There is a sense of prestige that comes with country clubs—the manicured lawns and golf courses, the amenities, and especially the exclusivity are some of the things that draw those on the upper echelons of society to membership.
By definition, a country club is an institution that provides members-only access to their selection of recreational activities and facilities. Avid golfers, for example, can have their pick of tee times, and enjoy a perfectly maintained course that only a limited number of people can play in.
Golf isn’t the only reason many choose to obtain membership at these clubs, though. There are a number of other perks and privileges that the lucky few can enjoy, depending on individual lifestyles. Special by-invitation events are a great way to network with people, while children’s activities are appealing for those with families. Professionals can choose to hold meetings in the club’s dining areas—it’s especially useful when you’re meeting someone you want to impress.
Certainly that’s one of the things that come with a country club membership—there is a prominence that people associate with its members, and that’s not just for its relatively steep membership fees. In Cebu, for example, many of those affiliated with these clubs have been so for years, their families gathering at these establishments for generations. There is that sense of history.
And with that history also comes camaraderie, which, in the end, is really one of the biggest appeals of being part of a country club. “It provides a feeling of familiarity and belongingness, not only among members, but with the staff as well,” says Noel F. Alicaya, the President at City Sports Club. “At City Sports, you see each other during meetings, Sunday mass, or even just mid-week lunch. Your kids know each other, and you feel safer with them hanging out here after school. It’s having a bigger family outside your home.”
The same goes for Casino Español, which particularly reinforces that sense of history. “The club celebrates many annual Spanish-inspired social functions, and conducts periodic sports and recreational activities to enhance the intimate fellowship of its members and families. These activities in so many ways create a special bond, which builds a sense of belongingness among its members,” says General Manager May Ocaba. “It is considered by its members as their second home, and a family-oriented venue for them to socialize and relax.”
This, of course, comes with a membership fee—a price that many feel is a great value for what you actually get in return. “Of course it’s a good investment,” says Cebu Country Club General Manager Lorezo A. Osorno Jr. “You get to expand your friends and your network, plus you get the chance to see business partners in the future.”
No man is an island, and there’s no community quite like a country club. If you’re looking at becoming part of a members-only establishment, Zee Lifestyle has listed some of the best in the metro.
CEBU COUNTRY CLUB
Tucked in busy Banilad sits the scenic Cebu Country Club. Formerly known as the United Service Country Inc., the club traces its beginnings to the early 1900s as a nine-hole golf course built by British and American executives. Today, almost a century after, it has blossomed into a premiere and the oldest golf course in Cebu.
Now with a famous 18-hole championship golf course, it is the site of the annual Philippine Airlines Interclub Gold Tournament and some legs of the Philippine Golf Circuit. The carabao grass is perfectly embedded into the ground, their are side-hill putts along the course, and the trees that border the fairways are some of the oldest in the city.
Cebu Country Club also takes pride in the food it serves, with a variety of American and well-loved Filipino dishes. The club’s expansive veranda allows members to enjoy the popular salpicado and paksiw na isda, while meals are usually capped off with some ice cream.
The club is definitely a link to the past—besides being the first golf course of the Visayas, its Board of Directors have seen many of the city’s premiere businessmen and statesmen. Its natural beauty and serene atmosphere is complemented by its accessibility.
Amenities: Clubhouse, restaurant and bar, sauna, tavern bar, tee houses, locker rooms for men and women, bowling alley, sports gear shop, swimming pool, function rooms, tennis courts and badminton courts
Banilad, Cebu City
(032) 231 0345
CITY SPORTS CLUB CEBU
An urban resort in the middle of one of Cebu’s progressive business districts, the City Sports Club has been an avenue for lifestyle meetings and events for its members since it opened 16 years ago.
A joint project of Ayala Land, Inc. and Cebu Holdings Inc., the club was developed to be an exclusive urban resort destination in the city. Its recent upgrade was made to adapt to the times—City Sports Club now sports a modern look and open spaces that take advantage of natural lighting and good ventilation. Bistro88 has become a favorite space to dine, with its offering of Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, while the fitness facilities saw a major facelift. In fact, a Pilates studio in the lower floors offers an alternate method of fitness.
With all these wonderful amenities, the club’s best offering remains that of the sense of community. In their own words, “It’s an environment where members can be alone or spend time with family, friends or business colleagues in a place that is welcoming and comfortable.” That philosophy is something that shows what City Sports Club stands for—celebrating the good life, and remaining a fixture of lifestyle in Cebu.
Amenities: Basketball court, tennis and badminton courts, function rooms, men and women’s locker rooms, restaurants and swimming pool
Cardinal Rosales Avenue
Cebu Business Park
(032) 415 8700
CASINO ESPAÑOL DE CEBU
Its name showing off its Spanish affinity, the Casino Español de Cebu is known for its old world charm and notable culinary offerings. Its history is evident in the Spanish-inspired interiors, with thoughtful details and elements that add to the feeling of nostalgia.
Established in 1920, Casino Español’s sports and cultural facilities are meant to foster unity, promote the Spanish language and culture, and create a spirit of harmony among members. Many of the members now have been so for years, and have developed an almost intimate relationship with the place.
Its function rooms remain a favorite venue for its members’ milestones, made even more memorable by the club’s collection of master recipes. The selection of dishes at Casino Español are still some of the best Spanish fare in the city.
Amenities: Swimming pool, restaurants, function rooms, wine and tapas bar, sportsbar, conference room, meeting rooms, sports facilities, tennis court and badminton court, wide space parking lot, library, gym, and billiard pool.
107-109 V. Ramudo Street, Cebu City
(032) 253 1260 to 64
ALTA VISTA GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB
Located on the hills of Pardo in the southern part of Cebu City, Alta Vista is a joint venture between Santa Lucia Realty and Development Inc. and the Aznar family. The club was founded in 1994, and has become one of the most scenic spots for golf in Cebu with its weeping vistas of the city and beyond below.
Guided by its philosophy that members deserve nothing less than the best, Alta Vista offers amenities that cater to various interests and lifestyles. The Spanish colonial-inspired clubhouse boasts 14,000 sqaure meters of floor space and several multi-functional areas.
Of course, its main offering is its golf course, and Alta Vista hosts several exciting tournaments in a year. In fact, there is a monthly medal tournament available for those who are truly passionate about the game.
Amenities: Basketball court, golf shop, swimming pool, indoor tennis courts, function rooms and ballrooms
Pardo Hills, Pardo, Cebu City
(032) 263 5538, 316 9960