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Poblacion, Makati: Your Local Neighborhood Guide

Once (in)famously known as a red-light district in Makati, it has now become a go-to area for dining, culture, and tech startups. Poblacion is also called Backwell (back of Rockwell), “Williamsburgos,” or simply Burgos Area.

During the day, there’s the hustle and bustle of vehicles and visitors. As nighttime falls, you’ll be surrounded with vibrant flashing lights and streets that never sleep.  

With the area coming to life after work hours, both residents and outsiders flock to the many enticing hole-in-the-wall restaurants and pubs for cross-cultural experiences.

Poblacion is also known as one of Metro Manila’s main venues for socializing and meeting for the art community. From galleries to performance art spaces, not only artists can visit these places but also people of all ages as well as various cultures. 

When it comes to hostels and luxury accommodations for guests to unwind in, the neighborhood has a wide range of choices with unique features and amenities. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, there’s never a dull moment as you won’t run out of places to discover.

In this neighborhood guide, we’ll be exploring more of what this dynamic district has in store. 

Brief History of Makati’s Poblacion

As the first settlement of Makati City, Barangay Poblacion (formerly San Pedro) became the center of the local government and continues to be as such today.  

In 1620, the Jesuits built the San Pedro Church as the center of Catholic faith of the old town. In the 18th century, the Jesuits were eventually expelled from all Spanish territories. Each of their properties including San Pedro Macati were confiscated by the Spanish government, marking the beginning of the land’s turnover from one owner to another. This was until the latter part of the 19th century when the Zobel de Ayala-Roxas family started modern developments in the area. 

According to official records, Marcelino Magsaysay, the illustrious son who hails from Poblacion, was the first Municipal President of Makati. The other succeeding presidents or mayors were likewise legitimate constituents of Poblacion, namely: Hermogenes Santos, Eusebio Arpilleda, Jose Magsaysay, Urbano Navarro, Ricardo Arpilleda, Pedro Domingo, Jose Villena, Maximo Estrella, and Nicanor Garcia. 

In 1918, the Presidencia was built and became the first municipal building of Poblacion at J.P. Rizal Street (formerly Plaza Trece de Agosto). Today, it is now occupied by the Museo ng Makati.  

In the early 20th century, Kalayaan Avenue was constructed as the Meralco streetcar line connecting to Pasig (formerly known as the Manila Suburban Railway). The establishment of the said line partly contributed to the residential and commercial boom of the town proper. 

From 1954 until the late 1980s, the James Rockwell Power Plant of Meralco served as a central provider of electricity to the residents of Poblacion. During the early 2000s, local and foreign urban planning consultants, as well as other public and private sectors, joined forces to conduct a Cultural Mapping Report of the Heritage of Poblacion.  

While sustaining its old-world charm, the district has also been embracing modernity and economic development through the continuously growing number of commercial establishments. 

Neighbors and Nearby Places 

From surrounding cities to key establishments that are easily accessible and convenient, we have mapped them out for you in different categories. 

Bordering Cities  

There’s Manila to the northwest, Pasay to the west, Mandaluyong to the northeast, Pasig to the east, and Taguig to the southeast. 

Historical Sites 

  • Makati City Hall Complex 
  • Makati Heritage District 
  • Museo ng Makati 
  • Saints Peter and Paul Parish Church 
  • La Casita Mercedes (Ancestral House) 

Education Institutions 

  • Pio del Pilar National High School 
  • Makati Science High School 
  • Makati City High School 
  • The British School Manila 
  • St. Paul College of Makati 
  • Teresa Comm. High School 
  • Makati Elementary School 
  • Happy Hearts Preschool 
  • Makati Integrated Christian Academy 
  • St. Michael School of Makati 
  • Eton International Preschool 
  • General Pio del Pilar High School 
  • Arts Plus School 
  • Holy Child Catholic School 
  • Leaders International Learning Center 
  • St. Ignatius Parochial School, Inc. 
  • Makati English Language School Incorporated 
  • YouBetter International School 
  • Professional Skills Enrichment Center 

Commercial Centers 

  • Century City (mixed-use development) 
  • Century City Mall 
  • Antel Lifestyle City 
  • Rockwell Center 
  • Power Plant Mall 
  • Gramercy Residences (Philippines’ highest residential building) 
  • Knightsbridge Residences 
  • The Stratford Residences 

Recreational Facilities 

  • Makati Poblacion Park 
  • Cozy Folk Hostel 
  • Unwnd Lux Hostel 
  • Zula Residences 
  • Z Hostel 
  • Lokal Hostel 
  • Gomez House by Hotel Durban 
  • The Clipper Hotel (art deco-style accommodation) 
  • City Garden Grand Hotel 
  • Nest Nano Suites Makati 
  • Havitat Boutique Hotel 
  • Makati Palace Hotel 
  • Sunshine Place: Senior Recreation Center 

Transportation and Getting Around 

Poblacion is easily accessible when you commute via bus, jeepney, and train. You can take the train going to Gil Puyat LRT Station and ride a bus or jeepney from Senator Gil Puyat Avenue. 

Here are nearby stops near and along Poblacion:  

  • Makati Central Business District (CBD) 
  • Kalayaan Avenue 
  • J.P. Rizal Avenue / M.L Quezon Intersection 
  • Nicanor Garcia / Kalayaan Ave Intersection 
  • Senator Gil Puyat Ave / Makati Avenue Intersection 
  • B. Valdez 
  • Guerrero / Makati Avenue Intersection 

Why Visit or Live in Poblacion? 

From living the nightlife to finding solace, there are many reasons why Poblacion will make you stay and fall in love. If you are planning to become a resident of the vibrant district, we have mapped out and categorized the important factors. 

Cost of Living 

The average cost of living in Makati City for a single person is around Php49,124.78 per month, while the average cost of living for a family of four members is Php137,731.92. The rates may also vary and depend on your specific needs and preferences. Examples of these factors are whether you’re renting or buying a property, as well as how many you are in a family. 

Space and Environment  

Almost all of the establishments in Poblacion are close to one another, making it easy to visit or explore different places. Most establishments even close late, and some are even open 24/7. 

Late nights with a lively atmosphere are the highlight of Poblacion’s culture. You can either listen to live DJ sets, jazz bands, or be entertained by improvised shows in the many pubs and bars surrounding the neighborhood. 

If you want a more laid-back evening, there are also enough cafés to relax and sip your favorite cup of coffee in. You won’t run out of things that would spark curiosity and interest. 


Makati deploys professional security measures and high morale for its citizens and establishments. Here are the security agencies that aim to provide a secure environment and good welfare for the city:   

  • Makati Central Police Headquarters 
  • Makati Police Station 
  • Makati Police Substations 
  • Makati City Police Station 
Poblacion Makati


Aside from having tight security measures, Makati also offers well-maintained healthcare systems and medical centers. The following is a list of highly trusted hospitals in the city:   

  • Centuria Medical Makati 
  • Makati Medical Center 
  • Dr. Yanga’s Hospital Inc. 
  • St. Clare’s Medical Center 

Business Opportunities 

Given that Poblacion is now a go-to hub for dining, culture, and tech startups, there are many business opportunities that await entrepreneurs, creatives, connoisseurs, and other passion-driven individuals alike.

The possibilities are infinite — You can either own a franchise, run a startup company, build connections with fellow enthusiasts, or simply immerse yourself in what the neighborhood has to offer. 

Top 5 Things To Do in Poblacion 

Are you feeling extra adventurous? Here’s a list of our top five things to do in Poblacion. 

Stay in a cozy and quirky hostel.  

With an ambiance that reminds you of home, the Cozy Folk Hostel is a place where comfort and convenience collide. The hostel provides easy access to key establishments such as Rockwell Center, Century City Mall, and Sinigang Valley. Whether you’re an avid traveler, a young professional, or just someone who wants a home away from home, the hostel accommodates people from different walks of life. 

Go on a food crawl.  

There are a lot of delectable delights in Poblacion that are just waiting to be discovered. There’s plenty of world cuisines to choose from so you won’t run out of options. There’s Korean, Japanese, Thai, Lebanese, Indian, Spanish, and a whole lot more. You’ll never go hungry when you’re in the area!

Revisit the past in a heritage site.  

Support Philippine heritage and experience the charm and romance of old Manila. Another hidden gem you can find in Poblacion is La Casita Mercedes, an actual ancestral house from 1933 that was restored into a lovely bed and breakfast.


Live the night life with a view.  

Get high (literally) and treat yourself to a drink and panoramic views of the Makati skyline. Explore rooftop favorites such as the Fyre Rooftop Lounge, Dr. Wine Rooftop Restaurant, and Firefly Roofdeck Bar. Discover your perfect quiet spot above the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Explore neon streets after dark. 

Be mesmerized by the glowing neon signs as you stroll around the streets of Poblacion during the night with your friends or colleagues (not in a red-light district sense of course).

With Poblacion’s long roster of restaurants and bars to choose from, it’s a good place to have an “all-nighter” while still ensuring safety and having fun responsibly. 

Introducing Sinigang Valley 

A fusion of collaboration and community — Sinigang Valley is built to provide the next wave of entrepreneurs an environment where they feel supported and inspired. Along with pioneering members and investors, various organizations take part in forming the “cornerstone” of the startup ecosystem in the Philippines. 

Situated in the heart of Poblacion and wedged between Makati Avenue, P. Burgos Street, J.P. Rizal Avenue and Palma Street, Sinigang Valley is an area that is being developed into the center of innovation and technology in the Philippines. It serves as a holistic ecosystem for entrepreneurs and creatives through the development of housing, offices, restaurants, bars, cafes, galleries, and art spaces where people can connect and interact. 

The idea started with a simple conversation among the founders of startup superstar Kumu. They have been taking daily walks along Palma Street in Poblacion while scouting for a suitable location to house some of their live streamers and employees. 

Through Foxmont Capital Partners, a local venture capital fund focusing on Filipino-founded startups, Kumu was connected to Alternative Housing Group (AHG, now ahg lab), a property tech incubator and tech startup. It turns out that AHG was developing properties within Poblacion, and this was how Kumu successfully secured a unique co-working space as well as a dormitory that is equipped with a gym, game room, rooftop, and other one-of-a-kind facilities and amenities for its team.

Right when this sizzling concoction was just getting started, Sinigang Valley has already attracted a few big names within the small but constantly thriving local startup scene. 

Aside from pioneering members Kumu, Foxmont Capital Partners, and AHG, other collaborators include Draper Startup House and Zalora Philippines, investment companies such as Gobi-Core Philippines Fund and GenTree, hospitality groups namely Square One Hospitality Concepts and Araw Hospitality Group, public relations agencies like Evident PR, as well as Endeavor Philippines, a global non-profit organization that aims to support high-impact entrepreneurs. 

Learn and explore more about Sinigang Valley by checking out www.sinigangvalley.com. 

Must-Try Food & Dining in Poblacion 

Poblacion offers a wide range of choices when it comes to must-try cuisines and food establishments. The district is brimming with a diverse lineup of vibrant dining destinations and exotic bars and pubs. Here’s a quick rundown of the must-see places divided into different categories:   

Top Poblacion Restaurants and Cafés 

  • Poco Deli 
  • La Collina 
  • Essential goodness, for the pilgrims. 
  • Bistro Manuel 
  • Polilya 
  • Tetsuo 
  • Crying Tiger 
  • Wantusawa Oyster Bar 
  • El Chupacabra 
  • The Pallet 
  • Filling Station 
  • Ebi 10 
  • Cosmic (Vegan Restaurant & Café) 
  • Commune 
  • Ovo (Multiple-Concept Restaurant) 
  • WYP Dining 
  • Three Guys and a Grill 
  • Farfalla 
  • Taqueria Seta 
  • Gab’s Good Grub 
  • Gaja Korean Kitchen 
  • Better Days Restaurant 
  • Beni’s Falafel 
  • Rambla 
  • Royal Indian Curry House 
  • Señor Pollo 
  • Kitchen Corner 
  • The Sippery 
  • El Gaucho 
  • Ziggurat Cuisine 
  • Café Fleur 
  • Strato Café 
  • Holy Smokes BBQ PH 
  • The Second Floor 
  • Le Petit Soufflé 
  • The Original Pares Mami House Retiro 
  • LSQ Chinese Home Cuisine 
  • Alba Restaurante Español 
  • Gangnams Gentleman 
  • Wingman 
  • Argos 
  • Jumong Korean Restaurant 
  • Kanto Freestyle Breakfast – Makati 
  • Hummus Elijah 
  • Chef Omeng’s Asian Favorites 
  • Khao Khai Thai Chicken House 
  • Mamou Too 
  • Grace Park 
  • Firefly Roofdeck Restaurant 
  • Nikkei Rockwell 
  • Minsok Restaurant 
  • Som’s Authentic Thai Cuisine 
  • Next Door Noodles by North Park 

Bars and Pubs  

  • Alchemy Bistro Bar 
  • Alamat Filipino Pub and Deli 
  • Oto 
  • Token Bar and Restaurant 
  • Kite Kebab Bar 
  • Botong’s Bistro 
  • Nomu Bar 
  • Panaginip Bar 
  • Fyre Rooftop Lounge 
  • El Chante 
  • Wicked Dogs 
  • Firefly Roofdeck Bar 
  • Ms. Gee 
  • La Vita Bar & Restaurant 
  • Run Rabbit Run 
  • Agimat at Ugat Foraging Bar and Kitchen 
  • Kampai 
  • Gab’s Resto Bar 
  • The Apartment 
  • The Odd Seoul 
  • Inum 
  • Manille Pub Makati 
  • Casa Bambú Manila 
  • Coyote Ugly 
  • The Spirits Library 
  • The Wild Poppy 
  • Buccaneers Rum & Kitchen 
  • Antidote 
  • The Social on Ebro 
  • Futur:st 
  • A’Toda Madre Tequila Bar 
  • Secret Door 

Final Thoughts 

With a newfound vibe and an enthusiasm that is highly contagious, Poblacion reigns as the most sought-after neighborhood in Makati. The city has become a balanced mix of candid creativity and global cool, which makes it purely authentic, organic, and full of soul. Through this extensive guide, may you experience Poblacion at its fullest. 

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