Herald Suites Solana
For those new to Makati City, it can be quite intimidating to find yourself faced with the Makati Business District's various glitzy establishments. Though most of the popular places are found along Makati Ave and Ayala Ave, there's more to discover if you know where to look. If you're the more adventurous type, you might want to seek out the gems hidden in the streets of Barangay San Isidro. Though it may be small, this barangay has a lot to offer those willing to give it a try.
Barangay San Isidro is part of Makati City's Westside Cluster (also known as Cluster 2), which is comprised of seven barangays. Though it's predominantly a residential area, it does have its fair share of restaurants, shops, and business offices. It is bound by barangays Palanan, Pasay City, and Pio del Pilar. In the late 1940s, this barangay used to one of Barrio Del Pilar's many sitios, with very few people living in the area. Over time, though, the population steadily rose, and with it, many businesses began opening their doors in the 1960s. Due to this residential and commercial boom, this sitio was converted into what we know today as Barangay San Isidro.
The best way to get to San Isidro is to board the MRT-1 and alight at Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue. There, you can take any of the jeeps going to Ayala Avenue or Libertad, and ask them to drop you off at Dian St. Alternatively, you could also take the MRT-3 and alight at Ayala Station. From there, you can take a bus going to MRT-1 Gil Puyat Station, and alight at Dian St.
In San Isidro, jeepneys are the main mode of transportation. They not only ply the streets of the barangay, but they can also take you to major public transportation terminals in Makati. But if you'd rather walk a considerable distance from the jeepney stops, you could opt to take a tricycle to your destination. If you hate sweating while commuting, you also have the option of riding a bus instead. However, if you're in a hurry, you may be better off hailing a taxi, although it may cost much more in terms of fare.
You'll want to drop by the many stalls and stores in Cash & Carry Mall. Not only can you buy great products for really good prices, but you can indulge yourself at its many restaurants. San Isidro is also home to Magic Bread Vegetarian Store, one of the few vegetarian and vegan stores in the city. They stock lots of freshly-baked dairy-free bread and other goodies, so you'll want to bring some of these yummy treats home. For fish lovers, you can't miss the Koi Village Pet Mall, which can be found in nearby Barangay San Antonio. You'll stare in awe at all of the koi swimming in the 8-foot deep pond. You can also feed the fish with pellets for a super affordable fee.
Food lovers will rejoice at the huge number of restaurants not just within San Isidro, but within the surrounding barangays as well. For those traveling in a group, you can challenge each other to finish the gigantic pizzas offered by Big Guys Pizza along Gil Puyat Ave. Would you rather catch an action flick? Just go to the top floor of Cash & Carry mall, which houses two cinemas that are almost never packed. Want to get a massage but don't want to go anywhere too far? You can go for a full-body massage at SM Hypermart's Let's Face It spa and salon. There are also many massage parlors to choose from within Cash & Carry. You could also cross over to Barangay Pio Del Pilar's Sensefinity Spa.
If you're in the mood for some Japanese food, why not try Gryn Wasabi Sushi Bar? Their huge but afforable mixed sushi bilaos are sure to fill you right up. For those who can't resist cute things, you'll definitely want to dine at Precious Moments. Enjoy their creamy tuna carbonara, super tender braised pata tim, and seafood spinach soup, all while marveling at their gorgeous decor. For those who prefer more classic American food, try out R's Kitchen. Make sure to order their best-selling Cuban Fritas Cheese Burger, their Salchipapa fries, and their buffalo-style chicken wings. However, the restaurant can only accommodate a small number of people, and there's no parking space provided for patrons.
In the mood to play some billiards? Head on over to Rack Em Up, Inc., to show off your moves.. If you want to eat and drink, try the meals at Next Corner Resto and Bar, which also provides great live music to jam to. If you're willing to walk a little farther, you'll have a blast with your buddies at Central BBQ Boy Grill located along Malugay street. You may have to wait a while because the place is almost always jam-packed, but it's worth it.
Want to go on a staycation? Book a spacious room at the Herald Suites Solana. You'll definitely feel more relaxed after you've worked out at their gym, sweated it out in their sauna, and chilled in their pool. Another great place to try is Avitel Hotel located in Barangay Pio del Pilar. Just make sure to pick one of the rooms facing away from the highway, as it can get quite noisy otherwise. A few blocks away, you can find VIP Suite, also in Barangay Dio del Pilar. Though they don't offer complimentary breakfast, you can try out their yummy dishes for an extremely affordable price.
Travel with a buddy if you can. If you're fond of partying until after midnight, make sure you're with somebody who can drive you home safely. The streets aren't exactly the safest place to be in the dead of night, especially if you're still a bit tipsy. If your hotel room is too far, see if you can stay in affordable accommodations nearby, or crash at your friend's place for the night.
Secure your mobile phone. Unfortunately, Barangay San Isidro is not exempt from having the occasional pickpocket or two. Avoid using your phone while walking around so as to not make yourself a tempting target. Consider keeping your phone in your bag (and keep the bag in front) instead of in your pocket, too.
Save your personal references offline. If you rely heavily on online apps, you might struggle with the slow data connectivity offered by local mobile networks. Because San Isidro isn't quite as well-known, it's easy to get lost without a reliable map on hand. If all else fails, try asking the locals for help. They should be able to get you back on the right track.