BY RICKY MONTECILLO
June 4, 2016
While I love the outdoors and nature, my wife and kids sometimes want to enjoy the good urban lifestyle. It’s generational I guess. I like hearing the chirping of the birds in the morning, but my son Paolo says who ever said that birds sing.
So last weekend, May 28-29, we decided to book in ARUGA hotel in Rockwell Center, Makati City. It’s a medium sized hotel probably targeting businessmen and women. They have 114 rooms and we got two condo-type suites, complete with kitchen a living room and a nice view of Pasig river. It sort if gives you the feel of how one lives in a condo.
ARUGA (Filipino for care) has friendly staff, starting with the bell men who give you warm welcome as soon as you arrive at the driveway-they valet your car or in my case our pickup truck for free- the front office staff and even the cleaners who you see in the corridors. Upon entering the small lobby you couldn’t help but notice the clean and fresh smell.
We checked-in around 3pm after having lunch at home. Para maka-tipid. My son and his wife Danee got their own room while my wife Tina and daughter Samantha and I got our own. We took an afternoon siesta and enjoyed the soft clean bed sheets and of course the cool air-conditioning to de-stress and relax.
The hotel is right across the Rockwell Power Plant Mall. The ritzy mall where a lot of rich folks who live in the nearby super high end condos go.
Rich Filipinos tend to be lighter skinned, protected from the rays of the sun and enhanced by their expensive cosmetic surgeons or dermatologists. They are dressed in the hippest clothes and shoes. Malling in Rockwell feels like being in Hong Kong or Singapore. Expats also abound and maybe some tourists.
The mall is not noisy or crowded like the SM malls and even the lighting is soft, giving the place a peaceful and relaxing ambience. There is also a piano on the ground level and sometimes an elderly matron plays there to the delight of passersby.
It’s not uncommon to see families walking with uniformed maids with one-yaya-per-child in tow.
For dinner, my daughter Samantha, who is very familiar with the Rockwell Center cause she works in a Company whose headquarters is located there, chose which restaurant we would try out. We ate at the WOODFIRE restaurant for Pizza and Pasta. Food was very tasty, the place cozy and service is good. I had 21-layer Lasagna, which they say is the best seller while they had a brick oven baked pizza. I noticed though that the brick oven made the small place a bit too warm. (Maybe they should buy another air-conditioner). I brought my own bottle of wine.
After dinner, even as I already had a buzz with the red wine, we went to DEAN and DELUCA Restaurant for our dessert. I was with three ladies , one of whom is pregnant with my soon to be granddaughter, and so dessert was in order. We shared a New York Cheesecake and a Banana Cream Pie. This place is popular here in Rockwell and many young people eat here.
The following day, Sunday, we woke up late because there was no work and it didn’t make sense that we woke up to our alarm clocks. That’s the beauty of staycations, you get to relax and pose as if you live in the luxury of an upscale condo and escape from your reality. We had a hearty breakfast down at the hotel restaurant. It was buffet and the food was okay. Lots of fruits, cereals, pancakes and some breaded fish. Our hotel stay included free breakfast.
Samantha, my daughter, went to the pool side after breakfast to read a book and relax while other customers swam with their little children and yayas (Nannies). Cool.
And since it was a Sunday, we heard mass in Rockwell Power Plant Mall. That’s right. We have chapels inside the malls here in the country. Again the mass goers comprised mostly of the well-heeled. During consecration, I noticed that nobody was kneeling down. I thought to myself, the rich don’t want to hurt or bruise their knees. Besides, there were no provisions or kneeling pews. Elsewhere, the faithful kneel down in prayer whether there are provisions or not. And also, I noticed that during the offertory, the “collectors” looked like employees of the chapel and not the usual volunteers from Mother Butler or Knights of Columbus. Haha. Even in the practice of faith, there are divides between the rich and poor. No big deal though. It’s just the way it is.
Check-out time is 12 noon. We checked-out and then joined my in-laws for Sunday lunch
at the FIRESIDE by Kettle in Power Plant Mall. We had Lamb chops, chicken and corn bread, salads and chips. The place served good meals and the service crew were well mannered and friendly. We just noticed that the door entrance was not wheelchair friendly. But it’s seems to be a popular place in Power Plant.
I have to admit, I enjoyed my urban getaway. Aruga hotel, Power Plant Mall and the restaurants were actually refreshing, too. At least our staycation was time (and money) well spent with the people I love most. My family.