International, Philippines, Travel

Makati–The Beverly Hills of Manila

I am finally wrapping up my Philippines trip series today, after writing about Tagaytay/Ta’al volcano and Pagsanjan Falls near Manila, and from our trip to Palawan, I wrote about staying on Busuanga and the El Rio Y Mar resort, taking a Coron island tour, and an island hopping tour.  Click on the links to catch up how we spent the first 8 or so days in this magical place.

Before I retired a couple of years ago, I worked as a Product Manager in the semiconductor industry, and traveled to The Philippines to visit a couple of our manufacturing sites dozens of times.  Most of those trips I stayed in Makati, and we were lucky enough to stay in some pretty high-end hotels.  Probably my favorite among these is the Shangri-la Makati.  It was the first hotel I stayed in while visiting the Philippines so many years ago and I always appreciated its old world elegance, not to mention the unbelievable breakfast buffet.  Its location in the center of Makati, just across from the Greenbelt shopping and restaurant area, made the choice of this hotel for our stay a no-brainer.

The thing about Makati, and Manila in general, is that on one hand, you see such opulence and luxury, and just outside this area people are literally living in cardboard-topped corrugated metal made into ‘condos’ right next to the railroad tracks.  I guess it’s not unlike many mega-metropolises, but is still a shock to witness such poverty alongside such wealth.

Anyway, back to it…..the Shangri-la is stunning.

 

The first floor lobby hasn’t changed a whole lot since I first stayed there more than 20 years ago.  It still took my breath away a bit when I first walked in.

 

The huge windows opposite the entrance made it difficult for my old iPhone to get good images facing the windows.  We’re standing on the 2nd floor balcony overlooking the lobby and informal meeting area.  

We stayed in Makati 2 nights before we flew back to Arizona.  The view from our suite was fabulous!

While we were there, Chloe got her hair cut and we all took in some spa treatments at The Spa.

I don’t have a whole lot to report from our stay in Makati.  We ate at some great restaurants, we walked around the lovely garden-like setting of the Greenbelt and Makati, did some Balikbayan shopping, and basically lazed about.  There is a ton of stuff to do in Manila, however.

Things to do and see in Manila

  • Intramuros, “The Walled City,” is the oldest district in Manila. This is what remains of the fortified city, which was the seat of power during Spanish Colonial times (1521-1898).  The 64-hectare stone citadel, founded by the Spanish in 1571, has withstood wars, natural disasters and successive waves of colonial invaders, and as such stands as a metaphor for Manila itself. Explore it before 10 a.m., while the temperature outside is still bearable, then stop at Ilustrado, tel: (63-2) 527 3674, a colonial-style villa, for a breakfast of buttery ensaymada (savory brioche) and Spanish hot chocolate

Intramuros image courtesy www.migrationology.com

  • San Agustin Church lies within Intramuros.  Its history is fascinating, being the only building left intact after the destruction of Intramuros in WWII.  It’s gorgeous inside, too.
Inside the San Agustin Church, courtesy Getty Images

 

  • Visit Binondo, the world’s first Chinatown.  There are many dining options.  The below places are really popular:Ho-Land Bakery: Chinese Filipino baked goods  Dong Bei Dumpling: dumplings and fresh noodle soups  Wai Ying Fastfood: dim sum and other Chinese food
Binondo entrance, image courtesy www.triptheislands.com
  • Normally I wouldn’t recommend this to tourists who don’t know where they’re going, but now I would definitely recommend riding in a Jeepney since they’re going to be phased out! In the Manila area jeepneys are always colorfully painted, and some of them have been outfitted with lights that make them look like one big party on wheels.  They operate kind of like a bus, in that they have routes they follow.  People hop on them when they stop, but there are ‘terminals’ as well.
Typical Jeepney, courtesy www.loupiote.com

 

There is a lot more to Manila, especially its surrounding areas, so if you would like to know more, leave a comment!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Joan

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