Makati is certainly not the most attractive place in the country, although it may be the least unpleasant spot in Manila, and since it is very likely that at some point we will have to go through the city, we will have to do something during the hours or days we spend here. Technically it is a city; It is assumed that several nearby cities were converging to form what is now Metro Manila, and we could consider it as such, given its almost 600,000 registered inhabitants, although its dimensions are not too large. For practical purposes it is the financial district of the city and the country, where there are more skyscrapers, companies, shopping centers, and even the Philippine Stock Exchange. This does not make it Singapore.
Wide and modern avenues and shopping centers are safe areas at any time of the day or night, but as we move away from them poverty will become evident; street food stalls, unpaved sidewalks, dismantled tricycles piled up in lots and chickens running around the streets will begin to appear few hundred meters away from the main avenues, places that should be avoided at night (for information about dangers in the whole Metro Manila, check the post in this link).
Makati has two main neighborhoods where accommodation and restaurants are concentrated, Legazpi Village and Bel-Air.
This neighborhood, located in the center-west of the sub-city is the most complete, clean and developed, and is not only where more restaurants and accommodation we will find, but also the most recommended area for walking and shopping, within the few things that can be done in Makati.
- Accommodation: it is the area that we chose. The most affordable are located north of Avenida Ayala, which crosses the neighborhood diagonally from northwest to southeast, specifically we stayed at a hotel of Red Planet chain, the Amorsolo. This international company has establishments in the main cities of Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand; their rooms and hotels are exactly the same; They are a bit expensive for the backpacker budget, but their price / quality ratio makes them recommendable. The further south we go along Avenida Ayala, accommodations will be increasingly expensive and luxurious, with chains such as Shangri-La or Peninsula being represented.
- What to see and do. Although there is not much to choose from, Legazpi is a developed and well-structured neighborhood by the Philippines standard; parks abound, there are some museums and the best considered shopping centers in the city.
- Although it sounds a bit sad, the best attraction of this sub-city is the Greenbelt Mall, a shopping center that has its own gardens, the Greenbelt Park. Both are certainly nice even for those more than accustomed to these types of establishments, and could be located not out of place in Dubai or Singapore. It has all kinds of international stores (for example, Pili saw some shoes in Zara that months later bought when returning to Spain) and dozens of restaurants of all kinds food and price; I can say that I still remember that we had a katsudon as good or better than the one you can get in Japan.
- Ayala Museum, about art and history of the Philippines, is the best considered in the area. It is in the northeast building of Greenbelt Mall; It costs PHP 425, open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm.
- Crossing the street we will find the other great leisure complex of the city, Glorietta Mall, which is not as visually attractive as its competitor. It is part of the Ayala Center.
- Ayala Triangle Gardens are not worth it, although the arch of the Stock Exchange at the entrance itself is worthy of a photo.
- Where to eat. Areas nearby the shopping centers, and as has already been said, especially Greenbelt offer wide gastronomic options in terms of variety, quality and price, although they are not cheap.
It is the perfect place for those with a tighter budget and desire to party, and Burgos Street is the epicenter of the action:
- Because this is where the majority of clubs and bars related to leisure, party, alcohol and, although illegal in the Philippines, the increasingly demanded prostitution are concentrated, since it is the place where the red light district of the city is located , with all that it entails, but precisely the tourist claim that supposes makes it less dangerous than one might think, and having common sense, those who opt for this area should not have any problem. For more information, see the post DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES IN MANILA.
- So much so that at its northern and southern ends most accommodations are concentrated, of lower quality but more affordable prices than in Legazpi Village. Virtually all Makati hostels are here, some of them with excellent ratings, so Bel-Air is one of the main backpackers spots in Manila. For those who choose this area, it is highly recommended not to stay in Burgos Street or music and noise will hardly allow them to sleep.
- There is also a wide range of restaurants, mostly in the area south of Burgos Street.
- Apart from partying, in terms of things to do and places to visit, Bel-Air certainly has nothing. The only recommendable thing can be shopping, good in Century City Mall, good the Salcedo Street Market on Saturdays.
THE FORT (BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY OR JUST BGC)
Although technically it does not belong to Makati, for practical purposes it is its continuation towards the southeast. This area is even more expensive and prolific than Makati, and is the usual residence of millionaires. It’s nothing special, but it’s another area to escape the hustle, noise and general chaos of Metro Manila.
- Bonifacio High Street, in the northern part of BGC, is a pleasant garden pedestrian area, a usual place for shopping; the best restaurants in the neighborhood are also in the surrounding area.
- The American Cemetery is a large park of approximately circular shape, very diaphanous, with more than 17,000 tombs, of which 16,636 belong to American soldiers who died in World War II. It is the largest of soldiers of this nationality outside the United States.
- There is hardly any accommodation, and what is there is mostly luxury, so it is not recommended as a place to spend the night. As an example, although it is not exactly the most expensive, south of the American Cemetery is among others, the Venice Grand Canal Mall with its Venice Luxury Residences, a complex with many shops, restaurants and apartments with canals, gondolas and even a Campanille, in the style of casinos that imitate Venice in Las Vegas, Macau or Doha.