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Affordable Leisure: Five Activities You Can Do on Weekends with Your Family

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“No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.” –Author Unknown

It has been said that family time is not a matter of convenience, but rather a matter of priority. With this sentiment in mind, we should always endeavor to spend some quality time with our families—most especially on weekends where everyone is unencumbered by work obligations or school homework and tasks. Unfortunately, taking time to really have fun with your family can be a little costly—particularly if you wish to give an incredible blowout such as a weekend spent in Alviera. So, you might have to settle on activities you can do at home, but admittedly, spending time watching TV with your kids can be a little repetitive and it is something you can do on any ordinary weekend. So, how do you reconcile spending a fun weekend with your family and being on a tight budget together?

Well, fun does not have to be equated with forking a lot of cash. Here are some of the best alternative weekend activities you can do that virtually cost you nothing:

1.) Visit your local library

If you and your family are voracious readers, then why not visit the local library for a myriad of books of every genre to choose from? Apart from hosting a range of books, most libraries also have an extensive DVD and CD collection which you can out. If your kids are rather young, some libraries host storytelling time for children and if you live in a rather swanky neighborhood, they would also have book clubs, film nights and book readings.

2.) Play board games

In the age of Internet and social media, more and more of us have become rather dependent on technology. So much so, that it would be quite unimaginable to tear our eyes away from screens for at least fifteen minutes. TO address this dilemma, why not take away your eyes and your kids’ eyes from any sort of screen for the weekend and opt to play board games the traditional way instead? Go old school and teach your children how to play classics such as Monopoly and Pictionary. You can also go contemporary by opting to play Uno and similar games instead.

3.) Volunteer

If you wish your children to become more involved with the community, have them volunteer at local community events instead. Regardless of where you might be, there are innumerable volunteering opportunities for you and your family to try. If you have a flair for gardening, then you and your kids might want to sign up for gardening clubs that spruce up plants in public spaces. If you have a penchant for the beach, take them to do a beach cleanup instead or if you and your family are a bunch of animal lovers, volunteer at a local shelter or animal-rescue organizations.

4.) Meet your neighbors

You might have been living in your neighborhood all your life but have not really had the chance to meet them, then you should make a conscious effort to introduce yourself to them. Go for a stroll in your neighborhood and take your kids with you, say hello to your neighbors and stay a bit for a chit chat. You might not know it, but what started out as an afternoon chat could potentially be a lifelong friendship. Furthermore, meeting your neighbors provides a unique avenue for your kids to make friends with other children who are in proximity to them.

5.) Take up a new hobby

Taking up hobbies and developing skills are best done during a child’s formative years. So, if you have been wishing for them to take up a new hobby or perhaps they have expressed interest in a particular hobby then learn it with them. Horseback riding, pottery, ballets and the like are all activities you can do over the weekend with your child. Moreover, watching you learn the skill with them encourages them to do better and will give them that extra push as well.

 

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Pushing Your Limits: Five Reasons Why An Adventure Travel is Good For You

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“Some people choose activities which give them pleasure, while others seek pleasure in every activity they perform.” -Sukant Ratnakar

 

It has been said that the perfect gift you can give anyone who loves the outdoors is to invite them on an adventure—well, at least according to Ben Stookesberry that is. Indeed, if you know someone with a penchant for the great outdoors, then it is almost inevitable that they would have a particular proclivity for going on adventures. Adventures can mean many things; it may be something as simple as exploring the nearest cave in your neighborhood, trying out something you have never done before or simply getting a euphoric rush from the surge of adrenaline felt in doing such activities. With the myriad of things adventure can mean to different people, it would be unwise to limit those so called adventures only to those that push you beyond your boundaries. However, as it is, those adventures that do push you out of your comfort zone would end up being the defining adventures that would make you feel accomplished and as a result, more fulfilled. Furthermore, the experience can be very enlightening, and it would teach you a lot about yourself and your capabilities.

However, there are many reasons why travel centered on an adventure would be excellent for you. So before deciding to head on to an adventure park such as Alviera, try to see why an adventure travel might be better for you. Here are five reasons why:

1.) When you get dirty, you improve your physical health.

If you are one of those individuals who would be incredibly meticulous about a little grime and dirty, then perhaps roughing the outdoors might not be for you. But then again, as we are on the topic of going out of our comfort zones, you might want to give it a try. It has been found that getting a little dirty can actually be good for you. This is because, as scientists have found, an obsession with cleanliness can actually lead to a rise in allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma. Getting a little dirty is an excellent avenue for developing and improving your immune system.

2.) There are no age limits on adventure

You do not have to be young to enjoy your own adventure because when it comes to adventure and exploration, it does not distinguish between the young and the old. Just about anyone can make the great outdoors their playground and going on adventures is an activity you can do for life. However, if you have any existing health problems, it is best if you consult your physician first before going on some taxing adventure excursions.

3.) It raises your tolerance for uncertainty

No matter how meticulously you plan and detail the itinerary of your travel, there would always be the possibility that things may not go as planned. This is particularly the case for adventure trips where you will be constrained to make compromises when something unforeseen occurs. Consequently, you would be able to cope with uncertainty better—whether it is in your adventure or your life.

4.) It fosters reflectiveness

One of the best things about adventure travels is that it cultivates a sense of self-awareness and it promotes individuality—two things that seem to be in short supply today. Without a doubt, adventures would often make the best memories, and you can expect to relive and reminisce about those memories for years to come. Apart from being an avenue for introspection, it also allows you to discover how truly capable you are and discover more about yourself. In a sense, by pushing yourself beyond your limits and your comfort zone, you would then learn to conquer some of your fears.

5.) It lets you “try on” different lives

If you have been living in the same skin for so long and have gotten so used to your everyday routine, life can be quite dull after a while. An adventure travel reinvigorates your soul and reawakens your thirst for life by letting you safely “try” on alternate lives. You are allowed to shed your skin for a while and pretend to be anything you want to be in a foreign place. In a sense, you would soon ask yourself who you would be had you lived there.

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Four Reminders and Tips to Enjoy a Day at Sandbox

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Alviera has an attraction which is aptly termed as an adventure park called the “Sandbox”. Located in Pampanga, Porac, this park promises to offer something for everyone—children and adults alike. The Sandbox is considered as a popular destination particularly during the summer season where patrons would arrive by droves and to keep things fresh and interesting, there has been a vastly increasing number of fun activities added to it regularly. Indeed, the Sandbox caters to a wide array of individuals as travel junkies, adventure enthusiasts, kids and kids at heart would all find something enjoyable to do while there. However, keep in mind that to fully appreciate and enjoy your experience, you need to take a few precautions as well and know a few reminders. After all, safety should be a priority in order to have a fun time in this park.

So, if you are planning on visiting the Sandbox, here are a few reminders you should be aware of:

1.) Constantly hydrate

The Philippines is considered as a tropical country. As a consequence, we would be experiencing humid weather conditions. However, in the summer, the heat can be incredibly unbearable—especially at particular times of the day. While living in this country has made us learn to adapt and enjoy the summer even through the scorching heat, it does not mean we should be any less cautious when enjoying a day out in the sand. The Sandbox is an area located smack right in the middle of flatlands. This means the place is without trees or plants that could possibly absorb heat. Considering this, it can get hot pretty fast. Furthermore, you can only enjoy the place when the sun is up as it would hardly be feasible for any of their themed adventures to be open at night or when it rains. The activities in the park are mostly done out in the open air and under the scorching sun. So, with this in mind constantly hydrate, apply sunblock and wear cool and breathable clothes.

2.) Choose your adventure

There is a separate fee of seventy-five pesos for the entrance while the array of activities you can do inside would have their own fee. The Aerial Walk would cost P150 per head, P100 for the Giant Swing as well as the Free Fall, P50 for the Rappel Walk and Wall Climbing. Roller Coaster Zipline, Mini Gold and ATV would set you back P2,500 for each activity. So, before you set foot in Alviera, it is best if you already have an idea of what you want to do. So, en route to the place, begin planning the adventure you want to experience. If you are on a budget, it might not be possible to check out all rides so choose wisely.

3.) Safety first

The Sandbox is known for taking safety very seriously, but that does not mean you should not take any safety precaitions of your own. Before riding any of the rides or taking part in any of the adventures offered, know the safety guidelines first. If you are unsure of anything, ask the staff for assistance and if you need any clarification, ask them as well. Lastly, remember to wear closed shoes as it is not only advisable, but necessary. Remember, you are going to be roughing it and you are not likely to be playing pretty so keep your feet adequately protected.

4.) Prepare for a long drive or commute

The Sandbox is located in Pampanga which is not exactly a short drive away from Metro Manila. Although you can commute to the place, there is hardly any passing jeepney or other public utility vehicles in the area. People who are taking their own private cars should prepare for a long drive so it is best if they got adequate sleep the night beforehand.

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Five Family Friendly Activities You Can Do in Pampanga

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“Traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion.” -Leigh Hunt

The weekend is usually reserved for families to bond, relax and spend some time together. Typically, most Filipino families would flock to the malls, major commercial and entertainment establishments with their families on these days. However, it can get rather dull and predictable if you and your family are doing this week after week. After all, Manila might have a myriad of malls, but if your typical weekend is consistently spent watching movies and eating at restaurants, it can get pretty boring fast. If this is the case, then a change or scenery should be in order. So, if you are seeking a fresh new way to spend your weekends with your family, plan a day trip to Pampanga where the food is not only divine, but the activities are diverse and numerous. Pampanga is only an hour or two away from Manila, so it would not be too difficult to plan. Furthermore, with a long list of restaurants, heritage places and historical landmarks, the province has a multitude of options for adventure. Here are some of the best activities you can try with your family on a weekend in Pampanga:

1.) Have a grand adventure in Sandbox

If you and your family have a penchant for outdoor activities, you are going to love the Sandbox in Alviera. Located in Porac, this adventure park has a lot of thrilling and exciting activities you and your famiy can try. For those who wish to test their balancing skills, you can try the Aerial Walk Challenge, or you can ride the Philippine’s Giant Swing, or simulate flying with the roller coaster Zipline. Be sure to be there early as there is a capacity limit for the rides. No need to worry about an age limit as most of the rides are suitable for kids aged 7 years and above.

2.) Explore Dinosaurs Island

If you have little tots with an interest of Mesozoic Era, then they are going to enjoy Pampanga’s Dinosaurs Island. Fans of the hit movie Jurassic Park will similarly find fun in this theme park as well. Life-sized animatronic dinosaurs are abound the tyheme park while you walk along the forest trail. Furthermore, a trip to the park can be an educational experience as well as a guided tour is offered where you can observe giant fossils and even watch a dancing dino show.

3.) Reach new heights in the Pampanga Eye

If you want to see the province from a unique vantage point then climb aboard Pampanga’s Eye , the country’s known tallest ferris wheel. Found in the Sky Ranch of pampanga, you and three of your family members can fit into one of its air-conditioned gondolas where you can observe the perimeter of the province from a bird’s eye view. However, if heights are not your thing, you can try the amusement park’s other rides such as the Loop Roller Coaster and the Double Decker Carousel.

4.) Relax at Puning Hot Springs

Being able to relax from a long week at work is anyone’s idea of what a good weekend should be like. If you and your family think along the same lines, then you might want to visit Puning Hot Springs. However, you would need a 4X4 vehicle that can brave the rugged landscape around Mt. Pinatubo just to get there. The little effort required to reach this place is not all for naught however as there are various activities you can enjoy. You can take a dip in the natural pools of the volcano, have a unique and pampering spa experience by being covered in sand from the neck down as well as enjoy the natural sights.

5.) Go food tripping in Angeles City

Pampanga is known as the central hub for gastronomic treats, epicurean dishes and delightful meals. It would be no question that some people would consider Kapangpangan people as the connoisseurs of tasty food as the province itself is known for some of the most delicious Filipino food. Never leave Pampanga without at least sampling some of what their homegrown restaurants has to offer. From tasting their siganture dish, sisig at Aling Lucing’s Sisig to having a refreshing dessert at Kabigting’s Halo-halo, your foot options are virtually limitless.

 

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Summer 2017: Top Getaway Destinations Near Manila

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“Looking at the beauty in the world, the first step of purifying the mind” -Amit Ray (Meditation: Insights and Inspirations)

As March enters 2017, so does the promise of a scorching summer to come. Gone are the cold and breezy days replaced by humid morning temperatures with equally hot nights. On the months ahead, we will be bidding our sweaters and long-sleeved tops goodbye and saying hello to cropped tops, bikinis, the distinct smell of the beach and our favorite pair of aviators. Indeed, as for March ushers in a new season, everyone will be welcoming in the happiest and sunniest season of the year, summer. This is the season most individuals would love to get away from the perpetual hustle and bustle of the city and experience the calm and quiet of the countryside or the vibrant life at the beach. Unfortunately, if you are operating on a tight schedule, it can be hard to negotiate a vacation in between your work commitments.

Not to fret, however, as there are a lot of destinations near Manila that would not even require an overnight trip. So, if you are planning for a summer excursion, there is no need to look far, here are the weekend getaways near Manila you can visit for a short and brief holiday:

1.) Minalungao National Park (Nueva Ecija)

Take a break from the usual crystal blue waters and enjoy something a little bit different such as the emerald green waters of Penaranda River in Minalungao National Park. As the summertime draws in, it is the perfect time to visit this place. Owing to the less rainfall of the season, the river is calmer and clearer making it safer for rafting, cliff jumping and even swimming. If trekking is more of your thing, the 16-meter limestone walls flanking the river are as equally inviting as the river is. If a quick trip is on your weekend itinerary, Minalungao is easily accessible with only a 3-hour ride from Manila, and it is friendly to your pockets as well.

2.) Taal Heritage Town

If you are looking for the feel and ambiance of Vigan without having to book a plane ticket or driving for seven hours, then all you would need to do is head to Batangas. The beautiful ancestral homes and gorgeous architecture of Tall Heritage Town in Batangas are reminiscent of Vigan and would take you back to a place you can only see in history books and black and white albums. It is easy to get charmed by the place’s hundred-year-old knickknacks and vintage pieces that you would not only get a well-deserved break but a trip back in time as well.

3.) Corregidor

History buff and enthusiasts would enjoy Corregidor as it is the perfect place for a slice of culture and history. This province in Cavite has diverse activities to offer, but its main attraction is definitely the rich and colorful history from World War II. But apart from that, Corregidor has pristine nature trails, its own beach, and wildlife. Lastly, it is not that far from Manila (only an hour away by boat). If you are looking for a bit of history with a little culture in solitude thrown into the mix, this place is perfect for you.

4.) Baler

Though it is not exactly what you would call near (driving to Baler would take you a few extra hours), it would all be a matter of perspective once you arrive and set foot and Baler where a myriad of activities awaits you. To surfers and trekking enthusiasts, this place is paradise, and for someone looking for the perfect synergy of nature, culture, history and adventure, this place is the ultimate escapade. If you are looking for an unlimited array of activities to do in such a short time, Baler should be your top pick.

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Alviera creates the perfect setting for bonding, recreation

The soothing beauty of nature enhanced by the comfort of modernity awaits at this newfound oasis. Aerial perspective of Alveira Country Club A one-of a kind playground that is the 1,100-hectare Alviera in Pampanga is where one can relish the majestic view of the Porac mountain ranges over a morning exercise, or while having chat with closest friends and family, thus serving not only as a grand backdrop, but a natural stress reliever as well. Indeed, the Alviera, which is being developed by real estate giant Ayala Land Inc. in partnership with Leonio Land, accords the weary urbanite a sanctuary where a once barren land is being turned into the primary business, leisure, institutional, residential and recreational destination in Central Luzon. Set to rise at the heart of Alviera would be the Alviera Country Club, which will serve as focal point, a place where people can converge and indulge on the things they most love. The club is designed to be a place where people feel that they can authentically be themselves and be part of it in a real way. Banking on the place’s innate beauty, the whole Alviera Country Club will showcase the best that nature has to offer. It is not a stage set, not something artificial but something where people belong. Photo2

Luxury destination

Rising at the most prime location at the Alviera Estate, the six-hectare Alviera Country Club proves no less to be the “pièce de résistance” as it encapsulates the kind of modern, sophisticated lifestyle that awaits residents. “The Country Club’s lush grounds, set against the breathtaking views of Alviera, tie the estate together and offer a perfect setting for its members to gather together and commune with nature,” Alviera General Manager John Estacio noted. The Alviera Country Club, which is the first facility of this scale and kind in the province, is envisioned to become the main luxury destination in the region, offering a complete line of facilities for sports, games, relaxation, meetings and events, and thus revolutionizing the way people see and understand the true concept of indulging in club facilities of this scale and proportion. Designed by the renowned Leandro V. Locsin & Partners, the structure is rooted in convergence, with every space designed to allow people to connect with themselves and with others. “The goal was to create a place where people feel that they can authentically be themselves and be part of it in a real way, it doesn’t feel contrived or artificial-it’s somewhere people feel they belong,” said design consultant Leandro “Andy” Y. Locsin Jr. Built not just in nature but with nature, the club is designed to complement its natural surroundings, thus making it the perfect setting for individuals and families to recharge and reconnect with each other and with nature. “At the Alviera Country Club, it is recreation done in perfect harmony with nature. The seamless connection between today’s modern technology and the healing power of nature is what makes this club a cut above the rest and truly special,” Estacio noted. The entire property, which is surrounded by nature’s natural beauty, serves as a perfect setting for a unique, one-of-a-kind country club experience. Since the property is highly accessible via the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, and other local major road networks, the Alviera Country Club is a relatively easy drive from Metro Manila and from other areas in the Central Luzon region. And with Clark International Airport and Subic Bay International Freeport being near, access from overseas is possible as well.

Exclusive amenities

But what is expected to make the Alviera Country Club unparalleled once fully operational, are its exclusive, well-thought out amenities and first-rate facilities that are sure to provide club members the rare opportunity to unwind and recover from life’s daily grind. The club will have specialty restaurants, a kids zone, pools, sports, wellness and entertainment facilities and even an events pavilion, all of which are guaranteed to help provide the weary urbanite the much needed break. Kids will find a trip to the club a treat as it is bursting with amenities that are designed to give them a grand time such as a kiddie pool, a water park complete with water jets, fountains, a slide and splash pods, indoor and outdoor play areas.  Artist's rendition of Alveira Country Club Splash Park Artist's rendition of Alveira Country Club Indoor Play Area Serving as the centerpiece of all the club’s amenities is the pool which features a network of various cooling pods including a 6-lane lap pool, a lounge pool, a kiddie pool, among others. Those who choose a more active lifestyle meanwhile would have the liberty to choose from the wide selection of sports facilities that include an indoor and outdoor tennis courts, badminton courts, multi-sport court for basketball, futsal and volleyball, and an open turf mound for frisbee and other outdoor events. The Alviera Country Club will also come with a complete gym, dance studio, wellness spa, Jacuzzi and steam bath facilities. There’s never a dull moment at the club as apart from the great adventures and good food that members can look forward to, ALI has also provided an assortment of entertainment facilities such as a billiard hall, KTV rooms, theater rooms and even a game and arcade room. A number of pavilions is also made available for members to use whether for corporate or social gatherings. The club has a spacious boardroom, meeting rooms, a multi-purpose hall, an al-fresco café, and one grand hall that can be divided into two ballrooms and can fit 500-600 guests with a pre-function area overlooking the central courtyard. Artist's rendition of Alveira Country Club Cafe Currently, Alviera has already started selling shares for the club. Indeed, the Alviera Country Club offers an all exclusive respite where one can rekindle his love affair with nature without having to give up the modern conveniences—a sanctuary where one gets to appreciate nature anew, a place where one can have the luxury to enjoy quality time with their family or to simply de-stress and rejuvenate from life’s uncertainties. ADVT Source: