Vacationing shouldn’t be about sticking out like a sore thumb. In fact, immersion in local culture can be an amazing way to make the most of your stay. Who really wants all the locals to think ‘you’re just not from here, are you?’ Manila is one place where, not only can you enjoy the city, but you can do so as if you were born here.
Downtown Manila is certainly packed with some of the best sights, food, and shopping in the city, but everyone knows that’s where the tourists head to first. If you want more of a cultural experience, and one where you can fit right in, the Manila suburb of Makati has everything.
The Salcedo Market is only open on Saturdays, but be sure you’re hungry when you go. The majority of the shops inside are dedicated to local foods, but many of them specialize in artisanal foods from around the world. If you’re not hungry, work up your appetite perusing the aisles of botanical offerings and local artists’ crafts. Carts are available at the front of the market and, while you may think you’re just there to look – grab a cart on your way in.
If you’re more in the market for upscale retail offerings, the Greenbelt Mall offers deals on various offerings from international designers, such as fashion, housewares, and other accessories. Some of the locals’ favorite shops in the mall include Adora, which is a new concept on the old consignment shop: donated clothing is repurposed and made into one-of-a-kind fashion finds.
Next to the Greenbelt Mall is Glorietta, an upscale department store that has everything imaginable, including family-oriented vacationing supplies, and even a nail salon should you get that urge for a last minute manicure.
While the shopping scene is definitely amazing in Makati, your live-it-like-a-local experience wouldn’t be complete without a cultural beeline towards the Ayala Museum. The building is four stories tall and houses several ages worth of Filipino arts, culture, and heritage. When you’re ready for an entirely outdoor experience, Makati’s version of Central Park, Washington Sycip Park, offers just the respite you’ll be looking for. There’s plenty of open grass for a romantic picnic, and even hiking trails around the park’s several ponds.