Makati, in particular, is one of the best (if not the best) shopper's paradises in the region. Whether you're looking for high-end luxury brands, or hole-in-the-wall eateries, the financial capital of the Philippines has "got it all for you," to borrow the tagline of the country's largest shopping chain.
That said, Makati's malls aren't created equal. If there's something specific you're looking for, for example, you're better off going to some malls than others, as explained below.
Address: East Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City
As one of the most accessible malls in Makati (you can get there by bus, jeep, and MRT), Glorietta attracts shoppers from all walks of life. That's probably why Glorietta's stores cater to customers from all income brackets — ranging from one-man stalls that sell prepaid cards, to multi-waiter restaurants that serve exotic cuisine.
Go there for: The Activity Center. It's the area that connects Gloriettas 1, 2, 3, and 4, and is a frequent venue for expos, mini-concerts, and the like.
Address: 6751 Makati Ave., Ayala Center, Makati City
Between Glorietta 3's Luk Yuen and Dekada is the entrance to The Landmark, a mall that's quite literally the bridge between Glorietta and Greenbelt. Although the mall may seem like one giant department store (with at least three floors devoted to clothes alone), it also has a food court, a furniture store, and a chapel at the 5th floor.
Go there for: The wide variety of clothes at reasonable prices. The Café Via Mare at the second floor is also worth a visit, especially their Oysters Combination a.k.a. five oysters baked in five ways.
Address: Legazpi St., Legazpi Village, Makati City
If you walk the bridge from the second floor of Landmark, you can get to Greenbelt. There, you can find high-end brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Marks and Spencer, as well as restaurants like Sugi Japanese Restaurant, Restaurante Pia Y Damaso, and other restaurants you can only find in Greenbelt. The green, open-air design makes it perfect for walks on cool days, though rainy days make it hard to walk inside Greenbelt without an umbrella.
Go there for: the Ayala Museum (along the bridge connecting Greenbelt 4 and 5), the tent-like chapel, the koi pond
Power Plant Mall
Address: 28 Plaza Drive, Rockwell, Makati City
If you're looking for a high-end mall that isn't an Ayala Mall, Power Plant Mall should be right up your alley. It's a little hard to get there via public transportation (except for taxis), but it's worth the visit for its unique array of restaurants, cafés, and clothing brands, among others.
Go there for: the day-long fountain show at the entrance facing Plaza Drive, the proximity to Rockwell's most important establishments, the luxurious ambience
Century City Mall
Address: Salamanca St. cor. Kalayaan Ave., Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City
Seventeen minutes away from Power Plant is Century City Mall, a couple of blocks away from Makati Avenue. Its ambience is very similar to Power Plant's, having a good number of high-quality establishments inside. The mall's flat layout may confuse a first-time visitor, however, so be sure to ask around in case you get lost.
Go there for: the Hole In The Wall food court (4th floor), the entertainment options under Mystery Manila, the music and lights fountain show every evening, the close proximity to Barangay Poblacion's eateries
Cash and Carry Mall
Address: Buendia (Sen. Gil Puyat) Ave. cor. South Super (Osmeña) Highway
Unlike the other malls on this list, Cash and Carry doesn't have a "high-end" or "casual urban" feel to it. But it is a great place to buy groceries, since the goods are cheaper compared to those of other malls in Makati City. Cash and Carry also has a movie theater, a makeshift chapel, and an activity center where special events are held every now and then.
Go there for: shopping groceries, the quirky finds at the Mezzanine level, the proximity to residential areas in San Antonio
Alphaland Makati Place
Address: Malugay St. cor. Ayala Ave. Extension, Makati City
Being a relatively young mall, Alphaland Makati Place isn't as packed with people as the others on this list. Still, it hosts a lot of promising establishments, including the aptly-named "UpMarket at Makati Place," which sells gourmet goods like organic dishes, ice cream, and more.
Go there for: the UpMarket at Makati Place, the large and clean spaces, the proximity to offices along the corner of Buendia and Ayala
When it comes to being a "shopper's haven in the Metro," few cities can beat Makati. Certainly, the Philippines' financial district has more to it than meets the eye. So why not drop by and have a glimpse of the city's magic for yourself?