For first-timers in Makati
I was a kid when I first stepped into the urban jungle of Makati. At that time, I gazed at the towering buildings that loomed along its paved avenues. Fast forward to my adult years, when I’m no longer a traveler to this place, but had to make it my home (before I moved back to my province in the Visayas). One time, I visited a local barangay (community) center and the lady handed me a brochure of the city to give out to friends.
The brochure had a “visit MAKATI” on its cover along with a list of attractions one can find in the city. You can find more information about the city at www.makati.gov.ph.
For many, Makati is where office goers converge during the day. It is the prime commercial business district of the Philippines where skyscrapers appear like mushrooms left and right. Beautiful malls and parks also make up the face of the city while posh villages, restaurants, and hotels also dot the landscape.
But there’s more to Makati than just the glass structures and populated parking lots. I’ll share some sites listed in the brochure which I have visited.
1.) Guadalupe Ruins
I have attended a friend’s wedding in this centuries-old church, which is more known as the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church. It was described in the brochure as “Doric architecture with massive buttresses to support its vault of hewn stones taken from the still visible but extinct Guadalupe quarry. Ferry from ornamentations, its walls are solid and stable and built in such a way that they still stand today as when the church was completed in 1629.”
What made it more enigmatic are its steps that provide a historical picture of old Spanish churches that were built higher than any structure in the area.
2.) The Filipinas Heritage Library
I love this place. Every time I pass by this structure, I always ask my friends, “do you know that this used to be an airport?” It wasn’t mentioned in the brochure but that’s what I know about this tiny two-story library with a basement. When Makati was a marshland, the Filipinas Heritage Library, used to be the Nielsen Tower, was the only visible building in this area.
Now, it is a repository of knowledge that houses CD-ROMs, publications, and even art works. Special events, like wedding receptions, press launches, and advocacy presentations, are also held at the Library.
3.) Ayala Museum
I first entered the newly renovated Ayala Museum through a mini-field trip my officemates and I made there. It was a modern museum that housed a lot of art works. But what Ayala Museum is really known for are its dioramas featuring the history of the Philippines. I’ve seen them when I visited the old Ayala Museum and I’m glad they’re still there.
4.) Ayala Triangle
If the Filipinas Heritage Library was once an airport, the Ayala Avenue, Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas, which make up the Ayala Triangle, were its runways. Now, the three points in this triangle have the statues of heroes: Ninoy Aquino, Gabriela Silang, and Pio del Pilar.
5.) Greenbelt Park
The greens! The flowing water! This small oasis is a welcome respite in the middle of the urban jungle. Most of all, the Greenbelt Chapel in the middle of the park seems to float and has become a sanctuary for many.
6.) Makati Park and Garden
Built along the Pasig River, the Makati Park and Garden has been a venue for all kinds of occasion. It is where children can run around and adults can enjoy a stroll.
7.) Makati Coliseum
Home of the Philippine Basketball League (PBL), I have entered the Makati Coliseum when we had partnerships with the PBL. The country’s professional basketball league, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), often hold court here.
8.) Ayala Center
Malls, restaurants, department stores, hotels – all these make up the entire Ayala Center. And all these are all connected by bridgeways. There’s SM Makati, Glorietta, Landmark, and Greenbelt. You can also find Shangri-la Makati, Hotel Intercon, and Ascott. Everything you need, you’ll find it in Ayala Center.
9.) Rockwell Center
Another emerging community in Makati is the Rockwell Center which has the Powerplant Mall, the condominiums, and the corporate buildings. It is considered an upscale shopping place as most who visit the mall are those living nearby. It is also a stone’s throne away from the Bel-air Village.
In the list, only two places were there that I haven’t visited yet. These are Saints Peter and Paul Church and Museo ng Makati. However, the brochure has missed out some great places one can find in this city, like:
1.) Thrift Shops in Bangkal
Evangelista is a long stretch of street that has shops selling car parts. But a little part of this street has rows of thrift shops selling antique items and other things you wouldn’t usually find in malls.
From furniture to trinkets, there are great finds in these thrift shops. Also, bring along your bargaining skills and you might get a good price for the items you purchase.
2.) Watering holes like Fat Michael’s Place, You Jie Xiao Chao, and Som’s
Hole-in-the-wall eateries are plenty in Makati. And they serve great food, mind you. I’ve written about them in my post on Manila’s hole-in-the-wall eateries.
3.) Philippine Daily Inquirer
Students often take an educational trip in the Philippine Daily Inquirer to learn how newspapers are published nowadays. They have advanced technology when it comes to printing the news. The blue building is near the Makati Coliseum and often opens its doors on certain weekends to street children for reading sessions handled by personalities.