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Bel Air

Bel Air

The modern heart of Metro Manila is Makati, one of the region’s economic centres and prime shopping destinations. While glistening skyscrapers loom into the air, below them green parks breathe fresh air into the densely populated city.

Makati’s financial importance within Metro Manila has made it one of the slickest, most-developed cities in the metropolitan region and it offers a dizzying selection of places to shop and entertain yourself. In Makati, a mall is not just a place to shop, but also a social hub, entertainment venue and dining destination.

Shopping could well be Makati’s raison d’être and people who love to spend will be spoilt for choices when it comes to places to splurge. Among the multiple malls to visit, Greenbelt, which offers upmarket fashion shops, should be high on the list, while Landmark is great for bargain hunting. Enjoy blockbusters in the multiplex cinemas and world food in the dining courts located in Makati’s malls.

Step away from the malls and onto some of the smaller streets and you’ll find a different side of Makati’s shopping scene, where boutiques and owner-operated shops reign. Head to the Collective complex to explore independent shops and galleries run by local entrepreneurs.

Although shopping is the main diversion for visitors to Makati, it is far from the only option. Instead, you may want to stop by Ayala Museum, a beautifully designed building that blends into the sleek central business district. Here, you’ll find archaeological artefacts from the earliest settlers in the Philippines, as well as artwork from Metro Manila’s trading past and a floating Zen garden.

Sporting types will enjoy the golf courses available to Makati’s visitors. The Manila Golf and Country Club is a great place to tee off, with the skyline forming a shimmering backdrop to the 18-hole course.

Use Makati as your base to explore the rest of Metro Manila, a lively, noisy metropolitan region. Ermita and Malate offer some of the best sightseeing in Manila City, as well as excellent views of the bay. At Ermita, you’ll find Museo Pambata, a child-friendly museum with interactive exhibits, and the National Museum of the Philippines.

All the cities in Metro Manila are connected to one another by a network of trains, buses and taxis. You can get into Makati from Manila or Mandaluyong with little trouble. The bus system in Makati will take you between the various malls, though it is easy enough to get around this city on foot too.