Through MasterCard, a holiday experience in Makati becomes one for the books

With the holiday season comes the reappearance of all our groups of friends scheduling their respective get-togethers. Every time my friends and I converse online to plan a meet-up, I send this hashtag that drives the point all the way home: #MAKEITMAKATI!!! (No kidding, I’ve got receipts.) I’ve been a Makati girl for a good chunk of my life, and ever since I’ve moved, I honestly couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else.

The great thing about Makati is that it’s constantly changing. There’s always something new to be explored, be it a new store, mall, or hole-in-the-wall shawarma stand. Sadly, when you’re a local you tend to dial down your inner Dora the Explorer and stick to the places you already frequent. So of course, given the opportunity by Ayala Land and MasterCard to take a little tour of my “homeland,” I pounced at it. Thus began my holiday-themed tour of Makati.

Off to explore

We began with brunch at Flavors by Holiday Inn and Suites in Makati. They had a generous spread of different cuisines, but the best part was the dessert. If you find yourself in the area, you’ve got to try their ube cheesecake. But if you’re just like me and you’d rather enjoy twirling your own sundae cone, make your way over to their dessert station and go crazy. Did we mention it’s unlimited?

After stuffing our bellies, we made our way to Holiday Inn’s Oz Bar to make our very own gingerbread houses. In hindsight, it was wise of them to feed us before sending us to make gingerbread houses. Otherwise, we’d probably just end up eating them. We were taught by Holiday Inn’s very own pastry chefs, and they were kind enough to help us out. After all, decorating the houses with icing is not as easy as it looks. Once we successfully finished our masterpieces, it was off to the next stop.


Forever a sweet tooth: gingerbread house making is a fun holiday activity in Holiday Inn.

We hopped in a van and headed to Kodanda Archery in Chino Roces. It was my first time there, and I was so surprised that there was an archery range nearby. There’s even a zombie-themed archery target if that’s what you fancy. I actually shot a bull’s eye on my first try and it might have just been a stroke of luck. But I also owe it to the staff members who were accommodating and patient, which was great as we were all first-timers.

By 5 p.m. we were on our way to Circuit Makati. It may not be fully developed yet, but there are a number of stores, restaurants and attractions worth the visit. The last time I’d been there was back in 2014 during Wanderland Music Festival, and it has changed dramatically since then. If you’re looking for the perfect place to snap a few new Instagram photos, look no further. Check out the Miracle Art Museum and the Outdoor Christmas Tree at Circuit Makati. The Miracle Art Museum will transport you from hanging out with some pandas in a forest to sipping tea with Mona Lisa in minutes. As for the Outdoor Christmas Tree, it stands 56 feet tall, and no, you don’t just get to look at its splendor from the outside, you can actually go in and immerse yourself in the lights.

Makati at night: The central business district still bustles with life even way after the sun has set.

When we talk about the holidays, once you’ve reached a certain age, alcohol is an essential component. Most of us would much rather stay at home and chill with our friends than have to head out to get a drink. This is where the Mixology 101 class at the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel comes in handy. We learned how to make the basics, such as a gin and tonic or classic mojito from mixologist Paul. Honestly,

I never really bothered to learn the nitty-gritty of cocktails before, but I’m ready to whip out my very basic level mixology skills at future gatherings after this.

Learning from the best: Mixologist Paul teaches us the basics of making a good drink.

The holiday experience would never be complete without the famous Ayala Triangle Festival of Lights. Again, it was one of the fun activities nearby that I didn’t get the chance to visit on my own. It’s even named as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s Seven Most Spectacular Light Shows around the world. Every year they change up their routine, and it was definitely a sight to see. If you haven’t seen it, better drive off to Ayala Triangle ASAP.

To cap it all off, at around 9 p.m. we headed to Spectrum at Fairmont Hotel for a buffet dinner. It was my first time to try eggnog, and I accidentally spilled it on my calamares out of excitement. If you’re looking for a festive spread, Spectrum has got you covered. I mean, they have eggnog, how can you go wrong with that?

For someone who calls herself a Makati girl, everything I encountered that day — besides the Long Bar — was new to me. So regardless of how many times you’ve been to Makati, there’s definitely something that might still surprise you.


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