6 relaxing things to do during your stopover at Nuvali Park

If you’re on your way to Tagaytay, or on your way back to Manila while traversing the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road, you will most likely pass by Nuvali Park.

This expansive area is designed to be an integrated self-sustaining eco-city, where various residential communities, commercial and hospitality establishments, as well as schools can be conveniently situated while also highlighting the beauty and importance of nature.

The highlight of Nuvali Park is a four-hectare multi-functional lake. This man-made water feature not on beautifies the park but it also serves as a catch basin for rainwater and a water reservoir. It also functions as a fire reserve and as a means for alternative transport within the park.

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

In this sprawling green space, motorists can take a break from their journey to rest and and find some fun activities to occupy their time while allowing nature’s healing touch to rejuvenate them.

Take a stroll. With all the lush greenery and tree-lined designated walking trails around the park, it would be a shame not to put on your comfy shoes and go for a leisurely ramble. It would be an enjoyable way to achieve your 10,000 steps, wouldn’t it?

Work up a sweat. If a more strenuous type of activity is more to your liking, you can always go for a a bike ride around the park (bring your own or rent one at the Lake Evozone for Php60/hour. More adventurous bikers can take a crack at the 50-kilometer mountain bike trails which may provide scenic views of Mount Makiling, Laguna de Bay and Tagaytay Ridge. The post-workout buzz will surely be worth the exertion. Be sure to bring your own safety gear (helmets and pads) as well wear closed shoes. Register at the Evo-living Center concierge with a valid ID.

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

Go bird-watching. Nestled within the park is a 17-kilometer buffer zone and open area where migratory birds and other creatures make their home. It’s best to time your bird-watching activity between 6am to 9am or 4pm to 6pm when these creatures are most active and the sun is not so hot. Bring your binoculars so you can watch the birds up close without disturbing them.

Take a boat ride. Take advantage of the awesome views afforded by a scenic boat ride on the lake for Php100 per person.

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

Dine al fresco. Here, you can savor a delightful meal while in the great outdoors to refuel you for the rest of your journey. You can have a lakeside meal at one of the restaurants at Nuvali’s Solenad 1, or nibble as you browse through the food stalls every weekend during the Nuvali Mercato Centrale weekend food market.

Feed the fish. The lake is also home to a pod of koi fish who will gamely rise to the water surface for your entertainment when you drop some fish food their way.

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

Clearly, a stopover at Nuvali will give you a respite from the stresses of your travel and provide you with happy memories that you can take with you when you move on to your next destination.

I wish you safe travels, dear reader!

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

Nuvali is located along the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road, Bgy. Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna. For updates on its events and activities, visit its website or follow Nuvali on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Refreshing garden dining at Antipolo’s Crescent Moon Cafe

With all the mishaps that have been happening in the metro lately, I’ve been looking for an escape where the fam and I can just relax and enjoy being together.

As luck would have it, a Sunday errand in Tanay afforded Hubby, my son #ExhibitB and myself the opportunity to hie ourselves off to a haven I’ve long been wanting to visit: Crescent Moon Cafe in Antipolo.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Here, my boys and I were able to enjoy a leisurely brunch, with a bit of nature and art appreciation thrown in.

Lush green getaway from the busy metro

After a week of peering into the screens of our laptops and mobile devices for most of the preceding week, I’m glad that we were able to visit a green space housed in this restaurant’s grounds.

We were surrounded by verdant trees, shrubs and plants, accented by eclectic artworks and the sounds of birdsong.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Green spaces have also been shown to improve cognitive ability and social behaviors among children, so parents would be happy to note that an outdoor play area for kids will soon be available inside the premises.

Aside from the soothing sight of greenery, the sound of cascading water into the koi pond is calming to the soul. There, large and colorful carp gracefully glide through the water or break to the surface for a feeding or two. Who would have thought that this relaxing feature was borne from a World War II bomb crater?

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Throughout the grounds, there are whimsical touches of nature and art, especially in the outdoor handwashing area and washroom.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Walking around Crescent Moon Cafe’s grounds is sure to bring about a feeling of peace and serenity that my boys and I need to refresh and revitalize ourselves for the week ahead.

A restaurant that houses a pottery shop

Nestled within this garden setting is a screened dining hall furnished with colorful tables and chairs and decorated with regional and ethnic accents.

In keeping with IATF guidelines, the restaurant is operating at a maximum of fifty percent of its usual capacity. All adult guests are required to present vaccination cards and sign in via StaySafe PH for contact tracing. Guests are also required to submit to a temperature check, wear facemasks inside the premises and maintain physical distance from other diners.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Off to one side is a display shop of various houseware pottery crafted by stoneware ceramic artist Lanelle Abueva-Fernando. Here, guests can opt to buy unique handmade items such as serving platters, bowls, mugs, jars and other housewares and decor.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Of course, the main draw of Crescent Moon Cafe is its food. It serves Southeast Asian cuisine made with fresh and local ingredients from the same recipes used by the founder Bey Fernando when he started the restaurant back in 1997.

These include:

Beef Rendang Rice Meal (Php340). The Malay-inspired dish made with tender beef pieces slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices, served with a cup of red rice.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Red Rice (Php50/cup). A healthier steamed rice variant rich in iron and vitamins and which makes for a great companion to various Southeast Asian dishes.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Lemongrass Pork Belly (Php420). Pork belly slow-cooked in soy lemongrass broth and served with picked vegetables.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Fragrant Peanut Chicken (Php390). Boneless chicken pieces braised in peanut sauce with a few mild spices.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Suman at Mangga (Php150). Two pieces of white suman accompanied by a slice of ripe mango, a variant of the Mango Sticky Rice in Southeast Asian cooking.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Drinks. We paired these dishes with two glasses of sweetened lemon iced tea and a glass of sweetened calamansi juice with malunggay extract.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Iced Tea (Php100)
Crescent Moon Cafe
Moringa Calamansi Juice (Php100)

With this introduction to Southeast Asian cuisine, we were able to expand #ExhibitB’s gustatory horizons beyond his usual lutong-bahay and fast-food favorites.

Crescent Moon Cafe
Crescent Moon Cafe

Spaces for al fresco dining, special events or large-scale celebrations

Crescent Moon Cafe has expanded its operations to include a new al fresco dining area called The Sunken Garden, which provides diners with an open-air space with a full view of the koi pond.

Crescent Moon Cafe
The Sunken Grden
Crescent Moon Cafe
Venue for large parties

Above it is a large hall which can accommodate a large number of people, perfect for events and large parties.

Crescent Moon Cafe also has its own watering hole and creative space called The Glass Bar where guests can get hands-on with various arts and crafts. It can also serve as a venue for seminars, workshops, meetings or private events.

Crescent Moon Cafe
The Glass Bar
Crescent Moon Cafe
Screened Cabana

A screened cabana can also serve as a venue for more intimate gatherings.

Planning a sojourn to the east of Manila anytime soon to escape the stress and hassles of city life? Do include a relaxing stopover at Crescent Moon Cafe to enjoy the surroundings and the good food. Be sure to book your table before you go!

Crescent Moon Cafe and Studio Pottery is located along Sapang Buho Rd. Brgy. Dalig, Antipolo City, open Wednesdays to Sundays from 9am to 5pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 82345724.

For more details about its facilities and offers, visit its website or follow it on Facebook or Instagram.

The importance of urban green spaces

Feeling tired or stressed? Unable to concentrate or feel at ease? Overcome with exhaustion or anxiety?

If the travails of life in the metro is making you feel out of sorts, it may be time to go green… that is, go to green spaces.

Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces

What are urban green spaces?

Urban green spaces are areas reserved for parks, plant life and other kinds of natural environment.

These areas provide city dwellers with places for picnics, leisurely walks, and other forms of outdoor recreational activities. They also serve as areas where people can escape the heat, air and noise pollution, as well as enjoy some peace and quiet.

Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces

Green spaces also serve to beautify the urban setting, adding welcome touches of green and other colors of nature, thereby integrating the natural environment with the built environment.

Why are urban green spaces important?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends universal access to green spaces, specifically that there should be a green space measuring at least 0.5 hectares at a linear distance of no more than 300 meters from every home.

Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces

This is because multiple studies have shown that green spaces help reduce stress, encourage social cohesion and physical activity, as well promote mental and physical health.

Other studies also point to increasing urban green spaces helping to stave off premature death.

Green spaces have also been shown to improve cognitive ability and social behaviors among children, particularly in the areas of attention restoration, memory, competence, socialization, self-discipline and stress moderation.

Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces

Increasing green spaces in cities is also seen to improve urban biodiversity and sustainability. With more plant species included planned green spaces attract birds and other fauna which help control pest infestations.

They also reduce the effects of Urban Heat Islands (UHIs), defined as metropolitan areas which are significantly warmer than their surrounding rural areas due to the daily activities of urban populations concentrated in a small area.

Green spaces in Metro Manila

Sadly, over the past several decades, the metro’s urban planners haven’t prioritized the provision for green spaces.

In 2019, netizen BA Racoma culled data from the Philippine Statistics Authority and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority to come up with a map indicating the few remaining green spaces in Metro Manila.

Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces

These include: La Mesa Ecopark, Balara Filters Park, Arboretum Forest, Rizal Park Nayong Pilipino and Muntinlupa Sunken Garden.

Other netizens also identified Las Piñas Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area and the Arroceros Park in Manila as green spaces endangered by proposed real estate developments.

What you can do

If you haven’t visited the metro’s green spaces, it’s high time that you do so. This way, you can experience their health benefits and appreciate their aesthetic value first-hand.

You may also opt to patronize establishments that incorporate green areas in their design in the form of gardens or mini-parks.

Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces
Green Spaces

You may also write to your local government unit (LGU) officials about developing green spaces in your community. Also, in every local or national election, do check out the candidate’s stand on the environment and public health to see how developing urban green spaces may be included in their future policies and projects.

Urban green spaces have been shown to greatly contribute to public health and the city’s beautification. It would be a shame if these areas dwindle and disappear, leaving the metro’s residents bereft of their various benefits.

Plant pictures taken at Rockwell The Grove in Pasig City.