5 Ways Have A Comfortable Hotel Stay

Vacationers often don’t know what to look for in a hotel room.
When a booking a place to stay, it’s best to look into it and find the best alternative in case something you aren’t satisfied with the hotel’s service. Nothing is more annoying and uncomfortable than looking into vacant rooms during the busy season.

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Photo by Seda Nuvali on Agoda

You can research on factors to consider when choosing a hotel. It helps you filter the available accommodations in your selected vacation spots. Places in the city like hotels in Taguig is close to bistros, clubs, and shopping malls. They are perfect substitutes if you want a break from sceneries and landscapes.

A comfortable hotel stay is all about research. Here are some factors to think about when choosing a hotel.

1. Don’t rely on photos.

Many hotels use the photos of nearby attractions and surrounding areas to cover the lack of hotel’s photos. There aren’t enough to show the contents of the room, hotel facilities as well as breakfast served.

The focus of the hotel’s site and listing must be its room and maintenance. Though it’s nice to have information regarding the area of the hotel, it should not be the primary focus. It sways customers to make informed decisions on their accommodations.

Some websites feature the same photos because they use the images of others. Hotel staff and management didn’t take these photos. Instead, they trick customers by capturing their rooms using fisheye cameras. These cameras make a tiny room appear larger than it is.

It’s important to check the full details of a room to understand its dimensions and inclusions. Once you find a hotel to check in, look at rating websites showing the photographs taken by hotel guests. These are realistic and unedited unlike the photos from the hotel.

2. Use Google Maps.

Before booking a hotel, navigate the area using Google Maps. It provides a complete picture of the place even if you’ve never been in the area. Enter the street name of the hotel to get a glimpse of the area.

Google Maps has two dynamic features – the Street View Photosphere and Directions. The street view shows you how the neighborhood looks like while directions button gives several transportation methods to reach your destination.

Google Maps provides an idea of the neighborhood you select. You may end up in the busy part of Mumbai, Brooklyn, or near the pubs of Amsterdam. Planning helps you look for options and relocate even if you already have the best and most comfortable accommodation in the city.

3. Read advertisements and pamphlets.

If management hands you a paper to sign, read everything before marking it. You never know how much the hotel charges on cancellation, additional guests, and other staff.

Read the fine print before swiping your credit card. Check the hotel cancellation policy to avoid incurring headaches once your credit card bill comes. What about your breakfast meals? Are they part of the price of the room or do you need to settle additional fees for it?

Most of all, think of the taxes. States and nations have different tax laws. Some cities collect taxes because it isn’t part of the room rate. Some hotel booking sites also don’t include the value-added tax on their listings.

4. Check reviews from past guests.

Reviews from real people tell you what to look for when booking a hotel. People write about the hotel’s level of cleanliness, quality of food, service, and its surroundings. Most of all, they write about their experience to attract people to read their reviews.

These content help you figure the advantages and disadvantages from through several perspectives. Combine them to come up with your analysis if it’s worth staying in the place or not.

Besides checking reviews, online testimonials on the hotel’s official website gives you an idea of how they treat their customers. The customized packages, shuttle service, and other offers show how they value their customers.

5. Upgrade to a better room in a cheaper hotel.

Don’t sacrifice your comfort for exclusivity. It’s no use to have your family fitting in a small space. Why not settle for a less exclusive hotel giving a cheaper upgrade?

You can settle in a larger room without overspending or going over your budget. Upgraded rooms are preferable than standard rooms. Still, you must pay attention to the size of the room, offers, and signs of renovation.

To choose the right hotel, think about your budget. Each one has a standard room and a presidential suite. Pay attention to their prices on the website as they show the lowest price for the standard rooms.

The bathroom and the windows affect your convenience and influence the price of the room. Room rates are higher when you have a view of the pool or the sea. Before settling into one, note that sites will show the same images for these rooms. Some photos are the same even when suites are different.

Don’t be fooled by pretty pictures. Consider these tips and check other sites before booking your family’s room.

A comfortable hotel stay doesn’t depend on the pillows, sheets, and mattress type. If you want to enjoy your vacation, you must be smart about hotel booking. Don’t believe all the photos you see on the site. Explore cheaper hotels to get a better deal on bigger rooms. Read reviews from guests and customers. Most of all, don’t sign or pay anything unless you are clear about their conditions.

Learn more about the neighborhood to get a feel for the hotel’s location and its locals. All of these tips help you enjoy your staycation.

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Leisure Living: The Five Main Perks of Living by the Sea “

 

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“Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.”-Hermann Broch

Have you ever wondered what a perpetual holiday or vacation would look like?
Well, for starters, it is a home by the sea and waking up to the glorious sunrise basking over the gentle and serene ocean ripples. It is having your early morning cup of joe by the sea and inhaling the salty sea breeze and the scent of summer. It is going to sleep at night with the sound of cascading waves to keep you company. Furthermore, it is being at peace with the fact that you are to wake up to this scenario every single day of your life.

It sounds like an idyllic plan, is it not? Unfortunately, while living by the sea affords you the kind of leisure and relaxation that most traditional homeowners live without, most developers offering seaside living would offer their properties at an exorbitant premium. However, while you might be paying quite a pricey down payment for these kinds of properties, know that you are not only paying for the piece of land and house you will be residing in. In one way or another, you are also paying for a life that would seldom need a vacation. After all, with the ocean just a few meters away from your property, do you really need to go elsewhere just for a breather? Once you have decided on settling by the sea, you would no sooner than expect that you would never be missing the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolitan. With palm and coconut trees surrounding you, sand on your feet and the smell of salty air, you would find yourself not missing the tall skyscrapers, traffic onslaughts and pollutions of a progressive city.

If seaside living has been something you have been contemplating about, consider Anvaya Cove Bataan. In any case, below is a list of the generous perks seaside living would afford you:

1.) It allows you to be healthy

Mental benefits aside, it has been shown that seaside living can positively impact an individual’s overall health. Sunlight, of which the beach gets significant dosages of, is incredibly beneficial to our skin. This is because sunlight has Vitamin D which helps your body absorb calcium and by extension, strengthens your bones. Furthermore, the sea helps you better with its negatively charged ions. Resultantly, you are less stressed and are generally in a better mood.

2.) It gives you a myriad of things to do

Life by the sea offers you a variety of activities to do at the weekend while living in the city constrains you to a life of monotony. Metropolitan living limits your entire week to going to work, eating and maybe going to the mall to relax and breathe. It is incredibly rare (and only when time permits) for you to ever have a chance to get away from the city and have a vacation. And when you do, it usually involves a long drive or a plane ticket. When you live by the sea, it is like being on holiday every single day of your life. Moreover, it offers you a diverse plethora of recreational activities to do such as swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, sunbathing and the like.

3.) It is great for your well-being

Living in a place that allows you to wake up to the sight of the sun, sea and lush waves every single day tends to make you appreciate the small things in life. Compared to being cloistered and stifled in an apartment unit smack dab in the middle of the city, seaside living is not only a place for relaxation and serenity but an avenue for self-exploration. It allows you to contemplate and reflect. Moreover, it has been found that the sound of crashing waves inspires creativity. So living by the sea might be a good opportunity for you to discover your hidden talents and skills.

4.) It allows you to disconnect

In a way, seaside living allows you to connect more to yourself and your surroundings simply by giving you the chance to disconnect. Living in a busy cosmopolitan tends to make us inadvertently glue ourselves to our cellphone or computer screens—so much so that we are perpetually connected online and missing the small things in life. This habit has been known to increase stress levels and is potentially harmful to the body. Living by the sea, however, allows you to meditate. Even a few minutes spent just looking at the horizon and listening to the wave would be enough to rejuvenate your well-being.

5.) Delicious seafood

Seafood is hard to come by in the city, and when you do find them, they would be incredibly overpriced. This is because the logistics of getting seafood into the city can be a bit complicated and overly long—especially when the city is nowhere near any ports or even seas. However, when you are living by the sea, you are not only given access to cheap seafood but the freshest ones as well. No doubt, you can expect seafood restaurants to be cropping up here and there ensuring that you always get the fresh catch of the day.

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Smart Investments: Four Ways to Avoid the Common Pitfalls of Investing in Real Estate

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“Persist—Do not take no for an answer. If you are happy to sit at your desk and not take any risk, you will be sitting at your desk for the next twenty years.” –David Rubenstein

Much like any other career or business in the world, real estate investment takes time, commitment and a little discipline to get good at. It does not only take a fortnight to be successful in your real estate endeavors—for some, but it can also even take years and years of trying, failing, learning and getting back at it again.

The trick here is never to give up and keep persisting. After all, every failure is a valuable lesson. Unfortunately, most novices and budding real estate investors would give up at the first brush of failure because they were under the misguided impression that a career in real estate would mean easy money. This could not be any farther from the reality of how things are. The truth is you will try, and you will fail, but this should not deter you. Study and learn as much as you can about the process and refine your techniques. Reevaluate your strategies and try to pinpoint where you have fallen short before. However, if you wish to mitigate the possibility of committing failures, here are some of the tried and tested ways to do exactly that. Whether you are planning to invest on properties in Avida Towers Centera, there are common strategies (proven by those who had already made a fortune in the industry) that would help you succeed with fewer mistakes.

When investing in real estate, here are the principles and concepts you should consider:

1.) Have an analysis spreadsheet that contains your prospective rental properties

A wise investor would not immediately close down on the first best deal he comes across. Instead, he would take note of that, find more deals, collate them and analyze them in a single spreadsheet. Commence your analysis with the Fair Market Value, money down the improvements done, the rental income, expenses and its prospective ROI figure. Weigh your options by subjecting every possible deal through your spreadsheet. This is crucial because it helps you pick out not only the best properties but the best deals as well.

2.) You are buying numbers

Do not make the mistake of envisioning yourself living in the property you are buying. Take note: You are not buying a home to live in; you are investing to buy yourself numbers. Getting far too attached to the property you are investing on can be a fatal mistake as it clouds your judgment. When you are emotionally involved, you will invest far too much time or capital than necessary which could be detrimental to your ROI. This is neither about what you want nor what you need. It is about how much you can make off the property. Remember, channeling most of your financial resources into one property so that you can bloat the rental rate is not always a feasible option. It might even backfire on you.

3.) Do your research

If you are going to be spending a significant amount on an investment property, research is not only recommended but paramount. Do your research and do it again. As stated above, do not buy the first property you see outright. Take your time and look for more properties. Weigh your options and enumerate the reasons that make a certain property great. Run it through your analysis spreadsheet and let the numbers speak for themselves.

4.) Buy local if possible

The operative word here is if possible. This means to buy local only if you can—not buying ONLY local. Do not get too focused on buying local just so you can check on the property. Quality rental properties are still superior to local ones that do not quite make the cut after all. However, if you are already lucky enough to be living in an area with a thriving rental market with proven returns on investment, then buying local should be your initial focus.

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9 Home Decorating Finds To Score This 2018

Shopping for home decoration is similar to buying clothing.

You must take note of the measurements, quality, color, and material among other things. A lot goes on with interior decoration. Visiting the right store on top of scouring the pieces you wish to include in your home proves to be a source of a headache when you are at a loss for ideas.

A new condo for sale in Makati is in dire need of decorating. Luckily, luxury malls like Glorietta and Greenbelt are just around the corner to provide you with your decorating needs. If you plan to go for a haul or just redecorate, you must add these ten items on your list to score during your shopping trip.

1. Contrasting palettes

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Fusing bright and unexpected colors such as oranges and blues or purples with earth tones complement audacious personalities. These color combinations can work on small items and trinkets as well as pieces of furniture. Ashley Home Store at Glorietta 3 has signature home furniture, accessories, and mattresses.

2. Dark paint

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Rooms with enough light from windows can take on a dark color. Midnight blue, charcoal or terracotta are some hues you can try for a bold interior. True Value at Glorietta 1 offers a wide selection of paint colors

3. Decorated fireplace

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A standard feature on top of chimneys is the mantel-piece design. It makes the area feel outdated. Covering the outer walls of the fireplace with wallpaper or paint is more tasteful.

4. Disco ball

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Adding a disco ball in the living room or entertainment area makes an instant party place. The ball doesn’t provide illumination, but it’s an excellent reflector. Contemporary home stores like Dimensione may have one lying around their showroom.

5. Geometric shelving

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Irregularly shaped storages double in form and function. They are highly useful in keeping the space organized while adding design.You can opt for a standee that is a work of art in itself, or you can install some storages on an empty wall. Paint its inner part with bright hue to make the items out. A store like Home Bound has stunning pieces of functional furniture.

5. Lampshades

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An efficient way to change your home without spending too much, you start with the small items. Changing your lamps shades with bolder patterns and brighter colors improve the aura of the room. Try exploring A Touch of Elegance at Glorietta 4 for lighting inspiration.

6. Patterned flooring

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For the bold and loud characters, you can place your focus on the floor. Stencils or printed details like Moroccan-inspired or paisley patterns effortlessly brightens the area. Paint splats over solid colors is a simple way to include design while giving life in the space. Handyman has every decorator’s needs in store.

7. Oversized pendant lights

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Pendant lights or enormous chandelier changes the ambiance of the room. The oversized item dictates the personality of the area. To keep the balance of the room, ensure that the size of the light pendant is within the size of the table underneath it. Decor, a lighting boutique at Glorietta 4 has a variety of overhead lighting options.

8. Upholstery

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Another way to include patterns in your home is by installing brightly printed fabric on your chairs. If covering the whole things seems overboard, keep one side in a solid hue. The remaining side works with loud prints or patterns. The pieces at Victoria Mondiale combines comfort and aesthetic.

9. Unpredictable side table

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You can try a different surface instead of the usual four corners. A table with unexpected features – wooden vine-like legs or animal-shaped body – are ideal conversation pieces. Some surfaces can stand alone while others need support like a glass topper. Muebles Italiano has furniture pieces inspired by generations of culture and artistry.

Indeed, the malls of Makati CBD solves decorating woes. Glorietta guarantees to fill your condo unit with class and style. Most of all, it will amplify the color your life has to offer. These pieces will make you look forward to your time at home.

The Top Four Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make

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“You cannot have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you.” –Marissa Mayer

 

Buying a first home in today’s real estate market should be relatively easy. However, for those who are going into the venture sans the experience, it can be rather confusing and a tad bit frustrating at times. As of recent times, the housing market is showing no signs of declining and slowing down—in this regard, many prospective homeowners would feel incredibly confident about the timeliness of their purchase should they choose to buy a house now. However, if one travels through the unchartered  (in the case of first-time homebuyers at least) paths of buying and acquiring homes, mistakes and oversights are easily made. If you are a budget or have saved up for this monumental milestone (as is the case with most first-time homebuyers), you cannot really afford to make any error that would inevitably lead to a financial blunder.

Regardless of how small a financial mistake might be, making the wrong move in a saturated market would often lead to pecuniary remorse and inevitably, home buying misery. Unfortunately, first-time homebuyers are predisposed to committing these errors if they are left to their own devices and are armed with insufficient information. In any case, you can mitigate the chances of committing these lapses if you are equipped with prior knowledge prior to making your first purchase. Whether you are eyeing your first home to be in Avida Towers Cebu or elsewhere, here are some common first-time homebuyer mistakes you ought to avoid:

 

Buying a home that is too expensive

What is expensive and cheap is relative to how much the homebuyer actually earns. However, regardless of what kind of home you are looking to purchase, you should always remember to stay within your budget. How much you can afford largely varies but it depends on your debt to income ratio. Remember, you are not only going to be spending for the home alone, you would also have to take into account your monthly utility bills, groceries, insurance, etc.

Not hiring a realtor

As this is your initial venture into buying a home, it would bode you well if you worked with a professional whose expertise is in how real estate works. More often than not, homebuyers would rather forego the assistance of a real estate agent thinking that this is just another expense. Sure, it might be another aspect to pay for but think of it as a worthy investment. After all, you would stand to spend more should you purchase a home without the aid of an agent.

Not leaving room in the budget for other expenses

Unlike renting, owning a home would mean that if something breaks, you have to fix it. However, most first-time homebuyers do not seem to realize this. As a result, they would often not leave any room in the budget for any other expense. Your budget should not only comprise of what you pay for the initial down payment of your first home. In fact, it should cover a myriad of things. In this regard, you should also ensure that you leave enough to have extra money each month should you ever have the need for it.

Putting too much or too little down

Coming up with the down payment is already a major challenge when it comes to buying your first home, so defraying most of your home’s total price should be a good thing, right? Not necessarily. Putting up too much money for the down payment would cause a severe imbalance on your money savings and as a result, you may end up bungling your monthly budget. In this regard, you should not be overeager about paying up majority of your first home’s total price. Instead, pay just enough that you would still have a little legroom in your monthly budget to ensure you can cover any other expenses should you need it. Remember, you cannot always plan for every contingency, so should an emergency happen, you want to be adequately prepared financially.

 

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Home Design: Five Things that Make Your Home Look Dated

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“The magic thing about a home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back” –Wendy Wunder

 

We all love incorporating design elements into our homes.

After all, it is the highest form of personalization and it effectively gives character into your homes. In this regard, we tend to buy decors; furniture and other home treatments that would help improve the overall aesthetic of our space. Unfortunately, if we do not update our home decors often or simply have a thing for trendy home treatments, our homes can look incredibly dated. True, your enthusiasm for interior decorating might be commendable but you need to have the right eye for it. After all, you would not want your guests to walk into the front door and think they have gone back in time or gotten a blast from the past with your extensive dated home décor collection.

If there are several things in your home that leave you scratching your head or else have you contemplating what you were thinking, there is a likely chance you are using dated designs. In any case, take a gander at your condo unit in Avida Centera or elsewhere and see if any of the things listed below are present:

 

DIY Pallet Furniture

At some point, pallet projects were all the rage and it is easy enough to understand the appeal. However, they key word here is “were” as nowadays there is such a thing as too much pallet. One or a couple pallet pieces are generally okay but if your home is dominated by wooden weekend projects, it is time to reevaluate your design options.

Too much iron

Wrought iron staircases were once considered beautiful and elegant. In fact, having one in a home was heavily regarded as the height of wealth and sophistication—an epitome of elegance, if you may. Although there is nothing wrong with them, you have to ensure that they are making the right kind of statement. If you are unsure, it is best to skip it altogether and opt for something more contemporary and timeless.

Overwhelmed by copper

Once upon a time copper was a thing, but make no mistake the copper trend is officially over now. If you think decking your homes in copper accents and treatments would make it look rustic, you are very much mistaken. However, if you have a long-standing love affair with copper, ensure that it stays in the kitchen and just use authentic copper cookware instead. Metallic and matte finishes such as silver knobs, black picture frames and brass candlesticks are great as well.

White appliances

White appliances are just not aesthetic—especially the stark white ones. They give your home a post-apocalyptic feel or would make it look reminiscent of the fifties were most of the kitchen appliance were colored in white. Today, it is all about chrome and stainless steel or sleek slate and matte black finishes. Sure, they look far more technical and industrial than your average kitchenware, but it gives your kitchen that streamlined and contemporary look. Moreover, it gives your space that touch of luxe and sophistication. Another added bonus is that they are far easier to keep clean, so maintenance and upkeep would not be so much of a hassle.

Blackboard walls

For quite some time, they were trendy and they looked great and apt for kids’ rooms—where they should stay. You might think having a chalkboard wall in your kitchen would make a great statement, but all it would do is effectively add more chaos to your everyday life by inevitably adding more chalk clouds. Let us face it, chalk residue is not exactly hygienic and should go nowhere near your food. In any case, swap out the kitchen chalkboards and replace them with a diminutive but impactful message board on the kitchen counter.

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Home Selling 101: Three Telltale Signs You Should Sell Your Home

“Our homes should inspire us to go out into the world to do great things and then welcome us back for refreshment.” –Melissa Michaels

There comes a time wherein you would feel you have overextended your stay in your current home or perhaps have overstayed your welcome in a rental. Regardless of whatever it may be, there will always come a time wherein you will feel that selling your home would be necessary and inevitable. While some people live in their first or second home forever, there is also quite a fraction of people who cannot make that sort of commitment. Unfortunately, while your motivation for selling the house might be there, knowing the appropriate time to have it listed on the market can be quite challenging.

Moreover, apart from having difficulty in determining when the time is prime for selling is, the entire process can be fraught with complications such as emotional attachment. After all, if you have lived in your home for a significant amount of time, listing it on the market can feel similar to breaking up with a longtime lover. Furthermore, your feelings of attachment would be further aggravated by the nostalgia you would inevitably feel.
However, this should not deter you, and although you may not exactly want to sell at the moment, some things would compel you to do so. Changes in life would sometimes make it necessary to move, and you should be leaving no room for self-doubt—especially if you think you can no longer fit your growing family in a two bedroom flat.

In any case, whether you intend to move your residence in Avida Cebu or elsewhere, here are some surefire signs that you have outgrown your home:

1.) You feel cramped, and you can no longer add rooms

One of the primary motivators for making a move is the fact that some families no longer fit into their current homes. However, even if your family is not growing it does not automatically mean that your current lifestyle would still fit with the house that you have. An example of such is if you have started working from home and might need a personal space that you would serve as your makeshift office. Similarly, you might have always wanted to pursue your passion for sewing and would need a room designated for that purpose. Unfortunately, your home is too small. If this is the case, then it might be time to sell your home.

2.) You have way too much space

Of course, there is such a thing as having too much space. While some homeowners are under the impression that bigger means better, it is not always necessarily so– especially true if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of your homes and are constantly bothered by the pronounced silence. You might have once had a big family whose children now have homes and families of their own. If it does not make sense for you to stay in a big house, it might be best to move into a smaller one and sell your existing home.

3.) You dislike the community and neighborhood

Perhaps some of the community rules no longer sit well with you, or you feel like you have not really made a connection with your neighbors. Whatever it may be, it is a reality that neighborhood dynamics can significantly influence one’s decision in selling a home. After all, if you can no longer live with the rules imposed, why would you stay? Sometimes, it is not the neighborhood that changes but you. Maybe you can no longer make the lengthy commute to work every day, or perhaps, your kids are getting a bit older and would need to associate themselves with other children their own age—which your neighborhood severely lacks. Whatever the case may be, if you feel like you are in the neighborhood, it might be time to make the move.

Three Must-Visit Malls in BGC

Bonifacio Global City is the central business district of Taguig. Though some parts of it are still under construction, it became a popular urban destination for the young and vibrant population. The street art, business opportunities, and weekend revelry attract people from all walks of life.

Still, the one thing that draws people to a place is a shopping mall. BGC will not grow without one. Here are three malls in the district worth the drop by:

SM Aura

SM Aura is home to cultural and social events because of Samsung Hall. Besides the numerous activities that fill social calendars, it is popular with diverse crowd due to its tasteful, contemporary stores.

The mall has Crate+Barrel, Gourdo’s and Kultura to fill your bare condo. It has a two-level Forever 21 and a branch of Bershka, Ever New, Stradivarius, and Zara to fill empty closets. It also has a Cyberzone on the top floor along with an avant-garde food court.

You can spot the contemporary setting of the food court from a mile away. It serves comfort food faves such as crepes, Frankie’s buffalo wings, beef pound burgers, and paella. There’s also Pepper Lunch, Sbarro and a stall that sells organic food. What sets the food court apart from other SM malls is its floor layout. The tables and chairs are enough to accommodate lunch groups from corporate offices in the block. The place is also kept fresh and clean by the housekeepers religiously walking in the hall.

Uptown Mall

Uptown Mall is the latest addition to the upscale developments of Megaworld centered on lifestyle. You can find the multi-level retail and dining haven at the posh 9th Avenue.

The mall still has empty spaces since it is relatively new, but it has boutiques for fashion fanatics, travel, and sports enthusiast. Fast fashion stores like H&M and Uniqlo established their branches on the lower levels. You can also find Topshop, Topman, Nine West and Aldo. Moreover, you can spot items from Instagram shops on Mercer Street, a concept store on the second floor. Nike, Adidas, and other sports-related establishments are on the top levels.

There are bars, bistros, gastropubs and various dining options around the area. Homegrown restaurants such as Livestock, Hook, Sweet Ecstasy are worth visiting. You can enjoy Asian cuisines and Western breakfast menu al fresco on the mall’s veranda.

You can spot the organized and well-kept staff maintaining the pristine floors and comfortable rooms.

Venice Grand Canal Mall

The mall is a small rendition of the romantic city in Italy. The buildings in the area are pastel-themed, and architecture is patterned to European structures. The mall has an artificial lake where visitors can rent and ride the gondolas. You can also place love locks like those in Paris! The whole place is indeed a picture-perfect paradise.

Venice Grand Canal Mall is notable for the restaurants in and out the complex. The mall is lined with establishments that offer international street food and local gourmet palate. There are casual dining restaurants such as Mati’s Meat and Bread, Comfort Tuesdays, Rice & Dough which serves deep-fried favorites such as wings, potatoes, and pizzas. If you want to immerse to a different palate, you can head to Café del Mar, The Meatball Revolution, and Toni & Sergio.

The Grand Canal also has fine-dining spots. Ponte Rialto and Gran Caffe’ Lavena brings authentic Italian cuisine without consuming air miles. Last but not the least, you can have a feast of local flavors in Cuesina Garden Bistro and Alab by Chef Tatung.

The mall is spacious, luxurious and airy. It celebrates life and keeps the romance alive through the ambiance, amenities, and food.

Venice Grand Canal Mall, Uptown Mall, and SM Aura are the malls you must visit the next time you chance upon BGC. These malls are highly-recommended for a reason. They do not only offer brands of retails and dining, but they also make sure to provide an unforgettable shopping experience.

Sustainability in Urban Design

It is not enough for a place to be habitable. It also needs to be sustainable.

Urban design is the process, design, and organization of public space, transportation systems, and open space. With half of the Earth’s population crowding in cities, urban design needs to take a hard look at its mechanisms. Each city must commit and choose sustainable development. The Philippines in terms of population and the economy exponentially grows each year. But, the land areas of its cities remain the same. The same rings true in other cities across the globe. Three (almost four) billion people stay in these urban areas. Therefore, the role of urban design has a significant impact in today’s contemporary way of life.

According to a United Nations’ (UN) report, 60% of the Earth’s population will crowd cities by 2030. This is not good news for various reasons.

Millenials are slow to pick up the traces of needing change concerning their way of living. Thus, it is better for the current millennia to have the collective movement of individuals, industries, and countries to commit to change. The foundation of inhabitation – the Earth, is ruined and its cries are getting louder. The natural structure of planet is sacrificed to have the luxurious comfort of the modern life. The towering skyscrapers, concrete housing units, and asphalt plazas are chosen over the lush greeneries and the natural wonders of the world.

Urban Development

Urban development is a perennial threat to nature. Fortunately, developers like Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), considers the site’s ecosystem in their planning and design. Bobby Dy coins the term “eco-efficient.” It is a simple yet effective word that summarizes the purpose of their city districts. Natural resources or the natural state of the land area should not be sacrificed because of urban design and development. ALI patterns their design to the area’s original state.

The best example of eco-efficiency is their dynamic suburb in the South, Nuvali. Nuvali has a long stretch of green grass park and open spaces. The structure mixes modern suburban living with green zones and forestry. It also encourages recreation and outdoor activities which are refreshing for the modern dwellers.

Organization and Open Spaces

Although aesthetic plays a major role in urban setting, it is important for a developer to consider general public interest and not be biased towards age and way of living. When the city or structure is open to everyone, the need to have access to additional public infrastructure is removed. The environment becomes inclusive and inclined to only one goal – providing for the years to come.

Ayala Land is best known for their wholesome urban design. The company follows its focus areas as a guide during planning – resilience, pedestrian and transit connectivity, eco-efficiency and local economic development.

Their latest land developments incorporate wide spaces and parks. Having these spaces encourages time off the digital world and physical activity. It also lessens the dependence on vehicles as these places are conducive to walking. Most importantly, it discourages cul-de-sacs which can be rampant in urban areas. The design also creates low-carbon cities because they become walkable and mass transit-oriented. This is much more sustainable and healthier for the people. It also gives a high quality of life to residents.

Economic Vibrancy

A thing, structure or endeavor that is sustainable is said to solve today’s problems while also providing for the problems of the future. Generations to come should meet their own needs using these structures and environment-friendly solutions. Thus, it should be an enabling environment.

Rapid urbanization puts pressure on resources. Densely-packed cities can lack sources of fresh water supply and strain the living environment and public health. During planning, local and small-scale businesses are heavily considered. The shops and stores should be strategically placed so they may contribute to poverty reduction. There should also be designated spaces for public utility and health services.

Cloverfield, an ALI development in the North, is an example of a well-planned community that employs living, retail, and health. The development has a residential tower, shopping mall, park and a hospital – all within walking distance.

Well-planned public spaces commune communities and people together. Physical and cultural activities, recreation and play, are also encouraged. The spaces restore a sense of place, identity, and pride in an area, and play a significant part in attracting businesses and jobs. Thus, poverty is reduced.

Technology has picked up speed on constructing megacities, but it has not made low-carbon cities. Local and international urban development still have a long way to go. Choosing to be sustainable goes back to planning, where all the aspect of the building is considered. When the vision for the future is clear, urban design will manifest through eco-efficient development.

The Big Sell: Experts Share Pitching Advice

Monday.

Another day at UP Ayala Technohub, slaving for 8 hours. You have an idea brewing in your head. You also have a plan to improve your group’s communication system and project management style. But these powerful ideas or well-kept backup plans are just in your head, and won’t matter unless you share it with the group; most importantly, to your superior. Until then, it will just be a plan or idea that won’t be making the changes you envision for the company.

The aim is to have their approval. To hear that sweet sounding yes is a melody to the ears, which makes you fly high in the sky even if it means being buried in paperwork. Before that, you have to face your boss, the management or whoever it is you have to talk with to settle the proposal. Sometimes, it only takes one chance for the person or committees to decide your faith, so it’s better to ace it on the first try.

Few experts had a say on how to successfully present a pitch to a challenging audience. To show off your ideas without a hinge, read on to find what the experts had to say to amp your presentation.

John Rood of Next Step Test Preparation

John Rood suggests to lay out how management should judge the project’s success quickly. What are the indicators that the project will be a success? Having a specific goal will help you set measures of success or key performance indicators (KPIs) early on. Step-wise goals or buildable goals are easier to digest than having a long-term goal. It also suggests that fewer risks are involved. Thus management is more accepting of the idea.

To reduce the risk of rejection, form alliances with those in the upper levels of the company who will approve the pitch. Test out the waters, talk with them to see what clicks and what doesn’t.  It will also help you improve and expand your idea. There will be instances when they will see the details you may have overlooked. The more feedback you get on your pitch, the better you can prepare for the actual and formal meeting.

Phil Chen of Systems Watch

It’s not enough to just have the proposal ready; it’s also important to prove you can handle it. They want to see a work ethic that can sustain the onset of the project throughout its growth. You have to show redeeming qualities – agility, thoughtfulness, and efficiency.

Remember that you still have current task and projects. Phil Chen advises preparing an outline that illustrates the order of your priorities. It will show you still have the time and resources to lead a new project. The outline is especially useful if you haven’t proven your leadership potential.

Brian Honigman of BrianHonigman.com

Brian Honigman shares a piece of advice that isn’t often followed. Composing a polished plan shows the time a thought invested in it. It also shows you’ve reviewed potential problems along the way. It suggests you can take charge and lead the project which will help convince the management of the proposal.

Kenny Nguyen of Big Fish Presentations

As much enthusiasm you show when presenting the project, prepare to defend your idea when objections arise. Being able to justify your proposal is particularly useful when negotiating with investors. You should not be swayed by counter-arguments no matter how logical they may seem. Withstand the onslaught of questions and prepare a counter-attack.

Thus, when answering the management or investors’ queries, pay attention to the current inquiry only. Give a simple and straightforward answer. Avoid getting thrown off your train of thought by overthinking the panel’s questions.

Jyot Singh of RTS Labs

The benefits of the pitch should be clear – how will it add value to the company. Jyot Singh says the presentation should be directed to those benefits and the ways how it will be utilized by the audience of your presentation.

A presentation that states the advantages of the projects creates a positive mindset over the project proposal. With that, keep your winning statement simple.

Adam Stillman of SparkReel

Of course, create visual aids. Adam Stillman knows the importance of visual aids. Visuals are powerful; they help make the plan seem real and relatable. Visual aids also hold power regarding communication as the information comes much faster and lingers in the form of memory.

When creating visuals, concentrate on the essentials. If it allows you to explain the project, return on investment and growth strategy for five minutes, then you’re good to go.

These experts know what they’re talking about, and you should too. When proposing an idea to top-level management, remember to account for risks. The less risk involves, the higher the chance to get their approval. A clear-cut and carefully constructed plan will cover the basics. No matter how polished the proposal is, there will be details which aren’t acceptable to the audience. Hence, prepare to defend your ideas during the presentation. It means you can handle it the pressure and sustain the project.