MANILA, March 28, 2006 (BULLETIN) For almost seven years now, the pilgrimage city of Antipolo has given a new breed of visitors a fresh reason to hie off to its hills — other than joining the annual Alay Lakad walkathon, securing a ‘safe trip blessing’ from the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, getting a spiritual awakening from one of the retreat houses or simply dining at the restaurants that provide a radiant vista of the metropolis at night.

Since its inception in 1999, the Meralco Management and Leadership Development Center Foundation, Inc. (MMLDC) has been luring people from the corporate sector to its world-class training facilities and services, thus earning for it a reputation as an "Oasis for Learning."

Through this, the Center has undoubtedly revived the charm of the city of Antipolo and boosted its new image as a convention destination while at the same time, redefining the art of learning.

Nestled on the lush hills of Antipolo along Sumulong Highway, the 10-hectare former mango farm has been transformed into a resort-style learning institution and lately as a convention/special events and recreational destination.

MMLDC managing director Agnes Fidelino stresses that the Center is not really a resort nor a spa (although it has one) but a place to nourish and enhance the mind and body. Yet, it gives one the feeling of being in a resort with the tropical ambience that it exudes.

"MMLDC has created a conducive atmosphere for the young and old to pursue learning outside the confines of their offices and classrooms. People literally experience a campus in the hills and classrooms that extend into the forests for corporate training and events that go beyond the usual setup of hotels, restaurants, and conference rooms," Fidelino explained.

The Center was initially established as a training site for Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) officers and employees. Later on, it opened to other companies who became interested to use the venue for their own training needs.

The sprawling property features a 3-storey building called the Academic Hall. It has 14 function rooms that boast of state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and can cater to whatever type of event or conference the client may require.

The Residence Hall, on the other hand, is an elegant hotel-type sanctuary providing guests a cozy and relaxing break after a long day of lectures and training sessions. The place can accommodate up to 180 participants at a time.

For delectable and healthy cuisine whipped up by resident chefs or any of MMLDC’s partner caterers, one can choose from the indoor 3-level Food Hall or the Balinese-inspired, open-air Areva Pavilion. Weddings, debuts and get-togethers can also be held by the poolside or by the koi pond.

An outdoor venue, meanwhile, is the place for teambuilding activities where participants are given physical and mental challenges to help improve their communication and teamwork skills. The Center offers an "Adventure Learning Course" that combines both low and high ropes courses. Fidelino pointed out that they can customize each teambuilding program to meet the individual needs of a client.

MMLDC is also fast becoming a favorite fieldtrip destination for students of nearby schools because of its eco center and aviary. The eco center features a composting site promoting proper waste management and a green garden. The aviary houses 700 different species of birds. A bird show showcasing the talented Macaus and Cuckatoos is among MMLDC’s best features.

Other facilities include a chapel, lounge, clinic, safety deposit boxes, game room, gym, basketball and volleyball courts, a paintball area and a pitch-and-putt amenities.

The MMLDC Foundation, Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit organization which works independently from its mother company MERALCO. Its beneficiaries are from the education sector, the electric power sector and various government organizations.

MMLDC holds the distinction of being the first training center in the country to be accredited with all three international standards: ISO for Quality Standard, ISO for Environment and ISO for Safety and Health (ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:1996, OHSAS 18001:1999) by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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