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21 April 2007

Travel to Manila, day 4:
Oh, Makati, oh!

Makati skyline at noon
Makati skyline at noon.

AFTER FOUR days, the Indian ladies needed to have the genuine Indian meal. I brought them to Bollywood, a desi restaurant within Ayala Center in Makati City.

Bembem and Neha in Bollywood Restaurant
Desi food at Bollywood Restaurant in Greenbelt 3.

Greenbelt
Greenbelt 3.

Yes, Makati, the bustling financial hub of the Philippines. This is that fiercely independent city whose Central Business District is aspired to by some cities but whose politics lead others to dismiss it as “Republic of Makati”. Its towering buildings loom above Ayala Avenue, where over a million Manileños do their business every day: trading fast, talking fast, walking smart, dressing smart, dining, wining, entertaining, getting entertained, getting recognized, recognizing others.

I let Bembem and Neha roam the pedestrian sky bridges connecting the malls of Glorietta and Greenbelt shopping centers. The malls contain the greatest concentration of shopping and entertainment destinations in the Philippines, from SM and Rustan’s Department Stores to Prada and TGIF. Also notable is the lush Greenbelt Park under the sky bridges: it is a verdant break from the concrete jungles of the city. Next to it is the ultra-chic Ayala Museum, recently renovated and housing the famed Dioramas of Philippine History and works by Fernando Amorsolo, the country's first National Artist for painting.

Sky bridge at Greenbelt
Sky bridge at Greenbelt.

Greenbelt Park
Greenbelt Park.

Ayala Museum
Ayala Museum.

Glorietta crowd
Glorietta crowd.

Towards the evening, I left the ladies behind to attend a meeting with members of the Visual Merchandising Association of the Philippines. In case they got lost in the heavy pedestrian traffic of the malls, either of the two of them could always call me on the mobile phone.

Or both of them could simply sit on those fashionable benches until the crowd disappears in the wee hours of the morning . . . and then I could find them!

Officers and some members of the Visual Merchandising Association of the Philippines
Officers and some members of the Visual Merchandising Association of the Philippines.

Greenbelt at night
Greenbelt at night.

Glorietta at night
Glorietta at night.

Makati skyline at dusk
Makati skyline at dusk.

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