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Notes on the Geography of The Philippines: Manila: Makati, Ortigas, Global City

Is there nothing in Manila that's comparable to its thriving rivals?  The short answer is no: if Asia's capitals are ranged from Rangoon to Singapore, Manila is near the Rangoon end.  Still, Manila's not as far gone as Rangoon, and the east side of the city has some investment-grade residential and shopping neighborhoods.

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There's no better place to begin than Makati Avenue, which is the main street of Makati, a city in its own right.  When businessmen come to Manila, they're actually likely to stay here, not Manila proper. 

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They'll check into the Intercon or the Shangri-La or--shown here--the Peninsula Manila and Mandarin Oriental. 

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Makati's commercial hub is the Ayala Center, with four malls--Makati, Ayala, Pasay, and EDSA--radiating from this atrium.

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Flanking the center is a gated community.  Manila has many.  This one is San Lorenzo Village, a relatively modest refuge from the central city.

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Neighborhood house.

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We'll head up to another such area.  Metro Rail does the trick.

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We've come north now a couple of miles to Ortigas Center.  Metro Rail runs here over the city's circumferential beltway, a road built by American engineers and known originally as C4 (Circumferential Road 4) or Highway 54.  It's known now as EDSA, a name that became famous when the road was blocked for miles during the uprising in February, 1986, that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos.  The name EDSA is an acronym for Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue.  De Los Santos was a journalist, Hispanic scholar, and librarian; it's hard to imagine he'd be pleased to have this contagion named for him.

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We can visit the adjoining Megamall, where this sign lays down the ground rules.

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And here's Ortigas Center itself--an Edge City if ever there was one. 

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Here is the low-rise but well-guarded Asian Development Bank. 

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If Ortigas represents development, then people apparently need an alternative, because at the foot of the towers this commercial center tries to make customers feel at home.

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Want to stop for a minute?  This is definitely the place.

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On the other side of EDSA is some of the most expensive residential property in Manila.  We're looking at it from the elevated Ortigas Metro Station.  How can the lane below be so quiet, linked as it is to EDSA?

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This is how.

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Here's the view looking back toward the Metro Rail station; above it, the BGA Twin Towers.

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We're on the periphery of the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club, where the local cultural ambience is heavily American.

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Still, fences are a good idea.

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Last but not least, we've driven a mile and a bit east of the Ayala Commercial Center into what was once Fort McKinley, then was Fort Bonifacio, and now is expensive condos.  Here's Pacific Plaza and 1 McKinley Place. The Bonifacio Global City website promises "a sweeping view of the adjacent Manila Golf fairways. Breath-taking sights of the Makati and Ortigas skylines.  These are the visual feasts available to residents of luxury condominiums." 

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Here's nearby Essensa, one of the "premier high-rise residential condominiums in Metro Manila.  The graceful concave buildings resembling butterly wings is a mastery of esthetics...." 

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And here's the lineup arrayed behind Manila's American Memorial Cemetery, the largest cemetery administered anywhere in the world by the American Battle Monuments Commission.


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