Looking for the best neighborhoods in Metro Manila for a fun weekend hangout could be a daunting task thanks to the undying traffic and the never-ending list of hip, new spots.
If you’re still undecided, why not drop by any of these neighborhoods where you can find everything from hole-in-the-wall wonders, interesting pubs, museums, and more.
It’s pretty hard to beat the extremely central Makati CBD “villages” which are filled to the brim with the city’s best restaurants, shopping centers, and world-class facilities.
If you’re feeling a little cultured, the Ayala Museum is always a great place to visit. The six-storey structure is home to priceless artifacts, ethnographic exhibits, and other interesting pieces. What’s best is that the museum often offers free entrance during special occasions and random days.
On weekends, Salcedo and Legaspi have food markets where they sell local produce and fancy food items like the wagyu shawarma and lobster rolls. And of course, if you’re the type who likes to brunch, you’ll never run out of options here.
Why we love it: Both “villages” are extremely walker friendly! Malls are connected thru overpasses and shaded bridges so you can bar hop and restaurant hop to your heart’s desire.
Image Credit: @Jam A via Flickr
Maginhawa has been a popular hangout for university students from UP Diliman, Miriam College, and Ateneo. But student or not, northerner or southerner, the food street is always worth the journey. Hotspots in the area include Snack Shack, Pi Breakfast & Pies, and Soru Izakaya.
If you find yourself in the area with a whole day to kill, you’ll find that Maginhawa isn’t just about the food.
Book lovers and bargain shoppers will love Bookay Ukay, while everyone should check out Cinema Centenario, one of the few micro cinemas in Metro Manila that shows off-beat films and Filipino classics.
Why we love it: The neighborhood is home to multiple homegrown shops and one-of-a-kind items you probably won’t find anywhere else. There’s almost nothing you can’t find here from quirky artworks and travel supplies at the Wander Space to a tasteful “for her” sex shop called Ilya.
Image Credit: @metromanilatravel via Facebook
There’s just something so enchanting about Poblacion’s neon-lit alleyways and not-so-secret secret spots.
If you’re looking for a nighttime hangout where the booze is fairly cheap and the company is almost always pleasant, then Poblacion is the neighborhood for you.
While you might think that all bars end up looking the same at some point, this doesn’t apply to the ones in Poblacion.
For a trippy Pinoy experience, Agimat Foraging Bar & Kitchen is always a good choice. On the other hand, those who want to bump elbows with creatives and fellow artists will love Dulo, a resto-bar and cafe that also hosts poetry nights and exhibits.
Why we love it: Despite being the new go-to spot for drinks and nights out, Poblacion has still maintained its residential vibe.
Image Credit: @ikedayuuuu / Instagram.com
Tomas Morato has long been the go-to place for just about anything from mani pedis to inumans for the people up north.
It’s almost impossible to picture it now, but the bustling streets of Tomas used to be a quiet residential neighborhood filled with trees and quaint Filipino-style homes — far from the hodge podge of trendy spots and dodgy bars that we know it to be today.
These days, hordes of people head to Tomas Morato to satisfy their Korean BBQ cravings, but if you’re not up to suffering thru a long wait, you still have tons of options to choose from.
You can find hidden gems like La Spezia and Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie where you can feast on authentic European dishes, or places like Limbaga 77 where can enjoy classic Pinoy home cooking inside a 50-year old house turned restaurant.
Why we love it: Comedy clubs, tattoo parlors, yoga studios, vegan restaurants — there’s something for everyone in Tomas Morato!
Image Credit: @shut.terbug / Instagram.com
A dwarf in comparison to its neighboring major roads and skyscrapers of the Ortigas Central Business District, Kapitolyo packs a punch of its own.
The formerly quiet neighborhood birthed popular restaurant such as Locavore and Charlie’s Grind and Grill — so if you’re wondering where the next big thing is coming from… stop wondering.
Why we love it: Despite the likely skyrocketing of rental fees, most restaurants at Kapitolyo are pretty easy on the budget. For as low as P99 you can have a bleu cheese panini from Como, and for just 200 bucks you can order Double Baos from Dob Bao along Brixton Street.
Image Credit: @spooneatdrink / Instagram.com
While the buzz on BF’s food scene has significantly lessened in the past years, it doesn’t mean that the busy streets of Aguirre and President’s Avenue are ready to slow down.
Lucky residents will never need to travel far to get their cravings satisfied. Mexican, Spanish, Korean, Italian — name it, they’ll probably have it.
Northerners will brave the southbound traffic just to have a bite of La Chinesca’s crispy tuna tostadas, or to visit one of Bruce Rickett’s original babies, Sensei Sushi.
The beauty of BF is that you can enjoy something as fancy as a 12-course omakase or a bite as obscure as an Andy Warhol-inspired sopas dish — what other village can claim to have both?
Why we love it: BF homes is a one-stop-shop for pretty much anything you can think of.
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