greenbelt view

makati is the financial and commercial capital of the philippines, one of the cities that makes up the collective metro manila area. even though my family is from pampanga, this is where i live, this is where i spend most of my time. when we first bought our condo a zigillion years ago, we were a short but somewhat treacherous walk from the major shopping area, the SM department store at ayala center. then the ayalas built the glorietta shopping center, which made shopping even closer, but the journey still treacherous, due to the crazy traffic, and crazy drivers. now the ayala center is just this hugetastic 6 million square foot complex that could easily be thought of as the heart of makati. and now that they've hired callison, the pacific northwest architects responsible for a world full of nordstroms and california looking shopping malls, they are literally changing the landscape of makati with the renovation of greenbelt, their all-singing, all-dancing, premiere shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, which is conveniently across the street from me. literally 10 steps away. it looks like something out of the west coast of the united states, only better. better shops, better maintenance, better landscaping.

greenbelt again

and now they've built skywalks so you can walk over the traffic, not have it run over you.

despite my ambivalence towards the further californication of the philippines, i do have to admit liking greenbelt a lot. they've kept almost all the old trees in the old park, the church is still in the center of the garden, and there are large tracts of green where people can just sit and chill out and not indulge in any retail therapy. i like being able to walk out to a lush patch of green, to walk to church, to shopping and to the movies, without worrying too much about my safety (lots of security, not as much traffic now), so i can go it alone.

greenbelt church

there are outdoor caf├ęs, state-of-the-art movie theatres, a museum, auditorium, two decent bookstores, a good cd shop, and um, 120+ restaurants and food outlets. wooh.

greenbelt at night

during the day, it's relatively empty (except for at lunch, yike, watch people descend upon this place like locusts), but at night it is bustling. it's supposedly the place to see and be seen, but i like that there are tons of families and little kids along with couples, teenage packs, and the starbucks crowd.