Makati is the financial capital of the Philippines. It is also considered the most modern cities in the country and the Philippines’ major global economic competitor in Asia. Makati is noted for its highly cosmopolitan culture, also being a major cultural and entertainment hub in Metro Manila. The city is home to many first-class shopping malls, has the tallest buildings in the Philippines, and many of the country’s five-star hotels. Makati is located at the center of the National Capital Region (NCR) and is bounded by Pasig River on the north, the municipality of Pateros on the east, the City of Taguig on the southeast, the City of Pasay on the south and southwest and the City of Manila on the northwest.
Makati is undeniably urban – from the towering buildings that dot the skyline to the posh malls and upscale eateries. It’s hard to believe that this business district used to be an airport runway surrounded by swampland. The last remaining part of its history is the Nielson Tower, which doubles as the Filipinas Heritage Library. The city that works hard plays hard too. Head to Jupiter St. for throwback restaurants, bars and karaoke joints. For a more modern night out, try Greenbelt. The city is very walkable; you’ll find underground passages weaving through the central business district. You can also ride the e-jeepney, Makati’s eco-friendly public transportation. But be sure to watch where you’re going. Metro Manila is notorious for ever-changing street names, and Makati is no exception. One important example – Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., still commonly known as Buendia.
The present Makati City has its roots as a pre-Hispanic settlement in the swamplands near Pasig River led by Lakan Tagkan and his wife Bouan. Don Manuel Lopez de Legaspi, founder of Manila and the first Governor General of the Philippines discovered the area and was told that the river’s tide was ebbing by the residents – “Makati na, Kumati na.” Legaspi thought this was the response to his query as to what the place is called. The settlement was renamed San Pedro de Makati after its patron saint. A visita of Santa Ana de Sapa, Makati was under the jurisdiction of the Franciscan friars from 1600-1700. Two (2) of the earliest Catholic churches – Nuestra Señora de Gracia in Guadalupe and the Church of Saints Peter and Paul – are located in Makati. In 1890, San Pedro de Makati was decreed a public town of Manila.
After the Americans took over the control of the island of Luzon from the Spaniards at the turn of the 20th century, San Pedro de Makati was incorporated into the province of Rizal under Commonwealth Act No. 137 in June 11, 1901. In the same year, the Americans established Fort William McKinley as a military reservation. In 1902, the Americans described the town as “a pueblo on the south shore of Pasig River,” known for a “resort for convalescents,” with a population of 3,921. A year later, a town administrator was installed to supervise community affairs. San Pedro de Makati remained a third-class agricultural town wherein the primary means of livelihood came from the cultivation of rice and horse fodder. In 1914, Philippine Legislature Act No. 2390 shortened the name of the town to its present name of Makati. During the birth of commercial aviation before the Second World War, Nielson Airport opened in what is now the Ayala Triangle, the first airport in the country.
A master-planned mixed-use community was established in the 1950s in Makati. Makati in the 1970s was a financial and commercial center and part of the National Capital Region (Metro Manila). Makati became a City with the enactment of Republic Act No. 7854 and a plebiscite approval in 1995 during the term of former Mayor Jejomar C. Binay—now the Vice President of the country. Makati has been described as a City of three areas: the Central Business District, the Old Town or Poblacion area, and the Fort Bonifacio area.