Makati CBD: Your guide to work-life balance

Date of publishing: 22/02/2016 00:00


Dubbed as the financial capital of the Philippines, Makati is the premier destination for professionals looking to forge their career paths and companies that want to establish their businesses. This highly urbanized city is home to over 60,000 business enterprises ranging from financial institutions, retail and food establishments, real estate, manufacturing, I.T., BPO offices, and startups, among others.  


But being in Makati is not all work and hustle. It’s also a hub for a plethora of things you can do once you’ve clocked out of the office. You don’t need to go far to feed your passion and interests, find a place to hang out and drink with your friends and colleagues after work, or lift some weights to de-stress after a busy day.


Makati has everything you need to create and maintain a work-life balance. Need a little more convincing? Here are six good reasons why this city is an excellent place to build your career.



1. A Center of Business, Brimming with Opportunities


Makati accounts for 60 percent of Metro Manila’s prime office space inventory, so it’s no surprise that it has the highest concentration of local and multinational corporations in the Philippines. With 21.57 km2 land area, the city holds a multitude of banks, law firms, shopping malls, government offices, foreign embassies, corporations, and SMEs, employing more than one million people, half of whom are non-residents of Makati.


Ayala Triangle

Image credit: Chilledsunshine via Wikimedia Commons


Some of the biggest and most established corporations have their headquarters in Makati. Companies listed in Forbes Global 2000 can be found here, including Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), and Ayala Corporation. Others listed in the PSE Composite Index, a stock market index of the Philippines Stock Exchange, also operate in the city, such as Banco De Oro, JG Summit Holdings, Megaworld Corporation, and Petron Corporation.


Makati is also home to media corporations, from publications such as The Inquirer Group and Business Mirror to TV corporations like ABC Development Corporation (TV5) and Nation Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). Regional operations for hundreds of multinational companies like Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Nestlé, Colgate-Palmolive, and Honda also have their main offices in the district.


More recently, several coworking offices have sprouted across the district due to the growing demand for more affordable office spaces in the city. These spaces offer young startups, freelancers and budding entrepreneurs a place where they can operate effectively and have a chance to collaborate and network with fellow like-minded individuals.  



2.  Some of Manila’s Best Nightlife Destinations


Draft Gastropub

Image courtesy: Draft Greenbelt (Facebook gallery)


As one of the most vibrant cities in Southeast Asia, Makati prides itself as a melting pot of different cultures, resulting in a myriad of places that cater to several demographics. From Ayala to Bel-Air, you will encounter several live bars, nightclubs, local and international restaurants, and lounges to head over to after work.


One of the go-to destinations for a night out with your coworkers is Greenbelt. Found at the heart of Makati’s central business district, the shopping mall houses more than 100 dining establishments, coffee shops and pubs that are accessed by thousands of professionals every day. Right up front is Museum Café (or M Café), an upscale restaurant and bar by Ayala Museum that offers unique twists on Filipino classic dishes. Another great option is Draft Gastropub, which holds an extensive collection of beers from around the world. They serve delicious bar chow to complement your beer like Chicken Shnitzel, Beer Flat Bread, and Draft Nachos.


If you’re looking for a more eclectic experience, near a favorable coworking space in Legaspi Village is Belle & Dragon, which offers in good mix of eastern and western cuisine. There’s also a hidden bar inside called Mandalay Whisky where you can find a broad collection of whiskeys and cigars from all over the world. Another popular speakeasy in Makati is Blind Pig. Located along Salcedo Street, it’s one of the best bars in the city offering craft cocktails at a very private setup. You need to make a reservation though as they do not allow walk-ins. Blind Pig is a five-minute walk from high end office suites and cool coworking spaces.


Makati Skyline

Image credit: Red marquis via Wikimedia Commons


For something more low brow without sacrificing great experience, check out some of these unique pubs located in Bel-Air, Makati. A favorite among expats, Howzat Bar, near an affordable contemporaty short term office, is the perfect spot if you want to watch basketball and football while downing beers with your mates. A stone’s throw away from a professional business center is Ringside Bar, you can catch regular midget and lady boxing tournaments. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a unique experience that you should try at least once!


3. Fancy Feasts and Unique Flavors


The Wholesome Table

Image credit: The Wholesome Table


Makati has no shortage of good restaurants. Some of the most critically-acclaimed and well-loved dining places can be found in the city. From local Filipino fare to international cuisines, there’s a healthy dose of good food to satiate your taste buds. If you’re raring for healthy but fulfilling food and happen to be working at a vibrant coworking space on Tordesillas or an industrially designed short-term workspace at City tower, there’s The Wholesome Table in Salcedo Village, where they serve mouthwatering dishes made with organic and pesticide-free ingredients. If you want to be wowed with distinctive yet satisfying food, try Your Local near an affordable short-term workspace on Salcedo and a professional office space in Rufino tower. Some of their bestsellers include their Chorizo Burger in Squid Ink Bun and Torched Salmon Donburi. Right beside Your Local is Yardstick, a hip and trendy café serving premium coffee and sandwiches. Make sure to try their Flat White!


Also in Makati is Little Tokyo, a small compound that’s made up of Japanese restaurants with their own unique specialties, ranging from ramen, sushi, okonomiyaki, yakitori, and takoyaki. They also serve bento rice meals, perfect for lunch out with the team. If your palate is leaning more towards Mexican and Latin flavors, check out El Chupacabra and Señor Pollo, where they serve Latin American street food and local beers.    


4. A Shopping and Entertainment Mecca


Image credit: George Parrilla via Wikimedia Commons


When it comes to shopping, Makati has so much to offer. Major mall players in the country have developed commercial centers to take advantage of the large foot traffic coming in the city every day. People from all walks of life can come in, purchase items they need from the different retail outlets, and enjoy facilities inside like movie theaters, food courts, gaming centers, and more.


The Ayala Center is a major commercial development located in the Makati central business district. It’s a premier shopping destination and cultural district in the city because of the wide array of shopping, entertainment, recreational and dining options available here. Here, you can find SM, Glorietta and The Link, which houses everything you possibly need, from clothes, groceries, gadgets, and so on. Some of the more upscale stores are located in Greenbelt, which houses international and high-end brands like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Bvlgari.


Power Plant Mall is another prime destination for shoppers. It’s targeted towards high-income customers as it features mostly luxury brands such as Michael Kors, DKNY and Salvatore Ferragamo. Century City Mall is the newest addition to Makati’s commercial establishments. It’s mostly famous for its curated upscale food court Hole in the Wall.   


5. A Taste of Philippine Culture


Ayala Museum

Image credit: Glenn G via Wikimedia Commons


Although Makati is primarily a business center, the city is also home to some of the country’s most prolific museums, hundreds-old colonial-era churches and other historical landmarks.


The Ayala Museum in Greenbelt is a private fine arts and history museum where various exhibitions are held to showcase classic and contemporary works from artists worldwide, as well as artifacts from our ancestors. Other popular museums you can go to in Makati are the Yuchengco Museum and Museo ng Makati. The Museo ng Makati keeps records of the city’s history through a collection of rare photographs, murals, and dioramas. It also contains artifacts, such as the fossils of pre-historic animals and earthenware.


As a predominantly Catholic country, the Philippines has an abundance of Spanish-era churches, several of which can be found in Makati, where they have been preserved and maintained through the years to keep its original façade. These include Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church (Our Lady of Grace) located in downtown Makati. Along Forbes Park is the Santuario de San Antonio, a popular church for weddings in Makati. Lastly is the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart is located in San Antonio Village.



6. Health and Fitness Havens



Image credit: Yoga+ (Facebook gallery)


As more and more people prioritize their health and wellness, gyms and fitness centers have opened left and right in Makati. Big players like Gold’s Gym, Fitness First and Slimmers World have numerous outlets across the city. Specialty gyms like Empire Boxing Gym, Cervera Gym, and Crossfit are also open for fitness enthusiasts who want to take their exercise to a new level. There are also several yoga, pilates and dance studios for people who are looking for alternative methods of getting fit, such as Options Studio, Zapata Pilates, Integrated Body Arts, Yoga +, Bikram Yoga Manila and Plana Forma.


If you’re on a budget, there are common parks in Makati where you can exercise for free or jog during your free time. Check out Legaspi Active Park and Ayala Triangle Gardens and tag your colleagues along for a 20-minute jog to de-stress.



Finding a balance between doing your job and enriching your life doesn’t have to be a challenge while working in Makati. The city is big but it’s big enough for a reason. You have so many options on where to work, where to eat, and where to relax. Just look around and you will surely find your footing in no time. Who knows, you might find your new go-to coffee shop or restaurant here, meet people who can help you with your career or business, or find a sanctuary where you can be at peace and re-energize.


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