Green and healthy weekend
It had been billed as a “healthy” weekend at Nuvali, Ayala Land’s mixed-use development in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and much to our — or at least my — regret, the organizers were “deathly” or “healthily” serious about it. I am a dedicated carnivore, after all, and lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle, completely unsuitable for the activities planned for the two days in our itinerary.
The weekend began with lunch at Bawai’s, a Vietnamese restaurant that had its beginnings in the environs of Tagaytay, established a branch in White Plains, and now has an outpost in Nuvali. Vietnamese cuisine is known for the generous use of vegetables, and the courses served featured all the wholesome goodness of greens — fresh and fried Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce, salad, and grilled prawns with more vegetables on the side.
After a brief rest at Seda Hotel where we were billeted, off we went to the Qualimed Hospital, part of a network of clinics and hospitals around the country co-owned and managed by the Ayala Group. The Nuvali hospital is a 102-bed facility that is notable for its Qualimed Training and Research Center, which provides continuing education and advanced training for health professionals.
A highlight of our trip to Qualimed was an individualized health checkup to find out our BMI or body mass index. I’m sad to say I “failed” the test, and in fact the doctor in charge ordered a second blood pressure test to see if my “score” had improved after the briefing.
Then we were off to Camp N, located in a green preserve along Nuvali’s bike trail where groups can go for team-building activities on various “adventure” courses like elevated walks, trampolines, zip lines and rock climbing. But our real destination was “Green and Patches,” a vegetable farm where residents and visitors could harvest vegetables and other greens — from the bahay kubo produce to spices like tarragon, basil, oregano and siling labuyo; from bananas and papaya to different variants of lettuce.
Though I was more inclined to “tour” the vegetable plots than do any actual harvesting, our group effort mattered because when we got back to Seda, we were to take part in a salad-making contest using the greens we gathered.
Divided into four groups, we first watched the hotel’s chefs demonstrate salad-making techniques as well as ways to mix and match salad dressings. It was fun trying our hand at creating salads (I don’t think you could strictly call what we did “cooking”), but even more fun (because my group lost) was the Japanese-themed dinner that followed.
We media invitees enjoyed a last treat for the day: a massage at the Seda spa after dinner, ushering us to dreamland after a hectic, “healthy” day.
Seda Nuvali is one of a group of hotels found in BGC, Cagayan de Oro, Abreeza in Davao, and Atria in Iloilo, with a recently opened Seda Vertis North in Quezon City, Seda Capitol Central in Bacolod, and soon Seda Lio in El Nido Palawan. The latest news is that with the termination of the management contract of Marriott in Cebu’s Ayala Business Park, the hotel will be transformed into Seda Cebu.
Seda Nuvali prides itself in the special attention it pays to environmental concerns, proof of which is its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, and the Healthy Places Award given by the Urban Land Institute Philippines.
Just look out of any of the huge windows of a Seda hotel room and guests will find a bracing landscape of trees and pasture, and for those facing lake side, the sparkling waters of the four-hectare lake dotted with ducks and cruising boats.
Indeed, nature, and a healthy lifestyle are essentials of the Nuvali experience, which includes the Solenad Mall, schools like Xavier School and Miriam College, BPO facilities, and any of a number of residential developments.
It is, say Ayala Land officials, all part of an overall vision of living with nature while meeting the mundane needs of residents and visitors looking for a convenient getaway that provides at the same time a balance of work and leisure, solace and fulfillment.