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20 April 2007

Travel to Manila, day 4:
Down south

Driving along South Luzon Expressway towards the south
Driving along South Luzon Expressway towards the south

ESCAPING THE heat of metropolis, we drove in the morning towards the southern cities of Metro Manila. Once notoriously billed as home of the maximum security National Bilibid Prison, the south is now the vibrant alternative to the urban chaos of the metropolis. Swanky residential communities, two of the best planned commercial centers in the country, and the biggest country club in Southeast Asia dot the gentle rolling hills, all veiled by the placid breezes of neighboring Manila Bay and Laguna Lake.

At the epicenter of these neighborhoods is Alabang, the glamorous, boldly stylish trailblazer of the lot. Much of its allure comes from Alabang Town Center, which groups five shopping zones around a central open-air plaza. This breezy establishment houses high-street shops, nightspots, outdoor cafés, and the world-class Rustan’s Department Store.

Alabang Town Center
Alabang Town Center

Driving along South Luzon Expressway towards the south

Driving along South Luzon Expressway towards the south

An added treat is the parade of people: its pavilions and restaurants are filled with alarmingly good-looking Filipinos! I chanced upon my high school batch mate Nina Saldaña, who was with her peppy daughter Reb. She gave me a hard time for not advising her and the rest of the batch of my presence in town, but I promised to see them the next time I come home.

Next to the Town Center is the Ayala Alabang Village, a sprawling residential community. Opened in 1981, this hilly village continues to attract style-conscious Manileños and expatriates. To see why, enter through the strict security gates and drive through the tree-lined, multi-lane Acacia and Madrigal Avenues, along whose lengths stand some of the prettiest houses in the metropolis.

This is where home is. It felt so good to be back there this morning.

Acacia Avenue, just outside our house
Acacia Avenue, just outside our house

My erstwhile bedroom, still intact!
My erstwhile bedroom, still intact!

Past Post: Walking by the Baywalk
Next Post: Oh, Makati, Oh!

Related Site: Southbound Blogazine, The TIC Blog

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