It’s a mall unlike any other. It’s the university town concept that’s focused on the community and the student population. Instead of the usual box-type mall, Ayala Land created a sprawling space, making sure there are plenty of convergence areas that can be used by students to come together and socially engage with one another.
“What we do is make UP Town Center an extension of the UP campuses. Some of the activities you see in the UP campus can actually be seen here in the UP Town Center,” Rowena Tomeldan, Ayala Land Inc.’s Commercial Business Group Vice President and Head of Operations and Support Services said.
Lanterns! Starting December 24, together with the College of Fine Arts, the floats from the UP
Lantern Parade will be on display at UP Town Center. For Rowena, who is a UP graduate, this is important. “The UP Lantern Parade is a tradition. How can you be UP town center without displaying the beautiful creations of the students?”
The stores in the mall are student-approved. UP Town Center features the hottest and most popular brands that mirror the casual comfortable vibe of the students that come to the mall. Mark Anthony Sablan, Senior Division Manager for Ayala Land, Inc.’s Commercial Business Group, said that these new brands were chosen with the lifestyle and need of the community, especially the students, in mind. “It was not a matter of just filling up spaces. We really curated the stores and brands for them.”
Comfort Food #alldayeveryday.Recovery Food is open 24 hours a day – even on Christmas and New Year. Owner and manager Mico Montano said, “Signal number 1, 2 or 3, even World War Z, we’re open. We’re never closed.” The brainchild of the incredible team behind Mamou, Recovery Food is lovingly referred to as their “carinderia,” a more affordable restaurant for quick and delicious meals. Bestsellers include Tapa de Morning (their tapsilog), Happy Beef Rice (their version of pares), S.S.T. (sweet spicy tuyo) and the Turondots with DulceGatas. Wash them all down with freshly squeezed dalandan juice. Trust us, you’ll end up wanting to drink a whole bottle.Mico said, “We envisioned a place to be the last stop after you go out drinking or partying. You can also go here after work, after school, after a workout, after sports activities.”
You can have a Swiftie moment at Keds. With the release of Taylor Swift’s massive holiday
collection with the popular sneaker brand, Keds feels like a Taylor Swift shrine and we love it. Stare at the funky wall, watch the behind the scenes video about the collection and try to choose from the numerous Taylor-inspired designs (Glitter Dot? Herringbone Bow? Metallic Dot? Bleach Denim?). And guess what? You can still find the coveted Taylor Swift Champion Sneaky Cat Keds at UP Town Center (they still had about a dozen pairs left when we checked, so hurry!).
Star Wars sneakers!Drop by Vans and check out their latest Star Wars collaboration. May the force be with you as you choose from their sneakers and backpacks.
Ice cream + tricks = fun.Coldstone doesn’t just serve delicious ice cream concoctions-their staff can also do stunts. Have you ever had your ice cream thrown ten feet across the room? It’s awesome.
There are signature ice cream creations to choose from-Chocolate Devotion (chocolate ice cream with fudge, chocolate chips and brownies) and Founder’s Favorite (sweet cream with fudge, caramel, pecans and brownies) are just some of the bestsellers but you can also make your own.
“We have a guarantee that if you don’t like what you get, we’ll be happy to change it. Everyone walks out of our store happy,” said Ralph Joseph Ilasin, Coldstone’s head of events.
Coldstone has a special discount for students-20% off on Mondays.
Shoe shopping! Rock the new Converse All Star Rubber (The red pair is pretty hot!) or pick shoes from Sperry’s colorful new collections (Maybe the Bahama?).
Get a taste of Singapore-passport not required.Lester Pimentel, Ace Wang and actor Richard Yap
put up Wangfu Chinese Cafe, a more casual answer to their Wangfu Chinese Bistro. “We are trying to recreate the hawker center and kopi tiam ambiance,” said Lester.
They serve Singaporean favorites like cereal prawns and Hainanese chicken and also Chinese and Cantonese dishes, with a list of bestsellers that includes the Salted Egg Fried Chicken, Pork Floss Prawns, Mango Lapu-Lapu and Bacon Roll.
“We also serve four-course meals for just P180 and at this Wangfu branch, we serve unlimited rice, perfect for students,” said Lester.
The Backyard Kitchen & Brew crew are waiting for you. There are 21 of them, an interesting mix of personalities that includes musicians Rico Blanco, Kelvin Yu, Jugs Jugueta, DJs Aaron Atayde, Slick Rick and Sam YG, fitness coach ChappyCallanta, entrepreneurs MohitDargani and Paolo Paraiso. What started as their NBA Fantasty Leaguehas become an events company and now a restaurant.
Collectively, the group has a lot of experience in the dining and nightlife world-a number of them are behind a long list of places that includes Alphonse Bistro, Vault, Route 196, the Pino group of restaurants, Relik, URBN, Red Kimono and Baskin-Robbins.
Rico said, “It’s a good mix. We’re bound by the same vision for this place – a place where we can just
chill and be ourselves. Chef Ed Bugia is taking the lead by doing what he’s always wanted to do with the food. We’re just building around that.”
Don’t expect the usual gastro pub offerings from the talented Chef Ed. He said, “We’re going for a farm to table concept. The exact term is locovore – we use local produce, local ingredients. It’s rustic comfort food.”
Chappy said, “We believe if we get good ingredients, the food will speak for itself. We really source good ingredients from organic farms-we leased it so we grow what we serve.We’re sure where our food comes from-from our own backyard talaga.”
Aaron added, “The food is the heart and soul of the entire restaurant.”
The dishes we tried-the flatbread pizza with salted egg, chicken skin, cherry tomatoes and ricotta; the nose-to-tail homemade pasta using parts from chicken, beef and pork; the stewed itik served with panadero-style pandesal and fresh ricotta-were a delicious first taste of Backyard and we can’t wait to see what they’ll be coming up with next.
You’ll want to clean your plate at The Clean Plate. Charles Joseph Lim, the young and brilliant chef behind Twist, proves that organic food can be exciting and delicious at The Clean Plate. He said, “I don’t want to scare my guests by saying I’m an organic restaurant kasi the typical perception is it’s all vegetables, it’s bland. We call it clean comfort food. We use clean ingredients that are fresh and naturally grown.”
The Honey Beef Belly Roast is tender and flavorful and the Al Negra pasta obsession-worthy. We
loved the Twist Famous Filipino Style Tulingan and the Organic Pork Belly Ham is so good that we want to see it on our Christmas table.
You’ll enjoy CJ’s Twist Famous Cookies too, which are freshly baked when you order. They’re so good you’d want to bring some home-and you can. They sell dough logs that you can slice and pop into your oven or toaster for a quick cookie fix.
The deli section offers other Twist and The Clean Plate goodies that would make great gifts-sardines and tinapa in jars, organic catsup, cashew sesame butter, cookie butter and nutellapolvoron.
Grab a hoodie from Stansbury. Stansbury& Co. sells comfortable clothes, cool hoodies and shirts that are great for layering.
Kill that lasagna craving. Rina Go’s lasagna has been a big hit for many years-first with her family and friends and then with her clients (she supplied food to coffee shops and hospitals for over ten years). Now, fans of her cooking can enjoy her food at Nic’s Gourmet, a place that showcases her many delicious creations. The old favorites are a constant-the lasagna, lemon bars, double fudge bars, the peach walnut torte. We love the wheat crisp with the various dips too-tinapa with mushroom and capers, tinapa with tomato basil, pimiento, pomodoro. Rina’s daughter Nicole, a college student, is also getting involved in the business. “She can eat. And she travels so her palate is discerning.”
They have a lot to offer for the holiday season too-gift packs and feasts that can be taken home or
given as gifts. That Turkey Party Package looks really really good.
Carbs! The Breadery, a bakery and coffee shop from Taiwan that serves delicious artisan bread, gives you good reason to forget your low-carb diet-even just for a day. “We ferment our dough for a week so our bread is flavorful. We don’t put preservatives or additives,” said store manager Jerome Maestre. Their biggest hits?The Olive Cheese, the Americano Garlic, the Truffle Bun, the Swiss Chocolate and the top seller Earl Grey Tea bread.
Town Market! For this holiday season, UP Town Center brings the first Town Market to the community. Available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Town Market offers the best food finds in Katipunan and exciting student businesses under one roof. Neighborhood favorites such as Xocolat and Cello’s Doughnuts & Dips are now right at the fingertips of students to take home and enjoy.
There are selfie opportunities and Instagram-worthy moments at every corner.
Toms Pop-Up Shop! Get 50% off selected styles and get your caffeine fix from December 14 to 30.
Surprises! Earlier this week, when Recovery Food first opened, they had a special treat for customers. Annie Montano, one of the owners said, “Anyone who dined with us, when they asked for their bill, we told them it’s on us and we thanked them for dropping by.”
More parking! This month, UP Town Center brings more smiles and comfort to shoppers as they open a five-storey parking building-that’s close to a thousand parking slots.
Expect a lot more from UP Town Center-a cinema, a department store, a supermarket, more
restaurants, more stores (including the hottest global brands) and more fun.
WHAT’S UP AT UP TOWN
Let the Christmas carols make you feel the Christmas spirit.
Fridays to Sundays
Shop for yummy treats at the weekend town fair
Tom’s Pop Up Store !!!
December 14 to 30
50% off selected items plus the chance to try TOMS coffee
December 15 to 18
Check out the exhibit of the graduating batch of UP Interior Design. The designs aim to help shape and improve the environments used by Filipino families, institutions and communities.
December 24 to January 4
Lanterns from U.P. Fine Arts will light up UP Town Center during the holiday season
Planet Sports Sale
Find gifts for your loved ones and enjoy great discounts
Follow @iloveuptowncenter on Instagram and @UP_TownCenter on Twitter. Find UP Town Center at www.facebook.com/uptowncenterayalamalls.