Notable, extraordinary, defining—these traits elevate a novelty into a milestone. With this being our anniversary issue, we also took the time to look back on some of the most buzz-worthy launches of the past year. Swipe through to find out more about them:
2,000 lights and 700 high-powered water jets are sure-fire jaw-dropping crowd drawers, leading spectacle-loving sightseers to the Fountain at Okada Manila. The world’s largest multicoloured dancing water fountain turns out a marvelous display of beautifully orchestrated water, light, and music performances that takes your breath away. Be spellbound every hour on the hour starting at four in the afternoon until midnight. This US$30-million dollar attraction, which opened in March 2017, gives The Dubai Fountain and The Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas a run for their money.
Do you belong? This by-invitation only private membership club counts the most prominent, influential, and powerful individuals in the fields of business, art, and politics as its members. The diverse and dynamic group of people of this über exclusive club is united by their common interest to continuously learn about culture, art, and business as well as form new friendships and learn from one another in a classy and hip environment. Sounds intimidating and impressive? There’s more. The interiors of Manila House’s 5,000-square metre space at the Net Park Building in Bonifacio Global City was designed by none other than world-renowned interior architect Gert Voorjans. A number of fine restaurants, an indoor and outdoor bar, and a cigar and whisky room make for a delightful gathering. Members of the country’s A-list have been sighted here at exclusive events as well as more intimate functions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and small soirees.
All roads lead to ancient Rome, or rather Bulgari’s take on the magnificent age in its new concept boutique at the Solaire Resort & Casino. Thanks to the creative genius of American architect Peter Marino, the Italian brand’s 56-square metre retail space gives a feel of sauntering through the iters of old Rome while browsing the store’s dazzling selections. Marino’s design concept emphasises the use of marbles and stones typically used in Roman buildings to create key elemts open to modern interpretation, such as the Black Grand Antique marble, a Pantheon-inspired bronze lattice mesh grid, and the Condotti eight-point star. Bulgari’s universal symbol and an embodiment of the popular Latin phrase Roma Caput Mundi (Rome is the capital of the world).
On the outside, it is as sleek and pristine as a luxury liner surging through the ocean waves. On the inside, it features the most elegant and luxurious mall experience in the country. S Maison at the Conrad Manila offers a number of retail brands and dining establishments that can’t be found anywhere else. One is spoilt for choice at the extensive array of shops and boutiques, while numerous dining establishments offer a variety of cuisines to tempt even the most capricious of appetites. Catching the latest flicks at the cinema also becomes a comfortable experience thanks to the plush recliners that make one feel like watching a movie at home. And, when the sun goes down, one can easily cross over to the Conrad for an excellent nightcap.
Allow yourself to be bewitched by this locally crafted brew whose name takes after the Filipino word for a supernatural creature with the ability to enchant people. The nomenclature is intentional. For brewmaster Josh Karten and Engkanto Brewery president, founder, and Generation T lister Ian Paradies, beer is a drink one usuallygrabs when one wants to relax after a long day and is a staple in every gathering. The duo’s passion for beer culture fuels the demand for this craft beer fast rising in popularity. Its five beer variants, brewed with high quality and natural ingredients, are as captivating as the supernatural power of the brand’s namesake.
Wear great fashion and help local communities as well. This is the concept behind the brand Fini, created by best friends Cris Soriano, Nina Paradies, and Sofia Aboitiz. The three young fashionistas and ‘passionistas’ revive fading traditions and cultivate local talent through the brand. Born out of the trio’s love for all things Philippine and Southeast Asian, Fini is a creative mix of each woman’s experiences from travelling the world. Actively seeking out local partners—artisans and creators—to turn their exceptional concepts into reality, every Fini piece has natural materials, bold colours, unique textures, and modern takes on traditional silhouettes. But more than just featuring unique styles from exotic locales, Fini also gives back: a portion of every sale goes to different charities throughout the country. It’s fashion with a cause.
Remember the vibe of Old Malate: hip with a distinctively youthful aura? Live it now at the once notorious zones of Makati’s old downtown district—Poblacion. After cleaning up its act, it is now one of the most vibrant places to wine, dine, shop, and unwind. And why not? Prices are fair and the food scene diverse and excellent. Food parks like The Social (pictured here) along Ebro St add to the excitement. New restaurants specialising in different global cuisines—Bar Mathilde, Bucky’s, Pura Vida, and Boteco Brasil—tempt even the most capricious appetites. Small ateliers offer edgy and bespoke fashions; and its bars now offer a wide range of choices from fine vintages and locally crafted beers to excellent coffees for the caffeine-driven foodies. It’s a trendy place with a little something for everyone.
Can’t find where your eco-adventure loving friends have gone? They’re most likely in LiO, Ayala Land’s first tourism estate and integrated resort community in El Nido, Palawan. More than just a resort development, LiO is Ayala Land’s way of promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth. Only 55 per cent of this 3 25-hectare area will be developed into commercial establishments and residential communities; the rest will house nature reserves with forests, mangroves, wetlands, and waterways. Leisure travellers will find LiO a haven of relaxation and tranquillity. Aside from three theme hotels, watch out for the rise of Kalye Artisano, an artists’ village that will showcase crafts and creations of local artists and host different forms of visual and performing arts, as well as Shops@LiO, a retail and dining space by the beach. Those who purchase property here aren’t just making an investment, but are committing to a lifestyle that will bring the concept of sustainable development to life.
Bellas Artes Outpost
From the recreated Spanish village of Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in Bataan, the contemporary art space Bellas Artes founded by Generation T lister Jam Acuzar finds a pied-à-terre in a 300-square-metre space at Karrivin Plaza in Makati, closer to the city crowd. Housing a salon, a gallery, and an office, the name of the non-profit exhibition space was extended to Bellas Artes Outpost, which differentiates it from its origin. Furthermore, Acuzar and artistic director Diana Campbell Betancourt choose a visiting artist to exhibit and curate a month-long programme of activities that support the message of the artist’s work at The Outpost, which Acuzar envisions to be a space for learning and collaboration between creative minds.
Like its quirky name taken from a Spanish onomatopoeia for the chirping of a bird, PIOPIO soars high as a new style of Filipino fashion. Denim with vibrant patterns of inabel (handwoven looms from Ilocos) and strikingly beautiful bohemian pieces with traditional patterns—PIOPIO clearly knows how to incorporate the country’s rich culture into modern, youthful designs. Filipino fabrics take the spotlight as co-founders Paloma Urquijo Zobel, Therese Tiosejo, and Ina Estacio showcase the underappreciated talents of local artisans and the seemingly forgotten beauty of local textiles. It is a label geared towards independent and free-spirited men and women who live in the moment yet appreciate good craftsmanship and fine materials. The brand has a pop-up shop at The Social and is g earing up to move to Palawan once Kalye Artisano, a small village dedicated to the arts at the Ayala Land development LiO, opens later this year.
A regular gin contains an average of 10 botanicals, but Josemari Cuervo, owner and brew master of Crow’s Craft Brewery, decided to go the extra mile. Crow’s Gin, the first Philippine craft gin launched earlier this year, has a whopping 23 botanicals from different parts of the world, producing a one-of-a-kind taste. Cuervo has been brewing his own beers since 2010 in an attempt to create the perfect flavour for his discerning taste, and admits that the unique flavours of his spirits and beers do not fit everyone’s palates. After all, pleasing the masses has never been his state-of-mind when he founded the brand four years ago. Although two more gin variants are on the pipeline, Cuervo maintains that Crow’s will always be a limited batch brewery focused on quality over quantity. Staying artisanal is where it’s at and always will be.
Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar
A potent mix of magnificent steaks and exquisitely crafted cocktails have drawn the most discriminating diners to Raging Bull since it opened at Shangri-La at the Fort in September 2016. Steak lovers will relish the extensive array of premium quality dry-aged beef from sustainable farms in Australia, including the world-renowned David Blackmore wagyu. With interiors that are a throwback to the New York of the roaring ‘20s, this restaurant is also a real feast for the eyes. Its bar is justly popular for its uniquely creative cocktails whipped up by Chief Mixologist Ulysse Jouanneaud who also prides himself on distinctive variations of the classic Negroni pepped up with artisanal liqueurs all made in-house. If that’s not mouth-watering to you, we don’t know what is.
The A Institute
Trust Drs Aivee and Z Teo to bring out the best in you. Their brainchild, The A Institute, was established as a hub of specialised clinics to do just that. Thanks to a team of internationally trained surgeons and doctors who adhere to world-class standards in patient care and safety as well as the most advanced aesthetic technology, patients can expect personalised care in every treatment they receive in the Institute’s six primary areas: Aesthetic Surgery, Orthosports, Hair, Snoring, and Slimming. With walls lined with fine artwork and an ambience that exudes a warm, welcoming, and relaxing vibe, patients are made to feel like they have been personally welcomed in by the owners—putting all qualms aside and relaxing before their treatments of choice.
Lovers of everything ’90s rejoice! This new addition at Uptown Bonifacio Global City is the perfect place for your generation. From the menu down to its music, Yes Please is all about the beloved decade. Sip drinks named after ’90s icons like Devon Sawa, Carmen Sandiego, Drakkar Noir, and even Legends of the Hidden Temple. Treat your ears to hits by Coldplay and Nirvana playing from the DJ’s booth, reminisce the decade’s famous movie quotes from a telephone on the wall, or just chill and play foosball with your friends. With its 140-guest limit, Yes Please’s vibrant scene is well-populated by a mix of locals and expatriates, a heady blend that makes hanging out so much more interesting. Cheers to the good old days—well, not that old!
In modern luxury retail, the boutique should be as impressive as the merchandise. Exactly what the new Louis Vuitton store at The Shoppes in Solaire Resort & Casino followed to a T. The store’s façade is made of carved aluminium and Louro Faia wood panels with the brand’s universal monogram flowers. Its interiors boast of high-quality wood, leathers, fabrics, and natural stones. It also houses new product categories such as the Men’s RTW line, Gifting Collection, and other limited edition products.