For the Adventure Seekers: Sandbox, Pampanga

Two weeks ago, my friends, brothers, and I set off to Sandbox Alviera located in Pampanga. The two-three hours drive we had from Makati to Pampanga was time that we know was well-spent once we reached the destination.

Sandbox is located inside the Alviera township development. On the way there, you will think that you are in a literal sandbox since their parking lot is like a huge bumpy sandbox. The Alviera property is under construction but it gets a lot better once you’re inside the actual Sandbox area.

Sandbox has 11 different activities going on as of the moment. Namely, there are the giant swing, aerial walk, free fall, rappel wall, wall climbing, roller coaster zipline, mini golf, outdoor archery, ATV, and the UTV. You can check their rates and packages here. We took Package A and just paid for 30 minutes of archery so we got everything covered except for the ATV and UTV. That totaled to PHP950.00 each.

We decided that we will try all of the activities in order except for the giant swing because we want that to be our last ride! So we skipped that for the meantime and headed straight to the adventure tower. Adventure tower consists of rappelling, wall climbing, free fall, and the roller coaster zipline. There is a tent near the Adventure tower where the staff will hand you the rappelling gear (I forgot what it’s called) which will be used for safety in all the activities in the Adventure tower.

We first tried out the wall climbing, which is harder than it looks. I only managed to get one rock up in ten minutes before deciding that it’s just not meant for me. I also tried both sides of the wall but it has the same results. My brother looks a natural, though. He got the highest point compared to the rest of us. My other brother decided to just swing around in his harness.

The next one was rappelling – which looks really scary for me. I passed on rappelling during my high school field trips, you know! Then I saw twin brothers aging around 7-9 go first before us and I decided to just do it. The staff was really friendly and approachable as they tell us how to do it and us in turn tell them how terrified we are! I paired up with my youngest brother and I mostly remember telling myself not to let go of the rope or else I’m dead. The actual rappelling took under a minute or two but it felt like forever when I’m in the process of doing it. It’s really fulfilling once I hit the ground though! Still, I don’t think I’ll be doing this again anytime soon.

The third one we tried out was the roller-coaster zipline. I heard it’s the first one in the Philippines and it looks so fun and different. I felt like I’ll be turning over when I’m riding it! There are a series of turns that will really make you scream. Then you’ll hear Kuya Photographer from below asking you to smile and you won’t be sure if you’re actually smiling or screaming when he took the shot. Haha! Still, this is my favorite ride of all! I’d do it over and over again if it’s allowed.

The last one from the Adventure Tower was the free fall. Here, you have to voluntary take a step out of the tower to fall! It feels like you’re voluntarily walking towards your death. When I was up the tower and waiting in line, I counted three girls (one of which is my friend) back out. I decided to volunteer next or else my nerves will get to me and I’m sure I’ll back out as well. I’m sure this one gave me adrenaline the entire day! Be careful on how your feet are aligned when getting down though. My other friend got down on the wrong foot and had to be seated for a while.

We continued on to Archery afterwards – especially since it was empty. There, you will be given the option to have a poster target for an additional PHP50. I was torn between the Zayn Malik and Voldemort options but I ended up sticking with the latter. Here, the staff will be teaching you the basics of archery for five-ten minutes and you can ask for questions and help all throughout. It also doesn’t add up to your total time.

It was really fun being Katniss Everdeen for almost 45 minutes – they let us extend for free. All throughout, the staff will be giving you tips and pointers to hit the bull’s-eye. At one point, they even placed a balloon on the target that we should hit. I was doing really well before the balloon, but once it’s up there, all my shots were literally just around the balloon. It was so frustrating but I get to pop it after four rounds. Haha! I will seriously do a one hour archery session if we come back to Sandbox, especially if the staff will be as friendly and helpful as the one that helped us.

Off we went to the Giant Swing after archery. There was no line so we just headed straight for the ride. The Giant Swing was more or less 10 meters high and is the highest one in the Philippines. I was and still is so in love with swings so when it was our turn, the only thing I said to the staff were “Higher!”

The last one we did was the Aerial Walk. I recommend doing this activity a bit earlier since we had to line up for at least 30 minutes for this one. For Aerial Walk, you’re responsible for yourself and you can’t just quit in the middle of the course. You have to either finish it or find a way out of it if you decide that you can’t do it. This is the hardest activity in Sandbox and sad to say, I wasn’t able to finish it. I partly blame my bladder for that. The other is because I’m not really fit.

Aerial Walk consists of series of “obstacles”. You get to do a bit of wall climbing, lots of balancing, some strength exercises, and ziplining to do it. I wasn’t able to take photos of us actually doing it since you will need to use both your hands all the time. Still, it’s a fun activity. I’ll definitely aim to finish this course when we return to Sandbox.

The entire thing took us at least 6 hours with no food breaks. We skipped the mini-golf since we were tired and is not really interested in it. I can’t give any comments about their food because we didn’t have our lunch/dinner there. We only had drinks plus some yema that they’re selling. The yema being sold near the Adventure Tower was really good, though. I recommend that! I also recommend finding some restaurant/eatery around Pampanga/Bulacan area. The staff at Sandbox can give you some recommendations. I forgot what the name of the resto we ate in is but it’s really affordable and you can eat back all the calories you lost and even more!

For adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies in Metro Manila, Sandbox, Pampanga is really a must. This is the nearest one we have that offers these rides. I’m definitely coming back to this place – especially if they decide to add more rides!

1. Get there as early as you can. They only allow limited number of persons per day.
2. Get some sun protection. Sunblocks are a must. Also, remember to hydrate!
3. Check the weather forecast beforehand. They stop their operations while it’s raining.
4. Wear rubber shoes. One of my friends was wearing sandals so she was not allowed to some activities.
5. Listen to the instructions. There are some rides where you are responsible for yourself.
6. Have fun! Face your fears! Try everything!

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