February 22, 2007

The Makati We Once Knew

"Sa Maynila, saan sa Maynila?" a kababayan would always ask as a follow-up to the usual queries on one’s link to the mother land. "Sa Makati" and to this the usual reply, "Talaga? Wow! Ang sosyal mo naman!"

I guess those who have only visited Makati once or twice only associate the city with its popular shopping and financial districts. Many automatically think of the high-rise office buildings of Ayala Avenue or the posh malls and restaurants in the area. This is, of course, a fraction of a much larger community where I grew up in and spent almost a quarter of my lifetime.

Entering Makati: The "Salamat Po" sign was there to thank motorists passing Mandaluyong. This is a shot of Highway 54, now known as Edsa. The buildings on the left are Euroclean and the Guadalupe Shopping Center.

The Makati of my childhood in the seventies was not a city then but a municipality in Rizal. We lived in the residential area near the municipal hall on J.P. Rizal Avenue, the main road plied by jeepneys and buses from Taft to "Ilalim" or "ibabaw" (Guadalupe stops on opposite sides of EDSA), or to Ayala and Buendia. Going to Guadalupe meant you would pass by the Lola Theater (a second-rate-looking movie house) before reaching Burgos and Makati Ave.; and Rockwell Station, a power plant across the banks of the Pasig River. I heard that this site is now home to an upscale shopping center. Memorable stops also included the Loyola Funeral Homes and ABC, another movie theater popular for showing many Tagalog blockbusters.

The popular shopping destination was the Makati Commercial Center, long before there was Greenbelt and before it was renamed Ayala Center. If you wanted to watch a movie, you would go to the Rizal Theater or to the Quad. The Makati Supermart was where you would get your groceries and popular restaurants were The Plaza and Sulu. Outdoor mass and concerts were held at the Glorietta, a park like setting at the rear of the Quad and accessible to Makati Supermart and nearby Rustan's, said to be one of Madame Imelda's favorite department stores. The Manila Inter-Continental Hotel was adjacent to Shoemart on Edsa and Ayala Avenues. Having been gone for many years, I do not know which of the landmarks mentioned remain or closed shop.

The Automat: A very popular place to eat. To the left is Rustan's, and in the middle is the Manila Intercon.

As a youngster, my errands took me to the post office which was just a few blocks from the munisipyo, right next to the Rizal Superette, the neighborhood grocery. Across the road is Mercury Drug. Its storefront is one long, white counter open directly to pedestrians and customers, and a back drop of endless rows of medicine bottles. In the evening hours, motorists driving by can't help but notice its glaringly bright overhead lighting. Nearby were a Magnolia Ice Cream House and another snack house families and barkadas frequent when the weather gets very hot and you just want to be some place air-conditioned. Also within walking distance is the parish church of St. Andrew the Apostle on Reposo Street (later renamed Nicanor Garcia St.) and Pasig Line (later renamed Imelda Ave. and post People Power days Kalayaan Ave. ). One direction of Imelda Avenue borders the Makati Cemetery while the opposite direction will take you towards the I.S. or International School and Makati Avenue's restaurant row.

Along Makati Avenue, facing Paseo de Roxas: IBM, RCPI, and Dona Narcisa De Leon Building.

A very spacious Makati in 1973. There was an abundance of empty lots yet to be developed into commercial areas and new buildings.

As for our neighborhood, apart from the minor brawls of the local tambays, we felt generally secure. Our streets and sidewalks were adequately paved, some even landscaped. Bakeries, sari-sari stores and street vendors cater our morning pan de sal and taho, "pish bol" meryenda, and night cap balut. The area was definitely no Forbes Park or Dasmarinas Village, the prominent subdivisions that time. But to us bulilits, our only concern was to get our homework done in time to join the playmates outside. The gang would gather out in the street for a lively game of patintero, tubigan, habulan, moro-moro, taguan, etc. Some of the kids even started go-cart races, yo-yo matches, and skateboard exhibitions when skateboarding became trendy. We relished active, noisy play and screaming and yelling like miniature Tarzans of our urban jungle. We occasionally take a "taym awt" to give way to a car or two passing by, but for most part our street belongs to us and is our common playground. We also welcomed the occasional visits of the carabao-drawn caravan to our neighborhood. The caravan is an amusing traveling tindahan of native handicrafts and household items. Everyone stopped to marvel at the colorful parade before us. The adults said that the family aboard came from the probinsya to sell their wares. We would try to peek at the rear of the caravan to get an idea of how the people lived and slept within. But we failed to see its interiors, obstructed by hundreds of sabits of walis-tambo, salakot, banig, banko, bunot, and so much more. Merchandize and curiosities fill all sides of the cart all the way to the roof!

Seasonal downpours did not stop us from having fun. We risked pneumonia and frolicked and splashed at each other in the rain as if our street was a huge waterpark; except that the girls weren't in their bathing suits or the guys in their trunks. T-shirts and shorts were the norm to achieve our "wet look".

I look back to the Makati of yesteryears and the childhood friends I miss and realize one funny thing: Man, that was one long play date!

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Unknown said...

I grew up in Makati as well, in the 70s, back, as you mentioned, when our address was still "Makati, Rizal" and not "Makati, Metro Manila" as it's known today. We lived just off J. Rizal street. One of our neighbors was the famous actress Maricel Soriano and her family; her sister Vicky and her dad, Boy Soriano. I went to school at a private school along Pasay Road in Makati, just a few miles from our house and on weekends and after school we would often go to the Makati Commercial center and shop at Makati Supermart, which was known not just for good shopping, but for also having the best tasting spaghetti in the world! We would watch movies at the QUAD and Rizal theater, eat at the Automat and buy medicine at the Mercury drug right across the street.
But in the early 80s we packed up and moved to the then new subdivision Tahanan Village in Sucat, Paranaque, but I still continued to go to school in Makati until I graduated and moved on to college.

Anonymous said...

My family moved to Magallanes Village in 1966 when my dad was stationed in Viet Nam and was fortunate to graduate from IS in 1977. Makati was a great place to be a kid & we spent our free time going to all of the same great places. I have wonderful memories of great dinners at Sulo's, The Madrid & La Tosca as well as grabbing a bite in the food court at The Quad.

Weekend trips to Madabunkay (sp) & Bagio are cherished memories. I would love to go back but know that it would never be the same.

Thanks for bringing me back home for a while if only in my mind!

Mary Ann (Mulcahy) Hurtubise

Photowalker said...

Your post brought back some good memories. Nice pictures. Very rare na yan.

Anonymous said...

I suppose as I was so young, less than 5 years old, to remember Makati this way. We used to go there to my grandfather's house in the late 70's.

Man, the air seemed to be so crisp and clean and everything looked brand new. I really love the cars :)

Anonymous said...

hello there !spended the yeara 1965 to68 in maggalanes .i was the blond swede.My name was sven , but they calld me seven.those years was gold years .see yah

Anonymous said...

Hi there

I'm A Brit and I spent five happy years in Manila from 1967-1972. Other than a spell in Magallanes village, I lived in ParaƱaque (just off Quirino Avenue).

For school I went to the American School in Forbes Park and then to the just opened Colegio De San Agustin in DasmariƱas Village.

Anyone remember Uncle Bob on Channel 7?

Nostalgia Manila said...


Here's a feature on Uncle Bob and the Lucky 7 Club. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Hi and thanks for the link.

I remember Uncle Bob very well. Wasn't Channel 7 great for us kids? I was glued to that channel and I fondly remember the showings of Flash Gordon/Buck Rodgers and all the great cartoons from Popeye, Beanie & Cecil to the Marvel Superheroes.

Back to Manila. Are there any photos of the old Sherwin and Williams paints sign tha tused to be near Paraaque? I think it blew down during Typhoon Yoling.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I lived in magalane village from 1965 t0 1968. I lived in magalanes avenu. i was ten when we moved to manila. I am still missing my very good friends from that time. The house beside us lived carrol 13, christine 11.and rodger 9.On the same street lived also mike hows father was a helicopter pilot in viet nam. Burt was in ouer gang too. We had so fun together. I hope you red this and we could get in contact again just for discusion old memberings. If you dont remember me ( i was the blond skinny boy from sweden.By

Anonymous said...

I am very reading about the memories about Makati, as a filipino who was part of the 70's and 80's of Manila, Makati and Quezon city, I always thought that the foreigners were just passing through the Philippines and would just forget about us once they move back to the United States or
Europe. Seems that everyone had wonderful memories that will stick around forever


Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this. We moved to Makati in the mid 80s from a province nearby. We moved to Fort Bonifacio. I remember the pictures posted and saw the development of Ayala Center. I remember at the time, there was no Landmark Department Store, it's just a park stretching from Greenbelt to Quad. I had fun times walking at that park. Movie houses in these areas are the nicest in Metro Manila. I remember watching the Back to the Future series in Greenbelt, Stallone movies in Quad, and a Kung Fu movie in Magallanes. I can't remember what I watched in Rizal theater. Ahhh those were the days. I miss the 80s Makati.

mico said...

I always enjoyed reading and rereading this post as i grew up in the 70's in taguig street in rizal village and those were my wonderyears and it seemed that it would never end.Almost everybody knew each other and i lived near maricel sorianos place at that street.I always felt secure in that place. But alas most of them have moved out of that place. only a few reminders of the past just like the villafranca apartments.i could really relate on what vince said in the previous comments as this was the stuff my family use to do in those times..

Gloria Matig-a said...

Thanks for posting. The picture you posted of Makati was the Makati I remember very well. I started working in Makati in Feb 1970, and our office was in Dona Narcisa Bldg. At 6:00 pm at that time, Ayala Avenue looked deserted, and the bldgs along Paseo de Roxas going to Buendia Ave were Insular life, IBM, Dona Narcia, and China Bank.
a few years later, they have the Standard Bank Bldg. I remember pre Martial law, there was helicopter landed opposite of Dona Narcisa Bldg.We all looked at the window to find out who it was. It was Ninoy Aquino who went to Bank of America to withdraw money .We went down to see him and he talked to us. He said it is for his employees' payroll. The front of Dona Narcisa then was an open space, a triangle actually, and before they opened the Sebastian Ugarte Football Field. I remember when his plane crashed in the South I wonder what it is now.We used to do short cut to go to MCC to have our spaghetti and Pineapple/Orange juice. Those were the days, when life was very simple....

iamyourj98 said...

It's so AMAZING to see those photos. I was born in Makati, in 1998. and I am currently 14. :) As I can tell, Makati City is a very peaceful city. I grew there peacefully. But I think only the District 1 gets attention, while District 2 of Makati was left alone. :( I wish, they could also revitalize the Eastern Part of the City.

Unknown said...

Nice photos. I grew up in Makati too. Lots of open spaces at the MCC (now Ayala Center) and around Ayala Ave back then. Rizal and Quad theatres were the places to watch a good movie and you park your car under the sun in one of those open parking spaces--nobody complained that it was too hot even if car air conditioning was not the norm then. The only remnants of that wonderful era that we can see still standing and have remained vastly unchanged are the 8, 9 or 10-storey the buildings along Salcedo Street, Vicente Madrigal Building.

Anonymous said...

born in makati 1966 and grew up till we moved to the south in 1972. remembered well our place in j.victor st. near dela rosa st. as the street turns into an olympic size pool once it rains. and the skirts of the women then, wow, way too short! nice memories...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nostalgic trip back to old Makati. I grew up along Pertierra St. then my family moved along J.P. Rizal just across Molina. My parents had a tailor shop then known as "NIPS Tailor". I have lots of very fond memories growing up in my old neighborhood. I still remember playing on the streets with all the kids and making prohibited trips to the Sta. Ana race tracks. Lola theater was just a walk away and so too was the old Makati City Hall.Going to Glorietta, Rizal theater and Makati supermarket was a big treat for us brothers back then. Thanks again for the memories!

Jasper Laguitao said...

My god i miss this. the good old days
I would sell my soul just to go back in 1993 and live it from there again

E-Man said...

Landnark sits on top of what was Coronado Lanes, a bowling alley. The corner of Makati Road and Pasay Road next to Coronado Lanes was a small building that housed Philippine Education Co (PECO), a bookstore, Jazzie, a clothing store and other small stores

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