Exploring Makati City: Uncovering the Urban Gems

Exploring Makati City

Makati City which is part of Metro Manila, stands as the epicenter of economic growth and modernization in the country. This city, known for its dynamic culture and history, offers a rich tapestry of experiences that range from luxurious shopping malls to historical landmarks reflecting its colonial past.

Initially a swampy area that served as a pilot development project during the American colonial period, Makati has transformed into a bustling metropolis. It was after World War II that major development began, with Ayala Corporation spearheading the urban planning and expansion. Today, Makati is not just the country’s premier business district but also a place of social convergence for both locals and tourists.

The city’s social landscape is as diverse as its skyline, with pockets of arts and cultural heritage sites amidst skyscrapers. From the luxurious Greenbelt complex to the poignant Museo ng Makati, which houses artifacts and treasures of the city’s history, there is an intriguing blend of old and new.

Continue reading as we uncover the best of what Makati has to offer.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Business District: Makati City is the leading business district in the Philippines, home to various international and local companies, making it the heart of Philippine urban growth.
  • Ayala Avenue: As the main thoroughfare in Makati’s central business district, Ayala Avenue is a symbol of economic prosperity and is home to many high-rise buildings and commercial establishments.
  • Nightlife: The district of Poblacion offers a vibrant and diverse nightlife scene, with a wide range of restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues catering to both locals and visitors.

History and Evolution of Makati City

Makati City’s history and evolution can be traced back to its pre-colonial roots, through the Spanish colonial era, the American period, and post-independence growth to become one of the most developed cities in the Philippines.

Pre-colonial Period

  • Early Settlement: Before the arrival of the Spanish, the area known as Makati was a swampy area inhabited by indigenous Tagalog people. It was part of the Kingdom of Namayan and later incorporated into the Kingdom of Tondo.
  • Name Origin: The name “Makati” originated from the Tagalog phrase “kumakáti na,” which refers to the tide receding.

Spanish Colonial Era (1571-1898)

  • Establishment: In 1571, Spanish conquistadors arrived in the area. Makati became part of the encomienda system and was overseen by the Alcaldia of Tondo.
  • Agriculture: The fertile lands were used for farming and fishing, becoming a major producer of rice and duck.
  • Church Influence: The San Pedro de Macati Church, now known as Saints Peter and Paul Parish Church, was built by the Jesuits in 1620 and played a central role in community life.
  • Development: Throughout the Spanish period, haciendas (large estates) were established, and the area slowly developed.
See also  Bayluhay Festival Philippines

American Period (1898-1946)

  • Change in Governance: After the Spanish-American War, the Philippines was ceded to the United States. During this time, infrastructure improved significantly.
  • Urbanization: The construction of roads and bridges during the American period paved the way for modern transportation and urbanization.
  • Nielson Airport: Built in 1937, Nielson Field became the first commercial airport serving Manila. It played a crucial role during World War II.

Post-War Development and Independence (1946-present)

  • Reconstruction: After World War II, Makati underwent significant reconstruction due to damage from the war.
  • Ayala Corporation: In the 1950s and 1960s, Ayala Corporation transformed Makati from a grassland into a modern business district. The Makati Commercial Center (now Ayala Center) was developed.
  • Financial Hub: By the 1970s, Makati emerged as the financial capital of the Philippines with the establishment of the Philippine Stock Exchange and numerous banks and corporations.
  • Real Estate Boom: The late 20th century saw rapid real estate development with high-rise buildings changing Makati’s skyline.
  • Urban Challenges: As Makati developed, it faced challenges like traffic congestion and pollution.
  • Cultural Development: Makati also became a cultural hub with museums, theaters, and galleries.
  • Modernization: In recent years, modern infrastructure projects have continued to transform Makati into a highly urbanized city.

Each period brought significant changes that shaped Makati into a key economic and cultural center in Metro Manila and the entire Philippines.

Makati’s Business Districts

Makati, one of the 16 cities that make up Metro Manila, Philippines, is known for its highly cosmopolitan culture and is considered a major financial and commercial hub in the country. The city houses several business districts that are centers of economic activity. Here are some of the prominent business districts in Makati:

Ayala Center

  • Location: At the heart of Makati Central Business District (CBD)
  • Characteristics: Known for upscale shopping malls like Glorietta and Greenbelt, luxury hotels, and corporate headquarters.

Makati Central Business District (CBD)

  • Location: Bounded by EDSA, Gil Puyat Avenue, Arnaiz Avenue, and Chino Roces Avenue
  • Characteristics: The premier business district of the Philippines with skyscrapers, major banks, corporations, and foreign embassies.

Rockwell Center

  • Location: North of the Makati CBD
  • Characteristics: A high-end mixed-use development known for the Power Plant Mall, upscale condominiums, and office towers.

Legazpi Village and Salcedo Village

  • Location: Within Makati CBD
  • Characteristics:
    • Legazpi Village: Offers a mix of residential buildings, serviced apartments, and lifestyle options.
    • Salcedo Village: Known for its Saturday Market, condominiums, and office spaces.


  • Location: North of Makati CBD
  • Characteristics: A historic area that is becoming a trendy spot for its nightlife with bars, restaurants, and art galleries.

Ayala Avenue

  • Location: Runs through the center of Makati CBD
  • Characteristics: Often referred to as the “Wall Street of the Philippines” due to the number of banks and corporations lined along this avenue.

Paseo de Roxas

  • Location: Within Makati CBD
  • Characteristics: Features important landmarks like the Philippine Stock Exchange Plaza and Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Each district has its unique flair and contributes to the economic dynamism of Makati.

Urban Development and Infrastructure

Keep in mind that Makati City is a center for urban growth and development in the Philippines. The city has seen significant infrastructural advances in recent years, with modern buildings and facilities transforming the landscape. As you explore Makati, you’ll notice the seamless blend of traditional Filipino architecture with sleek, modern structures, creating a unique and dynamic cityscape.

Modern Architectural Advances

When it comes to modern architecture, Makati is at the forefront of innovation in the Philippines. The city’s skyline is dominated by impressive skyscrapers and contemporary designs that reflect the city’s forward-thinking approach to urban development.

See also  Sapatos Festival

As you walk along the streets of Makati, you’ll be surrounded by towering buildings that house multinational corporations, luxury hotels, and upscale residential complexes. The architectural diversity in Makati showcases the city’s commitment to embracing modernity while preserving its cultural heritage.

Transportation and Connectivity

One of the key factors contributing to Makati’s urban development is its transportation and connectivity infrastructure. As the central business district of the Philippines, Makati boasts efficient road networks, pedestrian-friendly walkways, and a well-connected public transportation system.

Whether you’re navigating the city by car, utilizing the MRT or bus systems, or simply walking to your destination, you’ll appreciate the convenience and accessibility that Makati has to offer.

The Poblacion Area

Poblacion is a vibrant and diverse district that is a microcosm of the city’s rapid urban growth and development. This dynamic neighborhood offers a mix of historical landmarks, trendy bars and restaurants, and a rich cultural tapestry that reflects the city’s unique character.

Historical Significance and Cultural Diversity

The Poblacion area holds a significant place in Philippine history, as it was one of the original settlements in Makati. As you wander through the streets, you’ll encounter charming colonial-era architecture and historical sites that provide a glimpse into the city’s past.

The neighborhood is also a melting pot of cultures, with a vibrant arts and music scene, making it an ideal place to experience the creative pulse of the city. From traditional Filipino cuisine to international fare, the culinary landscape in Poblacion is a delightful fusion of flavors that reflect the diverse influences shaping the area.

Poblacion’s Role in Urban Renewal

Over the years, Poblacion has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from a quiet residential district into a thriving hub of urban renewal. The area has become a magnet for creative entrepreneurs, leading to the development of innovative spaces such as co-working hubs, art galleries, and concept stores.

As you explore the streets of Poblacion, you’ll witness the juxtaposition of old and new, with historic sites sitting alongside modern establishments. This blend of tradition and innovation is emblematic of the city’s commitment to sustainable urban development and growth.

Living in Makati City

For those considering relocating to Makati City, the vibrant heart of the Philippines, finding a place to call home can be an exciting opportunity. As one of the most urbanized cities in the country, Makati City offers a unique blend of modern living, business, and entertainment opportunities. In this chapter, we will delve into the residential options, lifestyle, and challenges of living in this bustling metropolis.

Residential Opportunities and Lifestyle

When it comes to residential opportunities in Makati City, you will find a wide array of options to suit your lifestyle and preferences. From high-rise condominiums with stunning city views to exclusive gated communities offering a tranquil oasis amid urban chaos, there is something for everyone.

The city boasts a range of amenities, including shopping centers, restaurants, and cultural attractions, all within easy reach of residential areas.

Challenges of Urban Living

While living in Makati City can be an exhilarating experience, it also comes with its own set of challenges. The rapid urban development and population growth in the city have led to an increase in traffic congestion and pollution. With the influx of residents and businesses, the demand for infrastructure and public services has also amplified.

Moreover, the cost of living in Makati City is relatively high compared to other areas in the Philippines, which can be a consideration for those contemplating a move to the city. Despite these challenges, many find the vibrant energy and endless opportunities of urban living in Makati City to be worth the trade-offs.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Unlike many other cities in the Philippines, Makati has a vibrant and diverse nightlife. From upscale rooftop bars and swanky clubs to laid-back pubs and trendy speakeasies, there is something for everyone here. Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing, networking, or simply unwinding with a few drinks, you’ll find a spot that suits your tastes in Makati.

See also  Imbayah Festival Banaue, Ifugao Philippines

The city’s social scene is also fueled by a mix of locals and expats, creating a dynamic and cosmopolitan atmosphere. You’ll meet people from all walks of life, from business professionals and entrepreneurs to artists and creatives. This blend of cultures and backgrounds adds an exciting energy to the nightlife in Makati.

The Blend of Local and International Cuisines

When it comes to dining and entertainment, Makati offers a diverse array of options. The city is home to a wide range of restaurants and eateries, serving up everything from traditional Filipino dishes to international cuisines. Whether you’re craving authentic street food, gourmet fusion cuisine, or a taste of home, you can find it in Makati.

Exploring the culinary scene in Makati is a treat for your taste buds. You can indulge in local delicacies such as adobo and sisig, or savor global flavors like Japanese sushi, Italian pasta, and American burgers. With its culinary diversity, Makati truly reflects the melting pot that is the Philippines.

Top 16 Things To Do In Makati

Top Activities in Makati City: Your Unique Guide

1. Discover the Greenery at Ayala Triangle Gardens

Escape the urban rush with a peaceful stroll or jog in this lush parkland amidst the city’s heart.

2. Immerse in Culture at Yuchengco Museum

Explore a blend of traditional and contemporary art pieces, including works by Filipino masters and historical memorabilia.

3. Shop and Dine at Greenbelt Mall Complex

Experience shopping with a mix of luxury brands and dining in atmospheric restaurants offering live music.

4. Visit the Vibrant Salcedo Market

Indulge in a sensory feast with gourmet food stalls, fresh local produce, and artisanal goods every weekend.

5. Enjoy Entertainment at Circuit Makati

Join in the fun at this entertainment complex with music festivals, sports facilities, and a skate park.

6. Experience the Nightlife of Poblacion

Navigate the bustling streets for eclectic bars and restaurants, promising a night of good food, drinks, and music.

7. Shop at the Trendy Glorietta Mall Complex

From fashion to gadgets, find everything you need across the mall’s diverse sections and event spaces.

8. Find Serenity at Salcedo Park

Take in the tranquility of this park, a venue for art events, and a weekend gourmet market.

9. Reflect at Santuario De San Antonio Parish

Appreciate the Baroque architecture and attend a mass at this historic and elegant church.

10. Unwind at Washington Sycip Park

Enjoy a quiet moment beside the koi pond, surrounded by sculptures and soothing music.

11. Stay Active at Legazpi Active Park

Perfect for families with kids, enjoy outdoor activities, and exercise in this refreshed public space.

12. Admire Architecture at Saint Andrew the Apostle Church

Take in the modern design of this church with its unique X-shaped layout and flowing white exterior.

13. Delve into History at Museo ng Makati

Learn about Makati’s past through exhibits of murals, photographs, and artifacts in a historic building.

14. Indulge in Luxury Shopping at Powerplant Mall

Browse high-end shops in an exclusive setting, catering to the city’s fashionable crowd.

15. Explore the Guadalupe Church Ruins

Witness history at one of Makati’s oldest sites, with architecture dating back to the 17th century.

16. Savour Local Flavors with the Jolly Jeep Experience

Join locals for an authentic taste of Filipino street food served from these iconic mobile eateries.

Each experience promises an authentic slice of life in Makati, blending tradition with modernity to offer visitors a comprehensive city experience.


In conclusion, Makati City is a vibrant and dynamic urban center that offers a wealth of experiences for both locals and tourists alike. From its towering skyscrapers and bustling business districts to its lush parks and cultural landmarks, there’s something for everyone in this bustling metropolis.

Whether you’re looking to explore its rich history, indulge in its world-class cuisine, or simply soak up its lively atmosphere, Makati City is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression. So why wait? Start planning your trip to Makati City today and discover all that this incredible city has to offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What makes Makati City an important business district in the Philippines?

A: Makati City is considered the financial center of the Philippines, housing multinational corporations, banks, and financial institutions. Its Ayala Avenue is a key business hub, home to the Philippine Stock Exchange and major office buildings. The city’s strategic location and infrastructure make it a prime location for local and international businesses.

Q: What are the key highlights of exploring Makati City’s Poblacion area?

A: Poblacion is a vibrant neighborhood in Makati known for its eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, and art galleries. It offers a glimpse into the city’s urban development and modern lifestyle. Visitors can explore trendy eateries, street art, and nightlife hotspots, making it a must-visit for those looking for a unique cultural experience in Makati.

Q: How does Makati City’s nightlife contribute to its urban growth?

A: The nightlife in Makati City has become an integral part of its urban development, attracting both locals and tourists. The city boasts a diverse range of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues, contributing to its vibrant social scene. This has led to the growth of the hospitality and tourism industry in the area, making Makati City a popular destination for those seeking a lively and dynamic urban experience.

Similar Posts