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The Garage: VR Games and More at COD Manila
posted by Vicki in Indulgences
Today marks the opening of The Garage: the integrated luxury casino resort City of Dreams Manila‘s virtual reality game zone—the very first in Southeast Asia—and specialty food truck park all rolled into one. Located next to Dream Play for kids, The Garage is the missing puzzle piece to make COD Manila’s family fun entertainment package complete. Adults have a casino, fine dining restaurants, luxury shopping, and a world-class spa. Kids have DreamWorks’ creativity play center, Dream Play. But what about those in between?
Fashioned out of 2,714 square meters that was previously parking space, The Garage was initially meant to only be a foodie haven. But Kevin Benning, COD Chief Operating Officer flew to Tokyo and met with Ryuichi Osada and Yukiharu Tomiya of Bandai Namco Amusement, a leading video game development company who created world-famous games such as Pac-Man, Pole Position, and Tekken. They closed the deal that same day to bring cutting edge technology in video game entertainment experiences to the Philippines. At the same time, Bandai Namco was excited to partner with COD Manila and offer the first immersive and multi-sensory VR Zone entertainment facility in Southeast Asia.
Virtual Reality no longer a dream
Three games are currently available at the VR Zone: Mario Kart GP VR, which is a virtual race between four players that lasts up to three minutes. Players sit behind a wheel, operate pedals, and physically reach useful items overhead to deter their opponents.
Next is Ski Rodeo, a two-minute steep downhill skiing simulator that is played in pairs. Players are standing for this one! Finally, those who love the horror genre will enjoy being scared out of their wits with the immersive horror room game, Hospital Escape Terror. Played in groups of four, players are strapped to a wheelchair and need to escape out of an abandoned hospital. The time to escape is nine minutes.
All games are Php450 per game / person or Php1,200 for all three games/ person. Ski Rodeo costs Php800 / pair and Hospital Escape Terror costs Php1,600 / group of four. Only those aged 13 and up are allowed to play. Those aged 18 and below need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
I suggest for those willing to try the VR games should game before they eat. Wear flats or closed shoes, otherwise you will have to wear their prescribed footwear Crocs. Last but not the least, should you feel dizzy or uncomfortable at any time, just raise your hands and you can stop your game—but unfortunately not get a refund.
For those familiar with Mario Kart , playing it was exhilirating yet nerve-wracking! Everything is in your face and you need to control not only your steering wheel but also try and grab items like banana peels, turtle shells, or hammers with one hand. My companion Chiqui decided to bow out after the first drop. Good for her! I finished the race until the end, and when it was time to get up from my seat, I was super dizzy! Perhaps I should leave the virtual reality gaming to my teenager.
Let’s face it, fine dining is good once in awhile but for guests and visitors at a hotel, it can get tired. Now COD Manila’s hungry patrons can make their way to The Garage’s Food Park. Taking up most of the space at The Garage, these food trucks are more my thing than virtual gaming. I think it would be a great introduction of Manila’s food scene to foreign guests.
The Garage will house a total of 10 of the hippest and trendiest food partners, including those from COD, So it was a nice surprise to see so many of my favorite restaurants available, but in food truck form. Several restaurants tried to pitch to enter The Garage, but only these few were chosen. “It was difficult to pick the partners who wanted to come in, but once we sat down and tried all these, it was a pretty easy choice,” said Benning during our press preview.
Here are just a few well-known food trucks from well-loved restaurants that will offer their fare:
El Chupacabra, the home of Filipino street tacos, will serve my favorite San Francisco style sisig taco (pork jaw and ear), other taco flavors and burritos, and quesadillas.
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, the well-loved ramen franchise from Hokkaido will offer a variety of its best sellers such as shio, miso, and shoyu ramen. Its delicious tonkotsu broth paired with super tender char-siu pork slices is very satisfying and filling at the same time.
Katsu Sora will offer quality tonkatsu made with premium world-class pork. There is Iberico from Spain, the well-marbled Shimofuri, super melt in your mouth Kurobuta, and the light and mild Sakura from Japan. They will also serve other Japanese dishes.
Pizza Grigliata will offer its award-winning artisanal flat bread pizzas and pastas. Try flavors such as proscuitto arugula spinach and pesto in squash dough, or quattro formaggi with truffle oil.
Pink’s Hot Dogs Manila, the landmark hot dog stand since 1939 from Hollywood that serves specialty dogs. Manila is its first international hot dog franchise outside the US and the owners of Pink’s, all clad in pink no less, came to grace us with their presence.
Little Flour, Wild Flour’s little sibling and all-day brunch concept, will serve Filipino rice bowls such as Tapa and Sisig Rice Bowl topped with fried egg to satisfy that late night craving for Filipino comfort food.
Farmacy will offer its specialty home made ice cream made the old fashioned way. Pink’s Hot Dogs Manila, Little Flour, and Farmacy are all under the group behind the widely successful Wild Flour.
Homegrown from COD is a chocolatier shop Chocola8, featuring handcrafted chocolates; Juiced, a selection of fresh and healthy juices and smoothies; The Roaster, a bevy of coffee beverages; and the Bar, a first of its kind bar where you can order cocktails, ice teas, and mocktails.
Bringing that edgy street cred to The Garage is cool art by talented graffiti artists Dee Jae Pa’este and Kookoo Ramos, whose works you have probably spied around Metro Manila. The Garage is open from 10AM to 2AM. For more information on the Garage at COD, visit cityofdreamsmanila.com.
Congratulations to the team behind The Garage and thank you to Charisse and Mina for the opportunity to be one of the first to preview it! I’m certain there will be a long line of excited gamers who want to try the first virtual reality entertainment center in the country as well as many hungry foodies just waiting to snap their food experiences for the ‘gram. Good luck on your first day!
May all your virtual and actual gypsetting dreams come true,
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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.
We are The Gypsetters.
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