MANILA, Philippines – Makati City’s central business district (CBD) is known for its bustle, high-end buildings, and general business vibe.

With all it offers, Makati CBD truly presents Filipinos and expats with a one-of-a-kind urban experience. It’s unthinkable that this business and lifestyle capital was also once an unused prairie.

But amid the city’s current urban chaos, there are legendary works of art, historical monuments, havens of well-being and relaxing green spaces. With a closer look and an open mind, Makati CBD is easily a tourist destination worthy of our time and effort to explore.

The transformation over the years would never be possible without Colonel Joseph McMicking’s visionary master plan for this land and the help of Don Alfonso Zobel de Ayala. Most importantly, the commitment of current business leaders is admirable as they continue to unlock the potential of the neighborhood.

For the first time ever, Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) in support of the Makati Central Estate Association Inc. (MACEA), the association of landowners within the CBD, organized an exclusive media tour for the appreciation of architecture, art and heritage that transform this golden quadrant along Ayala Avenue into the vibrant and ever-changing community it is today. The architecture, art and heritage that define the First Quarter are showcased in MACEA’s Coffee Table Book.

Here are some notable locations in Makati CBD available around this well-planned, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood that are truly worthy of our appreciation:

Ayala Triangle

The leafy and bustling Ayala Triangle, home to the iconic Tower One and Exchange Plaza, sits right in the heart of Makati CBD.

Formerly the headquarters of the Philippine Stock Exchange and the headquarters of the Ayala Group, it also houses some of the important works of famous Filipino artists. Three works of art are not to be missed: a painting by Ang Kiukok, a work by Impy Pilapil and a wall decoration on the mezzanine by Arturo Luz.

Tower One is surrounded not only by the open space and greenery (and thousands of lights at Christmas) in the Ayala Triangle Gardens, but also by history.

In a courtyard a short walk from the Plaza Fountain is the special weathered steel memorial to Colonel Joseph McMicking and Mrs. Mercedes Zobel-McMicking. Colonel McMicking, along with Enrique Zobel, Alfonso Zobel de Ayala and Jaime Zobel de Ayala, are the four visionaries recognized for their significant contributions to the development of Makati’s financial district.

Another historic place you can find in the Ayala Triangle is the Nielson Tower, which is the former air traffic control tower of the country’s first commercial airport. It is now home to Blackbird, one of the country’s must-visit dining destinations that offers eclectic menus inspired by the building’s aviation history.

Head to Paseo de Roxas to see sculptor Peter de Guzman’s bronze Ninoy Aquino Monument, which is a reminder of everything former Filipino senator and hero Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino Jr. fought and died for .

Village of Legaspi

The charming tree-lined streets of the village of Legaspi are often considered a sanctuary in the middle of the city with its fusion of amazing restaurants and jogging parks. Brimming with trendy and unique dining concepts, the area excites all food and wellness enthusiasts.

The stylish new Filipino restaurant Tatatito and the traditional Japanese multi-course restaurant Kyo-to can be found on Palanca Street. On Rada Street, you can take that special someone out to Japanese-Peruvian eatery Nikkei, or sample familiar Filipino fare at Sarsa.

Go on a gastronomic adventure and sample Indonesian cuisine at Restoran Garuda on Salcedo Street, or North Indian culinary delights at Mantra on Bolanos Street. You can also find some of the best metro cafes in Legaspi Village, like Antipodean Café and Yardstick. There’s also the Curator Coffee and Cocktails, which doubles as an after-dark bar, and the Bad Café.

On Sunday mornings, Legaspi Village hosts the Legaspi Sunday Market where area residents shop for fresh organic produce and handicrafts, and savor homemade local and international dishes.

Besides being a foodie hotspot, Legaspi Village is also popular for its Legaspi Active and Washington SyCip parks, which are usually filled with joggers and dog walkers, especially after hours. Located next to each other, the parks feature native tropical trees and plants, benches, tiled walkways, jogging paths, and restrooms. Washington SyCip Park has a Japanese garden and gazebos, while Legaspi Active Park has a children’s playground.

Village of Salcedo

Known for its imposing commercial and residential spaces and its green parks, the village of Salcedo is a place where everyone can easily combine business with pleasure.

One of its landmarks is Jaime C. Velasquez Park, or commonly known as Salcedo Park. Home to the annual outdoor visual fair “Art in the Park” and the weekly “Salcedo Sunday Market”, this communal green space in Makati CBD was recently renovated to add more amenities, including a dog park to better serve those who work and live nearby.

With a growing community of young professionals, artists, and families, this neighborhood also boasts a list of restaurants to excite every palate. It’s home to charming and cozy Spanish restaurant Pablo near Salcedo Park, comforting bistros like The Wholesome Table on HV Dela Costa and LP Leviste Streets, and popular Japanese ramen restaurant Mendokoro Ramenba on Soliman Street.

Avenue Ayala

Avenue Ayala is not only one of the metro’s busiest arteries. It’s also historic, with its stunning skyscrapers shaping the Makati skyline. At Paseo de Roxas, Insular Life was built as Makati’s first skyscraper in 1962 by famed architect Cesar Concio.

Also along this avenue is RCBC Plaza which houses the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium and the Yuchengco Museum. There’s Ayala North Exchange on the corner of Salcedo Street, which turns into a creative hub that has its own green wall that acts as natural air filters.

The Manila Peninsula Hotel and its majestic fountain remain one of the country’s architectural gems. Then there is the Ridge Apartment, home to Makati’s first condominiums. And finally, on the corner of Ayala Avenue and EDSA, stands One Ayala which is being developed to offer office towers, hotels and serviced apartments, commercial spaces and the future transport hub from Makati – all connected to the Ayala Center, a major commercial space spanning malls. like Glorietta and Greenbelt, department stores and hotels.

New buildings are also set to rise soon to redefine Makati’s skyline, and that includes Tower Two, which will soon become the new home of the beloved Mandarin Hotel.

Ayala Museum

A guide to Makati CBD will never be complete without a mention of the Ayala Museum, whose collection focuses on Philippine history and iconography.

Some of the highlights of the collection include paintings by Juan Luna and Fernando Zobel and objects that provide insight into the way of life of pre-colonial Filipinos. It also has a digital gallery in the lobby, which allows visitors to explore the museum’s collections and have an interactive experience about art and history.

MACEA is removing pages from their recently released coffee table book, “Makati, Fifty and Onwards”, as they based the tour on this book. The voluminous 300-page book features essays by author and project director Lisa Guerrero Nakpil on how Makati flourished to become one of the country’s top addresses, as well as new images of the city by the legendary photographers Wig Tysmans, Patrick Diokno and Paul Quiambao. There are also never-before-seen footage of the Makati CBD master plan and its development over the years.

Ayala Land Inc. is the main catalyst for the development of Hacienda Makati in one of the important districts of the country. — Photos, video by Deejae Dumlao

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