Christmas 2016: Landmark Makati

Christmas 2016 at Landmark MakatiChristmas season shoppers at Landmark Makati
Ayala Center, Makati CBD, Makati

Landmark Department Store Makati has this penchant for dressing up their security in funny costumes. For Christmas 2016, security were on Swiss guard costumes again (they wore it first when Pope Benedict visited Manila a couple of years ago). I do not have a picture of it.

Christmas 2016 at Landmark MakatiCherry blossoms = Christmas

If those costumes were a bit out place, go tell me what you think about the cherry blossom trees scattered in the department store. Not only are these pink trees blooming out of season, they don’t scream Christmas at all!

Then again, we have a white Christmas tree, some hanging eight-pointed gold stars, proudly sponsored by Nestle Milo – and lots of Christmas lights!

Christmas 2016: Glorietta

Christmas 2016 at Glorietta
Red and white Glorietta 5 Christmas tree
East Drive, Ayala Center
Makati CBD, Makati City

If Ayala Center is Makati CBD’s premier retail mecca, the venerable and ever-evolving Glorietta is its centerpiece. With a wide range shops and dining establishments, Glorietta offers shopping and other leisurely activities that are suitable to every type of budget. For this year’s Christmas, the mall kept things simple yet playful.

Christmas 2016 at Glorietta

Sparsely decorated new Glorietta 2 activity center

I dig the red and white scheme and the Christmas candy theme. However, if there’s a time where being louder and more spectacular is acceptable, it’s Christmas season – and I think Glorietta was being a little bit too conservative with this candy cane-inspired theme. What do you think?

much closer


Makati CBD skyline
from Libingan ng mga Bayani, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Definitely not the most flattering view as the boxy concrete residentials dominate the foreground, but this one captures some of the favorites from left to right: 1) KPF designed GT tower, which is the sharp one 2) the diagonally cut LKG tower, with its iconic helipad 3) PBCom tower, the country’s tallest since its completion early 2000s (hopefully not for so long), 4) The Enterprise Tower 1 aka, HSBC. Along with LKG, The Enterprise is a contender for the most dramatically lit scraper at night.

a cemetery of heroes


Makati CBD skyline from Libingan ng mga Bayani
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Libingan ng mga Bayani, which is Tagalog for Cemetery of the Heroes, was originally the Republic Memorial Cemetery when established on May 1947. It was renamed to Libingan ng mga Bayani by the late President Magsaysay on 27 October 1954. It houses primarily those who had been slain during and immediately afterwards the many battles of the local military. There are sections alloted to specific campaigns. Nowadays, most of the new ‘residents’ of the cemetery are military people who have passed away for reasons other than combat, like aged veterans.

The first Philippine chief executive buried in this cemetery is President Carlos P. Garcia. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s father, President Diosdado Macapagal, and his wife are also in LNMB. For other information regarding notable Filipinos in LNMB, and the Marcos issue, click here.

I come to this place at most 3x a year. Since our clan is a relatively young one, we only have one deceased member, which is my grandfather, who happens to be a veteran of a Korean war. We visit him on his birthdays, his death anniversary and every All Saints Day. All Saints is the toughest as it is a big cemetery gathering event in the Philippines, even in cosmopolitan Metro Manila. Luckily, LNMB isn’t as crowded and chaotic as other cemeteries. On any other day, a visit to this cemetery can be very relaxing. It has a tranquil feel to it, and it’s not the morbid type.

At the background we have Makati’s CBD skyline. Metro Manila has a lot of business districts and its skylines have this tendency to be divisible into clusters, unless viewed from the hills of Rizal Province.  Makati City alone has 2, the other one being the Rockwell area (but it’s slowly being incorporated). But of all the business centers, Makati CBD is Metro Manila’s primary CBD. It has the most prestige, the better designed buildings, the tallest scrapers, the most expensive spaces and the biggest names.

cafe bola

Cafe Bola
Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, MCBD, Makati City

As far as I know there are two Cafe Bola branches in Metro Manila, one in Greenbelt and another Araneta Center. The last time I have eaten in Cafe Bola was 5-6 years ago. And it was a friend’s treat. I remember how good the interior design is. Just look at that cute orange chair. The one in Araneta is really nice as well, at least based on an old BluPrint magazine issue I have here.

But I don’t remember anything about the food they serve, not even what’s on the menu. Is that something bad? Maybe. But then again that was at the very least 5 years ago (5 years x 365.25 x 2-3 meals a day = N), that’s a lot of meals to remember. I don’t even remember what I had yesterday for lunch.

allied bank center

Allied Bank Center
Ayala Avenue, Central Business District, Makati

Ayala Avenue is usually dubbed as the Philippine Wall Street, for several reasons but primarily because it houses the Makati Stock Exchange (Philippine Stock Exchange transfered to rival CBD Ortigas Center, still within Metro Manila) making it technically, the Wall Street counterpart, electronic stock figures flashing and all. It is the center, the prime street, in the country’s most prestigious CBD. Therefore it has the heavy concentration of  buildings which house the main office of most important local and international companies, a lot of embassies, museums, luxury malls, prestigious residential high rises, and some of the best skyscrapers (including the current tallest- PBCom Tower, and the largest (plus most techie) RCBC complex.

Not every building is generally aesthetically pleasing though. The western side, contains the older, smaller, gray-ish buildings, like the one in the photo. This trend is also very noticeable in Gil Puyat (Buendia) Avenue where the northern side of the street is occupied by earlier buildings. Some of these old buildings may someday give way to better scrapers that will enhance Makati’s already beautiful skyline, but I’m glad that some of these drab lowrises are receiving some majot makeovers, which allows them to blend better with the current and allows the district to keep its history and retain its architectural variety.