Saturday, February 03, 2018

Makati, Metro Manila: Greenbelt and Ayala Triangle during the Holiday Season

Most people and I mean non-Filipinos, do not realize that (Metro) Manila is actually a conglomerate of cities. People thought that its 1 big city. It is and it is not.

The Santo Nino de Paz Church and garden in Greenbelt. An oasis in the middle of a concrete city.

Christmas decorations on the buildings on Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

Here in the Netherlands I always try to explain that Manila (Metro Manila) is like the Randstad. The Randstad in the Netherlands is the urban area of the country composing of the 4 major cities connected to each other by the fast highways: Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. Manila, on the other hand, is composed of not just 4 cities but 16 interconnected cities! And that the population of the whole country of the Netherlands is the number of people living in Manila alone.

That is enough for anyone living in the Netherlands to understand that we are not comparing apples to oranges =)

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

The busy Greenbelt Church, Santo Nino de Paz on a Sunday. The church has many services throughout the day and as you can see in the picture, it is always full!

The design of the Greenbelt Church is really nice. Open, modern yet artistic.

Residents of Greenbelt.

Manila to the outside world has also been painted as an ‘unfriendly’ city. Where crime, death, and injustice follows and torments you in every corner. Perhaps it was? But I am not sure if it is the same case now even with the extrajudicial killings on the news about the present administration. I keep seeing an increase of favorable news on social media about traveling to Manila. Quite conflicting stories we have here, huh? Umm, tell me which one is #fakenews, please?

Alas, life is a paradox. It is also difficult for me to be a judge when I have not been living in this city for more than a decade and a half. Perhaps it depends on which sub-city in Manila we are talking about? Makati, for example, the central business district is quite friendly and easy to navigate, even on foot. That is if you do not mind the heat.

The locals in the Philippines do not really walk on the streets during daytime. They go by car, bus, jeepney, tricycle, anything really that has a roof to shelter them from the sun. Even for just a 100-meter distance destination. I keep telling non-Filipinos that the heat we have in Europe is nothing like the heat and humidity in the tropics. It is not the same sun in Greece and Spain.

A couple of shots around the Greenbelt area in Makati.

From Greenbelt we walked on the covered walk to Landmark and these bag security checkers at the entrance were dressed in traditional Chinese attire. Not sure why but they were worthy of a photo!

A quick shopping spree in Landmark grocery store. I tucked them all in my suitcase to the Netherlands =)

In Manila, my sister and I went for a little nostalgia walk. Well, the nostalgia is for me really since the sister only lived for a few months in Manila. Like good role-model Filipinos, we didn’t walk on the streets but via the network of conveniently situated covered walks and air-conditioned malls in Greenbelt – Landmark – Glorietta – SM. Away from the hot glare of the prickly sun and the clamminess of the environs.

You know, it is very un-Filipino to be walking on the hot and stifling streets when you have the arctic-conditioned malls! *pun intended*

But mind you, I have traveled a lot and have seen the malls in other countries around the world, but I must say that the Filipinos win the award when it comes to ‘malling’ and setting the standards high in this arena. The modern shopping and entertainment mall has become truly a mark and phenomenon of Filipino invention and culture.

I also loved the creation of bringing the outdoors indoors, bringing tasteful nature into our human (public) spaces. Just like what Ayala has done with Greenbelt in Makati and the Terraces in Cebu. We need more like these in the malls.

Well, guess what? On Sundays, in Greenbelt these vendors are around selling typical Filipino street food. Of course, I bought some squid/fishballs. I missed this so much! 

They were also selling traditional recipes such as Puto Bumbong and Bibingka. Both are different types of rice cakes.

We also hanged around a bit in the Greenbelt garden and watched locals go to the Santo Nino de Paz Church. Church services in the Philippines are always full. The Christian religion is very much alive in this part of the world.

After we had dinner at our room in Makati Diamond Residences where we were staying for the night, the sister and I went out again for a walk. We wanted to see the Christmas lights and sounds show at the Ayala Triangle. The parents weren’t looking forward to the walk, although not too far away, anything that is more than a 100-meter radius is a physical challenge for my mother. They decided to stay put and watch TV in the hotel room suite.

The sister and I quite enjoyed the Christmas lights and sounds show. We also were amused at the underpasses.Read here: Underpass Art in Makati City

It was very unfortunate though that the New Year’s fireworks were canceled and moved to a different area in Makati. I was really hoping for this as I wanted the parents to experience the fireworks. But sometimes shit happens, haha.

I hope you enjoy the pictures I took of Makati.

Some of the Christmas decors on buildings and streets of Makati City. I very much remember this tradition during the Christmas holiday season, which usually lasts longer than in other countries.

Moi at the Ayala Triangle lights show.

The lights (and sounds) show comes in different colors.

This is Makati at night. It is quite nice to take a walk in the evening in Makati with all the bright lights on the streets and buildings. And it wasn't as hot and humid during the day.

Mornings in Greenbelt at Italianni's. My father is making facial jokes here, lol.

It has been a while since I ate a Tapsilog! (Beef, Egg and Fried Rice - typically Filipino all-day breakfast food). You dip the beef in rice vinegar or pour vinegar on the beef, egg and rice. Whichever way is good and delicious.

Having sent the family on a cab to the airport for their flight to Cebu, I have the whole afternoon and evening to bum around. Coffee and carrot cake plus people watching in Greenbelt on a busy Sunday afternoon.

Greenbelt with the lights at dusk.

Greenbelt shopping and entertainment/lifestyle area in Makati is huge. This is just 1 of the 5 Greenbelt sections.

Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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