraged me to explore parts of Bonifacio North that I did not bother to go before.

I can imagine people who live within 3 to 6 km of their work place using it to commute, and it could save them time and money (vs. taxi fare), and everyone the air pollution from the traffic otherwise generated. I have seen people riding it daily between McKinly Hill and BGC.

It can probably be used by people to connect between transport hubs, such as going from BGC to Ayala transport terminal during rush hours when buses and taxis are stuck in the peak hour traffic. It has to be allowed to ride on roads as sideways are too narrow and disjoined.

Some training for riders would probably be necessary, as I have seen some dangerous moments when E-scooters get too close to pedestrians, cars or motercycles.

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Blog
KarlEscobar


Potted Potter makes a triumphant return in BGC Fort! The have 9 shows from March 20-24 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center. The 2 man play hilariously summarizes all 7 books in 70 minutes. I was fortunate to watch the opening night and I was laughing from start to finish. The actors James Percy and Joseph Maudsley inject pop culture jokes that differ from previous Potted Potter that's why it's a must watch even if you've seen it before.

The jokes included "Game of Thrones,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” other Broadway plays, no ones was sparred including President Donald Trump. The actors interacted with the audience including having a Quidditch and a lot of impromptu jokes. This is definitely a must watch even if you are not a Potterhead like me. Get your tickets now!

https://www.ticketworld.com.ph/Online/default.asp?SessionSecurity::referrer=PottedPotterfromMarchEDM&doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=DCFDCA3B-5918-49C4-AF7B-8B3C7A792AFC&utm_source=TicketWorld+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b0dde62e9f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_04_10_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_25835544b8-b0dde62e9f-13489085

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Community Events
cywong

There are many benefits of having a neighborhood community. We can share information about what is happening, get recommendations about home maintenance services, organize hobby group activities, order goods in bulk and so on. For residents of Bonifacio Global City, we have an additional reason to join a neighborhood group like E.Q.U.I.P@BGC, because it is supported by the estate management entities of BGC.

Fort Bonifacio Development Corp, which markets BGC and manages BGC in conjunction with its affiliated company BESC, invites members of E.Q.U.I.P@BGC to attend marketing activities of its commercial partners from time to time, which often means freebies like lunch or dinner.

On March 14, 2019, we were invited to a lunch hosted by the recently opened Chateau 1771 restaurant, located on the second floor of One Bonifacio High Street mall.

Chateau 1771 is an established fine dining European restaurant first opened in Malate, Manila, in 1988. 

In the featured photo, Chef Vicky Pacheco, Chief Executive Officer 1771 Group of Restaurants, introduces her dishes that were served to the community group.

Photo above: Front entrance of Chateau 1771 at One Bonifacio High Street.

The food was delicious. There were scallops with cheese, chicken boncoccini with marsala sauce, fettucine with light lemon cream sauce, among the many dishes.

Smoked gindara carpaccio (like raw tangigue) and four seasons salad were the appetizers that the restaurant showcased. We also had a chance to taste desserts like meringue with lemon custard, and valrhona ganache tarte.

It was a great occasion to taste exquisite food courtesy of Chateau 1771 and arranged by FBDC, and for us neighbors to catch up with other neighbors we met before as well as network with new friends.


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Food
jdgzmn

Last December 21, Tiger Sugar, a milk tea shop from Taiwan, opened its first branch in BGC, Philippines. Although I wanted to try it out and find what all the fuss is about, I did not possess the patience to brave the long lines just to order a cup of milk tea. That’s why I have not tried it since, despite the store being just a 10-15 minute walk from my office.

On February 2019, I went to Taiwan with my boyfriend who is eager to try Tiger Sugar since his office mates have been lining up for it in BGC. At the Ximending branch, we did not see a long line, thus we did not have to suffer the heat of the sun or the ache in our knees from all the waiting. In fact, we were sixth when we got there. It was popular, but not as popular as in the Philippines. We couldn’t understand the cashier lady since she wasn’t fluent in English, nor could we understand what was written in their menu, so we just pointed at the poster of Tiger Sugar and said “two” with a matching hand gesture.

Tiger Sugar branch in Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan

Finally, after two months of withheld curiosity, I was holding the drink so many in BGC would work so hard for just to have a taste. I felt excited to taste it despite not knowing if I ordered the correct drink. After a sip, my boyfriend and I, in a moment of amazement, looked at each other in satisfaction. OMG it’s sooo good! Now I actually understand why people love it so much. Imagine “taho” (soya milk drink with glazed sugar), but instead of the soya, you get authentic full cream milk with an undiluted brown sugar syrup. Its sweet and rich taste of cream, milk, and sugar complements with the right amount of caramel and softness of boba and pearls. The quality of the milk plays a huge part in enriching the drink. It tastes so good that it would be absurd to ruin it by shaming yourself for not counting calories.

My Tiger Sugar drink in Taipei.

So I finished my first cup of Tiger Sugar drink with a beam, but I realized that I have to fall in line if I want to buy one in the Philippines, and last time I checked, even if I’m willing to pay, as of this writing, I can’t order it using delivery services like Grab, Lalamove, or Zomato. So when we went home to Manila, I debated with myself if I should try out the branch in BGC to compare if the quality and taste are the same as the one in Taipei.

The milk tea lover in me won. I decided to brave the long line in BGC last Tuesday, February 12 at exactly 10:49 AM. There was already a line of nearly 20 people, even though the shop opens at 11:00 AM. At around 11:25 AM (yes, I lined up for almost 40 minutes), I was able to order. I realized that the drink is cheaper by Php10.00 in Taipei. By 11:40 AM I got my drinks!

Tiger Sugar branch in Bonifacio Global City, The Fort

So this is it! Does it have the same quality as the one in Taipei? Will I be braving the lines again and again? These were the thoughts that were running through my mind. So I push out the straw from its plastic wrapper, punch it into the drinks cover, and I take a long sip just enough to fill my mouth. I slowly take in the contents and feel relieved that they are in fact the same quality. It means that I can enjoy the drink as much as I enjoyed it overseas! However, it made me contemplate what I had to go through to buy it here. Does lining up for an hour for a cup of milk tea really worth it?

Our order in Tiger Sugar BGC

As good as the drink is, the hassle you have to go through does not make up for it. Since I am employed, I don’t have the luxury to line up for almost an hour every time I crave it. Maybe, if Grab or Lalamove offers it on their platforms the long lines will give justice to their delivery charges. Less hassle, less effort, more time for other matters and more Tiger Sugar.

 Line in Tiger Sugar BGC around 11:30 AM, February 12, 2019

I still recommend people to try Tiger Sugar. It has a distinct taste from all milk tea shops in the Philippines. If the line was not that long, I’ll probably buy at least thrice a week. For now, I will just have to wait for the hype to die down, wait until their crew’s service quality improves, or for more branches of Tiger Sugar to open so the lines will shorten and I can enjoy my drink in peace, which to be honest is the only proper way to enjoy anything.

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Memorable Events
cywong

It was the second time that I went to a book launch, and even though I did not know anything about her work before I went, I stayed for more than an hour. That was because the author, Marjorie Liu, was a very engaging speaker in addition to being a good story teller. She is the author of an award winning comic book series called Monstress, as well as several Marvel X-men stories, and she became the first woman to win the comic book industry’s top prize for writers last December.

Photo above: fans lined up to ask Marjorie Liu questions at the book launch.

At the book launch held at Fully Booked BGC, Liu was very eloquent, and very honest in her replies to questions, so it was nice to listen to her talk, and easy to be moved by what she said. 

I will be honest as well. The reason that I went to the book launch was because I was curious about her. She is a successful writer that looked very western, yet has a Chinese family name. When Liu explained about her creative journey, having a mixed blood was actually one of the driving forces that made her want to write. She said that growing up, there were not many stories or pop culture that had mixed blood characters. She felt excluded. So she decided to tell stories in her own way.

Photo above: a fan gave her a neck cushion that has a cover made for her book, Monstress.

She said that her grandmother went through a lot of hardship during World War II, yet her grandmother could still talk about the events that occurred with a smile, and that really had an impact on her. I could relate to that a little, since my grand parents also had to leave China during that time and their stories always fascinated me since the environment then was so different from what I live in.

She was able to explain in a few sentences how she built the characters in her books and comics. Basically, she had the characters in her head, as if these were real people, and then figured out how they would respond in a particular situation.

Before I met her, I disliked comics that had a lot of sex and violence. After meeting her, I still do not like this genre of comics, but at least now I do not wish the authors of such comics any bad luck, because meeting Liu made me realize that they could be likeable and decent people, even though the violence and sex they wrote in a media that is mainly suitable for kids repulses me.

In fact, I liked her talk so much that I bought a poster for her book and had her signed it. The beautiful art work of her book, done by an artist called Sana Takeda, is also a nice discovery of my going to her book launch. 


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Community Events
newbie

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).