Sunday, April 13, 2014

Outdoor Theme Park SandBox in Alviera Now Open in Porac, Pampanga

Too many kids and adults these days seem to be content to simply go malling, watch a movie, or dine out when they schedule bonding moments with family and friends outside the home. This summer, do something different! Take a road trip to Porac, Pampanga and enjoy various activities under the sun with your loved ones. 

Last April 12, 2014, my youngest son and I were among those who joined bonding enthusiasts on a short trip to SandBox, a unique summer getaway that redefines outdoor fun. It only took us about an hour and a half from Trinoma in Quezon City to get there. This property, located in the new Alviera township development, is a project of Ayala Land, Inc., in partnership with Leonio Land.

SandBox has a lot of exciting attractions that will entice guests to really get active and enjoy the great outdoors. Since it features different activities with varying degrees of difficulties, visitors of any age will definitely find stuff to do and enjoy.

After a light but filling breakfast of puto, empanada, and rolled coconut crepe at the food tent, my companions and I started exploring the area. I think our group were the first ones to dare ride the Giant Swing, which is, at the moment, the tallest one in the Philippines at 10-meters high. 

One can go solo or with a friend. My son and I rode the tandem seats and I found it really nice that we got to experience a new activity for the first time, together. We got pulled very high up backwards with a rope (this is the only part where my heart started pounding a little) then were released to whoosh down then up on the other side. We swung back and forth several times and we felt brave enough to let go of the straps to raise our hands high up in the air. That was awesome!

Next, we headed towards the Adventure Tower which is really high at 15-meters. The view is great from the top! Each side features different activities such as wall climbing, rappelling, and free fall. The fourth side is the launching area for the high-flying ride called Avatar One Roller Coaster Zipline that takes adventurous guests on a 180-meter trip along a roller-coaster style course. 

Since the line for the Avatar was still quite long, my son and I opted to go Wall Climbing first. It has been more than a year since I last climbed at Power Up in R.O.X. so I know I was already rusty. Still, I tried my best to reach the top, which I did (yey!), because I knew I'd get teased by my hubby if he finds out I've quit in the middle. 

The strain on my arms were too much though. I felt they couldn't take on the Rappelling anymore. My son, on the other hand, gamely climbed the stairs and successfully rappelled under the guidance of one of the SandBox staff who was so considerate to take the trip down with Daniel.

Thank you Diane and Eric Racho for taking our photos :)
We didn't get to try the Free Fall (and I didn't think I could! too much of a scaredy cat LOL) because the queue for the Avatar was getting really long. So we lined up again and, finally, after a long wait, we got to go up and "fly". 

Thank you Ruth Dela Cruz for uploading this video :)

I love, love the feeling of riding this kind of zipline, which is said to be the first in Asia, because it was 100% F-U-N! Just make sure to pay attention to the SandBox staff's instructions especially about how to hold the guide ropes so that you don't spin around while traversing the course.

After that ride, we took a break for lunch and went back to the food tent where there are a lot of vendors to choose from. Our tasty meal had rice, sisig, and morcon, which replenished our energies to help us tackle more activities.

The heat of the noonday sun made me feel drowsy though so I sought shade under a big tent with chairs and tables. From there, I happily watched my son navigate the Aerial Walk, a high rope adventure slash obstacle course. This attraction has three ziplines that my son seemed to really enjoy conquering by himself.  Despite the heights he was climbing, I felt assured of his safety because he has sturdy straps with clips that he can easily transfer from one guide rope to another. 

SandBox's other offerings include ATV and mini-ATV rides, a themed kiddie playground with picnic areas, and upcoming mini-golf and camping sites. Bikers would also love Alviera's 5000 sqm pump track that is open for all types of bikes and skill level. 

Of course, any kind of physical activity may pose risks so make sure your mind and body are ready to take on the challenges inside SandBox. But rest assured that there is a whole tent of first aid and medical personnel just outside the main entrance to the park along with two ambulances on standby.

Sandbox rates (click photo to enlarge)
According to John Estacio, Alviera General Manager, "The experience at SandBox gives one a taste of what's to come upon the full development of Alviera. We envision [it] to be the regional growth center of Central Luzon complete with a commercial district, business and industrial park, university zones, retail centers, a country club, recreational areas, and residential neighborhoods."

This 1,125-hectare property is easily accessible from Porac exit (NLEX-SCTEX), and close to the Clark Airport and Subic Freeport. It is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9AM to 5PM. For booking guidelines, please visit the Alviera website and like their Facebook page.

* To see the complete set of photos taken during SandBox's opening day, please click here

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