Alviera continues to rise from the sands of Porac

The one thing that will never cease to amaze is the transformation of raw land into a thrumming township. Particularly a lahar-covered one.

Porac, Pampanga was devastated in 1991 by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo — wiping out homes, businesses, communities and possibilities for the next two decades. That is, until 2014 when Ayala Land, Inc. and Leonio Land launched Alviera. What was once considered barren was now potentially viable. Launching at P10,000/sqm., land values have appreciated by 25 percent.

Architect’s perspective of Alviera with the Country Club

It takes approximately two hours to get to Alviera through North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx). The 1,800-hectare estate is accessible to Subic and Clark via SCTEx, and Angeles via Porac Road.

With the government’s emphasis on countryside development, Central Luzon is expected to receive infrastructure worth P78 billion with target completion of the Clark International Airport Expansion (2020), PNR Manila-Clark Passenger Railway (2021 to 2022), Subic-Clark Railway project (2022), Skyway Stage 3, NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, and the New Clark City Government Administration Center.

This makes Alviera well-placed in the growth corridor, a destination and transport hub, and a good mix of land use with 40 percent dedicated to open spaces and road network, 47 percent residential, 16 percent leisure, 10 percent commercial, three percent industrial and two percent institutional.

Within the 1,800-hectare estate sits the 5.6-hectare Alviera Country Club. Targeted to open by the end of July, the sports and leisure club appears as though an oasis. Exiting from SCTex and onto Alviera’s future main artery that leads towards Sandbox, the dark rooftops of the Country Club arches upwards as arms raised in welcome.

The club is designed by Leandro V. Locsin Partners. In keeping with typical designs of the firm, this project features clean lines, natural elements and embraces the open space concept. There is a sense of continuity with the outdoors in the movement of persons through the corridors, as well as between the interior spaces.

The amenities available are mapped out into sections (clockwise as one enters into the west wing): Event Pavilion, Sports Pavilion, Entertainment Facilities, Wellness Area, Multi-Purpose Open Space. All looking inward to the pools, outdoor kid’s zone and a pocket garden; as well as outward to an open garden area and the La Salle Botanical Gardens, a picturesque view of the SCTex, Sandbox and the surrounding natural terrain. A specialty restaurant is expected to open in the future.

The Ballroom’s spacious and high-ceilinged pre-function area

We are the first to arrive and are received at Sabyan Café for some morning perk. The intimate bar area opens onto an outdoor garden where the option for a drink at sunset is tempting. But it’s only 9 a.m. now.

Sabyan, translates to “tell” from the Kapampangan language, and serves a decent cup. In a bid to cut back on the calories, I took black but found myself eyeing someone else’s jigger of Cortado.

The day begins with a briefing at one of the four meeting rooms at the Event Pavilion. Aptly named Tipunan (a gathering place), Tipunan 2 features a massive conference table, large windows and audio-visual equipment. If the other Tipunans are similarly designed, then natural sunlight and greenery are always welcome in meetings and learning sessions.

After the garlic and chili roasted peanuts, we move to the lobby and take a short flight of stairs to the second floor. The Grand Ballroom, expected to seat 500 to 600 dining guests, is prefaced by a function area running the full length of the corridor, high-ceilinged, framed by picture windows, and made dreamier by globes of droplights.

Entry to the Events Pavilion with a Grand Ballroom, four meeting rooms and Sabyan Café

We move seamlessly to the Entertainment Facilities. This section houses various indoor activities for members, qualified dependents and guests. A 21-seater private theater is perfectly cozy, dim and comfortable. At this point, it was tempting to skip yoga class! We are quickly moved away from temptation to the two private KTV rooms fully equipped for the songstress, balladeer or inner rockstar; and, a Game Console Room for the inner child. 

The younger children may be entertained at the Kid’s Lounge a skip away. Filled with oversized indoor play equipment, the design is whimsical, oversized, colorfully lit overhead and balanced out with the right amount of natural sunlight. It is the perfect sketch out of a child’s imaginings.

On the second floor is the Galo Sports Bar, the perfect dive for the bar hounds and their chow. It is equipped with a full-service central island bar, with booths and tables lining up the perimeter of the room, billiard tables, a dart board, and a choice of pool or sunset views to go with an ice-cold beer.

For the more athletic, the Sports Pavilion is a multi-purpose covered court. A short walk and an outdoor flight of stairs take us to the gym and studio. The gym is equipped with the standard machines, and awash with sunshine from windows lining up half the space. It has direct access to the Multi-Purpose Open Space which allows the fitness fan to cross-train between the indoor and outdoor spaces.

Across on the other side is the studio where various classes may be held. The length of the room is mirrored to one side with windows on two other. The fourth wall leads to the ladies’ and men’s rooms. Today, the yoga instructor is already in the studio waiting for this lone student. We take the short side of the room facing the graceful lines of the SCTEx bordered by willowy stalks of cogon.

After class, it was a tough choice between the pool and the spa. The central open area is blue and beautifully enticing with a six-lane lap pool (25 meters), a lounger pool, a kiddie pool and Splash Park. One must confess that the Splash Park with its articulated installation of an orange water feature was tugging at my inner child.

We are whisked off to Inawa (rest) Spa. A quick rinse with a rainfall shower head makes up for missing the Splash Park…and the bunny-soft robe! A locker, slippers, bath towel and robe are provided. The shower stall is designedto provide for a dry and private dressing area. The massage rooms are lined up along a long corridor. A common spatial design consideration, it seems, as the corridors mean one may expect outdoor views. Couple rooms are available, but one for a solo guest.

At this time, the main dining hall is Manyaman Restaurant. The term translates to “delicious.” A praise commonly associated with the culinary experience in this province. Indeed, we are served in full Filpino hospitality with a 7-course meal (that really was 10 courses!).

Manyaman Restaurant, aptly named after the frequent praise of “delicious” commonly received by Kapampangan cuisine

In the masterplan of the club, a specialty restaurant is in the design. Another quick peek at the website describes the future space as an enclosed dining area with al fresco seating. There is mention of an open kitchen, but no further details.

In general, the food is superb in texture and presentation. The bulalo soup is served with the coveted marrow still nestled within the bone. The tuna panga is an insane fantasy of melting fish cheeks and tender, flavourful meat. On this day, the mere idea of condiments is inanity.

The native tibok-tibok is deceptively light in its existence as a dessert made from carabao’s milk. The twist is the inventive addition of latik fried to a crisp, and a sweet lacey cookie to achieve incredible contrast on the palate. The mouth desires far more than the hips are willing to bear!


Since its launch in 2014, Alviera has been actively taken up by the market. Avida Settings is reported to be 98 percent sold, whereas Avida Northdale Settings is at 70 percent take up. Montala by Alveo Land is also at 98 percent with The Greenways at 60 percent take-up. Park Estates by Ayala Land Premier is 100 percent sold. It is reported that land values are now at P14,000/sqm. since the estate launched in 2014.

In the pipeline are a second project by Ayala Land Premier, and a third project each by Alveo Land and Avida Land. As of this briefing, there are no forward plans for Amaia nor Bella Vita.

As the communities begin to fill up, Miriam College (Manila) and Holy Angel University (Angeles City) are signed on to build campuses at Alviera and targeted to open in 2023 and 2022, respectively. Course offerings will be arts, design, management and technology, engineering, architecture, hotel and restaurant management, and animation.

A collaboration with De La Salle College intends to bring a world-class botanical garden with a collection of 25 themed garden patches, a full-scale laboratory, a plant nursery, greenhouses and libraries on a 23-hectare parcel (smaller than earlier reports of 25 and 24 hectares). The nursery was launched this summer, and will begin operations in 2020.

From an initial 32 to an expansion of 64 hectares, the Alviera Industrial Park is meeting strong demand for more industrial lots. In the European Economic Chamber of Commerce (ECCP) briefing last May, Colliers International forecasted a decentralization of the industrial, logistics and warehousing sectors from CALABARZON to the countryside. While majority of movement appears to be in the Visayas, Alviera and Double Dragon appear to be leading north of the Philippines. With industrial spaces quickly dwindling in Metro Manila, with little growth for new ones south of MM, there is vigorous interest in Pampanga.

Indeed, what was once barren is now fertile. Like my imagination. As I take one last walk around the central area in the softening light of the afternoon sun, one can only liken Alviera to the rising of a phoenix from the sands of Porac.