It’s almost inconceivable to think that many of today’s bustling townships were once barren parcels of land.
Considering I’ve actually witnessed how some of these mixed use districts have been built from ground up, how they have transformed in just a decade’s time to become modern sophisticated communities now humming with so much life, noise and activity, it still amazes me to see an idle land, left desolate for years after outliving its usefulness, reborn into something new.
Take the case of McKinley Hill, the largest Megaworld township in Fort Bonifacio.
As a business reporter years back, I would find myself driving across the metro almost every single day of the work week, covering press briefings, conferences, events, and chasing government officials or top executives for an exclusive story or two. While I don’t relish those hours I spent stuck in the metro traffic, hustling from one city to another and haggling for a parking spot, I did get to witness the phenomenal changes in the metro landscape like those in McKinley Hill.
Admittedly, there was barely a spattering of buildings within the sprawling 50-hectare expanse of McKinley Hill a decade ago, but the frenetic pace of continuing construction activity year after year carried a promising proposition to homebuyers, investors and businesses: Megaworld’s signature offering of a live-work-play-learn lifestyle. And year after year, I did get to hear news about the property giant either launching a new upscale residential project or retail area, unveiling innovations for this township, or announcing the opening of its latest office building
I witnessed a more rapid, dramatic transformation, however, when I started frequenting this township about five years ago, with the completion of more towering modern buildings and impressive structures that to me, seemed to complement each other—set amid a backdrop of a beautiful township inspired and influenced by the rich traditions and cultural heritage of Europe.
Beyond its promise
By the looks of it, Megaworld clearly went beyond its live-work-play-learn promise on this one.
Today, 15 years since its development started, McKinley Hill has become one of the biggest townships in Metro Manila offering to discerning urbanites a uniquely diverse but complete, unparalleled lifestyle experience, while presenting a myriad of opportunities for businesses and companies that have set up shop here.
That’s because McKinley Hill brings together clusters of upscale, highly exclusive residences, premium grade offices, a world-class sports facility, a host of institutions, as well as dining and retail areas that offer a healthy, sustainable mix of international and local brands within one vibrant community.
Imagine this: McKinley Hill is home to 36 upscale residential condominiums and one premier village that capture the cultural essence of modern and traditional Europe—and yet, I didn’t get feeling that I’m stuck in one dense cluster of concrete buildings since the towers are strategically placed across this township. From afar, these well secured Italian- and Spanish-inspired luxury residences are truly a sight to behold, exuding a distinct charm with its architecture and design.
And it actually makes sense to live here too.
A few steps from these residential condominiums are some esteemed educational institutions that are suitable for your kids: you have Abba’s Orchard, Chinese International School, Korean International School, MINT College, and Enderun Colleges, all applying global learning standards and employing teachers from different parts of the globe.
Walk a little further, you’d find yourself being dwarfed by towering world class, sustainable offices where you can work for any of the local and multinational companies based in McKinley Hill, including Accenture, Bayer, Fujifilm, Samsung, among many others. Even the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business group, had set up its base here at the Commerce and Industry Plaza (CIP) Building.
Impressively, you’ll also find in McKinley Hill the first LEED Gold-certified BPO office tower in the country: 8 Campus Place.
What even makes it such a better and more attractive location is the fact that a 14-ha area for offices is accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), which means its locators or occupiers would enjoy a host of fiscal and non fiscal incentives. Having covered Peza as a reporter, I know all too well that these perks such as tax exemptions are most sought by many foreign investors as these provide firms a competitive advantage for their businesses.
But it’s not all about work here. When coverages and meetings bring me to McKinley Hill, I often overstay since it’s easy for me to find a coffee shop where I can finish my stories and beat my daily deadlines.
And if I’m feeling a little hungry, I can satisfy my cravings for practically any kind of cuisine I can think of—Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese, and Filipino, among many others—at any time of the day.
You’ll actually find here 172 commercial establishments, comprised of 93 restaurants, 49 retail shops, 30 services shops, and five cinemas. So finding a scrumptious meal to fill your tummies, running your errands, or satisfying your penchant for shopping won’t be a problem at all as these abound and can be found at the Venice Grand Canal Mall, which home to the Philippines’ most romantic mall, the Venice Piazza, and the Tuscany retail strip.
If you want to burn those calories, let out some steam, or just take a breather, best to take a walk at the scenic Venice Piazza, which is reminiscent of the pigeon-filled Piazza San Marco and the St. Mark’s Square in Venice.
You can bring your family and friends here so you can all marvel at the intricate details, warm pastel colors of the reimagined Grand Canal at the grandiose Venice Grand Canal Mall, replete with the romantic vibe, the gondolas, serenades, and gondoliers—hands down, one of the most Instagrammable spots in the metro today, and a definite antidote to the stresses of urban living. Of course, you have a supermarket here, state-of-the-art cinemas, a fitness center, and retail areas where you can shop your heart out.
Finding, doing more
Many others like the European vibe at the McKinley Hill so much that they chose to celebrate their milestones here. And for that you have the likes of Blue Leaf Events Place, a modern Asian classic structure nestled at the heart of a thriving business hub. Three halls that can serve as a blank canvass that you can transform into however you wish it offer an ideal backdrop for any occasion: you have the Banyan Pavilion, which has a capacity of 300 guests; Silk Pavilion, 250 guests; and Jade Pavilion, 200. Even Enderun Colleges offers an Asian colonial-inspired architecture for its events facilities with contemporary interiors and integrated technologies.
Yet again, it doesn’t end here. McKinley Hill is also home to the embassies of Italy, South Korea, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates, while sports enthusiasts will surely find themselves heading over to the 15,000-sqm McKinley Hill Stadium, the only full scale football stadium in Fort Bonifacio that adheres to international football standards. This massive stadium a capacity of 1,750.
The massiveness of what you can find, do and enjoy at the McKinley Hill is overwhelming to say the least—a heady experience particularly for a first-time guest. Truly, Megaworld’s claim of having the most complete township in terms of features, retail and dining establishments, investment options, institutions, offices, entertainment hotspots in McKinley Hill presents a more cultural and diverse life with choices reminiscent to experiences in European culture.
And I think that’s the beauty of this township: there’s a certain flexibility to it—one will not find it restraining nor confining, rather here, you can very well chart your own path, find prime opportunities for personal and career growth, and best of all, live the modern life you want and deserve.