I have been living in Sta. Rosa for more than 2 years now. Because I don’t want to pay the toll or spend for gas, I stay and shop within the Sta. Rosa area.
Before, Paseo de Sta. Rosa was the “in” place. It was the typical hang out place which offers the basics like National Bookstore, Starbucks, Yellow Cab, Jollibee, Kanin Club, Tips and Toes, Davids, Speedo outlet store, Mercury Drug, and right across the street, the relatively new South Supermarket plus a few other establishments like more restos and spas.
I used to come here often for lack of anywhere else to go until Nuvali opened. Back in late 2010, there were few establishments and there were few people hanging out. National Bookstore originally occupied the space we know now as Starbucks. But for some reason it relocated elsewhere. My hunch? Business wasn’t that good. But, if they stuck it out for a few more months, then they would have seen the improvement in people traffic.
Personally, I think that Nuvali is for the upper crust. For sure, one needs a fat wallet to dine at restos like Crisostomo, Brothers Burger, Contis and Italiannis. The omnipresent Jollibee and McDonald’s are nowhere to be seen. Across this “original” Nuvali (not sure if this is called Solenad I) is Solenad (is this Solenad II) which has also grown popular in such a short period of time. Payless, Stoked, Krispy Kreme, ALDO Liquidation store (50% to 70% off all the time), Toast Box, Serenitea, Breadtalk, Gerry’s Grill, Bo’s Coffee, Purple Oven, Frutti Froyo and Army Navy are but a few of the nice places one can visit. Oh, and Hotel Line from where I buy relatively cheap but nice kitchen and dining stuff is here too. There is a Robinson’s Supermarket and a True Value — of course, smaller than their Manila counterparts — but entertaining (hahaha) enough. Service stores are still few and include the Bench Fix Salon, the iSPA and Nailaholics. When I go there on weekends, there are usually stalls selling shawarma, hotdogs and pita sandwiches. There are pasalubong stuff (of course, Nuvali is in the province) and, would you believe, plants — pines, figs, poinsettias among others.
The popularity of Nuvali may not be totally hinged on the number of establishments since compared to Paseo de Sta. Roxas, it definitely has fewer. I must say it has gotta be the quality (or exclusivity) of establishments and the place itself.
For me, the charm of Nuvali rests on its concepts of space, minimalism and eco-friendliness. Who wouldn’t want to see greens (and more greens) plus a manmade lake which one can experience by boat — though for a fee. If you want to get some sun, try visiting Nuvali and you’ll have an unobstructed access to UV rays. Having said that, be sure to linger under the sunshine until 9am or 10am at the latest then hit Serenitea for refreshments.
Additionally, Paseo de Sta. Rosa looked somewhat cramped while that of Nuvali looked so spacious and airy. On the many occasions that I was there, I saw families having picnics, children playing frisbee or tag and a lot of couples taking leisurely stroll and still a lot of wired teenagers taking photos at every interesting corner in Nuvali — yes for Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare etc. purposes.
Despite the sudden deluge of visitors — yes, I had seen Nuvali like a ghost town — I hope Nuvali maintains its easy and laidback charm.
One thing worth saying is that Nuvali’s popularity has messed up traffic in the vicinity somewhat and parking has become a prep for the amazing race. It’s kinda sad that Nuvali is going mainstream. It scares me to think that it would become too trite. In which case, I have no choice but to go further south for quiet and refuge. That would take me to Tagaytay.