It’s a Filipiniana dress, a type of eskrima, and the site of a historical battle cry. But to many folks who regularly take the interchange, Balintawak is a bustling convergence point at the center of Manila, Caloocan, and Valenzuela—not a point of interest.
This will soon change with the growing number of popular establishments in the area, plus Ayala Land’s Cloverleaf estate, a pocket urban haven with an ingenious mixed-use community. Needless to say, big things are coming for Balintawak! Pursuit of Passion takes a look at some interesting food and lifestyle destinations you’ll find on this side of Quezon City.
Balintawak is home to the first branch of the much-hyped membership superstore, Landers. The hype is truly deserved with its 8,000 square meters of premium imported and local products, from basic grocery, fresh produce, electronics, apparel, health and beauty items, houseware, to just about any other thing you need.
But wait, there’s more: it has its own barbershop (Talas Manilenyo), bakery (Dough & Co.), coffee shop (Doppio), restaurant (Landers Central), and gas station (Caltex) on the premises. In short, Landers redefines one-stop-shopping like no other membership superstore in the country.
Open 9 am-9 pm
1240 EDSA Balintawak, Apolonio Samson, Quezon City
Shiok Shiok is a casual diner that serves up Singapore-famous hawker food. Even the bare-bones interiors are faithful to the hawker culture, with nondescript chairs and tables, vintage Singaporean posters, and simple place settings in a cozy little space.
It’s frequented by foodies for their authentic dishes: breakfast is kaya toast, two soft-boiled eggs, and hot te tarik (milk tea). Sweets include Penang Chendol (their version of halo-halo), fried mantu with condensed milk, Milo dinosaur, and jelly (coffee, grass, or milk tea) with ice cream. Appetizers include chili crab meat with fried mantu, satay barbecue, and salted egg prawns. Its main stars, however, keep Shiok Shiok packed during peak hours. Their katong laksa is widely hailed to be as good as being in Singapore. The special bah kuh teh (tender pork ribs in a spicy, herby broth) hits the spot on a chilly rainy day. Equally flavorful is the beef rendang, creamy and spicy and perfect with rice. Rice meals include nasi lemak, claypot chicken, and of course, pineapple rice.
The best part? Value for money! Your P500 can go a long way at Shiok Shiok. And hey, if you enjoy a little too much, you can always get the ABC (apple, beetroot, carrot) or Five Greens Juice (green apple, ampalaya, celery, cucumber, bell pepper) to ease your guilt.
Open 8 am-10 pm
81 Nicanor Roxas Street, Sto. Domingo, Banawe, Quezon City
El Fresco Food Park
El Fresco in Project 8 is the latest budget-friendly food park to hit the streets of QC. It houses a dozen food stalls and sometimes hosts music performances, movie screenings, and other events.
To give you an idea of the kinds of food El Fresco serves up, there’s Miyagi’s (sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki rice bowls), Taka Ramen (also offers takoyaki and gyoza), Bacon Club (all-bacon!), Bratz (grilled beef burgers), Black Iron Grill (steaks, ribs, grilled chops), Mason’s (flavored buffalo wings, fries, and mojos), Freak Shakes (milkshakes and frozen drinks inspired by various pop culture icons), Fastazee (budget-friendly Italian pastas and pizzas), Tito Bigs (classic pulutan fare) and Juan Pastry (Filipino merienda with a twist), with a couple more stalls opening soon.
Open 4 pm-12 am
29 Shorthorn Street, Bahay Toro, Project 8, Quezon City
With great food-tripping comes great responsibility—keep things in moderation with a nice balance of strength training and cardio at the Banawe branch of Anytime Fitness. You already know that regular exercise keeps stress and sickness away, but when your gym is fully equipped and is open 24/7, you just don’t have any excuse to skip a workout!
Avail of the personalized fitness and nutrition consultations to get your routine started. Group classes include Yoga, Zumba, Piloxing, Queenax, Suspension Training, and Circuit Boot Camp, so you won’t get bored doing the same things every time.
Open 24 hours
6th floor, Banawe Lifestyle Center Building, 86 Banawe Street, Banawe, Quezon City
Ace Water Spa
Did you know that the word spa comes from a town of the same name in Belgium that’s famous for the health-giving properties of its mineral springs? This is the concept behind Ace Water Spa. Relax and unwind with a hydrotherapy massage—take a dip in the heated pool and let aquatic jets hit your stiff and sore muscles. Choose among soft, moderate, and hard pressure jets for the kind of massage you prefer.
Other facilities include a full-size and kiddie pool, a pull-string cold bucket splash, and a “lazy river” where you can just ride a floater and cruise along a mild current. It’s more fun with family or friends, but you can definitely drop by for some me-time, too.
Open 6 am-10 pm
399 Del Monte Avenue, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City
You can easily drive to these places in 20 minutes or less from Avida Towers Cloverleaf, a three-tower residential condo development within Ayala Land’s masterplanned Cloverleaf estate. Here, everything you need is within reach, from these lifestyle destinations to shopping and dining options in the soon-to-open Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, and a wide array of amenities within its residential development, Avida Towers Cloverleaf.
Living in Avida Towers Cloverleaf is not only going to be convenient, it will also complement your urban lifestyle. And as exciting new establishments arrive at the Cloverleaf, Balintawak is sure to become the next bustling lifestyle center.