Unmasking the beauty of Bacolod
Vast swaths of brown land, sprawling sugarcane plantations, and occasionally, a few sizeable houses at the heart of these large farm tracts.
It was a refreshing sight, mesmerizing and calming even, particularly for this urbanite who’s used to maneuvering within the dense clusters of towering concrete buildings, stacked flats, and massive shopping complexes—not to mention the horrendous traffic in the metro.
A few more minutes on the road coming from the Bacolod-Silay Airport, one finally gets that rural flavor—small community bakeries, homegrown dessert and pastry shops, and eateries offering the authentic chicken inasal, local stores that had probably been the family business for generations, and well preserved heritage houses, evoking a distinctly European feel.
And finally vestiges of modernity: one or two malls and hotels that we have in Manila, blending seamlessly with the local businesses that continued to thrive alongside its national competitors.
I had been to Bacolod a few times, but each visit unmasks something new and modern, making me wanting to stay even longer than necessary—if only to revel in what, for me, is an ideal blend of old world charm and modern urban comfort.
And such was the case again when we flew to Bacolod late last month to tour the two townships being developed by property giant Megaworld Corp. One is The Upper East, a 34-ha township located in the eastern district of the city and just a few blocks away from the impressive structure of the Bacolod Government Center. The other is the 53-ha Northill Gateway, located along the new Circumferential road in the northern part of the city, where the famous Sugar Road was built.
Similar to its townships in Metro Manila and other key areas across the country, these masterplanned townships will be home to upscale residential condominiums, malls, commercial centers, mixed-use buildings, state-of-the-art office towers, hotels, parks and facilities such as a transport hub.
Indeed, the plans seem promising. A short tour of the Upper East township site was a showcase of massive, probably centuries-old acacia trees, most of which will be preserved and will line the major road networks within the community, according to Megaworld officials.
A lone bagon, a kind of metal carrier used in the olden days to transport the sugarcane to a milling site, sits on one corner of the planned township, also to be preserved, we were told, and showcased as a centerpiece of The Upper East. The land where this township will rise used to be owned by Bacolod-Murcia Milling Company (BMMC).
An afternoon stroll in the Northill township meanwhile led us to the recently completed 15-ha Forbes Hill, a highly exclusive, upscale residential community, reportedly the most premium development to date in Bacolod City.
Rachelle Peñaflorida, vice president for sales and marketing of Megaworld Bacolod, told touring media that they have already completed the land development for Forbes Hill and that they are now ready to turn over the lots to their buyers. Most of the facilities at the Forbes Hill clubhouse, meant to offer a holistic lifestyle to its future residents, have already been completed as well.
Across Forbes Hill is the country’s first Las Vegas-inspired welcome marker, meant to showcase the colorful revelry of its famed Masskara Festival and mirror the increasing vibrancy and competitiveness of Bacolod. And at its entrance are the giant fountain and garden, set against a stunning backdrop: unobstructed views of Mt. Mandalagan.
What struck me is that while Megaworld is unveiling these modern, iconic townships, replete with all the trappings of high society and necessities of the urbanite, they also offer a much sought sanctuary, an enclave that affords you gorgeous views of nature, a fresh and calming environment where you can simply while the time away as if you’re detached from the civilized world.
Here is that seamless blend of the modern and rural, the old and new, conducive for anyone raising a family, for those who value their well being and even for those wanting to retire in such a beautiful tranquil community without missing out on modern life’s wonders.
There is no doubt that Megaworld will be changing the landscape of Bacolod once these two townships are completed. And it’s one thing I’ll be looking forward to when I go back to Bacolod a few years from now, to unmask its beauty anew.
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