I never thought I would be promoting the center of my home city, but arrangements in the Makati CBD area have made hanging around it for the backpacker quite attractive.
First of all, if you want to get a sweeping history of what happened to the Philippines, check out the Ayala Musuem, where you will not only see intricate handcarved dioramas of important moments in Philippine history, but you will also see galleons, our best classical painters, and indigenous gold collections.
After that you can stroll through the Ayala Triangle Park, which is what is holding the new Makati together, and eat at it’s strip of restaurants. Try Wee Nam Kee, the Singaporean resto known for its Hainanese chicken and Omakase for delicious Japanese fusion food.
And of course there is the shopping. From Greenbelt to Glorietta, you’ll be able to shop at the sprawling amount of stores from high end to medium prices.
I’d also like to add, connecting Greenbelt to Glorietta is the awesome Landmark with its cheap priced goods and a fully stocked grocery in its basement. Plus you can get probably the best sampler of Filipino food at Via Mare on Landmark’s second floor (try the scrumptious bibingka) and the classic sisig in Aling Lucing’s in the basement.
All of these are located in the central part of Makati and are accessible by getting off at the Ayala station of the MRT.
On the fringes of Makati is the Power Plant at Rockwell, which is still, in my opinion, the best mall in the country. Still kind of hard to get to because it doesn’t have any nearby MRT station. The best way to get here would be by cab or private car.
And if you want to do some budget shopping or buy some cheap pearls (we are in the Orient), you can head over to nearby Market, Market in Taguig, where you can get bargain prices and get ready to do some haggling :). You can reach Market, Market by cab or from the Ayala MRT station walk to the corner of Ayala Ave. and Edsa and try to look for the Fort Bus station to take you in.
Beside Market, Market is also the ever expanding Serendra and High Street shopping strip which just opened the first Muji in the Philippines at cheaper Philippine prices (rumored to be 7 % lower than everywhere else).
Oh ya, going back to Makati, every Saturday morning, in Salcedo park in the center of the Salcedo Village area, they have a market. Here you can try all kinds of cuisine and even that hard to find Filipino flavor. Too bad it’s open only on Saturdays till 2 PM, but those of you looking for “hawker” stalls that sell some local cuisine, this might be for you.
And if you miss that, on Sunday, there is exactly the same thing in the Legaspi Park in the center of the Legaspi Village area of Makati.
Like I said, I never thought I’d be promoting Makati for anything but a shopping destination, but I’m glad that it’s developing a culture worth seeing.
Philippines classified among the Next 11 emerging economies of the world by Goldman Sachs. Awesome!