Makati is an oasis of calm amidst the 15 other cities that make up the densely populated area of Metro Manila. But if you try to get from one neighbourhood to another don’t be surprised if you get snarled in a seemingly endless traffic jam. As the financial district of the Philippines it is a very wealthy and developed area with lots of malls, restaurants, cafes and markets to check out.
Arriving by Air
When you are arriving on an international flight at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and passing through customs it is an unnervingly quick and painless experience. The main challenge is trying to catch whatever kind of transportation suits your needs. Imagine hundreds of people standing next to 6 lanes of nearly gridlock traffic picking up lost and confused travellers. Picking up an Uber car at this location is nearly impossible. An airline approved driver picked up all 6 of us and our luggage and we piled into a 5 seat vehicle with two sideways facing trunk seats with most of our luggage piled on top of us.
Flying domestic is a much smoother experience, you arrive at the oldest part of the airport, Terminal 4. It is much easier to meet and take an Uber from this terminal.
When you are departing Manila make sure you check which terminal you are departing from. Ending up at the wrong terminal can be a disastrous mistake as they are far apart and shuttles between terminals are infrequent. Once you arrive at the terminal the lines are reasonable and efficient.
Where to Eat and Drink
If you're anything like me your number one travel priority in the morning is to acquire coffee. Makati has several amazing options for picking up whatever kind of breakfast you're after. I tested out Toby's Estate where I had a perfect macchiato
and ended up favouring Wildflour cafe and restaurant. They had an endless array of baked goodies for breakfast and giant salads and fresh squeezed juices. There are many other lunch and dinner options but after 3 weeks of eating all sorts of fried Asian cuisine we were craving some semblance of health.
How to Get Around
There are a lot of options for transportation in Manila. Cabs, Uber, private vans and cars, jeepneys, scooters with sidecars welded on with rebar, bikes with sidecars, scooters and bikes. It's not unusual to see 6 people piled on to a scooter with a sidecar or full jeepney buses with 10 people riding on the roof as well. Since Uber is so inexpensive, accountable and reliable I highly recommend using their service. You can expect to pay twice as much for a city cab, which still isn't too bad. One Uber driver did warn us to make sure that your driver always stops the ride when you get out because he's met travellers who've been tricked by drivers before.
Where to Stay
The Picasso Boutique Hotel in Makati is modern and tastefully decorated with tons of art on the walls and small details that give you the impression that they chose to style the space with care. The staff are incredibly nice. The restaurant in on the main floor is delicious and they make amazing cocktails.
What to Do
Among our travelling partners, we all agreed that the Salcedo Market was one of the best we'd ever been to and I can't recommend it highly enough. There are tons of vendors packed into a relatively small space with so many options for fresh fruit and vegetables and prepared meals. Heads up, this place is only open on Saturdays!