[dropcap letter=”T”]he city has been called “The Wall Street of The Philippines” and “The Selfie Capital of the World.” But to me, Makati should also be nicknamed “City For Pinoy Introverts.”
Sure, we all know this patch of land is known for its bustling avenues, world-class shopping meccas, and the toniest clubs in town. But amongst the 16 cities that comprise Metro Manila, Makati is the only city that offers sanctuary for the introvert.
Quezon City is too suburban, as it was built with large families in mind–clearly, a city for people, not ideas. Mandaluyong can be sheer punishment for the introvert: a migraine-inducing labyrinth of ululating hawkers and high-flying tricycles. Taguig has charms more extroverted, with its neon-clad skateboarders and its yawning expanses of commercialized playgrounds.
Makati, on the other hand, keeps the Gentle Ones in mind (especially at night, when the workforce has gone home to the hinterlands, and on weekends, where the streets are so quiet you can hear the water pipes). Of course, introversion is a state of mind, and with some effort, may be practiced in the loudest of cities. But read on and discover 8 introverted things you’ll enjoy doing in beautiful Makati City.
There were no pesky titas fiddling with their phones during an important plot point. There were no pretty dates that distract you from Martin Scorsese’s masterful direction. It’s just you, buttered popcorn, and a good story blasted on the wall.
The great news is: Makati keeps Pinoy cinephiles in mind. Aside from Hollywood and Star Cinema movies, the good people of Ayala Cinemas show rarely-seen art-house gems (like Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”). Occasionally, they also block off theaters for film festivals such as Cinemalaya and the Pelicula Spanish Film Festival.
On top of that, if you’re mad for movies and you have a Senior Citizen’s ID, you’ve hit the jackpot: Your movie is free!
Introverted hobbyists will surely have a day. Makati Square is the place to hunt for pirated DVDs, anime figurines, second-hand guitars and amplifiers, rare vinyl records, stereo components and airsoft gun equipment. For the introverted fashionistas out there, it is also home to a number of vintage clothing shops.
What better way for the introvert to enjoy some people-time than by enrolling in a yoga class! Makati is known for the best yoga studios in Manila.
Be sure to Google studios like Bliss Yoga, Bikram Yoga Manila, and Surya Fitness and Yoga. Sooner or later, you’ll be doing the Shoulder Stand Pose without much effort.
While we’re still millions of pesos short for a Smithsonian, Makati has two world-class museums.
The Ayala Museum holds paintings, photographs, artifacts, and its famed collection of dioramas on its second floor. On my last visit, I attended a Jessica Zafra writing workshop. So you’d be in luck, since the museum now invites celebrity speakers to conduct weekly workshops. (Ambeth Ocampo’s series, I heard, sold like hotcakes.)
A five-minute drive away is The Yuchengco Museum at the RCBC Plaza. It boasts paintings and sculptures by Filipino-Chinese artists, and houses a small art gallery that features new artists every month.
Now, has your air-conditioned cubicle farm turned your mucous membranes dry as Dubai? No problem. Unlike pedestrian-unfriendly Quezon City and the abysmal Ortigas, Makati has a total of five parks you can run away to.
So make like Superman and let those vitamin rays nutrify your sickly skin cells. For starters, spread out the blanket and lie down in one or two of Legaspi Village’s adjacent parks: Washington Sycip Park and Legaspi Active Park. If you like to combine some malling with your parklife, spend time at Greenbelt Active Park and feed koi fish in its central brook. On weekends, take your morning route through Urdaneta Park, where they hold artisanal weekend markets. But if you really want to take in pure shots of oxygen, visit the mother of them all, the Ayala Triangle Park—Makati City’s answer to Central Park.
Makati is alive with books, or so my powers tell me. Just by my count alone, there are a total of 3 branches of National Bookstore, one Powerbooks, four branches of Fully Booked, and 3 branches of Book Sale within the vicinity of my office in the Greenbelt/Legaspi village area.
There is no joy purer to me than a stolen hour at the bookstore. I soak up the cardamom-smell of the pages. I lose myself in the first chapters of books I want to buy, but don’t have the shelf space at home to keep.
So, like me, go on a bookstore safari. Start from National Book Store’s three-tier flagship store in Glorietta. Then, walk to Makati Square where the Book Sale branch will make you feel like a bandit, what with a stack of books at the cost of a paltry 500 pesos.
Introverts, on the other hand, let their eyeballs glide through a novel in the quiet of their bedrooms. That, or they plunk down as low as Php 250, so they could lie down half-naked and feel like a pharaoh for an hour.
The massage parlor truly is one of the last places in the city where you can buy silence. In the dark of a room, with Thai traditional music chiming in, you’re as close to being in a sensory deprivation chamber. The choices alone sound like poetry to the introvert’s ears: Acupuncture, Deep-Tissue, Shiatsu, Swedish, Ventosa.
Makati should be noted for its surplus of massage parlors; every block in the city has at least one. Pamper yourself. Get a massage. Now.
This is the way introverts party.
But in the case of these two residential neighborhoods connected by an elevated walkway, an hour-long stroll will have the blood in your legs gushing like the Niagara.
It’s one of Makati’s best-kept secrets. Step out of the Ayala MRT platform, make a beeline towards the Greenbelt One Exit (where Wendy’s is) and voila, you’re in a part of the Philippines that doesn’t look like the Philippines.
Drink in the sights of quaint tree-lined streets, reminiscent of New York’s West Village. This is urban planning done right—an anti-thesis to Poblacion’s grittier corners. While you’re at it, stop by for some artisanal treats like coffee at The Curator or brick oven pizza at Gino’s.
Do you have more Makati spots to suggest? Share them on the Comments Section below!