Sunday, March 14, 2010

Makati... A Lifestyle

I have lived in three places in Metro Manila in all my 35++ years. I lived alternately between Sta. Cruz, Manila {near Chinatown and the Tondo area) and Novaliches, Quezon City during my childhood and teenage years. I lived in Pasay City as a grown up. However, I worked in Makati City for 8 years, before I began working in the Quezon City area.

Makati City is still the business hub of the country I think. Although I wonder if Ortigas is fast overtaking it. Makati is as cosmpolitan as it can get if you are living in the Philippines. I could never dress down when I worked there. I wore heels and formal business attire. Believe it or not, I dressed more formally when I worked in Makati as a computer instructor, much more than now when I am already a lawyer. When I became a lawyer I only dressed formally when I went to court and when I used to work as Chief of the Legal Department of another government office. Now I just go to work in casual formal.

Also working in Makati was a lifestyle. Lunches or dinners meant meals in expensive restaurants or daily eating out. While in laid-back Quezon City, lunches are delivered by in-house concessionaires, and can cost as little as P35 a viand, in Makati City you cannot have lunch for less than P100. Also if you had mid-afternoon snacks, the nearby coffee houses or even donut shops can set you back by another P100.

Also back then, being in my 20s meant my friends frequently invited me for night outs. The extra dinner night out can set you back by as low as P500 per meal (for one person). On top of that are night outs like bowling games, mini-golf, and even bar hopping which can really put a dent on your budget.

But certainly those times were fun times for me. I juggled law school and work. I had this really funny experience where we went to a disco (that was what it was called at the time) and we stayed there until 2 in the morning, and the next day I had a class in law school for Succession. I didn't sleep at all! When I got home around 3 or 4 in the morning, I studied until 6 in the morning and went to school at 7 a.m. (it was a weekend class). You can believe I was a little dazed and my head was up there in the clouds while I recited on wills and successions. LOL! :p But hey I survived both law school and the wild life of my 20s.

One thing about Makati too is the HORRIBLE traffic! I lived in nearby Pasay City, and on a non-traffic weekend, I can be in Makati in 15 minutes. I recall on a work day, the traffic would be so bad just in Ayala that it would take me an hour to get to work from Pasay City. Compare that to my travel time between Pasay City to Quezon City, and I can tell you it is almost the same time. And if you ever decide to go to Glorietta or Greenbelt from Makati Avenue or Paseo de Roxas for lunch, the traffic traversing Makati could be so bad you can spend the entire lunch hour just going to and from Glorietta.

Also, a word of caution for anyone picking up or dropping off anyone along Ayala - there are set drop-off and pick-up points in Ayala. The drop-off and pick-up point is not the same. One point is the drop-off point and another the pick-up point. If you tried dropping off someone in a pick up point you can be fined by the traffic marshals. Another point to consider is that it is difficult to find parking in Makati, it can be very expensive just to pay for parking on a daily basis.

While I enjoyed working in Makati... the lifestyle was something I do not care to have too long. Although I have lived in Manila all my life, I still prefer the simple life over the high life. I did love the competitive and professional spirit in Makati, but I did not care much for that kind of constant "high" living.


  1. Interesting post. My wife and most of her family left the Philippines a long time ago so I find this information invaluable as they do not keep up with modern Manila. My wife is not from Manila but she attended school in that city before moving to California to do an MBA.

    I guess Manila is like NYC in many ways. I am a New Yorker and so I have my favorite parts of the city. I would never live in Staten Island ( not for love or money ) but I would have no problem living in any of the other four boroughs (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan). I am sure when I get to Manila I will quickly find my favotite parts of that city. I remember a place called Cubao which is part of Quezon City. I believe there is a bus station in Cubao where you can find a bus to take you North to Ilocos Norte.

    I am looking foward to the challange of establishing a sales office in Manila and I am also looking foward to looking for business in Singapore. I love NYC, but one must be flexible. I guess the pollution is the only real negative vis a vis Manila from my perspective.
    I will continue to keep checking in on this blog.