With skyscrapers rising around at every turn, Makati is the glitzy financial hub of the Philippines, having the most number of business enterprises among the cities in Metro Manila. Makati at daytime is crowded with employees walking along its streets while nighttime is bright from the colorful lights coming from expansive commercial districts, entertainment centers, and luxurious residential areas. Tourists are common in Makati because of the numerous hotels as well as the countless options for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Makati is almost always filled with people so it has an endless array of restaurants. Any type of craving will be satisfied along the famous Jupiter Street, lined by fine dining restaurants, fast-foods, coffee shops, and hole-in-a-wall establishments. Diners will be busy browsing through the different offerings like Filipino, American, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Spanish cuisines.
Makati also offers a different kind of entertainment in the form of art appreciation. The Ayala Museum is an elegant museum that should be visited by history buffs who wish to know more about the Philippines. The museum features galleries of beautiful dioramas that chronicle the country's history. Also of interest are the exhibits from Filipino artists Fernando Amorsolo, Juan Luna, and Fernando Zobel de Ayala as well as the models of the ancient sea vessels used by Filipinos during the ancient times.
Another feature of the Ayala Museum is the Filipinas Heritage Library, which will delight researchers and readers alike. The library has an impressive collection of books, documents, recordings, and images about Philippine culture, arts, and history.
By Bus, Jeep, or Minivan
Makati City is surrounded by major roads and highways which make it easily accessible to all modes of public transportation. Buses are aplenty along EDSA, with routes leading northwards (passing through Mandaluyong, San Juan, Ortigas, and Quezon City), westwards (Pasay), and southwards (Alabang and Las Piñas). Gil Puyat Avenue is another major road where jeeps serve the Guadalupe – Cartimar route. Ayala Avenue also sees a number of buses, jeeps, and minivans (called UV Express) that ply varied routes going to Parañaque, Caloocan, Pateros, and Pasig as well as other areas within Makati like Kalayaan Avenue, J.P. Rizal, and Guadalupe.
The Makati City government has also implemented the use of the first-ever e-jeepneys and hybrid buses in the country within its vicinity. The e-jeepneys currently serve the Legaspi and Salcedo Villages (also called the Makati Green Route). The hybrid buses, on the other hand, ply the Gil Puyat Avenue – Kalayaan Avenue route.
The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) also provides transport services to and from the Makati area, with stations available in Guadalupe, Gil Puyat, Ayala, and Magallanes. The state-owned Philippine National Railway (PNR) is also passing through the Makati area, with PNR stations available in Buendia, Pasay Road, and EDSA.
By Taxi or Ridesharing Services
Taxis are dime a dozen in the city, considering the many business establishments and shopping malls in the area. Ridesharing services like Grab and Uber are also popular in the city.
By River Ferry and Other Means
With the Pasig River passing through the northern fringes of the city, tourists can also ride the Pasig River Ferry to get to Makati. At present, there are two river ferry stations in the city: one in Valenzuela, Makati, and the other in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati.
How to Get Around
Jeeps and taxis are the main public transportation when going around Makati. It is best to ask your hotel receptionist for advice on how to get to your destination in the city. Makati is a very walkable city as well. The Makati Central Business District also has various underpasses and elevated walkways thus making it easy to walk from one place to the other.
What to See
The first image that comes to mind when one is asked to imagine Makati City is an area with tall buildings—and lots and lots of them. The city is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in the country, including PBCom Tower, GT Tower International, RCBC Plaza Yuchengco Tower, Enterprise Center Tower One, and Discovery Primea to name a few. The city is also home to over 60,000 business enterprises, which make Makati the leading premier business center of the Philippines.
Amidst the towering infrastructures and modernity of Makati, its old-world charm is preserved in some historic sites scattered throughout the city. Records of the history of Makati along with rare photographs and other artifacts are showcased in the Museo ng Makati. The museum is housed in an old building, a classic “Bahay na Bato” that was built in 1918 and at one point was the town hall of the city.
Another historic landmark is the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church, more commonly known as the Guadalupe Church. This 17th-century structure was built in Baroque architecture with a Romanesque floor plan. Today, the church is one of the sought-after venues for weddings in Metro Manila.
Another 17th-century landmark in the midst of the bustling commercial district is the San Pedro Macati Church, more popularly referred to as the Saints Peter and Paul Parish Church. The church was likewise built in Baroque architecture and is considered as the oldest church in Makati and an important cultural property as recognized by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
The noise and maddening crowd of a highly urbanized place like Makati can sometimes be stressful, which is why it’s nice to know that it has various recreational parks where people can sit back, relax, and enjoy the city’s hidden tranquility and serenity.
The Ayala Triangle Gardens (ATG) is perhaps the most well-known park in the entire city. It is located right in the middle of the Central Business District where the employees working in the surrounding establishments can enjoy some breathing space. ATG is also a popular venue for fitness where you will see people running, jogging, or brisk walking, especially at night after office hours. Yoga sessions by renowned yogis are also held at the park during weekends. Come December, people from all over the metro flock to the park to witness its spectacular Lights and Sounds Show where thousands of dancing lights flicker to the beat of Christmas tunes and other popular songs.
In the Legaspi Village area, the Washington Sycip Park and the Legazpi Active Park are also open to the public. These are less crowded spaces for guests to enjoy jogging or having picnics. The Jaime C. Velasquez Park, on the other hand, is located in Salcedo Village and is another great venue to breathe in some fresh air.
Aside from Museo ng Makati, the city still has other museums where you can immerse yourself in the arts, culture, and history of the city. The Ayala Museum is a six-storey facility beside the Greenbelt Mall. Within this modern-looking infrastructure is a collection of ethnographic and archaeological pieces that narrate compelling stories about the evolution of Philippine culture and history. It also houses the Filipino Heritage Library, an electronic research center with over 13,000 publications about history, art, language, and religion. At times, the museum also holds various exhibits and workshops conducted by some of the best artists in the country.
The Yuchengco Museum in RCBC Plaza is also another museum worth visiting. It houses the art collection of Alfonso Yuchengco, one the country’s notable businessmen and a former Philippine representative to the United Nations. The museum is a venue for artistic and cultural exhibitions as well as highlighting the Filipino-Chinese cultural relations—the Yuchengco Family is one of the prominent Filipino-Chinese families in the country.
Meanwhile, the Miracle Art Happyworld Museum in Circuit Makati is fairly new, having opened its doors to the public in early 2016. Similar to the Trick Eye Museum in Seoul, South Korea, the Miracle Art Happyworld Museum is an interactive art museum that features 3D art where tourists can view the galleries and interact with them.
Circuit Makati is fast becoming the preferred venue for recreational activities in the city. Festivals such as the annual music and arts fest called Wanderland are often held at the expansive Globe Circuit Events Ground. Other recreational venues such as the Mountain Dew Skate Park, City Kart Racing, and the Chelsea Blue Pitch football field are also open for guests to check out.
Are you a fan of puzzles, mysteries, and other detective work? Then you should try the live escape games at either Mystery Manila in Jupiter or The Escape Hunt Experience in Ebro. And if you want to know how it feels to be a kid all over again, then Ball Pit Manila in Urban Avenue is where you should be: it is home to the biggest ball pit for adults in the country.
Where to Eat
You’ll never run out of places to dine while in Makati City as the place is teeming with a variety of restaurants that fits any craving, appetite, and budget.
Get your fix of Southeast Asian dishes at Your Local, located along Esteban Street in Legaspi Village. Their Torched Salmon Donburi never fails to impress, while their Lamb Rendang is perfect for those who wish to try something other than pork in a very pork-loving country like the Philippines. Meanwhile, 12/10 in San Antonio Village is where you can go for other Asian dishes like Toro Onigiri and Korean Fried Chicken, also their bestsellers.
The Poblacion area is also known for its wide array of Latin American food choices. El Chupacabra serves delightful street tacos and barbecue, while Señor Pollo offers mouth-watering roast chicken.
Craving for pizza? There are several pizza parlors around Makati but Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza in Salcedo Village should offer you something different. Their Neapolitan-style pizza is rich and flavorful, and their burrata dishes will surely leave you craving for more. Savor Park Cafe in Leviste Street and Kanin Club in Ayala Triangle Gardens, on the other hand, serve fantastic Filipino dishes that you crave for.
Makati also has a number of bars where you can have drinks and meet new friends before calling it a night. Draft Gastropub in Greenbelt 2 is a favorite among young professionals in the area especially after a long day at work. Barcino, also in Greenbelt 2, serves wines and spirits along with Spanish dishes. Other places that offer fine selections of drinks include Rue Bourbon in Salcedo Village and Bugsy’s Makati. If you want to listen to live bands, then Hard Rock Cafe in Glorietta or 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub in Century City Mall is the place to be at. The roof deck at Z Hostel is ideal for those who want to unwind while enjoying a view of the famed Makati skyline.
Aside from the usual Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Tea Leaf, Makati is also home to a number of quaint and cozy coffee shops that will fascinate caffeine addicts. There’s Precynct in Rockwell and their to-die-for Faux Cappuccino. Restock in Guijo is also another favorite, located in the Guijo area. DiCofi in Salcedo Village serves a delightful cup of Café Sua Da or Vietnamese Iced Coffee, while Yardstick in Legaspi Village is where you can enjoy unique coffee concoctions and even participate in tasting and brewing sessions.
Where to Shop
Makati City is also home to quite a number of malls that will truly make shopping more fun and exciting. The Ayala Malls in Makati is composed of Glorietta and Greenbelt malls, both offer world-class shopping and dining experiences to just about everyone. The Landmark, Rustan’s, and SM Makati, also considered big names in the retail industry, are also found within the Ayala Center and have been part of the shopping experience of every Filipinos living in the metro since the 1950s.
In the affluent Rockwell district, about three kilometers from the Central Business District, the Power Plant Mall is yet another destination where shopaholics can browse for world-class and top-of-the-line items. In Makati Avenue, the Century City Mall offers over a hundred additional boutiques and restaurants that visitors to Makati will enjoy.
ATMs and Money Changers
Being the financial center of the Philippines, there are countless banks in Makati so there is almost always an ATM nearby. Money changers are widely available as well.
Fare: PHP 20.00++
The cost of going to Makati City will vary depending on your point of origin, but don’t worry, since commuting in Metro Manila is very pocket-friendly. If you are traveling by jeep, the rate is PHP 7.00 for the first four kilometers. Bus fares, meanwhile, starts at PHP 15.00. For taxis, the flag down rate in the metro is PHP 30.00
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 5,000.00++
With the number of fast food chains available in the city, you can already have lunch or dinner with just a measly PHP 50.00, not to mention that street-side food joints called “Jolly Jeep” also offer very affordable food finds. If you’re in the mood for some fine dining, then Makati’s selection of high-end restaurants won’t disappoint (around PHP 5,000.00++ for a date for two). But for most of the restaurant in the city, a budget of PHP 400.00 to PHP 500.00 per meal would be more than enough.
Shopping: PHP 500.00++
Since Makati has a lot of upscale shopping malls, shopping on a limited budget will only get you so far. You can already get a nice shirt or simple piece of clothing for PHP 500.00. For the high-end and luxury brands, don’t be surprised if you will spend around PHP 30,000.00 or even more.
Accommodations: PHP 700.00 to PHP 8,000.00
Most of Metro Manila’s high-end hotels are situated in Makati City since a lot of businessmen and expats are there. However, there are hostels and inns in the area so you don’t have to worry if you are a budget traveler.
Activities: PHP 100++
There are no entrance fees to parks. However, passes to museums and other recreational places usually cost around PHP 100.00. If you want to watch a movie in one of the malls, a ticket is around PHP 200.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
Restaurants already include a Service Charge in your bill every time you dine so tipping is no longer necessary. But if you insist, then a tip of PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 is already enough. If you are driving, bear in mind that the flat rate for parking in Makati ranges from PHP 40.00 to PHP 50.00.