Ortigas & Co., developer behind the iconic bargain hunter's paradise Greenhills Shopping Center, Filipino-inspired shops at Tiendesitas, and upscale retail establishment Estancia, is grooming its latest commercial complex, Industria, as an alternative lifestyle destination for a young, edgy market. The 24,000-square-meter commercial complex is also the perfect hangout for residents in Circulo Verde, the 11-hectare master-planned community in Bagumbayan, Quezon City, also by Ortigas & Co.
Weekend markets with varied selection of goods, craft fairs, and concerts make up Industria's roster of activities, and a unique mix of retail and food establishments have set up shop in this vibrant destination.
Leading the pack is Markus Elegino, chef and proprietor of his eponymous Markus The Boy Who Bakes, who holds the distinction of being Industria's first-ever tenant. “We opened last April 2015 on the whim that we really liked the space even if we had no neighbors, no walk-ins, nothing,” says Elegino. Where others saw emptiness and inactivity, the baker and youngest pastry arts teacher at Enderun saw promise and potential. “I could tell it was a place that would progress in the coming years. And once it does grow and become popular, I can say I was a pioneer.”
As word got around on Markus' mouth-watering fare—short order dishes and, of course, desserts baked with imported ingredients best consumed with a hot brew of local coffee—the eatery eventually captured its intended clientele. Students and their parents from the Circulo Verde schools Bannister Academy and Cambridge Child Development Centre are regulars, as are homemakers from the upscale neighborhoods of Greenmeadows and White Plains. Chocolate Truffle Cake, 24 Layer Cake, and Rainbow Cake are constants, but Markus The Boy Who Bakes also changes its menu weekly based on available ingredients, thus piquing patrons' curiosity and appetites.
A year after its opening, Markus The Boy Who Bakes is as progressive as its pioneering outlet: thanks to the growing demand and popularity of his goods, Elegino is looking to launching a second branch either in Quezon City or Makati.
Industria is also home to innovative entrepreneurs like Jay Fajardo, co-founder and chief “garage head” of Launchgarage. The venture, patterned after innovation hubs abroad, offers assistance (like networking with investors and mentors) to some 15 start-up businesses; it also serves as a working area for short- and long-term co-workers (from a single desk to enclosed quarters) and has the rooms and facilities for presentations, workshops, and events. To Fajardo's knowledge, Launchgarage, with its New York loft-style layout and awesome view, is the biggest co-working space in Metro Manila.
Since setting up shop in Industria in April 2016, Fajardo notes that business has been “great for the underserved innovators in the northern area, as we are near schools like the Ateneo de Manila University.”
In time, business will be great for Industria as well. Fajardo reckons that once a start-up starts growing, it will eventually graduate from a co-working space like his to an independent space in a commercial area. “A community that is active, dynamic, and forward-thinking also requires coffee shops, cafes, places to eat. That's what we hope to attract,” he adds. “We attract people to the area.”
Fajardo isn't just referring to locals; besides Launchgarage's interns from Europe and the United States, counterparts from all over the world have been known to drop by Industria, as the innovation hub “is a landing pad for people to come over,” he says.
Yet another original venture that pulls clients in is The Washery: full-service laundromat meets cozy cafe in this business run by Camille Aquino, her sister, and their mom since August 2015. Inspired by their mother's early venture, the pioneering Wash N' Wear laundromat of the mid-'90s, Aquino and her sister thought of reviving the trade—with a twist.
“People think doing laundry is boring, so we thought of incorporating the cafe,” explains Aquino. Meanwhile, the shop's vintage-slash-industrial interior in red and teal gives the place an inviting, boutique vibe. The Washery also formulates its own detergent, but clients can request for detergent from Human Nature, the laundromat's partner, for an eco-friendly alternative.
Aquino and her sister were drawn to Industria's proximity to Circulo Verde, which will be a full-fledged community of residential high rises, schools, and a variety of establishments in a few years' time.
Naturally, with the growth of a community comes the rising demand for more establishments like The Washery. Aquino takes the prospect of competition in stride. “While we're aware of the laundromat services that have been cropping up everywhere, we plan to be known as the premium laundry and dry cleaning provider,” she says. “We'd like to think that we redefine the service.”
Kambal Pandesal Bakery & Café
Unlike the usual bakery stands, Kambal Pandesal Bakery and Café owner Josephine Villalon, her family, and her partner, do not just serve bread, but also has a Filipino-themed all-day breakfast and signature Italian coffee to their menu. This gained an overwhelming amount of knead-lovers in the area after just a month of launching in Industria.
Kambal Pandesal Bakery and Café continuously innovates and adds products to their menu. Some of their bestsellers are Pan de Espana, Lucban Longganisa, and signature Italian coffee. Pretty soon, they’ll also be adding burgers and pasta to their menu.
The café boasts of onsite baking, so their bread and meals are always fresh thus making their Industria-exclusive menu a hit among customers.
We know how much Filipinos love bread, and we make sure that we always serve only freshly baked goodies to our customers because it’s what drives them to regularly visit our café. We also added more options to the menu so that our clients will make our café their go-to place for anything, anytime of the day.” said Villalon.
Villalon knew Industria at Circulo Verde would be the home of their second branch after establishing their first in Pasay as she was looking for a residential development space with a growing community like Circulo Verde. She envisions Circulo Verde to be one of the highly trafficked areas in the metro, just like Greenhills in San Juan.
For 85 years, Ortigas & Co. has been bringing to life some of the nation’s most loved and most iconic places such as Greenhills Shopping Center, Tiendesitas at Frontera Verde, Estancia at Capitol Commons, & Industria at Circulo Verde – and with it, creating new experiences, traditions, and aspirations. Still, it continues to build great places for life. For more information, visit www.ortigas.com.ph
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