Healthy Living

Kandi Gym

Modern western-style gyms are hard to come by in the Philippines. Sure, you’ll find plenty in the major metropolis of Manila, especially in Makati – the business center of the Philippines and where there are far more foreigners living, working, and playing. But outside of that, you tend to find some pretty low-quality gyms. In fact, the typical local Filipino gym is little more than the size of a small café, with dingy and moldy carpet on the floors or even dusty and hard concrete. The machines tend to be ancient (like from the 1960s), ill-working because they are rusty, bent, and not maintained at all, or even homemade, so they fit the smaller and shorter body of the Filipino. These local gyms are also insufferably hot, with no air con and possibly only a few mounted fans that they surely don’t ever turn on. But the good news is that these gyms are cheap.

Working out at the Kandi Gym

When I’m in Angeles City, the Vegas-style little Sin City about two hours north of Manila, the gyms are definitely better than that. But still, it’s hard to find a perfect workout facility. I’ve stayed at a couple of hotels that had gyms, and while they were functional, they are usually pretty small and only have the bare minimum of equipment. I did find a great mixed martial arts gym with heavy bags, spacious training floor, a big ring, outdoor track around the circumference of the building, and a smaller but very usable weight lifting area. The only problem was that it was on the other side of town, so it could take about $3 – $4 and 20 minutes each way to get there and back.

So finding the Kandi Gym at the beautiful Kandi Towers was a saving grace. I’ve talked about Kandi Towers before, the affordable-luxury living complex off of Friendship Highway in Angeles, with its awesome, fun, and convenient coffee shop, stores, and roof deck. Well, you can add the gym to that list because it’s by far the nicest one I’ve visited in the Philippines.

The location couldn’t be better, and I don’t just mean the geography of where Kandi Towers sits. The gym is actually located on the top floor roof deck, where they have a sprawling open-air area to sunbathe, a full outdoor bar and restaurant with pool tables and foosball tables, etc., and even a helicopter pad!

The gym is enclosed in its own floor-to-ceiling glass-walled building up there, which affords you an 11th floor view of the city and countryside below in three directions. Coming into the Kandi Gym, you also wouldn’t think that you’re still in the Philippines because the standard and quality is something right out of the United States. For one, it’s perfectly chilly, at about 23 Celsius, so it’s never too uncomfortable or stuffy in there, even when people are working out hard. It’s also spotlessly clean, without a bit of dust settling on any of the equipment.

The gym equipment, too, is high quality and heavy duty, and I find it has just about everything I need. The only downside is that the don’t have a heavy bag or any boxing equipment, and not even a wooden workout floor area for abs, etc. But other than that, they have plenty of good new cardio machines and the weights and nautilus equipment is first-rate. The staff are also kind, helpful, and friendly, and have really become my buddies just through the sporadic times I come through there. They also have TVs playing sports or music videos, and their workout music selection is so good that I actually asked to download their playlist once! They are also open 7 AM to 9 PM seven days a week, so it’s super convenient – all for about $4 a day to use without any longterm membership.

You can see why I love the Kandi Gym and highly recommend it!

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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