Makati is the financial centre of Metro Manila. It has become the unofficial capital of Metro Manila after the original capital (old) Manila was mostly destroyed during World War 2 and Makati stepped up. Makati City is one of the 17 cities that make up Metro Manila, but when most foreigners refer to Makati, they are actually referring to ‘Ayala’ just one suburb of Makati (confused yet?). For the purposes of this guide, when referring to Makati we are referring to ‘Ayala’.
Makati is owned by the Ayala Corporation and is privately owned, it continues to grow and is full of high rise buildings littering the skyline. Being the central business district most big businesses have a presence there. There is a lot of security, cleaners and traffic controllers to ensure that the city looks its best and operates smoothly. Unlike other areas of Metro Manila, it is not unusual to see foreigners in Makati. It is where a lot of business happens and of course after work, there are bars and restaurants there to cater for the professional workers.
Greenbelt is a series of low rise malls surrounding some small parkland in the middle. Each mall has its own number from Greenbelt 1, all the way to Greenbelt 5. They are full of high end stores, like Bally, Gucci, Hugo Boss etc. If shopping is not your thing there are loads of restaurants as well. From modern Philippino food, Indian, steak houses to seafood and fine dining. As the shops are a rough oval around the garden/park, al fresco dining is common and very picturesque. It is not uncommon to see men and women in corporate wear visiting to grab a coffee or a spur of the moment business meeting over lunch.
After work on a Friday the place really comes alive. While there are many bars in the complex, many are situated in Greenbelt 2, with the numerous establishments having both an inside and an outside area. It is a great place to grab a beer or a wine and chat with friends or just watch the world go by.
Entrance to Greenbelt 4
Covered outdoor dining and drinks
The view towards Greenbelt 5
In the middle of Greenbelt complex
Many restaurants to choose from
Plenty of room to move
One of the outdoor areas
One of the outdoor areas
Three of the bigger malls, just across the road from Greenbelt and all joined, so you can go shopping without having to go outside. Landmark is a multi level department store. It has a large supermarket in the basement level, also with a large choice of wines and spirits to buy in the bottle shop section. In the department store you will find most of the usual things, lots of clothes, toys, footwear, electronics etc. The Glorietta complex is next door and contains more of branded shops you would expect in a mall. Nike, McDonalds, Timezone, Wendy’s etc. It also has a cinema complex and a gym. The SM Mall joins onto Glorietta and joins to the MRT train station. More department stores as well as fresh fruit and vegetables can be bought downstairs. The only indication you are leaving one mall and entering a new one is the security guards who will look in your bag upon entering.
Landmark and Glorietta malls
This hospital and medical centre offers a high standard of health services on par with any western country, and of course the price tag to match. Hopefully you won’t need to visit.
Western grade doctors can be found at Makati Med
Is home to many collections including a section that narrates the history of the Philippines in a Diorama experience. A collection of historical artifacts can also be found there including trade ceramics, textile and gold of ancestors. They also host the Filipina library and continually have different exhibitions including works on history, contemporary art, music and design, lectures, artist/curator’s talks, workshops and performances.
Ayala Museum is a nice change of pace to the usually busy Manila
The Ayala triangle is essentially a park in the middle of the city. It houses the stock exchange on the perimeter. It is privately owned, but the public are free to visit. It is common to see joggers in the park as well as people exercising or just playing with their kids. There are a handful of restaurants on the fringe of the park where you can buy some cheap lunch and a convenience store. There are not that many parks in Makati (or even Metro Manila for that matter) so it is good to remember this one. It is disappointing to see that upon visiting recently (Jul 2015) they are developing a quarter of the park, with cranes etc building a 32 story office tower and a 22 story hotel.
Many people may not know but the Triangle, and the surrounding roads of Ayala and Makati Ave as well as Paseo de Roxas were originally the Nielsen field which was a commercial airport during Work War 2. If you look hard enough the observation tower can still be found.
Ayala Triangle is one of the few public parks in Manila and a good place for a picnic or a jog
Click to expand. Now a restaurant
Click to expand. Pre WWII
Like many big cities, Makati does have a darker side. Burgos St in Makati is home to some bars where the girls are scantily dressed. Where else can you find midget boxing? Some of the bars will have shows as well, where there are performers dancing a routine. There are also a number of non girly bars where people can unwind and catch a sports game on TV or listen to a band.
There is a post office on Gil Puyat Ave where you can post letters or packages internationally. It is also a collection point if any packages are posted to you.
Legazpi Park or the next door Washington Sycip Park are close to GreenBelt and can offer a peaceful timeout from a busy day or just a chance to relax
Makati Central Post Office. Inside looks like it hasn't changed since the 70s
Washington Sycip Park. Just a short stroll from Greenbelt