Picture a city where—instead of whiling away the hours in traffic—you can walk on your way to the office or to the mall. Picture a city where a leisurely mid-day stroll can be had through bright and beautiful overpasses, underpasses, and pocket gardens. Picture a city where you can get from Point A to B on foot, where you lose a few calories on the way and do your heart a great favor.
Chances are, that city is closer to you than you think. You might actually be working in it, or living in it.
Makati City has long championed pedestrianism—or as the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it, ‘the practice of walking’ or ‘a fondness for walking for exercise of recreation’.
Through an ever-expanding elevated walkway and a masterful zoning plan that harmonizes spaces for work and play, the City That Makes It Happen will soon be a shining example when it comes to pedestrian-friendly designs—not unlike such as Vancouver, Portland, Copenhagen and Singapore.
Says Dave Balangue, President of the Makati Commercial Estate Association, “Beyond aesthetics, we want to promote Makati as livable city and to give a more enhancing experience to pedestrians.”
With the Dela Rosa Walkway in place, an elevated passageway parallel to the length of Ayala Avenue (now touted as the Philippines’ longest at 315 meters), walkability is now synonymous with the city experience.
Think of the Dela Rosa Walkway as a spine that grants you access to Makati’s many destination neighborhoods. It’s an architectural marvel that extends from the Makati Medical Center to the Ayala MRT station. Through its linkage to underpasses and sunshades, the elevated walkway allows you to cover a lot of ground without worrying about the sun or the rain.
So put on your favorite pair of sneakers as we give you an all-access pass to Makati’s five most walkable neighborhoods.
West of the walkway is cosy Legaspi Village—home to residential buildings, advertising agencies, and quaint coffee shops. A few steps down the stairs will take you to clean, well-swept streets dotted with Jolly Jeeps and homegrown restaurants.
It’s easy to navigate: Everything falls into a grid.
At its center is its triptych of leafy parks: the Buddhist-inspired Tsuriki En Garden, the urban forest Washington Sy Cip Park, and the jogger-friendly Legaspi Active Park (currently in renovation for a December 2017 opening).
Skip and hop from one coffee shop to the other—the choice is yours from The Curator to Toby’s Estate to Yardstick. Or if not, a nice evening stroll around the park grounds will do, offering you snapshots of its motley denizens, from lightsaber-toting geeks to skateboarding tattooed hipsters.
Go a little further down the Dela Rosa walkway and you’ll find yourself in Ayala Center—Makati’s shopping and hotel mecca.
An escalator ride away is the Ayala Museum, with its galleries of Filipino paintings and historical dioramas. Spend a good hour or two waltzing around Greenbelt Park, where you can feed some koi fish or have a nice meal in the area’s many award-winning restaurants.
Of course, your walk wouldn’t be complete without a peek into its many world-class malls, from Greenbelt to Glorietta to SM Makati. If your feet get tired, have a sit-down or a massage in one of its many hotels such as Ascott Makati and Raffles Makati.
Makati Central Business District
When you alight the escalators down to the vastness of Ayala Avenue, you know you’re in the heart of the Makati CBD.
There’s no need to worry about getting a sunburn or raindrops on your head. When in the City Center, you can duck under in its many underpasses (whose walls pulsate with the neon brushstrokes of artists such as Rai Cruz and CVTY).
Strap on your FitBit and run a few rounds under the canopies of Ayala Triangle Gardens—where headline-hot events happen all year round from pop-up libraries to a festival of Christmas Lights.
Snap a few photos while you’re at it as you are in the cradle of futuristic Philippine architecture, what with the silver spires of Ayala Tower One and the RCBC Plaza.
Less than a song’s length from the Ayala Triangle Gardens is family-friendly Salcedo Village. In the eastside of the walkway, dog walkers and toddlers get their daily dose of sunshine at the Jaime Velazquez Park, where also, a Saturday morning farmer’s market sets up shop.
Take in the sights of travel agencies, daycare centers and martial arts dojos as you you stroll around the neighborhood’s circular expanse. Once you get hungry, refuel on oven-fresh pizza at Gino’s or paella at Pablo.
A backpacker’s haven, the length of P. Burgos comes alive at night with its many dive bars, kitschy themed restaurants and hipster hostels. Think Bourbon Street meets Kabukicho—do a pubcrawl on foot! Do drop by The Filling Station for an authentic American diner experience, replete with jukeboxes and movies posters.
By day, the streets are unbelievably quiet that you can meditate while walking around its many blocks. Stroll down the shady lanes of Rockwell Drive or go on a pilgrimage to San Pedro Macati Church, one of Makati’s oldest structures, which was built in 1620.
Do you have your own ideas of walkable spots in Makati? Share with us in the comments below. Or tag us @makeitmakati in your snapshots.