You've seen the towering skyscrapers. You've marveled at the luxurious malls. But do you really know what goes on behind the glossy façade of Makati City? Whether you're an outsider or not, there's always a thing or two you can learn about the place. For example:
Makati's Name Came From a Misunderstanding
When the Spanish came to the Philippines, Makati was essentially a swamp settlement along the Pasig River. That settlement was visited by Manuel Lopez de Legaspi, who founded Manila and became the country's first Governor General. He asked the locals what the place was called, and — probably thinking that he was asking about the ebb and flow of the river tide — the residents replied: "Makati na, Kumati na."
Makati Used to Have a Longer Name
In lieu of the aforementioned reply, the swamp settlement became "San Pedro de Makati," after its patron saint. It became a public town in 1890, and was absorbed into Rizal Province in June 11, 1901 as per Commonwealth Act No. 137. At the time, it was a third-class agricultural town sustained by horse fodder and rice cultivation. Eventually, Philippine Legislature Act No. 2390 shortened the town's name to "Makati."
Makati Became a City Only Recently
Considering the city's long history, it may shock you to know that it's quite young (as a city, at least). Declared an independent city in January 2, 1995 by Republic Act 7854, Makati came under the leadership of Elenita Binay, the first and only female mayor of the city.
Makati Housed the Philippines' First Commercial Airport
Granted, the Nielson Airport has been converted into the Blackbird restaurant now, but it still pays to know a little bit about its colorful history. When the airport was inaugurated in July 1937, it was situated in a visible tract of land protruding out of rice fields, making it a strategic location. However, the airport was heavily damaged during World War II, and eventually ceased operations in 1948 to relocate somewhere else.
Makati is in the Center of the National Capital Region
If there's a city that can be called the "heart" of Metro Manila, it would be Makati. Situated at the center of the region, Makati is bounded by Pasig River to the north, Manila on the northwest, Pasay City on the southwest and south, and Pateros to the east.
Makati Makes Up Only a Small Portion of Metro Manila
Even though it's a "center" in more ways than one, Makati is surprisingly small. Making up only 4.3 percent of Metro Manila's total land area, the city is made up of 33 barangays divided into two legislative districts.
Makati is Very Accessible
…and that's an understatement. If you're coming from NAIA 3, for example, you can drive to the city via the NAIA Expressway Phase 1. You can also get to Makati via bus, jeepney, train, MRT and your private vehicle. For in-depth information on how to commute within the Central Business District in particular, check our previous post here.
Makati Houses a Good Number of Top Companies
As you know, Makati is the financial center of the Philippines. Naturally, that status lends it a certain attraction to top companies, almost 40 percent of which are headquartered in the city. You can find most of them in the Central Business District, though some are hosted by the likes of Rockwell Center in Barangay Poblacion.
Makati Has Its Own Unique Festivals
There's "Araw ng Makati" (Makati Day) celebrated every May 31. There's Balik Culi-Culi, a get-together by residents of Barangay Pio del Pilar — formerly known as Culi-Culi — every second Saturday of January. And then there's Caracol, an annual festival celebrating the preservation of nature every February.
Makati is Divided Into Two/Three Areas
…depending on who you ask. According to the official Makati City government website, Makati can be broken down into (1) Central Business District; (2) Old Town or Poblacion; and (3) Fort Bonifacio. However, there's an ongoing dispute over whether Fort Bonifacio is part of Makati or Taguig, so we'll leave it at that.
Makati is Made Up of Mostly Residential Areas
Around a third of Makati's land area is residential. This is followed by commercial and mixed use areas, which make up 14.83 and 14.60 percent, respectively. The rest are divvied up between riverside development areas, government centers, recreational spaces, institutions, etc.
It's Great to be a Senior Citizen in Makati
Makati residents who are 60 years old and above can enjoy not one, not two, but three benefit cards. There's the OSCA National Card (White Card), which entitles the holder to 20 percent discount on medicine and basic commodities, as well as unlimited access to movies in Makati cinemas. There's the Yellow Card, for free hospitalization with the government-owned Ospital ng Makati. And then there's the BLU card, which promises "any and all assistance" to the holder.
And that's it for this post. Next time someone asks you "What's so great about Makati?," you can pull up this post from wherever and however you choose to bookmark it, and start a lively conversation with your friend. Have a great week ahead!