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:


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

..and now in further Development News….

As you may well have come to realise, living here is much like living in a real life Sim City game.  With buildings and roads being added and the city changing form almost literally on a daily basis.  If I don’t wander down a certain street for a while, a patch of grass has gone and a building or cark park is going up.

The original shopping street here – High Street – built when there was nothing else but wasteland, is now surrounded by building.  Phase 3 of High Street is nearing completion with tantalizing heads of newly-planted palm trees poking over the construction fence.  Promises of “Blankets of Green”  don’t ring really true.  You mean a pedestrian path with trees in front of shops, right?  But…I’ll take it!  Bring on the trees..all six of them! ;o)  I’m looking forward to another stretch of pedestrian area to avoid traffic and hopefully there might be a nearer supermarket in there too….  More pics when it opens.

Construction Update

For everyone dying to know the growth rate on that giant building across the street….an update….

We have gone from this in December…

To the last update in February….

To this in September…..

and according to their publicly posted plans they have another 7 floors to go…. Goodbye view of the mountains…goodbye 50% of my view altogether!  Note how there’s another building sneaking in on the right hand side which is working away at removing 25% of the remaining view.  That’s going to be a tall one too – a bank I think.  Every day and every night the building goes on and on and on…….

Construction Mania

I may have mentioned before — several times in fact — that there’s a lot of construction going on around here. Running the danger of boring everyone rigid on what has become a bit of an obsession…I thought I’d do a post specifically on the subject. Its really compelling to me that I am in a city that is literally growing up around me faster than I can keep track. There are probably as many as two dozen buildings in various stages of construction just in my immediate vicinity. And I really do mean in various stages…from the very first ground breaking, through to the final stages of fitout and everything in between. On my walk to the store this morning, I took the following photos, just by pivoting on my heel from one spot:

First groundbreaking. Two weeks ago this was just open space that we cut through on the way to the store. Now it looks like the first hole for a new building is being dug.

Here are some more taller examples. Note the sheer number of cranes and the blue/green netting everywhere that protects people below from falling materials. Sometime the city just looks half unwrapped to me:

I could go on, but you’ve probably seen enough!

This used to be the US air force base for many years, since before the second world war. It was called Fort McKinley and has been renamed Fort Bonifacio…or the Fort… and from this the marketing wiz guys have created “Bonifacio Global City” or BGC. In the last five years or so, they have taken flat open land with a few remanents of old miltary buildings into a giant plan for a new “global city”. As its the first really planned city of its kind here, its a big deal, as other areas of the city have just sprawled organically with ensuing disastrous consequences. The planners here are promising better. If you can stand to listen to the saccharin language of this promo video (you will gag) it actually gives an overview of whats going. Grab a barf bag and watch this:

The most significant building of this whole production to me is the one that is going up directly across the street. Looks like its going to be a very tall combination of residential space, office space and retail units. When we arrived in late December it was two stories high and I couldn’t figure out why the windows were all slanted. Two months and 5 stories later, its obvious that the first six floors are just going to be parking and that the “sloping windows” are doing so because of the garage ramps they are building.

Here’s a couple of comparison pics:

This was back in December.

Here is now (late Feb):

The significance to me is two fold:

1. Once this thing hits about 15 floors 50% of my kitchen view is going to be obliterated. Fortunately there are other windows and other directions, and the view of the golf course is guaranteed to remain. So its with fascination and regret that I watch it grow

2. Its the closest building to me. I can see it from my desk as I work all day and I watch the guys crawling all over it like ants….doing what they do from 6am when I wake until at least 9pm at night…on and on… From my soundproof window it just looks ants on a picnic table, but if I crack the window just an inch the noise is overwhelming. The hours and the work are brutal.

I have the luxury of being able to take an academic interest in all of this, while they labor on in brutal heat for little money. But these are also valuable jobs and will hopefully create an infrastructure that will bring more wealth and jobs in the long run. Some of the buildings are proudly declaring themselves LEED compliant, which is a good thing, but the city still has a long way to go to save its own environment. In the meantime, the building goes on…

First Glimpses of the City

Its Christmas Eve and we went out for a walk in around Fort Bonafacio, our area of Manila.  Then came back and had a swim in the pool.  Its cool (for Manila) – only about 75 degrees today I would guess, but still pretty humid.  Lots of smog too.  Here are some first pics from our apartment windows.  I tried to take a few long and closer shots to give a sense of perspective.  The fuzziness you see are a mixture of the smog, photographing through tinted windows and the reflection of the glass…so sorry for the quality…but it should give you some idea:

Here’s a long shot of the living room from the dining room.  Everything is sparsely furnished until our stuff gets here:

A little closer.  Note the floor to ceiling glass windows:

Sitting on the sofa and looking out, the golf course takes up a lot of the closer view.  The large very attractive pool is down below on the left.  To the right, the towers of the financial district (Makati).   You can also see the sea in the far middle horizon, but the camera can’t pick up that detail:

Crisper pictures to be had out of my kitchen window, as I am not battling the sun on the glass so much.  (Panoramic views all round from every room):