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Every month, a community event called BGC Yard Sale is held on a weekend at De Jesus Oval park. This event is facililated by the management of Bonifacio Global City for residents and people working in Bonifacio Global City to sell their used items. It started in mid 2016, two months after the first ever community yard sale organized in Fort Bonifacio by TheFortCity.com was held on April 23 and 24, 2016, at Megaworld Showroom, Forbestown Center. (Does any one remember that one? here is the article)

Because the event is facilitated by the management of BGC, who regards supporting the event as a community service, no rent is charged. This allows sellers to sell their items at a very low price. On the other hand, sellers have to abide by rules set by the authorities, e.g. they are not supposed to sell new items and must be residents or people working in BGC (see the full set of rules here).

Experience of a seller

I joined the BGC Yard Sale a couple of times. The first time was most memorable. It involved quite a bit of preparation. After putting all the items that I intended to sell in one place, I had to decide on the prices to sell them at, or at least to present to potential customers. Then I had to figure out how to bring the items to the venue.

I had a lot of items to sell at that time, so it was quite a physical exercise to bring the items to our booth. Oh, did I forget to mention that we had to get up pretty early to ensure that we had a chance to choose a good spot, since booth location was and is determined on a first-come-first-serve basis?

Talking about finding the right spot to set up our booth, I recall that at one of the yard sale that took place on a Sunday, a seller that we knew, had to move her booth three (or was it four) times, so that the booth could hide from the scorching sun! 

Used clothing is the most popular goods on offer at the yard sale.

There were a lot of potential buyers early in the morning. They were mostly security guards of neighboring buildings, or helpers. Expect a lot of haggling, so if you enjoy the bantering, you will have some fun in taking part in the yard sale, whether sales is good or not.




Treasure hunting in the yard sale

Last Saturday, I went to the yard sale to see if there was anything that would catch my fancy. Although I am not a big shopper, I have bought toys and books there before. And it is sometimes just interesting to see what old items people want to get rid of now. 


Some gadgets can be found at one of the stalls.

As usual, there were clothes, a lot of clothes. One booth had many ladies dresses that looked well maintained and made of good fabrics. I chatted with the seller, who was a young lady called Pia. According to Pia, she lived in BGC with her sisters, and they just had too many clothes in the condo unit that they needed to get rid of, before they could fit more in, of course!

Another stall sold vinyl records, something that reminded me of my childhood. I browsed the hundreds of vinyls, just to see if I could find artists that I could recognize. Unfortunately, I do not own a turntable, so even though I was tempted to recreate the lost memories with some of the vinyls, I couldn't. According to the lady who was selling the vinyls, her brother used to be a D.J., so many of the vinyls were used in his work. Used items are often interesting not because of what they are, but in whose hands that they passed through.


Miss Angel, coordinator of BGC Yard Sale, is always helpful to sellers in answering their questions and coordinating the renting of tents and tables

There were a lot of stalls that sold clothing. A couple of stalls sold used toys. Only one sold gadgets. A young man named Nate stood behind a table that was stacked with a range of electronic gadgets, from earphones, power banks, speakers to micro-drones. I was attracted to an almond shaped speaker that played music with a crystal clear sound. According to Nate, it was a Taiwan made speaker, presumably meaning that it was a high quality product. 

Another customer was interested in the micro-drone that he was selling. Nate played a short video made with the drone, and it was impressive. Since I showed interest in his video, he went on to show me another video he made - a video of BGC! It was a well made video that looked like one of those made by a tourism promoting authority. Now I know if I need a video made, whom I could call!


More than a yard sale

BGC Yard Sale is a place for residents to recycle their used items into cash. It is a place where would-be entrepreneurs test out their ideas or practise their marketing skills. It is a place where you can meet neighbors and make friends with them. 

If the organizers will allow, or encourage, residents to add other activities to the venue during a yard sale, like holding a community picnic in the center space of De Jesus Oval, BGC yard sale can easily become a festive community event that attracts not only helpers and guards, but all segments of the Fort community.

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Fort Bonifacio has the highest concentration of international schools than any other place in the Philippines. However, most of the time these establishments are closed to outsiders. Therefore, the international festival held annually at British School Manila is a rare chance for members of the public to go inside this exclusive school. Money raised from the event is to benefit charitable activities of the school.

This year, the event was held on 23 February. The event has three major components: a parade, international food stalls, and student performances. 

The parade started at around 5pm. Parents and children put on their best national costumes and walked around the ground to greet everyone. There were so many different countries that we lost count. Dance troops from the Philippines provided the drum beats and dancing to keep the festivity alive.

Highlight of the event was the food offering. There were 17 food stalls showcasing cuisines from all around the world. It was clear that parents of the school kids put in tons of hard work to prepare the food, and donated their valuable time to serve it. 

There were Peking duck from China (of course), beef sandwiches from Canada, samosa from India and Pakistan, food from Japan, Korea,  Thailand, and a lot from the big tent from the Philippines. We liked a lot the snacks from Ireland, which included some smoked salmon and Irish stew, and we particularily liked their free flow of Irish cream!

The most popular dessert was a rolled ice-cream located at the Chinese tent. It was not a Chinese food, but the novelty was attractive enough that people waited in line to get a taste. 

Beer and soft drinks were sold on site, but even adding in the cost of the drinks, the quality of the food and the unique ambience of the event made this festival the best-value buffet in Fort Bonifacio!


**Sorry you cannot see the video of this event any more since British School Manila does not allow any video taken within its premises.**

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[Updated on October 19, 2018]

BGC Yard Sales are organized by Bonifacio Estate Services Corporation (BESC) for residents and people working in Bonifacio Global City.  This webpage is based on information provided by BESC, but it is not an official page. Please use contact information provided here to seek further clarification from BESC.

The BGC Yard Sale is usually held monthly at De Jesus Oval, a garden located near Pacific Plaza Tower at 25th Street. Currently, it is held on the third Saturday of each month. Notice of the date of the next BGC Yard Sale is usually announced only about 2 weeks before the event.


The event is a community service by BESC to promote community building and recycling of pre-loved items, therefore no fees are charged. But there are rules to follow.

Under the new guidelines, if participants need to rent tent, tables and chairs, they have to bring these by themselves. The organizer, BESC, does not want to deal with the rental arrangements any more. 

Also, there will no longer be a requirement for a bond.

The organizer will issue a community permit to approved applicants, and the permit will serve as a pass to set up the booth.


In addition, participants have to provide proof that they are residents of BGC, or working in BGC.

Furthermore, from September 2018, sellers will be asked by BESC to sign a quit-claim form and return it to Marc on or before the day of the yard sale. A sample is shown here:


The person in charge in BESC is Marc. He is assisted by Michelle, who can be contacted via email at purchasingassistant@besc.com.ph.  You are welcomed to use your own tent, tables or chairs though, and you do not have to pay anything.

Sellers' Group

If you need to rent tent or chairs, the other sellers often arrange as a group to rent them from someone within the group. The group communicates via a Viber group, and you can ask to join the Viber group by emailing Marc or Michelle, or if you know anyone who is already in the Viber group.

Parking

Parking at the venue is not allowed, so you need to unload your items for the event and then park your vehicle else where. The nearest public parking lots are: Fort Victoria condominium, and Crescent South at 3rd Avenue. See parking map here.


Procedure:

Step 1. Register online

Residents and people working in BGC can register to join the yard sale by registering a link to be provided by the organizer about two weeks before the event.


Step 2. Pick up your community permit

Pick up your community permit on the day of the event from Ms Angel, who will be at the venue at 7 a.m. (The old rule was that the permit had to be picked up 3 days before the yard sale from BESC Office, 2nd floor, Bonifacio Technology Center Bldg, 31st Street). 


Step 3. Arrive at the venue early on the day of the yard sale.

Report to the BESC counter to pick up your community permit, as well as pay for your tents and chairs if you have previously reserved them.


This post is a community service by www.TheFortCity.com. We are not the organizer of the event. Questions should be sent to Ms Angel for official reply. Feel free to share your experience of the yard sale here. To help drive traffic to the yard sale, you can post your items in our bulletin board so that people can get excited about items to be sold at the yard sale. 


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Last weekend, we were invited to BGC's kick off for Summer on the Street. It was a fun afternoon filled with great food and even greater company. We were treated with a refreshing tropical drink at the start of the event. 


New summer drinks from Jamba Juice


I met some bloggers and like-minded writers. We talked about the food trucks and all the other food available that weekend. We were given coupons to try out some of the food, and if we wanted to specifically try something that they didn't initially provide, we were told to just ask and they would get it for us! Now that's convenient! A new found friend, Elle, tagged along to gather all the food we could carry. We decided to try Schmidt's hotdog first since it was one of the first coupons we got and it looked pretty interesting. When we got there, a line was already building up, so we waited for our turn and got to try their creation. I got 'The Julius' because you can never go wrong with bacon, can you? It was divine! I loved it. It was really filling though so after Elle and I devoured our hotdogs, we decided to just collect all the remaining food and try it once we're not so full anymore. 


Schmidt's Gourmet Hotdog's The Julius


While waiting for most of the food we ordered, we decided to get some refreshing cocktails since it was happy hour. We went to Rocket Room's booth and I got a Sakura Smile which tasted so much like a lychee cocktail while Elle got the Rocket Fuel that had jalapeno in it. She made me try it and boy was it spicy! It was a good break from all the food though, a good breather and cleanser for our palette. 


Sakura Smile and Rocket Fuel from Rocket Room


After the savory food and happy hour drinks, we decided we'd like to try some desserts! And we happen to have a coupon for The Wholesome Table and thought it was just right to get some there. For the bloggers, they gave a dark chocolate cookie and a slice of banana walnut bread. I personally prefer the banana walnut bread as it was not too sweet and had just the right amount of flavor to satisfy my craving.


Wholesome Table's Stall at Summer on the Street


The event last weekend made me look forward to summer even more. I like the laid back, casual feel of everyone and everything there which also contributed to the chill ambiance in the middle of the city. "Summer on the Street" isn't just a food festival though, every weekend this summer, they have a different event for people to choose from. I'm sure it will be quite busy in the next coming weeks. I can't wait to visit the next one!


Summer on the Street Calendar of Activities  




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I have been eagerly waiting for the opening of BGC Arts Center since I learned about it. Not that I am the artsy type. Far from it. I have not watched a musical show for so many years that I can't even remember the last one I watched. I see the BGC Arts Center as one of the facilities that will strengthen the identity of the community in Fort Bonifacio. A community that shares the same neighborhood has to have places for members to do things together, and an arts center is a place for members of this community to enjoy performing arts together, and for some of the members to put up shows for the whole community.  We do not have community sports center, or community hall, but now at least we have our arts center.

This website's article on Three New Attractions to open in December 2016 has mentioned that the BGC Arts Center will open this month, and that the Arts Center would have its first concert on December 11. I went there on that day at around 5pm, hoping to be able to get inside to take a peek.

According to the press materials from the Bonifacio Arts Foundation, the BGC Arts Center is composed of the the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, the Alveo Central Plaza, and the Sun Life Amphitheater.


The building, which is called the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, looked substantially finished, except for the eating place, which is a McCafe (Why oh why a McCafe? I do not get it.  There is already a McDonald across the street.)

I saw some security guards standing inside the building, so I pushed open a glass door and checked if the show was going ahead as scheduled. The guards let me in and sent me across the hallway to the cashier located on the other side. So the BGC Arts Center was opened!


I did not buy a ticket at that time because it was above my budget. Then I proceeded to walk around the building, taking photos even inside the Globe Auditorium and had a good sneak preview of the show later that night, as well as the inside of the theater. All the lights, seats and air-conditioning were working, and they were very nice.

The artist performing that night was rehearsing a song. There was no echo and I could hear the singing clearly. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I went back outside and asked if I could look at the other facilities. It was my lucky day. A staff of the BGC Arts Center, Ms. Martinez, helpfully guided me to the facilities upstairs. 

Ms. Martinez informed me that the arts center is on soft opening, and that it will open formally in mid January 2017.

Apart from the 500-seater flexible "hybrid studio-blackbox" which is called Globe Auditorium, the building has a big room on the second floor which is suitable for dance classes as well as recitals. It looked finished, with hard wood floor, a mirror-wall, and sound-proofed walls, stage-lighting system and working air-conditioning. Too bad I cannot play any musical instrument or have any inclination to learn ballet, so I will not be seen using that room any time soon.


We went onto the third floor, and I was shown a small space which can be used for a variety of purposes, such as workshops, exhibitions, or meeting. If the rent is reasonable, I am sure this space will be booked up easily.

When we went back to downstairs, Ms Martinez asked if I would be watching the concert that night. I told her that I would like to but the ticket price was beyond my budget. It must have been my lucky day. She told me that she had a promo code and the ticket price when the code was used was much more friendly to my bank account. How could I miss the chance to be one of the few people on this planet to watch the first show of the BGC Arts Center? I bought the ticket right away.

Now onto the show. It was called "A Very Broadway Christmas in Manila", performed by Andrew Keenan-Bolger with guest Tanya Mangalan. Prior to the concert, I had never heard of these two performers, so I went there with no expectation.

When I went back to the theater, I was late for the show. Andrew Keenan-Bolger apparently had sung a couple of songs already. Then he sang "What I did for love" from the musical "The Chorus Line". It was soothing and melodic. After that, he performed a tagalog song that I was afterwards told was called Sana Ngayong Pasko. It sounded great and his tagalog pronounciation must have been accurate too, as the audience applauded enthusiastically. After singing a Christmas song "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas" he took a break and gave the stage to Ms Tanya Mangalan.

Ms Mangalan was cast as the main character in the London run of the renowned musical, Miss Saigon, so her singing prowess was already well proven. That night, the theater was like her family room, as she used the opportunity to celebrate her father's birthday, and sang his favorite karaoke song, the title of which I cannot recall. It was a warm and intimate segment of the concert.

After Andrew Keenan-Bolger returned to the stage, he sang a few more songs, and then the evening came to an end. It was a short and sweet concert. The solo singer was a friendly and boyish singer with an operatic voice that has a bright future in performance arts.

The new theater is not very big, but it is well equipped. It does not offer grandeur, but gives you a feel of intimacy and modernity. I feel sure that I will go back there many times in the future.


My ticket to the first ever public show at the BGC Arts Center

The video below shows Andrew Keenan-Bolger rehearsing a tagalog song for the show later that night.




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It was a good day to run inside an enclosed stairwell. There was a little overcast, so it was not too hot, but also not too humid.

I have never done a vertical run in my life before. In fact, I have not joined any fun run before. I joined this one because I have started stair-walking as an exercise for a few months, and the venue of this vertical walk is just a 5-minute walk away from my home. 

I got my run kit two days before the run, which basically was just a bib with two plastic stripes glued to it. These were presumably the disposable timer tags. I read the instructions online, and found that there were quite a lot of participants. Unlike a fun run, runners were to be divided into small groups, and each start was to be separated by a 3-minute interval.

I was glad to read that I would be in the 10:31am batch. No need to wake up before the sun comes up!

When my batch started, we had about ten ladies. I let them pass first, since I would be walking rather than running up the stairs.

The first few flights were the most difficult, as I had to adjust to the temperature and humidity, which was a little hotter than that in the hotel lobby where we started. After that, it was not too bad. The staircase was narrow, so passing another runner took a little effort - about ten minutes into the run/walk, I was passed by someone from the next start.

There were water stations every ten flights of stairs, so I was glad that I did not carry water. I carried my cell phone and camera in a pouch bag instead. Ventilation could have been better, as only a few doors to the floors were open during the event, or at least it felt that way.

As I climbed the stairs, I was alone on several floors. This means that the time interval between starts was about right for me. Unlike a fun run event, the staircase is not really a place suitable for socializing.  We need our breath for climbing the stairs, and the narrow staircase would be blocked if we walk together with other people.

Pretty soon I reached the top. There were people cheering for every finisher when we got there. I have never taken part in a run, so I was a little unsure what to do when they had this piece of fabric going across the finish line. It was much thicker than a ribbon, so it was probably a reader for the timer embedded in my runner's bib. 

Someone put a finisher's medal over my neck. It was made of a rectangular shaped metal with date and event engraved on it. My daughter really liked it when she saw it. Too bad that she could not join even the fun run because the minimum age is 12 for the fun run and 18 for the regular run. She is only 8 years old.

I enjoyed the view from the 61st floor of Shangri-la at the Fort, as the building is the tallest in central Fort Bonifacio. I could see a unique angle of buildings below, especially how their rooftop looked like! Only with this vertical run can I access that floor of the building.

I think I will come back and do it again as long as my body allows me to. When I checked the results from the website of the organizer, I was pleasantly surprised that I did better than I had expected. It took me under 19 minutes to finish the walk. I was on page 4 of six pages of runners. 





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It was not just one fine day. It was one great day for residents of Fort Bonifacio, for we will have a new place to do some real walking that is a little sheltered from the smog from traffic. We are talking about the BGC Greenway project, which was opened partially on July 14, 2016 at a ceremony held at Icons Residences.

If you are a resident of Fort Bonifacio who lives near the west side of the city near Manila Golf Club, it would have been impossible for you not to notice the construction work that has been going on there for several months.

That construction work was part of the BGC Greenway project, which is a 1.6 km path that allows residents to walk or bike from Bonifacio Ridge to McKinley Road without having to cross any vehicular traffic. Its minimum width is 2.5 meters, and in many parts, it is wide enough for people walking, jogging and biking together.

If you look at the greenway today, it may not seem such a great deal. It looks like an ordinary landscaped backyard.

The significance of the greenway is that it got built at all. The greenway has been included in the Master Plan of BGC since the announcement of the Master Plan of Fort Bonifacio (now branded as BGC by the main developers) in 1999. Lots were sold and investors were drawn in because of what was shown in the Master Plan. BGC was designed to be a first world city. The greenway was called BGC Linear Park in the Master Plan.

Nothing happened for more than ten years. Then, a few years ago, around 2013, a group of residents, including Mr. Michael Keppler of Pacific Plaza Towers, urged the management of Fort Bonifacio, which is a company called Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC) and is made up of representatives of BCDA, Ayala Land, Inc. and Evergreen Holdings, Inc., to bring the greenway to life. They found a strong ally in Mr. Charles Rufino, President of the Net Group, a major developer in Fort Bonifacio. Since then, Mr. Rufino has been working tiredlessly to see that the greenway is built. As a chairman of Urban Land Institute Philippines, Mr. Charlie Rufino was also instrumental in getting a grant from Urban Land Institute to kick start the project.

A pathway that allows people to walk in a green environment is often not on the minds of officials in a developing country, let alone that of private developers in this setting, where the usual goal is to compete against each other to be the top earner from every square meter of land that they come across. It is to FBDC's credit that they honor the promise made to investors.

The work that has gone into it since May 2015 includes putting in ducts that house power cables that can provide Fort Bonifacio additional electricity supply to meet its future growth, and the construction of proper drainage that ensures the greenway stays dry. In a developing country like the Philippines, these basic infrastructures are often not included in public works.

Mr. Charlie Rufino is currently mobilizing local businesses to put amenities such as benches and lightings on the greenway.

Major locators of BGC were invited to speak at the launching ceremony. 

Speakers at the BGC Greenway launch ceremony (left to right): Mr. David Toze, Superintendent, International School Manila; Mr. Don Lee, Lafarge country chief executive officer; Mr. Patrick L. Phillips, Global Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Land Institute; Mr. Rally Martinez, president and CEO of Nuvoland Philippines; Mr. Charlie Rufino, outgoing chairman of Urban Planning Institute Philippines; Mr. Robert F. Kuan, Chairman, St Luke’s Medical Center; Mr. Manuel Blas II, Head of Operations, Makati and Bonifacio Global City, Ayala Land Inc.; Mr. Raymond Rufino, incoming Chairman of Urban Land Institute Philippines.

Anybody who is interested in the developmental history of Fort Bonifacio would have found the speeches by the speakers, particularly those given by early locators of the Fort, very interesting.

Mr. Toze of International School Manila, recounted how his school decided to move to its current location in Fort Bonifacio.

The decision to move the school to Fort Bonifacio was not an easy one, Mr. Toze recalled. At that time, Fort Bonifacio was an empty lot. The school took a leap of faith in deciding on Fort Bonifacio as the new school location. He was happy with the way that it had turned out today. However, he also named the challenges ahead, such as in dealing with a growing traffic congestion problem, as well as worsening air pollution.

Mr. Blas II of Ayala Corporation talked about the planning for green space in Fort Bonifacio.


He explained how green space was designated in Fort Bonifacio.

Mr. Robert Kuan of St Luke's Medical Center also relayed how he persuaded the board of St. Luke's Medical Center to agree to build a new hospital in Fort Bonifacio despite the uncertainties in financing this mammoth project. He expressed his eagerness to try out the whole length of the greenway when it was completed later this year, as he would much prefer to exercise outdoor in an unpolluted environment than in an air-conditioned gym.

According to FBDC, the greenway should be completed before the end of year. When it is completed, I am sure it will be well used by residents. Even now, when it is not fully finished, and not raining, some residents are already taking walks on the greenway.

For more details on the design of the BGC Greenway, read this article.