Monday, November 24, 2014

Understanding the Garden Home Concept

Do you know what a garden home is? Have you seen some garden homes in Laguna? Perhaps, you have seen one, but you have no idea that it is actually called as such. The concept of garden homes is quickly creeping into the local real estate industry. And why not? A tropical country, the Philippines is a suitable place to develop garden homes.

Origin of the garden home concept

‘Garden home’ is another term for patio home, an American classification of a housing type. The term has a suburban setting with shared landscaped features (in exchange of a monthly association fee for maintenance). The typical target market is those people who want to slash garden maintenance cost in their monthly household expenses.

Originally, patio homes are small in terms of lot area, replacing the backyard as patio. These homes can be constructed in rows with or without shared walls.

Garden home concept in the Philippines

The garden homes, as we know, has almost the same concept as patio homes. However, instead of the backyard, homeowners are sharing their front yards and the rest of the gated community, for instance. They also share common facilities including in-village parks, pocket gardens, sidewalks, etc. The homeowners are also paying a monthly maintenance fee for such.  

Also, garden home homeowners can still have their backyard that they can style and maintain by themselves. That’s because ownership is not limited to specific lot area. House structures are usually detached. There is also an ample provision of area for backyard gardening.

Benefits of living in a garden home community

Everyone wants to own a home. However, not every one of us realizes the benefit of owning a garden home. To live in a place close to nature is very different from living in a place that makes full use of the available spaces and convert them into nature-like facilities.

Essentially, it is ecologically healthy. Living in a community that allows its owners to commune with nature provides instant access to clean and fresh air and water. In fact, garden home communities promote healthy outdoor living.

There will be relaxing views everywhere when you go outside. Walking around the neighborhood will never a worrisome activity especially when you have your kids with you. This means you get to enjoy the indoors as well as the outdoors, that is, to immerse oneself with the natural wonders around him.

Most probably, this is the very reason property developers choose to construct garden homes that are within the natural setting. Homeowners can thereby maximize their natural surroundings at their disposal. Such a new living concept that does not degrade the homeowners of the conveniences while savoring the serenity of living closer to nature.

In the Philippines, there are wide options for gated communities. These communities offer the would-be homeowners the opportunity of enjoying the indoors and outdoors whether it’d be looking out the window, taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or even jogging at night. Good thing, these developments are either in-city or near-city.  

Further, there are communities within a community wherein the goal is to cultivate community integration and build people-friendly structures that endow dwellers with a neighborhood that is full of interactions regardless of the lifestyles of the community members. The sub-communities are specifically built with providing a heightened sense of well-being in mind through the green spaces.

With all these, the concept of garden homes is one concept that is not very difficult to embrace. Nowadays, everyone’s into eco-living. This is one reason the concept is well-accepted in the Philippines. Again, why not? If it encourages vibrancy, diversity and a healthier living option for the Filipinos, then let’s embrace the concept tighter. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

3 Famous Bike Trails Near Manila

Mountain biking Philippines is common nowadays especially during weekends. Unsurprisingly, bike trails within the metro started to sprout. Within the metro, La Mesa Nature Reserve and UP Diliman are among the bikers’ favorites. However, if you been riding for a while and looking for more challenging trails and yet you don’t want to go far, then biking near Manila is the next best thing. Here are some of the famous bike trails just a few pedals away from the metropolis.

1) Timberland in San Mateo, Rizal

Timberland has SWIMBA-type bike trails. Some bikers call it the Maarat trail which was categorized into Timberland Basic, Timberland Blue, Timberland Green and Pestano. Of the four, Blue is the most famous. Timberland Blue is not the easiest trail to ride because of its flows, techs and bamboo bridges. For more experienced bikers, you can try the Wall, Antenna and Patiis trails. Biking up the Wall is a brutally fun ride, climbing up about 2 kilometers until you reach Timberland Clubhouse. 

Going there is easy. Turn to Commonwealth Avenue. Along the avenue are signs instructing you on how to go to Timberland Heights. Upon reaching the Sandiganbayan building, turn right. Turn right once more upon reaching Batasan. Go straight ahead to Timberland Heights.

2) Marilaque

Marilaque stands for Manila, Rizal, Laguna and Quezon. This expansive track is for those bikers who are itching to put on the miles. The best part is, after passing through Cogeo in lower Antipolo, you will enjoy the scenery especially from Boso-Boso to Tanay to Laguna.

There are many trails along the way a biker may get confused as to which one to take. Nonetheless, the best one is Sta. Ines. Part of Sta. Ines is in Antipolo, and another part is in Tanay. If you are riding from Antipolo, you need to ride along Marcos Highway and then, turn left at Sta. Ines Road. If you are coming from Tanay, you may bike along Boso-Boso Road and just turn right at Sta. Ines Road.

The trail ends at a waterfall. It will take about 20 kilometers from the main road to the falls. Along the way, you will need to cross shallow watercourses at least twelve times before you get there. Don’t ride if heavy rains are expected as flashfloods may occur.

3) Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Nuvali is a mixed-used development just 1 to 1.5 hours away from Metro Manila. Nuvali offers off-road and leisure biking. The first one is a 50-kilometer course intended for the pro. Nonetheless, for the beginners who enjoy the scenic view while biking, the second one is more appropriate. The leisure bike trail is only 30 kilometers in length.

Nuvali encourages bikers to bring their own bike especially for off-road biking. However, gears and bikes are available for rent (Php60/hour) within the premises. Leisure bikers will pass along the other attractions at Nuvali such as a man-made lake where you can feed kois and the sanctuary where you can do bird watching. You will also see lush greeneries and feel the cool air on your face while biking.

The environment is biker-friendly, and the trails are 100% newbie-friendly. You can go solo although bike tours can be arranged at the Fields Clubhouse. Registration is required at the Clubhouse.  

If you are seriously into mountain biking, why don’t you join local bikers’ groups. These groups organize both formal and informal rides. Some groups require a small membership fee, but that’s all worth it because you get to ride in different places within and outside Metro Manila. Anyhow, if you frequent Heroes Trail (Taguig), La Mesa, UP Diliman and Camp Aguinaldo trails, the three trails mentioned above will surely give you a boost to ride outside the metro.

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