For most executives, a business trip means being away from family and the comforts of home. For Alby Xerez-Burgos and his wife Maricar, however, it is an opportunity to spend time with their children at their home away from home.
“When he says he needs to go for work, the kids don’t say, ‘What?’ They go, ‘Yay!’” Maricar said with a laugh. Their excitement is understandable: As president and CEO of Landco Pacific Corporation, Alby is often called to work at the company’s luxury residential resorts in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Located in a scenic two-hour drive from Manila, the seaside Peninsula de Punta Fuego and Terrazas de Punta Fuego offer Landco’s signature leisure lifestyle and a place to find one’s work-life balance.
The family has spent long weekends at these coastal communities for several years, frolicking on the beach, indulging in great food and bonding with one another. At first, they stayed in the well-appointed Spanish-Mediterranean casitas at Peninsula, where they enjoyed resort amenities at the members-only Club Punta Fuego, including spa services, water sports and a fully equipped cinema.
They still have access to the Club, but now Maricar, Alby and their four children settle into a spacious two-bedroom condominium at Amara en Terrazas, an exclusive company-owned, 95-unit complex located inside Terrazas de Punta Fuego just 15 minutes from Peninsula.
The condo’s split floor plan features a bedroom on either side of the main living and dining areas. The interior opens to a capacious balcony boasting an inset Jacuzzi and breathtaking views of the Terrazas Cove and the West Philippine Sea beyond.
Back inside, the contemporary minimalist design begins in the kitchen where pale subway tiles and gleaming stainless steel appliances brighten the compact space. Chocolate-hued hardwoods frame smoked-glass walls separating the rooms and provide a rich contrast between the glossy floor and illuminated tray ceiling.
The furniture sports clean lines, from a cream-white tufted sofa to the dining set’s cushioned benches, while decorative accessories are equally discreet, in keeping with the desire to make it a welcoming getaway for all family members.
Mindful of the shared space, the couple installed Alby’s coffeemaker and wine chiller as their only permanent belongings. The neutral décor might make the condo seem as impersonal as a hotel room, but Maricar disagrees. Instead of personal effects, like photographs and other knick-knacks, “it’s more the activities we do together that make this place a home,” she said.
Early on, the couple came to an unspoken agreement: “If [Alby] is going to be here for work but can’t spend time with the kids, then it’s better for us not to come along,” she explained. “They so look forward to spending time with him.”
With that understanding, the high-powered CEO endeavors to complete business in the mornings and join his family in the afternoons.
At Terrazas, they immerse themselves in outdoor activities unavailable in the city. “I did my run at Peninsula this morning. The atmosphere here is so different,” said Alby, as his wife added, “I don’t normally run [back at home] but I bring my rubber shoes here because the fresh air just makes you want [to be active].”
Quiet residential streets and walking trails are perfect for their nightly family strolls, but during the day, the children prefer being in the surf, not on the turf. They can choose between Terrazas’ unique infinity pool featuring a shallow area for small children, a lap section for dedicated swimmers and submerged benches for those just looking to lounge, or the spectacular 800-meter crescent of fine white sand beach lined with open-air cabanas that provide a cool, comfortable spot to relax between dips in the sea.
“From the time they get up, the kids are at the pool or on the beach. After breakfast, they go back until it’s time to break for lunch, then they’re back again. They get so burnt!” exclaimed Maricar with affectionate exasperation.
Nothing thrills the children more than when mom and dad join in the fun. Much to Maricar’s gratification, the children, who range in age from four to 15 years old, cherish their bonding time as much as their parents.
“Lately, I’ve noticed they like hanging out together. There was a time when I’d invite cousins [of the same ages], but now they tell me it’s okay with just them,” she said.
While her family enjoys the fresh outdoors, Maricar finds her ultimate outlet in the kitchen.
“I love to cook for everyone. I don’t find it a chore to prepare food for other people,” she said, listing pica-pica, tapas and risottos among the dishes she often prepares.
Before they head to Amara, she consults her cookbooks for recipes and packs her favorite pots, pans, and knives. Specialty ingredients are purchased in Manila, while the local market provides an abundance of fresh fish and produce.
“[Here], I can give it my time, from planning the menu to making the food to setting the table. It’s my labor of love.”
The family eats healthily at home, said Maricar, but at Terrazas, “we enjoy ourselves because we’re not restrained by watching calories.” In particular, the family indulges in breakfast, her husband’s favorite meal, which they can enjoy on the balcony along with the lovely view and refreshing sea breezes.
“They love their omelettes and chorizo because Monday through Friday, it’s oatmeal or yogurt. Here, they’re excited to wake up and eat breakfast!”
“For me, just seeing my eldest daughter leaning on her dad while they watch a movie—it’s something I treasure, because they don’t get to do that often,” added Maricar.
Their ideal day, she said, involves the whole family on the beach, with “no phone calls and no iPads. Just alone time as a family.”
When they are at Terrazas, that ideal day is every day.
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