Hunting down my neighbors on spontaneous lomocrawls is a challenging task. My neighbors are of… how shall I put this… the shady kind. They are creatures of the night, especially wary of the intrusive attempts of a probing camera lens.
No, I don’t live by a night safari, but a furtive glance away from P. Burgos Street a red-light jungle tucked away in the northern fringe of Makati City: a glitzy strip of nightclubs and snazzy hotels where feline streetwalkers and hungry predators of every shape and size abound, including this jovial fellow outside Tickles Bar (pictured below), who seemed not the least bit disappointed with last night’s delightful foray. Ivory, Shampoo, Bottoms, Billboard, Ringside, Jools… the glowing sidewalks and the Hey, Joe’s go on until the street–named after one of the martyred “Gomburza” priests–morphs into a homey neighborhood with a Burger Machine joint and an old parish church dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul.
Of course, this vivacious vicinity has a tamer, wholesome side, offering a 24/7 buffet of unique restaurants to please any lusty palate during the unholiest of hours. Indulge yourself with the extensive menu of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and African cuisine at Ziggurat, or refuel your tummy tank with an American snack at the 50s diner-styled Filling Station (decor pictured below). A short walk away along Polaris Street are Beers Paradise–which offers perhaps the widest selection of (expensive) international beers in the city–and the cool biker hang-out, Handle Bar. For those tight on the wallet, chow down at one of two Yoo-Hoo! Bar-B-Que outlets in the area, along Makati Avenue or P. Burgos St. Try their pork liempo meal for only P55.
In plain sight of day, a conspicuous stop sign I often pass by to work seem to echo the merry maxim of the urban locals: ‘Make love, not war.’ Dusk to dawn, my so-called neighbors come and go. Itinerant, ephemeral and fleeting. Like gypsies, neon and smoke.
To get to P. Burgos Street, alight at the Buendia MRT Station (less than P15) and ride a Bel-Air-Washington jeepney (P 8.50) to the busy intersection of Makati and Sen. Gil Puyat (aka Buendia) Avenues. Turn right and walk up Makati Avenue, and follow the sizzle of neon lights like a moth to the flame. Welcome to mini Vegas. Aside from the occasional hawker peddling either cozy company, flowers, watches or sunglasses, a visit to Burgos is hassle-free and secure, with police cars regularly patrolling the area popular with expats and foreign travelers. Affordable mid-range accommodation (starting at P1,500/night and up) is also available in this district.