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poblacion heritage tour itinerary

Poblacion is literally just 30-minute jeep ride away from BLISS, Guadalupe. Both are part of Makati, the city where I lived for the past 6 years. I have been here countless times eating at different international restaurants with my foodie boyfriend who loves to eat out every other night. I can actually give you up to ten of my personal favorites right now if you'll ask me where to eat in Poblacion, Makati. However, beyond that I know nothing about Poblacion. When an invite came from Meaningful Travels Ph to join their Poblacion half-day tour package - I said yes in an instant! 

I like the fact that Meaningful Travels Ph starts their tour late afternoon when the sun is setting down slowly. This is my second tour with them. You can read HERE my Quiapo Muslim and Food Tour with Meaningful Travels Ph. Our meetup point is in Plaza Casa Hacienda Park which sits next to Pasig River. Just a short walk crossing the street is Museo ng Makati (Makati Museum) which is still closed until now. Hope you guys enjoy this super simple Youtube video I made. Pardon the simplicity, this Youtube noob is still learning one step at a time.

Historical Spots in Poblacion, Makati

Miss Ann Marie Cunanan, owner of Meaningful Travels Ph started our Poblacion tour by giving a brief history of Makati. She even brought us to the official marker (
The Landing of Governor-General of the Spanish East Indies, Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Naming of Makati) made of a paragraph of engraved words plus sculpted images at the far end of Casa Hacienda Park about Makati's history. It says:

"In 1571, Spanish Governor-General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi visited a small settlement by the Pasig River in one of his fluvial expeditions from Manila. When he asked the locals what the name of the place was in Spanish, the natives wo did not understand him pointed to the river and replied, "Makati na! Kumakatina na", referring to the ebbing tide. He then recorded the name of the place as Macati and later disimissed it as worthless swampland."

makati poblacion heritage tour

Just a few steps away is the Pasig river. It is stinky and horrible to look at how it became this polluted. If Pasig river can just talk, it can tell countless tales of Makati from day one. Miss Ann also pointed out some (slowly decaying) heritage houses that are owned by private individuals. This means the government do not have any control whether they decide to preserve these or never at all! I do hope though soon they'll realize that the house they live isn't the same as every one else so that they start taking care of it and possibly it would still be around for as long as it can. Poblacion is officially Makati's heritage district.

poblacion makati heritage tour

From Pasig river we walked for another 5-10 minutes to reach Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral - one of the oldest Catholic churches in the Philippines. Turning 400 years old next year, this fully air-conditioned historical church in Poblacion, Makati has a very old tradition that the local government and specially elders of Makati hope  not to be forgotten. Dubbed as Sampiro festival, the feast of Poblacion's patron saints is held every June 29th and 30th. Nine young (and virgin) women perform the Baile de los Arcos. They dance and sing praises offered to St. Paul, St. Peter and Virgen de la Rosa de Makati.

According to Makati Poblacion Heritage Conservation Project, this tradition  that is passed to generations upon generations of Makati residents is an enduring intangible cultural and spiritual treasure of Makati. It is an archaic expression of devotion in this most modern of Philippine cities.  

Poblacion in Makati is also a red light district. There are so many bars and restaurants here. The vibrance of its nightlife as a favorite hangout of foreigners and locals alike attract prostitutes. I learned that every early morning after a whole night of partying or "entertaining" their guests, these ladies still wearing skimpy clothing and wearing thick make up always drop by to this church - pray and maybe ask forgiveness for they know their job isn't good to the eyes of the Lord.

Bailes de arcos makati

In front of this church is Plaza Cristo del Rey, previously a cemetery. There's even a marker that confirms this at the left side of the main entrance saying  that this was once part of San Pedro de Macati Cemetery.  

Artsy Spots in Poblacion, Makati

Poblacion in Makati is also home of some of the country's known fashion boutiques and art spaces. We visited celebrity fashion designer Rajo Laurel's House of Laurel selling world-class clothes and Pineapple Lab, an art gallery showcasing artworks according to a particular theme that they find relevant at the time of your visit. 

pineapple lab makati

Best nightlife spots in Poblacion, Makati

What's a visit to Poblacion without experiencing a bit of nightlife? Good thing, it is not Pura Vida that Miss Ann brought us. I mean, I don't have anything against it but I have been here several times - everything is good but I don't see anything worth coming back. It's a typical bar in a city.  This one that Meaningful Travels Ph introduced to us was beyond my expectations. Agimat, is a bar slash restaurant that uses hard-to-find Filipino ingredients. Here, you'll encounter names of local fruits you may haven't heard of. Think also of concoctions that remind you of phrases in folklore are served here like Gayuma ng Paraiso, Anting Anting ni Malvar, Agimat ng Sawi and more you'll find on their menu. Sorry, these phrases do not have direct or exact translations in  English. If you are a Filipino or at least knows the humor in Filipino standards, you'll be able to relate to these lines. Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen is housed in a bahay na bato (refurbished ancestral house). Going inside here you'll fell the chill because the place looks enchanted. From the cemented stairs with lighted red candles at the left side to the towering balete tree in the bar, the two chefs who founded Agimat in Poblacion are often praised of their unique Filipino concept putting our country in the international limelight and could be compared with other world-class clubs.  

agimat bar poblacion

Vegetarian / Vegan Restaurant in Poblacion, Makati 
Since yours truly has started incorporating more plant-based diet for a month now, I couldn't be happier when we ended our tour with a sumptuous dinner in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Poblacion. Cosmic Restaurant is a hidden vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Makati. I am not sure if its signage was intentionally put in a space where it is not very visible. Located in the mezzanine and completely out of sight, one cannot prove that this building houses a restaurant that serves healthy food because outside what dominates is the signboard of an ubiquitous convenience store selling 90% unhealthy/instant/processed food! 

Cosmic serves our favorite Pinoy and international dishes but instead of using meat, they use veggies and fruits. Come here to eat egg-free leche flan, sisig with bagnet, miso ramen, adobo, mushroom burger, vegan lasagna and more. However, I suggest dining during off-hours because Cosmic Restaurant in Makati is very popular - it is always full. Also, I was surprised to know that most of their meals are less than Php 250 which is for me very good for those who are on a budget but still would like to eat healthy.

Cosmic Restaurant Poblacion blog review

1st pic L: Main door of Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral | R: Official marker near Casa Hacienda Park
2nd pic
Close up photo of the official marker of The Landing of Governor-General of the Spanish East Indies, Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Naming of Makati
3rd pic
Boat used to cross people from Poblacion to Mandaluyong
4th pic  Reenactment of Bailes de los Arcos during the 399th Fiest celebration in Poblacion
5th pic  
L: Pineapple Lab founder Andrei Pamintuan | R: Meaningful Travels Ph founder Ann Marie Cunanan 
6th pic  Photo courtesy of Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen Instagram account
7th pic  Photo of the main facade of the building where Cosmic Restaurant is located 

Meaningful Travels Ph is a social enterprise that specializes in cultural and community immersions in the Philippines. They have upcoming tours to Batanes, Batad, Lake Sebu, Isulan, Songco, Bukidnon and more. If you want to join their next Quiapo Muslim Town and Culture Tour, please click HERE.

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