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Neighborhoods

9 Things To Do In Poblacion, Makati

There's drinking and eating, of course. But there's a lot to experience, arts and culture-wise, in this dynamic Makati hotspot.

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Photography: Franco Valerio (Main Photos)

Poblacion district in Makati City may be the "it" place for going out for food and drinks, but there is definitely much more to see and do in the area than making walwal. It's a dynamic, richly textured city hotspsot where one can see a bit of art, spot some heritage, marvel at highly imaginative concept resto interiors, and take in the whole energy of Makati. 

Go to an art lab tucked in a residential area

Part of the charm of Poblacion is that there are random interesting spots hidden in between old apartments or family homes. One of them is Pineapple Lab, a cultural center that features exhibits by various artists, performances, film showings, and plays. 

6071 Palma St., follow them on Facebook for updates on exhibits and performances

Have an Art Deco experience at The Clipper Hotel

The Clipper Hotel has been a landmark of sorts in the Pobla area for some years, now. And it definitely stands out against the milieu with its Art Deco, streamline moderne facade and details that are reminiscent of those 1930s hotels in Miami. This hotel is named after the clipper airplanes that were the height of luxury travel in the '30s.  Check out the rooms, which also have distinct Art Deco details, like circular portholes and deco wall sconces. 

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5766 Ebro cor. Mercedes Sts., URL www.theclipperhotel.com

Revisit the past in a heritage home BnB

Another lovely surprise in Poblacion: an actual ancestral house from 1933 that was lovingly restored into a very charming bed and breakfast. "I thought of turning it into a bed and breakfast to be able to support its upkeep and to present Philippine Heritage to Filipinos and visitors," says La Casita's proprietor Jon Ramos. The house retains many of its original interior and exterior features, but is updated for modern-day use.

5956 Enriquez cor. Fermina Sts., URL lacasitamercedes.com

READ: 4 Things You Need To Know About La Casita Mercedes

Check out a 100-year-old museum

Yes, there is one, right smack in the middle of bustling Poblacion. The Museo ng Makati is in the former town hall of Makati, which was built in 1918. It features various artifacts, historical photos, and dioramas of the city housed in the hundred-year-old structure complete with capiz windows and pierced awnings. (NOTE: The Museo is currently closed until further notice for renovations, and is opened for occassional art events and fairs are held here. Follow the Makati Poblacion Heritage Conservation Project Facebook page for updates.)

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986 JP Rizal Ave. cor. A. Mabini St.

Stay in an extremely colorful hostel

Hostels are typically no-nonsense affairs, but Lokal, already a go-to hostel in the area, ups the artistic ante by having colorful and quirky murals by Filipino artists in each dormitory-type or single room. 

3/F 5023 P. Burgos St., tel. (02) 890-0927, URL lokalhostel.com

Have a drink with a view

The Firefly Roofdeck Bar at the topmost floor of the City Garden Grand Hotel has been a rooftop fave in the area for some time. It's the perfect quiet spot to have a cocktail while surveying the noisy scene and incessant traffic down below.

32/F City Garden Grand Hotel, Makati cor. Kalayaan Avenues

READ: 5 Sky Lounges That Are Perfect For Hanging Out

Eat, and eat some more

There was a time that if you stayed in the Poblacion area, you had to head out to the Makati CBD to eat well. Not anymore, as there is a plethora of delicious and trendy dining options, all within spitting distance of each other.

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Start in the afternoon at Polaris Street by getting caffeinated with Commune's local coffee and S'mores cookies (you might even catch a workshop of two). There is the wildly popular Senor Pollo, El Chupacabra, and Crying Tiger restaurants, but there are new players such as Wantusawa Oyster Bar (yum) at Felipe Street, and the food park The Social on Ebro.

Explore the beautiful and interesting bars of Don Pedro Street

Past Kalayaan Avenue, you'll encounter Don Pedro Street, which is teeming with fascinating and widely varied bars and cafes for every taste, tucked in between old apartments and houses. Above one of those converted houses is The Wild Poppy, exuberantly decorated with tropical murals and neon signs, with energetic waiters ready to serve up Chef Nicco Santos's "Pokpok Bites" and the appropriately rummy Naughty Pirate cocktail.

Located right next to The Wild Poppy at the same house is Alamat Filipino Pub and Deli, which doles out local craft beer and incredibly creative Filipino cocktails (alcoholic Sago't Gulaman, anyone?) from their tiny bar, which is made out of parts of an old jeepney. 

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Arguably the most beautiful bar and restaurant in the area is Polilya, which has interiors designed by Junie Rodriguez, Mia Borromeo, and Lizzie Zobel. You'll be mesmerized by the glowing neon signs, its mix of velvet and midcentury furniture, whimsical dinnerware, and delicate framed prints of moths ("polilya" literally means "moth"). With beer by Engkanto Brewery and food by Luis de Terry, you'll definitely be assured of a wonderful evening. 

Stroll along Burgos

This may sound silly (and mildly dangerous) at first, but why not? If you look beyond the red light district's girly bars, dodgy cafes, and ever-present ladies-of-the-night, you'll see a dazzling, neon-streaked street, and do take it all in—because this is where the whole scene started, any way.  

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