I've been getting many questions about the following in my e-mail, and rather than rant about something today, I'll just give a little background on the nightlife scene in Manila/Makati since so many people are asking:
People often research the nightlife scene before coming to Manila. I’ll try to break it down for the traveler looking to maximize their vacation experience. If you can only go anywhere and you are someone who likes to be seen, there is no better Manila nightlife than what can be found in Greenbelt, Makati. Greenbelt features world-class night clubs in the form of live music, bars, discos, and restaurants. Most of the biggest music acts in the Philippines will be seen performing (or just hanging out) in bars like Tavern on the Square each night of the week. If you don’t want to hang out in the Tavern music lounge, there is also T-Bar, Absinth, and Ice Bar which are bars and nightclubs more for people who just want to hang out. On the lower levels, there are bars like Temple and Magnum. The bars that I mentioned above are those that attract the 20 and 30 something yuppies, not to mention the local celebrities who come out in droves to experience the nightlife scene. Other than traditional nightlife attractions are the restaurants. Many locally and internationally celebrated chefs own restaurants in Greenbelt. Basically every restaurant on the three levels offers a unique menu to try. If you are looking for Filipino food, you won’t find many native dishes at Greenbelt. This is due to the fact that Greenbelt is more of an “international” themed attraction and the land managers want variety. If you want traditional Filipino food, you will do much better to look in Malate.
If you are the Manila traveler who is looking for more “risqué” fun in the form of strip clubs and KTV girls bars, your best bets are nightclubs on Mabini Street in Malate, and Burgos Street in Makati. There are a few big KTV girlie bars remaining on Roxas Boulevard and you will see these when coming from the airport, but many have been closed down recently. Your best bets are the two I mentioned above. To further narrow down the two, most foreigners prefer Burgos Street if they are looking for girlie bars or strip clubs. On Burgos, the drinks are more expensive and the girls are at their most aggressive. Beware, ye drunken traveler, because on both Burgos, Mabini Street, and even Greenbelt, there are many incredibly beautiful transvestites who have been known to fool 99% of men whom they approach. You think I’m joking, but every foreigner I have ever known has been blown away when I point out the lady-boys since they look like supermodels. These "Asian girls" have perfect hair, skin, body size, often feminine voice, and their Adams apple is basically undetectable since they know how to hide it. If you fall for it, don’t say that I didn’t warn you. Either way, the nightlife is plentiful in the city, and there's something for everyone.
February 11th, 2005
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