Makati is best known for being the nation’s central business district. Almost every major business venture in the country has their headquarters or at least an office in the city.
However, amidst the concrete jungle and the seriousness of Makati, you’ll find everything from secluded restaurants and rooftop parties, to places where you can bond with your family and friends.
For the Hungry
1. Grab Food
No Makati excursion can be complete without a trip to Hole in the Wall at Century Mall.
Once you enter the “food hall” you will immediately be captivated by the contemporary design and its 11 stalls, which serve anything from Tacos at Tacqueria Filipina (imagine sisig tacos) to fluffy Japanese-cheesecakes by Green Cheese, the choices are so mouthwatering that it’s often too difficult to choose.
The price point is a little more than what you’d spend in a regular food hall, but the dishes are worth every piso. Hole in the Wall is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
2. Visit the Farmer’s Market at Legazpi
Held in the parking lot of Legazpi Park, Legazpi Sunday Market is perfect for folks looking to grab a bite after waking up or going to church.
From locally made products, produce to deliciously cooked meals, there’s something for everyone – regardless of age and nationality.
If you’re lucky, you may find yourself enjoying some fun bongo music. Everyone gets along at this market – so its absolutely fun to go to whether you’re alone, with friends or family.
They are open every Sunday, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
3. Grab a Drink
If you want to grab drinks somewhere out of the ordinary, then check out Finders Keepers. Apart from a full bar, you can enjoy a speakeasy atmosphere in an abandoned warehouse.
Their cocktail menu is full of clever concoctions, ranging from P210 to P550 per drink. Their must-tries are the F*k Squirt and the Sangria. Finders Keepers is a great place for hanging out, though it’s a non-smoking establishment – so smokers will have to light up outside.
4. Try The Jolly-Jeep
Serving food cheaper than fast food outlets, Jolly-Jeep is basically a karinderia on wheels!
Try the sisig which you can get for under P80 pesos (depending on the stall,) a hot steamy bowl of sinigang or enjoy the kakanin. If you’re up for a snack, they also sell our favorite fried-wrapped-banana snack, turon.
You can find these novelty food stalls along the back streets of Makati.
5. Seek Out Secret Japanese Food
If you’re looking for a quick ramen and sushi fix, then head over to Little Tokyo. Looking like it was ripped out from a Japanese guide book, you can get Okonomiyaki pancake from Kagura, salmon sashimi from Nodasho and enjoy a lip-smacking buffet at Urameshi-ya Yakiniku Restaurant for only P500.
This little version of Japan also has Shinjuku Ramen House if you’re in the mood for some hearty noodles. Theres also Yamazaki Bento that serves delicious curry katsu rice.
For History and Culture Seekers
6. Visit a Place of Worship
If you’re soul searching, then try visiting the Nuestra Señora De Gracia Parish. As one of the more well-known churches in Makati, the baroque church was completed in 1630 and exhibits neo-Romanesque-Gothic style.
On the other hand, you can visit ISKCON Sri Sri Radha-Madhava Temple, which is a temple of the Lord Krishna. As with all religious places, make sure you wear the proper attire and you respect specific customs and rites.
7. Visit Ayala Museum
The permanent exhibits at the Ayala Museum are all a sight to behold and if you’re looking to appease your appetite for some history, they include: Gold of Our Ancestors – which is a collection of more than a thousand gold artifacts tracing back centuries gone by, Art and the Order of Nature in Indigenous Philippine Textiles – a major ethnographic exhibition and A Millennium of Contact – the story of ceramics and how socioeconomic ties between China and its neighboring nations.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, and entry cost is at P425 for adults who are non-residents.
For those in search of the usual or something unusual
8. Watch Midget Boxing
This could be the most peculiar item on this list, but for some, its an attraction.
Located within the Red Light District of Makati, the Ringside Bar holds regular midget boxing shows and serves the usual cocktails and local beers.
Don’t worry though, the entertainers are not really boxing, they’re faking for show. For roughly P2,000 you can even join in as the referee.
9. Play Board Games
Onboard Game + Gastropub offers you and your friends an extensive collection of board games. This place is open from 4 in the afternoon to 2 in the morning, so you can’t complain about your game ending too abruptly.
Also, they serve great food such as Seafood Scampi, Baby Back Ribs and Nutella Pizza – with a meal for two averaging at P900. The ambience is fairly relaxed, apart from some ambient joy every time someone gets excited over their game.
10. Solve a Mystery at Mystery Makati
Mystery Makati brings a whole different level of fun with your friends. You’re locked in a room for an hour and you have to figure out a way to get out. If you enjoy solving mental and physical puzzles this is one place you have to check out.
They have a variety of different “mysteries” such as “Sinister Sensorium,” “Pym Particle,” and and the horror themed mystery, “Debby’s Doll.”
If you make it out in an hour, your group’s name goes on the leaderboard. Mystery Makati is open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. for P400 per head. The bigger the team, the bigger the discount per person.
Mystery Makati is located at the second floor of the G. A. Yupangco Building, in the corner of Jupiter St. and Gil Puyat Avenue.
11. Learn How To Skate
If you’re looking for a fun way to pass time for only P50 per hour and you have skating gear lying around, you should visit the MTN DEW Skatepark. It’s pretty much the only legitimate skate park in Makati.
Don’t forget to bring your own skateboards, roller skates and most importantly, your safety gear.
12. Do a Retail Therapy
If you need to get a few items for your wardrobe, then visit the Glorietta Malls. Glorietta used to be a park, but has now formed the center of Ayala Center – the ultimate Makati shopping destination.
The mall spans five sections, namely Glorietta 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, and it’s next to Rustan’s Makati, The Landmark and SM Makati.
Glorietta isn’t the only mall that spans five sections as the Greenbelt mall is also in the area. If you’re looking to pick up anything from dimsum to Hermes Birkins, this place – with its countless upscale stores – will usually do you well.
For the non-typical night out
13. Go to a Rooftop Party
If you’re in Poblacion, make sure you drop by the Z Hostel Roofdeck. Whilst Z Hostel is known as one of the first luxury hostels in the country, it’s also known as a venue for rooftop parties.
The rooftop bar is one of a kind as it uses RFID bracelet technology for its transactions, so no more fumbling for your credit card or change when you’re getting yourself a beer.
Here, you find your share of backpackers, young travelers and locals who love good music and enjoy spreading good vibes.
14. Have a Reggae Night
Sunday is Reggae night at B-Side at the Collective along Malugay St. The interiors boast of walls covered in beautifully painted graffiti, with murals in almost every corner.
There are a few specialty shops (bike stores, custom t-shirts, etc) and if you want to grab a bite, street food is in high supply.
B-SIDE hosts rap events (think Fliptop,) reggae nights and offbeat musical acts. The beer is reasonably priced and for P500 pesos you can start “vibin.’” B-side is usually open from 9 p.m to 4 a.m.
15. Visit a Hidden Bar
If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to enter a secret room, we know of a bar that’s hidden behind a little bistro with books and a bunch of other stuff.
Exit Bar is located within Lazy Bastard along Jupiter Street – to gain access, you have to push a few panels to enter the intimate space.
Inside there’s room for groups of people and the atmosphere is hushed, dim and reminiscent of the 20s – except weekends where it’s usually loud everywhere. Think of a prominent beer brand from anywhere in the world and they probably have it. If you’re up for a cocktail, we suggest you try the De Rigeur.
This is the perfect place to conversate, relax, and enjoy a night out with friends.