(SPOT.ph) Far from the traffic jam and busy vibe of the Makati Central Business District lies a laid-back neighborhood that went from being a red-light district to a favorite hangout of college students and young professionals. Poblacion, an old downtown area in Makati City, is now home to a number of places to eat, stopovers for shopping and pampering, and a variety of things to do. Here's a handy guide in case you find yourself in this hip and happening locale.
Check out the places where you can eat in Poblacion:
With all eyes on Poblacion as a foodie destination, it doesn't come as a surprise that it's home to must-try places for good food, affordable meals, and interesting cuisines. With this hip neighborhood being a mecca of dining, the list of restaurants just keeps growing longer and longer—and we're just making it longer yet again with this rundown of new restos.
Holy Smokes first opened its doors in 2016 and closed down temporarily, but they’ve recently reopened to bring back their signature BBQ meats, including the USDA Beef Ribs with Mustard Herb Butter (P3,200). This time around, they’re adding new kinds of bites to their roster, such as their handmade pies (try the Brisket Empanada with Mango Habanero Jam, P120) and salads (we’re all for the Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Salad, P450) that even carnivores will hanker for. They’ve got new cocktails up their sleeve, too; pair those meaty bites with the tequila-based Rosy Cheeks (P330), which has orange liqueur, watermelon, and spices for a laid-back summer vibe.
Holy Smokes is at 5834 Matilde Street corner Jacobo Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Mijo offers food that’s reflective of Chef Enrique Moreno’s culinary experiences. Expect to find comfort classic given ingenious twists, like the use of fresh rye spaghettini in the otherwise-homey Mama Lita’s Sunday Pasta (P295), to the eight-spice blend used to flavor the crisp-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside Duck Confit (P695). Complete the experience with one of their classic cocktails, like the Old Fashioned (P295).
Mijo is at 4897 P. Guanzon Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Eksena sa Tagpuan
An offshoot of La Union’s Tagpuan sa San Juan, Eksena sa Tagpuan serves up signature Pinoy favorites like pares, bagnet, lugaw, tokwa’t baboy, and more. They bring the laid-back vibes of the beach to Poblacion, what with rustic walls and wooden chairs playing foil to their homey comfort classics. Leave any pretension at the door; as the rule here goes, “inuman lang, walang inglisan."
Eksena sa Tagpuan is at 5966 Fermina Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
This hip Spanish spot’s got tapas and cocktails inspired by the food of the San Sebastian coast. Think Foie Pintxos (P355) topped with mango jam and pickled green mangoes, the bite-sized Chori Burger (P145) that bursts with flavor, the sweet-savory Miguel’s Sandwich (P385) with apple jam and beer-braised pork belly, and the Paella Negra (P925) with a standout combination of squid ink, cured salmon, and pickled piparra peppers. Of course, the party's not complete without a little libation, and we can’t recommend the Tenerife Sea (P380)—with its layers of clarified milk, tequila, rum, vodka, cointreau, and citrus—enough.
Hola Bombon is at 2/F 5887 Fermina Street corner Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Cubao cult-favorite Today x Future has landed in Poblacion as FUTUR:ST, where they maintain a vibe similar to the laid-back artsy feel Today x Future is known for, but given a more space-age makeover (complete with a disco ball!) that nonetheless feels like home. As far as food goes, you’ll find bites that are turn the usual pub grub on its head, like Bourdain’s Balls (P280) a.k.a. meatballs with a mango-habanero-coriander jam, and cocktails like Breath of Khaleesi (P320)—beware of this one, because she goes down like juice but hits with the full force of all three of Dany’s dragons.
FUTUR:ST is at 5062 Guerrero Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
This tea chain from Singapore offers milk tea, brown-sugar milk drinks, cheese cap-topped sips, fruit teas, and even lattes. Take a break from the alcohol with their refreshing Ruby Grapefruit Green Tea (P110/small, P125/large), or go for the creamier brown sugar milk, which can be had with boba (P120/small, P140/large), Oreo (P130/small, P145/large), or konjac jelly (P120/small, P140/large). Their toppings selection features bits and bobs you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, like the Sakura Pearl (P40) and the Passionfruit Popping Boba (P30).
Bober Tea is at G/F Commercial Area, 4740 Salamanca Street corner Eduque Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Part-art space, part-cocktail bar and part-restaurant, KONDWI offers something for everyone—though fans of Asian-style appetizers are especially in for a treat. You’ll find light bites like their standout Tomato Salad (P300) with the fruit in different forms, flavorful skewers patterned after classic Asian dishes like the Pork Sinigang Skewers (P250), all best paired with one of their cocktails, like the whiskey sour-inspired Kondwi Sour (P495).
Kondwi is at 6109 Albert Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Buccaneers Rum & Cocktails
Showcasing interiors inspired by old ship (think wooden accents, an anchor, and rope ladders), Buccaneers is the place to be for all kinds of rum—more than a hundred kinds, in fact. Travel by taste with rums from different parts of the world—Capucana from Brazil, Samai from Cambodia, Clairin from Haiti, and more. Alternatively, you can enjoy your rum in the form of cocktails: try their classic Cuba Libre (P200) or the more playful Rum Corpse Reviver (P400).
Buccaneers is at 5668 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
The Spirits Library
Passionate about liquors of all sorts? The Spirits Library houses an extensive selection of topnotch bottles. More than playing with your tastebuds, however, this semi-hidden nook is also out to educate, playing host to numerous books on the topic of alcohol. (That’s the “library” half of their name for you.) Come for the cocktails, stay to learn more in-depth knowledge about your favorite drink.
The Spirits Library is at 4963 Guerrero Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Need a break from the heavier fare—or just in the mood for a different kind of dessert? Head over to Mahalo Acai for frozen yogurt that’s vegan (ergo, dairy-free), made with almond milk and infused with acai berry. Health labels notwithstanding, its cold and sweet makeup makes it a treat for everyone—regardless of dietary preference. Enjoy a cup (P220) with one or more of their toppings, which range from fresh fruit to crushed-up cookies and cereals, and drizzle on one of their sauces—it’s hard to go wrong with the Berry Compote.
Mahalo Acai is at 5663 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Here’s where you can shop and get pampered in Poblacion:
In case you find yourself arriving too early for happy hour in Poblacion, there's no need to fret. The neighborhood is also home to cool shopping spots, grooming places, and salons for pampering for some quality me-time.
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that a super-cool vintage shop would fit right into the Poblacion vibe. This unique thrift shop at Pineapple Lab is only open Tuesdays to Sundays, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and it’s home to hundreds of vintage pieces, including gorgeous Filipiniana from the owner’s personal collection. Apart from clothing, Glorious Dias carries local brands that create accessories, candles, and beauty products.
Glorious Dias is at Hollow Block, Pineapple Lab, 6053 R. Palma Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
This leather-crafting store offers leather products and specializes in bespoke leather pieces, whether it’s for personal use or for gifting. The Workshop also has homegrown brands Liana Rosa and Colony in stock—both offer local, sustainable, and handcrafted leather accessories. Take your pick from wallets, tote bags, backpacks, aprons, and some unique jewelry pieces. Pro tip: Try their popular gin buko, if you happen to catch them transform into a laid-back hangout place at night!
The Workshop is at 5856 Alfonzo Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
You wouldn't want to miss this cool retail space along Don Pedro Street: PURVEYR Post is a multi-brand store where you can shop clothes, bags, prints, accessories, candles, and more. Shop from brands like Basic Movement, Léon Denim, Proudrace, Saan Saan, Factory, Nomadic Tendencies, and more.
PURVEYR Post is at 5650 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Cornell’s Custom Tailors
If you try asking for recommendations for a good tailor in Manila, Cornell’s Custom Tailors is sure to be a common answer. It’s easy to spot this no-frills tailor shop along Kalayaan Avenue. Whether you need a barong or a three-piece suit or even work shirts tailor-made, Mang Cornell has got your back with his wide selection of fabrics and years of tailoring experience.
Cornell’s Custom Tailors is at 8485 Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.
Arrived a little too early for your night out? Give yourself a clean shave or a quick cut at this neighborhood barbershop. Another Barbershop is an #aesthetic barbershop tucked in one of Poblacion’s quieter streets, offering a great place to get groomed before a Pob crawl. Apart from fresh cuts and shaves, they also carry other grooming essentials, like pomades, shaving creams, perfumes, and more.
Another Barbershop is at 5880 Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
if you feel like giving yourself a new look, this place is worth checking out. Qubo MNL, formerly known as KAPWA Studio, is a barbershop-slash-hair salon-slash-tattoo-shop. Located right smack in the middle of Poblacion, it’s a modernized bahay kubo (hence, the name) that offers quality (from which the “qu” in “Qubo” is derived) services, from men’s and ladies’ haircuts, color, and even tattoo services—including brow makeovers.
Qubo MNL is at 5650 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
I’M Onsen Spa
Spoil yourself with a luxurious spa session at I’M Onsen Spa. Their Signature Treatment (P1,950) is a relaxing 60-minute massage that comes with a buffet you can enjoy after your treatment. We recommend arriving a bit earlier than your appointment so you can take your time enjoying the onsen, steam, and sauna rooms. If you’re in Poblacion to celebrate a special occasion, capping it off with a massage treatment (and buffet!) sounds like a good plan.
I’M Onsen Spa is at U/G I'M Hotel, Makati Avenue corner Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.
If you’re looking for a place where you can practice yoga in Poblacion, you won’t have to look too far: Beyond Yoga has a branch in Rockwell and they offer a variety of classes. Take your pick from Vinyasa, anti-gravity yoga, Ashtanga, Power Yoga, Yin Yoga, and more. The studio is lined with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, allowing lots of natural light. If you’ve got somewhere to be after your class, Beyond Yoga has shower rooms so you can freshen up after your session.
Beyond Yoga is at 3/F 38 Rockwell, 38 Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Poblacion, Makati City.
Ritmus Pilates & Wellness
Ritmus Pilates & Wellness offers private one-on-one sessions—recommended for beginners—but they also have group classes for those who prefer practicing with other people. They have a variety of classes available, from mat Pilates to ones that involve the use of Reformer machines.
Ritmus Pilates & Wellness is at 2/F SJG Centre, 8463 Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.
The Social on Ebro
Home to a handful of eateries, The Social is where you can grab a bite, have a drink, and do some retail therapy while you're at it. There's a dedicated space in the hub where The Social can host pop-ups for cool brands—some of them include Viajecito, Piopio, Happy Jammies, and KM43, among others. Check out The Social's Facebook page so you can keep tabs on what brands you can expect to shop when you drop by.
The Social on Ebro is at 5770 Ebro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Here are things to do when you find yourself in Poblacion:
Poblacion is so much more than the neighborhood restaurants and watering holes that it offers. There's also a lot of fun things to do aside from eating and drinking—from checking out a museum to finding your way out of an escape room.
Catch an art exhibit or performance at an artist playground
KONDWI, a restaurant, bar, art gallery, and performance space all rolled into one, opened its doors in October 2019. Its first floor serves as an exhibition space for temporary shows amid velvet couches, tables with hand-shaped sculptures, and glass ornaments hanging from the ceiling. The second floor is reminiscent of a black-box theater with a high ceiling—perfect for massive works of art and all kinds of live performances.
KONDWI is at 6109 Albert Street, Poblacion, Makati City. It is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and every Sunday, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Find out how Makati flourished through the years
Museo ng Makati, which is an 1800s house by the river, contains artifacts and treasures about the city's historical and cultural heritage. Through photographs and dioramas, find out how Makati started out as a sprawling marshland in the 16th century and eventually grew into the modern city it is today. It also hosts art exhibitions and other events.
Museo ng Makati is at J.P. Rizal Street corner Mabini Street, Poblacion, Makati. It is open from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Get some work done in a coworking space
It's easy to get distracted from work when in Poblacion, especially with a cool bar in almost every corner. But Acceler8 by UnionSPACE at Rockwell Center gives you a quiet space to get some work done and have the best excuse to party right after. Day pass is at P500, which includes high-speed Internet, free refreshments, and free printing and scanning services.
Acceler8 Rockwell is at 5/F Phinma Plaza, 39 Plaza Drive, Rockwell Center, Poblacion, Makati City.
Tap into your inner detective
If you've been wanting to try out an escape room challenge, Mystery Manila has an outpost at the third floor of Century City Mall. Gather your friends and choose from seven available cases, from getting to the bottom of a haunted house controlled by an old doll to saving the world from an alien assault. Don't worry, you have an entire hour to figure out everything.
Mystery Manila is at 3/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca Street, Poblacion, Makati City. It is open from Monday to Friday, 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; every Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; and every Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Paint a masterpiece over wine
Sip & Gogh lets you do your two favorite things: sip wine and go all out in unleashing your inner van Gogh. Three-hour sessions are at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m. daily. There are also special sessions for painting specific subjects like dragonflies, cherry blossoms, sunset skies, and koi fishes. The P1,000 fee comes with painting instructors, snacks, drinks, art materials, and an apron.
Sip & Gogh is at 4/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca Street, Poblacion, Makati City. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Catch the latest blockbuster
You have two cinemas to choose from if you find yourself in Poblacion, and they're both luxurious. Cinema 5 at Power Plant Cinemas features leather seats, a free popcorn tumbler, and free drink for only P400. If you want to go for the unlimited treats, you can book tickets at the mall's Cinema 8 for P550.
Century City Mall's Cinema 3, on the other hand, lets you watch the latest blockbuster in reclining seats while snacking on a cookie and drink from Toby's Estate or a bag of popcorn and a drink from Taters. Tickets are at P520.
Have a solo staycation at Z Hostel
Z Hostel is a luxury hostel and party destination rolled into one. You can drink and party until the wee hours of the morning on their sixth-floor rooftop, then doze off on their bunk beds after one heck of a good time. They have four-bed dorm rooms, if you want some privacy but still open to small talk with strangers; and eight-bed rooms for the outgoing staycationers. The latter has easier access to the Roofdeck, too. They also offer private rooms if you're really looking for some me-time.
Z Hostel is at 5660 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City. Rates start at P650.
Travel back in time at Makati's second oldest church
Saints Peter and Paul Parish Church (a.k.a. San Pedro Macati Church) was founded in 1620, two decades after Makati's oldest church, Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church, broke ground in 1601. The former, which is located in Poblacion, follows the Baroque style of having a rectangular nave and an altar with carved reredos. It was declared an important cultural property in 1937 by the Philippine Historical Research and Markers Committee, which was the former name of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
San Pedro Macati Church is at 5539 D.M. Rivera Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Get active at The Rockwell Club
When it comes to getting fit, The Rockwell Club has a number of facilities to choose from: a 25-meter lap pool, three fitness centers with gym equipment, a boxing gym, dance studios, three open-air tennis courts, indoor badminton courts, three basketball courts, two squash courts, and a table tennis table. The Rockwell Club is a members-only leisure club, which is offered to Rockwell Residents (P2,500+ per month) or shareholders. Guests of members are also welcome, so time to use the "friend card" if you know someone living in a Rockwell Land building.
The Rockwell Club is at 23 Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Poblacion, Makati City.
Get familiar with the latest on Philippine art
Pineapple Lab, a creative hub in a residential area in Poblacion, is home to artists who want a safe space to go crazy in their chosen medium. It hosts film screenings, performance art nights, art exhibitions, pop-up stores, workshops, and artist talks. Established in 2015, Pineapple Lab also offers residency programs for local and international artists as part of its mission to foster new artisans.
Pineapple Lab is at 6503 R. Palma Street, Poblacion, Makati. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Get inked at Arte Tattoo
Arte Tattoo is known for its minimalist designs, mandala patterns, and floral tattoos. Its tagline is "tattoo is a form of healing meditation," which is why the mandala is pretty big for its owners Charles Arteta and his partner, Kel Laquindanum. They also use vegan ink, which, unlike the non-vegan counterpart, doesn't contain glycerin from animal fat and bone char.
Arte Tattoo is at General Luna Building, Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City. It is open from Thursday to Saturday, from 1 p.m. to 12 a.m.; and every Wednesday and Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.