Thing is, though, you can enjoy the Wall Street of the Philippines without having to shell out so much cash. Aside from the six ways to save money while staying in Makati, here are a few more tips to make the most out of the city without breaking your bank.
Walk Your Way Around
If you live in or near the Central Business District, you'll find that Makati has a lot of walkways, underpasses and other means to get around the city other than dirty jeepneys and expensive taxis.
For example, there's an overpass along Dela Rosa Street connecting the Greenbelt Complex all the way up to V. A. Rufino St. (formerly known as "Herrera"). It only takes around 30 minutes of brisk walking to get from one end to the other, so if you want to get an hour of exercise at least, all you have to do is go back and forth! Also, the Dela Rosa Overpass is lined with restaurants and artwork, which is a nice bonus for anyone looking for one or both.
You can also try walking the section of Ayala Avenue between Buendia and EDSA. There's an underpass connecting each of the streets intersected by the avenue, so you don't have to worry about passing motorists. Similar to the Dela Rosa Walkway, the underpasses are peppered with artwork and ads, which you can admire as you pass by them.
Eat at Holes-in-the-Wall
Quality food doesn't have to be expensive. If you roam around Poblacion, for example, there are plenty of hangout spots where you can get tasty meals for reasonable prices. Whether you're a fan of American-style BBQ or hearty Filipino breakfasts, you'll find it there.
Aside from Poblacion, other hidden places where you can get meals for under Php500 include Little Tokyo (a Japanese foodie haven along Pasong Tamo), the "jolly jeep" alongside the CBD offices where cash-strapped office workers hang out, and the food courts in the malls. Even in a place like Makati, it's possible to stretch your food budget if you know where to look!
Drop by the Local Cine Club
Want to watch movies for free, legally? Then drop by the Alliance Française de Manille’s Cine Club, and get your fill of French films every Wednesday at 8:30 P.M. Sometimes, the Japan Foundation Manila and the Goethe Institut Philippines also hold film screenings, so keep an eye out for those if you like either Japanese or German films!
Sniff Out "Read-and-Rent" Libraries
Did you know that, in Powerbooks, you can literally pluck books from their shelves and read them on-the-spot for free? Just make sure you ask for assistance when removing the plastic covers — if you're not browsing through an open copy already.
Alternatively, you can head over to 1454 Balagtas Street in Barangay La Paz, and look for the public library called The Reading Club 2000. Here, you can stop by, read a book for free and even bring a book home with you. The library is owned by a man named Hernando Guanlao, who'd be more than happy to talk to you about his love for books and learning.
Consider Discount Stores
Believe it or not, Makati has a good number of discount stores. You have:
- American Bazaar;
- Japan Home Centre;
- Daiso Japan;
- Levi's Factory Outlet; and
- Pretty much every store in Makati Cinema Square.
As with all outlets that offer discounted goods, however, make sure you check everything you buy thoroughly. Otherwise, your purchase will only be as good as how much you paid for it!
Find a Good Vacation Rental
When you book your stay in a commercial hotel, the price typically covers only your use of the bed. It doesn't cover amenities like Wi-Fi and laundry service, which are essential for any visitor looking to make the most out of their stay in Makati.
When you book your stay in a vacation rental, on the other hand, the price already covers your bed, plus mini-bar, Wi-Fi and laundry service. Essentially, you're paying for a fraction of the cost of commercial hotels, which means you can free up cash to enjoy everything the city has to offer. If you'd like to try a decent vacation rental in Makati for yourself, click here.
Like all cities, Makati is a multifaceted place. On the one hand, you have the obvious hallmarks of luxury: skyscrapers, high-end shopping malls and a vibrant nightlife. On the other hand, you have the humble stores and holes-in-the-walls, just waiting for savvy visitors to explore their secrets. Regardless of your budget, the latter is always worth a second look.