Being one of the business districts of the country, Makati is a bustling city where a number of financial, commercial, and economic centers are found. Major banks, corporations, and multinational companies are based in Makati. The city is also home to luxury hotels, restaurants, and malls carrying both local and international brands.
Surely, the city has everything one wants in a modern lifestyle.
This brief guide to Makati City will help you plan your trip. It contains information on what to do, eat, and drink as well as the must-see spots and the best hotels.
Best Time to Visit
It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season. Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April. These are the summer months in this country.
Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.
The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.
TIP: This guide recommends that booking for Makati City summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.
The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances. Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well. This happens frequently so beware!
This guide recommends traveling to Makati City in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. However, you may want to avoid traveling to the city in December as it definitely gets crowded during Christmas season.
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
There are many ways to get here depending on your starting point. This guide recommends using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while in Makati City: Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The following are the major ports of entry for this destination.
The following are the modes of transportation available in Makati City …
SEE & DO
The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while in Makati City.
1 | Spend a day at Greenbelt
The eight largest shopping mall in the Philippines, Greenbelt comprises five buildings: three are enclosed areas and two with open-air shopping areas. The mall is the top destination for high end retail and international luxury brands such as Kiehl’s, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, DKNY, Kenneth Cole, Escada, and many more. There is also an array of restaurants that appeal to various types of palates. In total, the mall houses more than 300 stalls for the ultimate shopping, entertainment, and leisure experience.
Found at the center of the complex is the Greenbelt Park where people can enjoy the landscape and the relaxing sight of flowers, plants, and fish ponds. You can also visit and pray at the Santo Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel, an open-air structure where masses are held everyday.
2 | Explore Glorietta Mall Complex
Like Greenbelt, Glorietta is also located in Ayala Center and is divided into five sections housing a variety of shops and restaurants as well as residential areas and office spaces. Be it local brands or international retailers, fast food chains or high end dining, truly there are lots to explore in Glorietta Mall Complex.
3 | Visit the museums
There are several museums to visit in Makati, the most notable is the Ayala Museum found in the heart of Makati Central Business District. It is a great place to know everything there is to learn about the Philippine history, culture, art, and heritage starting from the ancient times up to the present. Another to visit is the Yuchengco Museum. Built in 2005, the museum features the artworks of Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco as well as works of Filipino artists Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, and Carlos Botong Francisco.
4 | See the art galleries
Art enthusiasts will surely love wandering around the city as there are several art galleries around. First is the Finale Art File, one of the oldest art galleries in the country. It’s been open since 1980’s showcasing various artworks such as paintings, sculptures, and installations of artists both established and new. ArtistSpace Gallery and Prism Gallery house works of new artists. Other galleries located in the city are the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Michael Yves Art Gallery, and The Drawing Room.
5 | Relax at the parks
Makati may be surrounded with high rise buildings but it is not devoid of green spaces to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. Aside from Greenbelt Park, people can go to Ayala Triangle Gardens to enjoy the greenery or break a sweat by running or working out. Not too far away is the Washington Sycip park in Legazpi Village. The park has a koi pond and a gazebo where you can relax. Also found in the park are several sculptures by Filipino artist Impy Pilapil. Other options for outdoor areas are Salcedo Park and Legazpi Active Park.
6 | Shop at the Power Plant Mall
Can’t get enough shopping? The four-level shopping mall may just be what you need to indulge. It houses international brands such as Michael Kors, DKNY, Rolex, Salvatore Ferragamo, and more. Of course, there are several dining options, cinema theaters, and an events place.
7 | See the pretty churches in the city
Some of the prettiest churches in the country are found in Makati. Located in Magallanes Village is the St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori known for its interesting architecture which consists of curved lines. The one-of-a-kind St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Bel-air II features a butterfly-shaped floor plan while Don Bosco Church in San Lorenzo Village is unique for its geometric silhouette and a roof that resembles a leaf.
Santuario de San Antonio Parish, National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, and the historical Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church (formerly known as Nuestra Señora De Guadalupe) are other churches to see in Makati City.
NOTE: The Caracol Festival occurs annually in Makati City the third week of February.
EAT & DRINK
The following is your guide to the flavorful food to enjoy and restaurants to try while in Makati City.
1 | Wildflour Cafe and Bakery
With several branches in Makati and all over Metro Manila, Wildflour Cafe and Bakery offers an assortment of Western baked goodies such as cakes, donuts, cronuts, pies, and cookies as well as vegan options including salads, smoothies, and shakes. Don’t miss their Wildflour breakfast, fried chicken and waffles, chewy chocolate chip cookies, creme brulee scones, and Nutella danish.
2 | Hummus Elijah
Hummus Elijah is a joint offering Middle Eastern favorites such as hummus, falafel sandwiches, and shakshuka. They take pride in using the freshest ingredients to offer customers the best-tasting and authentic dishes. The joint opens early and closes late therefore a good option for sudden night cravings. Mediterranean herbs and spices are also being sold inside.
3 | Blackbird
Standing at the site of the country’s first commercial airport which is the Nielson Tower, Blackbird is a stylish dining destination unique for its aviation theme. It has a lovely and elegant ambience with warm and friendly service. The restaurant has an extensive menu and some of the must-try dishes include branzino filet, crab cakes, and steaks. The price range is a bit high but the quality of food makes up for its price.
4 | Benjarong Thai Restaurant
Benjarong is a fine dining restaurant located at Dusit Thani Manila. It’s the best place in the city to enjoy authentic traditional Thai cuisine fused with modern cooking techniques. Aside from the dining areas, Benjarong has a bar and live cooking section for that exciting dining experience. Try the spicy tom yang soup, tiger prawns fried rice, kluy gung, and 72-hours beef curry.
5 | UMU Japanese Restaurant
Like Benjarong, UMU Japanese Restaurant is also found in Dusit Thani Manila. The authentic Japanese dishes the restaurant serves is complemented by its oriental setup that resembles a warm and homey Japanese house. Some of the best dishes to try are sashimi, dragon maki, and wafu steak.
6 | People’s Palace
Can’t get enough of Thai cuisine? Another dining hotspot for you to try is the People’s Palace in Greenbelt 3. Best to try their Pork Satay, prawn pomelo salad, prawn spring rolls, tom yum goong, and chicken pandan.
7 | The Wild Poppy
With a garden ambience on the rooftop, The Wild Poppy is a lovely dining destination with high quality and tasty food perfect for hanging out with your friends. The restaurant serves modern Filipino and Asian favorites like Kim and Reuben (Reuben sandwich), yaki tomorokoshi, and chicken ren damn.
8 | Tapenade
Found in Discovery Primea, Tapenade is the melting pot of Mediterranean cuisine in the city. Be it Italian favorites, tasty Spanish paella, or sweet and savory Moroccan dishes, you will surely get to try these at Tapenade. Don’t miss their Salad Room where you can enjoy the all-you-can-eat salad. It is one of the most popular attractions of the restaurant. From the main lunch menu, try their stone baked feta cheese, bacon wrapped dates, and of course their pizzas.
9 | El Chupacabra
Craving for tacos? Head to El Chupacabra for that authentic Mexican street taco as well as barbecue and affordable beers. They take pride in their street taco which is made of soft corn tortilla and comes in various fillings such as carne asada, camaron, carnitas, chorizo, lengua, and many others.
10 | Gaja Korean Kitchen
With so many Koreans all over the Philippines, this list wouldn’t be complete without a Korean restaurant. Gaja Korean Kitchen is an upscale restaurant with a friendly vibe. While the restaurant serves traditional Korean dishes, their take on cooking technique is more modern to stand out among the other Korean restaurants in the city. Try their Galbi Jjim but make sure to come early as they only serve 80 plates per day. Customers sing praises for this restaurant for their exceptionally tasty foods.
WHERE TO STAY
There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following is your guide to our top choices for each range in Makati City.
1 | Gervasia Hotel Makati (Budget)
2 | The Mini Suites – Eton Tower Makati (Mid-Range)
3 | Dusit Thani Hotel (Luxury | Resort)
This guide recommends using the following sites to conduct research online of where to stay in Makati City or for a specific destination:
Book your room with these trusted online booking sites. Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive. We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:
TIP: Dusit Thani Hotel is the best property to experience this destination.
Use the chart below to get an idea of how much to budget daily. Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.
A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD). For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).
Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast. For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night. AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night. For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.
Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD). However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.
Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD). For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD). For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD). Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food. Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.
Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD). A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).
A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person. However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!
There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly.
Public Transportation is cheap. Bus services on the islands are inexpensive. Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).
On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips.
Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap. Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.
To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly. There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option.
Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD). However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel. It’s only recommended if you have limited time.
Attractions & Activities
Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter.
Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less. You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!
Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).
The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.
Always book your tours and activities when you arrive. Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will. Booking tours online is almost always more expensive.
Typical Costs in Makati City in 2022:
- Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
- Budget Hotel: 700 PHP ($14 USD) night
- Mid-Range Hotel: 1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
- Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
- Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
- Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
- 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
- Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
- Tricycle Ride: 20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
- Taxi: 75-500 PHP ($1.50-10 USD) ride – use GrabTaxi app
- Long-Distance Bus Ride: 400-500 PHP ($8–10 USD) ride
- Domestic Flight: 2,000-3,500 PHP ($40–70 USD) flight
BEST NO-FEE INTERNATIONAL DEBIT & CREDIT CARDS
The following is some of our best advice on traveling to Makati City. Learn what you need to know BEFORE you go!
Tips & Hacks
he following are our Top 10 Tips when visiting this destination in the Philippines:
- Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
- Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
- Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
- Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
- Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
- Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
- It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
- Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
- Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
- Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.
For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.
The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on the island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.
Health & Safety
While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Makati City, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.
Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.
There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:
- 6 Common Accidents to Avoid
- How to Beat the Heat in the Philippines
- Taxi Safety Tips: Dos and Don’ts
- Motorbike Safety Tips
- Beach & Ocean Safety Tips
- Sun Safety Tips
Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines.
The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to.
The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:
- Maintain a Balanced Diet
- Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
- Get Plenty of Rest
- Allow Your Body Time to Adjust
- Keep Active
- Sanitize Often
- Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
- Take Your Vitamins
- Practice Safe Sex
- Be Prepared Should You Get Sick
You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.
While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province. So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.
Recommended Travel Apps
Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling. Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.
- Grab (taxis/ride shares)
- Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
- WhatsApp (phone calls)
- Skyscanner (flights)
- Rome2Rio (transportation)
- Agoda (accomodations)
- Booking.com (accomodations)
- AirBnB (accomodations)
- Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
- Klook (attractions & activities )
Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.
For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below. Download a FREE copy for yourself as a PDF.
Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options.
We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.
The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list. This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing. To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list. Click the link below to download it for FREE now.
Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.
Things to Remember
This guide recommends to take note of the following while traveling in Makati City or in the Philippines in general.
There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas. Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.
The minimum legal drinking age is 18. Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores. The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold. Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit. Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.
Drugs are illegal in the Philippines. Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana. It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children. The penalties are severe … up to and including death.
Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated. Most locals consider it offensive. There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.
Foreigners & Expats
If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly. Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
Don’t Forget …
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