One Day in Manila for P800: Makati City
Take an alternative tour of the business district without hurting your wallet.
(SPOT.ph) As the Philippines' leading city in business and lifestyle, Makati can be both intimidating and inviting. Sans the expanse of skyscrapers and complicated traffic rules, it's possible to find comfort amid this bustling city.
Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas were runways of the first official airport of the country. Makati became an independent city in 1990 and has since been the home of multinational companies and stylish urban living.
Driving is typical, but can get tricky for those who are unfamiliar. The city is accessible by train (MRT) or bus (Ayala). There are a lot of notable places you probably haven't tried yet. We help you round out some of Makati's open secrets with just P800. No need to wait for payday!
Tread along Makati CBD murals.
For a fast-paced city crammed with people chasing deadlines, taking a breather is necessary. That's likely why independent artists were given free rein to create art that uplifts. Just walk along the elevated walkway that stretches from Dela Rosa leading to Greenbelt, and let the quirky murals do the talking. The painted pictures are relatable and funny especially to employees, with a strong message about maintaining work-life-balance.
Murals around Makati CBD can be found in Dela Rosa Carpark’s walkways and along the Ayala-Makati Avenue underpass.
Search for the secret tonkatsu.
Before there was Yabu, the hunt for authentic tonkatsu was a challenge. Now on its ninth year, Tonkatsuya is very easy to miss since it's located in the basement of a residential condominium. Their tonkatsu was made famous just by word of mouth and trying it out won't disappoint. No need for any rituals, just dig in!
Budget: P220 for the Tonkatsu set
Tonkatsuya is at Basement 1, Palm Tower B, St. Paul Road, San Antonio Village (896-1990). Open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Monday to Saturday), and 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Sunday). Another branch is at G/F 102 Acrocity Building, 1116 Antipolo Street, Makati City.
Try the famous Jolly Jeep Sisig.
In the past, makeshift vehicles that also happen to sell food became the usual haunts of the workforce. There were so many of them that the local government eventually made them legal in the ’90s, providing proper stalls in their place. And so was born Makati's version of food trucks: the Jolly Jeep. There's one in Rada where people often flock for sisig. Not only is it affordable, it's actually tasty, too. It’s so popular, you’d need to get a number and wait for your order at peak hours. The owners Manang Alice and Mang Jun provide remarkable service, so it’s no wonder people keep coming back.
This Jolly Jeep is at Rada Street (in front of 7-Eleven). You may call or text 0917-822-9630 to order in advance. Open from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm on weekdays only.
Try one of the country's rapidly growing sports.
Not only is Circuit Makati a venue for huge events and music festivals, it's also a haven for sports enthusiasts. Mountain Dew Skate Park is the first urban skate park in the metro. If you're interested, don't be intimidated as the area is designed to accommodate beginners and professionals. For just P100, you can practice around the 1,000 square-meter park for three hours. Just be sure to bring your own skateboard and helmet as they take safety very seriously.
Mountain Dew Skate Park is situated between Pasig River, Globe Circuit Event Grounds, and the Gatorade-Chelsea Blue Pitch at Circuit Makati, Fortuna Street. Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday to Thursday, and Sunday); 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday); and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Saturday).
Snack on the best authentic falafel in the metro.
If shawarma makes you feel guilty, why not try a healthier alternative? Head on to Beni's Falafel, a simple restaurant beside A. Venue that offers Middle Eastern staples. The owner, Beni, frequently hangs around to chat and ensure the authentic quality they are known for. Their offerings are even favored by local celebs. For a first timer, it's best to order Beni's Falafel with hummus. Vegan or not, you'll be amazed at how a patty made of peas can taste so good.
Budget: P165 for Beni's Falafel
Beni's Falafel is at 4364 Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City. Open 24 hours. (0906-349-1300)
Have an underground milk tea experience.
Think you've tried all the milk teas in the metro? Compared to the open-space setup we're used to, a modest sign hints at a staircase that leads down to Botan. From its wide selection of food, the place offers delightful and affordable milk tea. Sip on their Pudding Milk Tea and lounge in interiors that transport you to one of those hip cafés in Taiwan.
Budget: P100 for "Love It" Pudding Milk Tea (large)
Botan is at Makati Basement 1, West of Ayala Condominium, 252 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue (823-6888). Open from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Satisfy your XLB craving.
Peace and Happiness is a small joint along Buendia, near PNR. It's a favorite among locals especially those who live or work nearby. Apart from their pocket-friendly menu, regular customers keep coming back for their Xiao Long Bao. Peace and Happiness offers a generous serving of eight filled and mouth-watering dumplings at just P138, without compromising taste. You can have your XLB fix anytime because they deliver in Metro Manila and are open 24 hours!
Budget: P138 for Xiao Long Bao (eight pieces)
Peace and Happiness is at G8, Cityland Makati Executive Tower 3, Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Pio del Pilar, Makati City (425-5700). Open 24 hours.
Photos by Angelo Santos (Makati CBD murals, Jolly Jeep Sisig, Botan, Peace and Happiness)