Tag Archives: SM Aura

Final Glimpses of the City

Time to add the closing bracket on our experience of Fort Bonifacio.  From our initial First Glimpses of the City much has changed since the first few months of stepping precariously across empty wasteland plots.  However, in recent months the view of our kitchen window has changed little compared to other areas of the Fort. Documenting further progress involving going up to the roof on the 55th floor of our skyscraper. I put this off until the last day. The vertigo feeling is both scary and exhilarating, but mostly scary. Especially alone. But eventually… up I went.

Here is the view from our roof over the window-blocking new building:
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It reveals more vacant grass patches, but not so many anymore. Every patch is really just the footprint of buildings to come.

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Yes, that’s SM Aura in the background. Although the shopping center and cinemas are open, you can see the continuing construction on the tower as the offices are not completed yet. Here’s a close up of Aura, in striking contrast to the older, poorer district immediately behind it:

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Lastly, the last patch of green grass – that WAS planted lawn not wasteland – that used to be our easy access into the center of Fort Bonifacio by foot – is now well on its way to becoming a car park. And that is sad. For me that was the nail in the coffin of my disenchantment in living here. Between the growing traffic, blocked sidewalks, noise, dust and pedestrian hostility, I have reached my proverbial shit limit on the construction story that I have tried to embrace whilst I lived amongst it. Perhaps its just human nature that when we know we need to make a separation from something the protective walls come down and we allow the negative in to help push us away. Or maybe I’m just sick of people trying to run me over!

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SM Aura Revisited

Sept 2012
Construction in Sept 2012

In the usual Sim City style of BGC, SM Aura was built, opened, and packed with people in the blink of an eye.

SM Aura in May 2013
SM Aura in May 2013

I’ve been keeping track on this blog for 2+ years on the rapidly changing face of Fort Bonifacio.  I had planned to do one more post just before we leave which was supposed to include a revisit of the latest significant addition: SM Aura.  However, the building’s opening was uncooperative, with it’s official launch was last Friday led by none other than Sarah Jessica Parker who happens to be in town shooting a new movie.  Therefore, so as not to be the last person in the world to report on this, I am going to do a couple of comparison shots now between last September (as in my blog post then) and today but –fear not– I will do one more construction update next month.

aura crowds

I’ve seen some detailed pictures of the grocery store in the basement, which would probably be our reason for visiting on a regular basis, plus maybe the movie house.  There’s also a Kultura in house, which is good for visitors, and a “sky park” on the roof with some trees and places to eat.  It looks like a pretty spot if it wasn’t too crowded.

I haven’t summoned the courage to go yet, as the crowds were so massive this weekend.  Perhaps I can go on first thing on a rainy Tuesday morning next week, just to say I did?  I’ll save any further comments until I see for myself.

A Development on Development

Ok.  Its been a while.  Over six months I think.  A lot can happen around here in six months, construction-wise at least.  Sim City (or Fort Bonifacio as it is officially known) continues to fly up in front of our eyes.  I’ve never been able to get a number of given construction projects going up at any one time, but its a lot and there appears to be no end in site.  No end, that is, until you count the end of our residency here, which now has a concrete finish.( If you pardon the pun.)  We now tend to separate buildings into those that we expect to see completed and those that we don’t.  Regardless, the city has changed enormously since we arrived in December 2010, and will continue to do up to and after we leave.  I’m sure we wouldn’t even recognize a good deal of it if we came back to visit 5 years on.

Probably the most collosal under development right now is the SM Aura building that started construction a couple of months ago.  Here is what is envisaged:

(Don’t be deceived by the green park-like surroundings.  I wish.  This is strictly artistic licence.  There’s plenty of existing concrete now and more surrounding development planned that certainly doesn’t involve park creation.)

As of today, here is the explosion in a cement factory that’s going on right now.  This photo only takes in the front short side.  The building stretches an entire block. I think it would be good to do a blog revisit of this one before we leave, by which point it could be high enough to see from behind the buildings that are currently obstructing my view:

Sept 2012

Developments continue to be a mix of residential, commercial and retail.  A lot of new buildings are a mix of all three.  Back in March 2012, the restaurant end to High Street hadn’t opened yet and we were still just looking at the construction sidings:

Now the siding is down and a restaurant centre with trees and graduated amphitheater seating has sprung up with more trees than you can see anywhere else in the city.  A central water feature sprays up in the middle courtyard after dark, keeping the kids busy while the parents dine.  One of the best changes I think. 1 year ago it was just a field.

One more…  March 2012:

Today:

Same area Sept 2012. (Pic taken from last block of non-developed/developing land in the area)

Lastly, for consistency, here is the view from my kitchen window in March, and now again in Sept 2012.  Not so much difference at first glance, after all with 75% of the view blocked, most of the action is going on behind.  But if you play “spot the difference” with some of the taller buildings at the back, you can see a different skyline from just six months ago.

March 2012