One of the smaller cities that make up the Metropolitan Manila Area with a total land area of only 2,990 hectares, Makati is bordered on the northwest by Manila, on the north and northeast by the Pasig River and Pasig City, on the southwest by Pasay City and on the southeast by Taguig City and the Municipality of Pateros. Two major arteries connect this bustling city to the rest of Metro Manila: The first is Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), which cuts from Baclaran, Pasay City in the south all the way down to the north in Balintawak, Caloocan City making it directly accessible to Quezon City as well as the cities of Pasig and Mandaluyong. The other artery is the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), which connects it to Manila, Muntinlupa City and the rest of Southern Manila.
Centuries ago, a large part of the lower portion of the city to the north bordering the Pasig River was swampland whose depth varied with the rising and ebbing of the tide, or “kati” in the vernacular. Subsequently, a small community of 2,500 inhabitants was established and was named San Pedro de Macati. In the 1930s, this was abbreviated to Makati by Commonwealth Act No. 2390, and on January 2, 1995 it obtained its cityhood by virtue of Republic Act No. 7854.
Within a span of just a few decades, a modern city of skyscrapers, well-planned road systems, commercial and business centers and clusters of high-end residential gated communities rose from the vast stretches of empty land transforming the once useless swamp land into the most expensive real estate in the country. Multi-national companies and other business firms set up shop in its business districts and the country’s most affluent families moved into its posh residential areas. Demand for high-end accommodations grew as expatriates and business travelers shuttled to and from the country.
In due time, Makati obtained the highest concentration of five-star hotels, high-end department stores, supermarkets, swanky boutiques, and stores. Head offices of major banks and financial institutions to include the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Makati Business Club located themselves along the posh Ayala Avenue making Makati known as the “Financial Capital of The Philippines.”
What to see in Makati
Nowhere in the Philippines is affluence and cosmopolitan lifestyle more ubiquitous and pronounced than in Makati. Just like any wealthy and highly urbanized city elsewhere in the world, the metropolis offers a vibrant nightlife for relaxation of its white-collar workforce and visitors; classy malls and commercial centers for a public with money to spend. When you are in Makati, you can rub elbows with young professionals and urban elite taking time off in the following places:
Jupiter Street-Makati Avenue Tourist Belt: Office workers, residents of nearby affluent communities and foreign tourists enjoy the best entertainment that Makati offers by night when neon lights of glitzy bars, cafes, exclusive night clubs and disco joints that line Jupiter Street and Makati Avenue lit up and open their doors to the public.
Ayala Center-Rockwell Center: Experience upscale shopping at the Ayala Center in the heart of the business district where two well-known malls are located such as the Greenbelt and Glorietta, which are at par with the world’s most modern commercial establishments. In this area, you’ll find well-known department stores like SM-Makati, Rustan’s and Landmark. Due north along J.P. Rizal Street, is the Rockwell Center where the upscale Power Plant Mall is located. This four- storey establishment which is popular with expatriates features local and international specialty brands and stores, state of the art cinemas and themed restaurants.
But if you are a history buff, try out the Ayala Museum located along Makati Avenue at Greenbelt Park and the Museo ng Makati which can be found along J.P. Rizal corner A. Mabini Streets which are the city’s primary repositories of heritage, history and culture.
Where to Eat in Makati
When hunger overtakes you while shopping around in Makati, you can always step inside one of the city’s malls where a host of themed and specialty restaurants abound. Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean, Indian, and Filipino cuisine, are found all over the city. Food in these establishments are reasonably priced such as in Cibo Italian restaurant in Glorietta 4, Café Mediterranean in the Power Plant Mall which serves European, Italian, and Greek cuisine, Hossein’s Persian Kebab along Makati Avenue which serves authentic Indian, Persian, and Arabian cuisines, and Sentro in Greenbelt 3 which serves Filipino cuisine.
If you want to splurge on grub, try the five-star hotels around Makati which also have restaurants that offer service par excellence and gourmet food for the most discerning of guests such as Red or Shang at the Shangri-la along Makati Avenue. Greenbelt 3 Mall also has numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants. A couple of these, which can be found on the 3rd level are: Bollywood which serves Indian cuisine with a live band; Absinth Café Bar which is a disco café bar type that serves Asian, Continental, and European dishes; Congo Grill, which is a bar restaurant whose specialty is “ihaw-ihaw” and alcoholic beverages.
Where to Stay in Makati
The most exclusive and swankiest residential subdivisions are in Makati, such as Forbes Park, Bel-Air and Dasmarinas subdivisions where many of the country’s wealthiest families live. The ultimate avenue for a life of comfort and relaxation is further provided by five-star hotels that crowd the city like Shangri-La Hotel Makati, The Peninsula Manila and Intercontinental Hotel Manila. Despite of the prevalence of these plush and expensive accommodations, it is still possible to find great deals in this affluent city. Business travelers and tourists benefit from budget and mid-range hotels like the following:
St. Illian’s Inn: Located just four city blocks from Ayala Avenue and a block away from Legaspi Village, this reasonably priced hotel is a practical, cozy alternative to business and leisure travelers looking for quite comfort and amidst the hustle and bustle of Makati. With rates starting at P1,690 per night, guests will enjoy fully air conditioned rooms and essential amenities including cable TV, en-suite bathroom and telephone services.
Santillan Street, Legaspi Village
Tel. No. (632) 893-0754
El Cielito Inn: Located right in the heart of the Makati Central Business District a block away from the Ayala Center and Glorietta Mall this budget hotel is just walking distance away from the Metro Rail Transit Station which connects the city with the rest of Metro Manila. With rates starting at P1,554.00, this affordable place offers its guests fully air conditioned rooms, satellite TV, a minibar, telephone, internet connection, a hair dryer and room service.
804 Arnaiz Sreet
Tel.Nos: (632) 815-8951 to 54
Fax.No. (632) 817-9610
The Copa Businessman’s Hotel: Located along Pasay Road in the heart of the financial district, this mid-range hotel is a few minutes walk away from Glorietta and Greenbelt Malls and caters to tourists and businessmen alike. With rates starting at USD59.00, or P2,360.00 converted at current exchange rates, guests will enjoy fully air conditioned rooms, cable TV, IDD/NDD telephone, Hot and cold showers, Ref with minibar and coffee/ tea maker.
912 Pasay Road
How to Get to Makati
How to Go Around the City: The city is pedestrian friendly with a system of underpass, footbridges and flyovers crossing busy streets. Getting around the business district and malls are easily accomplished because of its interconnection of catwalks. Taxi cabs frequent hotels and restaurants in Makati. Buses plying from both ends of EDSA pass through the Central Business District of the city. Jeepneys ply the inner city roads and connect the rest of Makati to surrounding towns and cities. To avoid the nightmarish city traffic, you can ride the Metro Rail Transit whose elevated lines run along the entire stretch of EDSA from Monumento in Caloocan City to Baclaran in Pasay City. The MRT has four stations in the city: Guadalupe, Buendia and Ayala Avenues and Magallanes Stations. Commuting around Makati entails the minimum fare for a jeepney or bus ride.
Cebu to Makati and Back: To reach Makati from Cebu, you can either fly or sail from Cebu to Makati. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P3,500.00 – P5,000.00 while a round trip boat fare is approximately P3,000.00 – P4,000.00. After you disembark at the Manila Domestic Airport or Pier area, you can take a taxi cab, which will cost about P150.00 to P250.00 (one way). If you are not in a hurry, from your point of disembarkation, you can hop on a bus, jeepney or LRT which will take you to Makati for less than P30.00 (one way).
Dumaguete to Makati and Back: To reach Makati from Dumaguete, you can fly from Dumaguete to Makati. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P3,500.00 – P5,000.00. After you disembark at the Manila Domestic Airport, you can take a taxi cab to Makati, which will cost about P150.00 to P250.00 (one way). But if you are on a budget, you can hop on a bus, jeepney or MRT which will take you to Makati for less than P30.00 (one way).