In the previous part, we discussed about the history of Eastwood City and how it became the first cyberpark in the country. On this installment, we shall look into another aspect of Eastwood City which has helped change the landscape of the metropolis and the country as a whole, that of being one of the first township developments in the country.
An introduction to the township
First, we have to define what a township is. It is basically a property development with the idea that one can live, work, shop, dine, and have fun within that single area. Basically, an all-in-one development where everything is accessible by just a few steps.
The idea of having a residence near the workplace is not a novel idea as mid- to high-rise condominiums were already beginning to dot the landscape of CBDs like Makati. However, Eastwood City was one of the first, if not the first, that was purposely developed to have places for work, play, and leisure from the start, as opposed to Makati and Ortigas which were originally developed as strictly commercial and business developments and not residential.
Eastwood City’s success paved the way for more townships to be developed across the country. It certainly motivated its developer Megaworld to build more townships that, in a way, exceeded Eastwood City in terms of scope and scale, if the likes of Newport City, McKinley Hill, and Arcovia City are anything to go by.
As Megaworld’s first township development, Eastwood City is where one can see where the Megaworld “look” of ornate, European-inspired facades began. A look at the residential towers in the area like The Palazzo, Eastwood Excelsior, and Olympic Heights, among others, and see how Megaworld would eventually apply this concept to their other residential projects, especially those located in their townships.
If anything, they offer a sharp contrast to the more modern architecture of its office buildings and their glass and concrete facades, though a jarring one at that. Indeed, some have criticized the design of these residences as tacky. But as far as Megaworld is concerned, they just responded by doubling down on those types of designs.
Eastwood City Walk
For the commercial component of Eastwood City, Megaworld sought to introduce a novel concept as well, wherein the commercial spaces are low-rise and much of this space’s component is open-air rather than build one enclosed space.
The result is the Eastwood City Walk, a commercial area that lined with rows of restaurants offering alfresco dining, an open air events place called Central Plaza (with a tent to protect the venue from the elements), a 3-storey mall with cinemas and bowling alley.
But perhaps the most prominent feature of this particular area is the Eastwood City Walk of Fame, our answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was actually an idea pitched by then MOWELFUND president and actress Boots Anson-Roa which was shelved for a long while due to funding issues. It was after TV host German Moreno took over the project when it finally got off and running. Megaworld supported the idea and offered the Eastwood City Walk as the place where these stars can be seen. Thus, in 2005, the Eastwood City Walk of Fame was formally inaugurated.
Admittedly, the City Walk of Fame had shoddy criteria during its first 10 years as to who gets included, mainly because the selection was a prerogative more of German Moreno which was seen as “biased” towards certain artists that he worked or got along with. Fortunately, that changed in 2016, after German Moreno’s death, when the selection was transferred to the hands of an independent committee under the German Moreno Walk of Fame Foundation.
The malls and the central park
For a long while, Eastwood City did not have a large shopping mall of its own right. Apart from the aforementioned City Walk, there is also the Cyber and Fashion Mall, which only entailed a few retail establishments inside the 3-storey commercial space podium that supports the office tower above it.
It was in 2009 that Eastwood City finally had the big shopping of its own right, the Eastwood Mall. It is a 4-level mall with a bigger retail floor area at 47,000 square meters and 7 cinemas, including the exclusive and posh Ultra Cinema. It connects to two other towers on each side of the mall: a residential tower and a hotel the Eastwood Richmonde. It also holds the distinction to be the first shopping mall in the country to be recognized by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) for being a “pet-friendly” facility.
But perhaps the thing that makes this mall stands out can be found outside of it, where one can see the Central Park. Apart from a couple of standalone retail stores, along with a row of shops across the mall with the office buildings 1800 and 1880 Eastwood, there is a also a lagoon, dancing fountain, a stage area for performances and other events, and a large vertical LED display.
(Almost) stacked development
More than 20 years since Eastwood City was first unveiled, at this point the development of the area is almost complete. At this time of writing, the only project that remains to be completed is the Eastwood Global Plaza, a mixed residential/office/commercial development at the southern end of the township though it seems parts of it has been ready for occupancy already.
With so much development that has happened, one thing that is disappointing about Eastwood City is the lack of green, open space that would have made living and working here a bit more conducive than it is today. And no, the central park across Eastwood Mall doesn’t cut it.
For better or for worse, there is no doubt Eastwood City has helped transform the landscape of the metropolis for the past 20 years. It helped jumpstart the development of the eastern portion of the metropolis, not to mention the traffic along with it especially on the C5 road network. While there might be not much to add in this already congested township, here’s hoping that it could be made better as a place to both live and work.
Acknowledgements as well to Megaworld and Wikipedia