The greenest urban estate in one of the world’s most densely populated countries



Manila, Philippines


35 hectares (86 acres)



A mixed-use destination that balances the energy of the city with the tranquility and biodiversity of the locale while delivering strategies for the two to live in long term harmony.

  • 50% of the development is dedicated to parks and open spaces.
  • 4 interconnected parks form an integral part of the overall recreational offering as well as water management and flood control design.
  • A lively 3-hectare (7 acre) space called ‘Central Park’ forms the development’s heart.

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Metropolitan Manila is one of most densely populated regions in the world, so green space is rare. The Marikina River, which surrounds the site, is similarly undervalued; the region’s urban developments frequently turn their backs to the water rather than embrace it. Motivated to create the greenest urban estate in Metro Manila, Ayala Land and Eton Properties joined forces to turn this neglected and forgotten water corridor into an asset – a mixed-use development that combines urban residential, retail, entertainment and office properties with tranquil riverfront parks and public amenities. The goals are to attract residents and visitors in search of an active lifestyle close to nature, and to enhance the natural spaces and protect the land. In a tropical island environment where it rains six months out of the year, water management and control are also critical.


The team of developers and WATG designers saw an opportunity to engage the river and elevate its value as a destination that offers a welcome respite from the city. At the core of the development, four extensive, interconnected parks become an integral part of the overall water management and flood control design – stabilizing the land while promoting and enhancing the site’s naturally biodiverse environment.

  • At the heart of the development, Central Park features sprawling lawns and gardens surrounded by ground-level retail and restaurants.
  • River Park Terraces form long linear parkways overlooking the river and include bike lanes, viewing terraces, an active plant nursery, café, and kids’ play area. The terraces also include a series of water management features such as retention ponds and water infiltration areas, which collect and hold rainwater runoff before slowly releasing it into the Marikina River.
  • The green space of the Riparian Gardens forms an ecological buffer between the River Park Terraces and the river – protecting, enhancing and promoting the natural landscape.
  • And as the primary public space where people can enjoy close proximity to the flowing water, River Esplanade fronts a portion of the river and is directly accessible to Ayala Land’s mixed-use development.


By prioritizing experiential and sustainable design strategies, there are long-term benefits for residents and visitors, as well as the environment. Open spaces stabilize the land, strengthen its relationship with water, and give breathing room to people and the buildings they inhabit. And from a financial perspective, the combination of thoughtfully-designed parks and open spaces generate a higher value in terms of user experience and enjoyment, thus bringing higher returns on the development’s saleable parcels and residential units.



“We are here to influence lives and create change by enhancing the experience of the people who live, work, and play in our spaces. But at the end of the day it’s still a business, so striking a balance is key. WATG understands this. They help us get a return on our investment and see financial gains without compromising the end product or the mission.”

“WATG has a long history of planning and knowledge in landscape architecture, and their international experience helps us learn from other destinations. But they also have someone locally connected to the project who can communicate even better with the teams on the ground. That means a lot.”

– Gilbert Berba, Ayala Land Planning Group Head of Operations