By Michelle Anne P. Soliman, Reporter
IT WAS approaching noon when the members in a visiting media group (including this writer) each rode a fun kart around the Alviera Sandbox racing complex in Pampanga. I was worried about my short legs not reaching the gas pedal. While we waited for the go signal, the marshals released the lock on the pedals. Surprisingly, I was able to reach the pedal, move forward, drive at my own pace, and complete two rounds without a problem, despite not having a drivers license.
In the afternoon, the challenge was to complete the 11-obstacle water course which was not as easy as it looked. To propel yourself forward atop the first floater of the first obstacle, one must first climb up a rope. I stepped into the four-foot deep pool to reach for the rope but accidentally slipped and ended up struggling under the floater. When I managed to get up, I found it difficult to go through the first course since the water made it slippery. Losing my balance, I let go of the rope and tried again. It took six attempts, a slight crack on my back, and intense focus to keep my balance before I managed to reach the end of the pool — it took me eight minutes.
Launched in 2014, Alviera Sandbox is the initial offering of Ayala Land, Inc. and Leonio Land Holdings, Inc.’s mixed used development in Central Luzon. The 1,800-hectare estate in Porac, Pampanga is envisioned to be a tourism hub and will include residential buildings, industrial parks, and a recently introduced commercial block. It will also be the home of the Holy Angel University and a satellite campus of Miriam College.
Ayala Land, Inc. project development associate manager Leonard H. Grape said that economic potential and strategic location is the reason that they choose the province of Pampanga for the project. “We’ve seen Pampanga and even the entire central Luzon region as a region that has the potential to contribute national growth and that’s something that [we want to] become part of — to be able to support and [and encourage] inclusive growth not only in Pampanga but also in the entire region,” he told BusinessWorld during the media visit to Sandbox on June 19.
Mr. Grape added that Pampanga’s accessibility via NLEX, SCTEX, T-PLEX, and its proximity to the Clark International Airport makes it an accessible tourist hub.
Sandbox began as a two-hectare park which had the very first roller coaster zipline in Asia and the tallest giant swing in the Philippines as some of its attractions. This year, the Splash Tub and City Kart Racing join in its roster of recreational attractions.
Mr. Grape said that they aim “to continue the momentum” of the reception Sandbox has received as a “unique outdoor recreation park” offering an “adrenaline-filled and unique experience.”
City Kart Racing, the kart track facility originally located in Circuit, Makati, has a four-hectare complex with over 100 race karts. Guests have to surrender a valid ID (not necessarily a driving license), and have a safety briefing prior to driving one of the go-karts.
For the first round, beginners ride the fun karts with front wheel protection and lower speed capacity. Afterwards, guests may opt to try the super kart which is twice the size of a fun kart, is equipped more for racing compared to the former which is built for leisure driving.
Guests drive around the karting complex for two rounds, 12 karts at a time. Marshals are stationed around the complex to ensure safety. A yellow flag is raised signaling danger and that the karts need to slow down, a blue flag means one has to give way, and a checkered flag which indicates a finished round.
While the City Kart Racing complex is currently operational, it is also undergoing further expansion in order to host international kart racing events in the future such as the Rotax Max Asia Challenge.
Meanwhile, the Splash Tub is Sandbox’s first water facility, with 11 obstacle courses divided in three stations. The 1,200 sq.m. facility has a kiddie area with floaters, and beside it and separated by rope barriers is the Aqua Dash tournament area for adults. There is also a jacuzzi-like lounge pool which includes unicorn-, and oyster-shaped floaters.
Groups of four can test their balance and skills in the obstacle course (they should be at least four feet tall and weight no more than 220 pounds). They will first have a safety briefing, and then are kitted out with life jackets, and elbow and knee pads. They are also advised to wear rash guards and carry no gadgets with them. A participant who fails to accomplish the first station after three attempts may move on to the next course. The team with the fastest recorded time wins the challenge.
The Aqua Dash tournament in the Splash Tub will be open to guests in July.
A two-hectare are for paintball and airsoft, and a mini-golf court are some of the upcoming attractions.
As for future developments in the estate within the next five years, Mr. Grape said that planning for the first hotel is ongoing, the 5.6-hectare Alviera Country Club is on track to open by first half of 2019, the educational institutions are targeted to operate within two to three years, and a partnership with De La Salle Philippines for an “international caliber” botanical garden is also underway.
Alviera Sandbox is located at Alviera, Porac Access Road, Porac, Pampanga. Alviera Sandbox is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The City Kart Racing complex is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 2 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.alviera.ph/sandbox/.