If you take the pedestrian underpasses on Ayala Avenue you’ve probably noticed the posters for Things To Love About Makati. The citizens can always use some cheer, but many of the reasons cited in the posters elicit not a “Yes!” but a “Huh?” or a “Ngek”.
For instance, the statue of Ninoy Aquino on the corner of Ayala and Paseo de Roxas. It commemorates a heroic moment, but the pose is awkward and the proportions are off: it looks like Ninoy tripped on the stairs because a bird pooped on him.
Then there’s Jaime C. Velasquez Park. This boggled us, and we live in Makati. Then we realized that they mean Salcedo Park where the weekend food market is held. Legaspi Park is counted as two parks, when the whole area is more a parklet, really. There’s a Centro Escolar University in Makati? And electric jeepneysâ€”environment-friendly, maybe, but would you use the verb “love”?
There was only one thing left for us to do: Make our own list!
1. The updraft in Greenbelt park near the Greenbelt 5 entrance. If you stand on the grate your clothes get blown upwards for that Marilyn Monroe in the Seven-Year Itch effect. We once spent a whole hour (walang magawa) watching from a restaurant upstairs as people posed for photos on top of the grate.
2. Ugarte field, which my friends are nostalgic for. I noticed a path being built, so maybe it’ll be opened to the public. I hope it remains a park because we need trees.
3. Fernando Zobel walking in the pedestrian underpass. If it’s both brothers, sandwich.
4. The weekend bazaars on Evangelista Street. Over the years our friend Guy Smiley has amassed a complete dinner service for 60 from his expeditions to Evangelista. So if the court of the King of Albania ever comes to dinner on short notice, he’s ready.
5. Old Swiss Inn. Open forever.
6. Shampoo and scalp massage by Roger at the Jing Monis Propaganda Salon on the third floor of Greenbelt 1. Stimulates nerves on your head that you didn’t think you had.
7. This building on Makati Avenue.
I always stare at it from the Coffee Bean in A. Venue, but I don’t know what it is. Must go in and snoop.
8. This one no longer exists, but is remembered fondly: Blanco Center on Alfaro Street (now Leviste) where I had my first apartment. Long after I moved out, I discovered that two of my friends also lived in Blancoâ€”we occupied Apartments 914, 915, and 916, but at different times. Many other friends lived on other floors until last year, when the building was renovated and renamed.
It was Chus who accidentally discovered that one key could open all the doors in that building (the locks have been changed since then). My own shocking discovery was that my rent was higher than my neighbors’. I’d written an article describing Blanco’s architecture as “Soviet insane asylum”â€”it was meant fondly, but the landlord was not amused. When I found out about the rent, I asked for an appointment and got a lecture. The one that goes, “Oh you young people, as you get older you will find that you can’t just say whatever you want.”
“But I like this building,” I pointed out. “I didn’t even identify it in the article.”
“Oh you young people blah blah blah.”
“And this building is so much more attractive than that ugly one nearby.”
“I own that, too.”
Not surprisingly my rent increase stayed.
9. Help us complete the list by posting your own Things To Love About Makati in Comments. If we add your suggestions to this list, we’ll give you two tickets each to the Ayala Museum.