Makati DIY Walking Tour

Open the DIY walking tour on your phone with the Google Maps app:

Tour Overview

From a nondescript hacienda of the Ayalas, to being an international airport, up to being the center and nerve of the metropolis today, Makati is the most vibrant city in the country to explore and experience.

I’ve lived here for almost two decades, and I still continue discovering some new and interesting places that keep this city alive and thriving. Whether you’ve been working or living here for quite some time, or you’re just about to see the city for the first time, Makati has something nice and exciting to offer for everyone.

As a treat to all participants, sponsors and partners of PyCon PH 2024, I’m very thrilled to share with you the DIY (do-it-yourself) walking tour of the Makati Central Business District. I have curated this walking tour especially for you, so you too can experience the city that I fell in love with for years.

I invite you to take time to follow this walking tour either before PyCon PH or even after the conference dates. I welcome you all to my city. Our city. Let’s Make It Makati!


What are these DIY walking tours?

The Makati DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Walking Tour is a curated tour of the Makati Central Business District for everyone to experience at their own personal time.

There are two versions of this walking tour: the half-day walking tour, which takes four (4) hours, and the whole day walking tour that takes about seven (7) hours. The half-day walking tour will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation on how Makati has become the bustling and cosmopolitan financial center of the country. The whole-day walking tour, meanwhile, will take you on a sensory and erudite journey that will delight your eyes, ears, skin and palate, through the city landscapes, ‘70s brutalist and contemporary architecture, public art, pop culture, delicious cuisine, and heartwarming stories of people and events.

Are all these tour stops accessible by foot?

Yes! And in most cases, you can also enter inside the premises. You may opt to wear shorts, but some buildings might require you to wear pants for propriety, should you wish to go inside (e.g. church or office building). Note that some establishments might be closed on weekends.

Can I do this walking tour alone?

The DIY walking tour is designed so that you can experience the city yourself. But it’s also fun to walk this city with a friend, your family or barkada! It’s all up to you!

What do I have to do to prepare for the walking tour?

  • First, make sure you have good walking shoes! It’s nice to be able to walk around the city without blisters or sore feet.
  • Read the map and the directions in going from one tour stop to another. Follow the tour sequence as these tour stops were weaved together to create a compelling story of the city. I recommend that you plan to start your walking tour in the morning, around 8am.
  • Wear comfortable outdoor clothes. Bring a water jug with you to stay hydrated throughout the walking tour. You can also wear a cap and a pair of sunglasses to shield you from the sun. Best to apply sunscreen as well.
  • Bring some money with you, if you want to stop at a restaurant to eat, or if you want to buy something at a shopping area. Pretty much all restaurants in Makati accept cash, credit card or e-wallet through GCash or Maya.

Brief History of Makati Central Business District

Historically, some parts of Makati were once subject to the pre-Hispanic Kingdom of Namayan, whose capital is now in the Santa Ana district of the City of Manila. Makati was established by the Jesuits in 1620 under the name San Pedro Macati, and became a pueblo (a Spanish town) in 1670. The ancestor of the Zóbel de Ayala family, Don José Bonifacio Roxas, purchased the Jesuit estate of “Hacienda San Pedro de Macati” in 1851, and began its modern development during the latter part of the 19th century. By 1890, Makati became a public town, and was later incorporated into the Province of Morong (now the Province of Rizal).

The American period saw a further increase in economic activity in the area, particularly in the field of aviation and air forces. The Nielson Field was developed in 1937 to become the country’s second international airport (after Grace Park Airfield in Caloocan, opened in 1935), and served the first ever commercial flight by Philippine Airlines in 1941, connecting Nielson Airport to Baguio. However, the Second World War had brought devastating damage to the city, especially in Nielson Field. After the war, all air transport and air force operations were transferred to Villamor Air Base in 1948, which has become the main airbase of the Philippine Air Force, and shares the runway with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

By the 1950s, more businessmen who wanted to rebuild their businesses torn by the war in Binondo were relocating to Makati and established themselves at Makati Commercial Center. The runways of Nielson Field were converted to Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas. Some of the gated communities that were developed by the Ayalas grew into commercial areas and office parks. In the 1960s, the Ayala Corporation had commissioned some of the first high-rise buildings along Ayala Avenue, designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin, whose designs have influenced the brutalist ensemble of buildings, all the way to the 1980s.

The 1990s saw the rise of the first skyscrapers in the central business district. As the city welcomed the 21st century, Makati became the richest local government unit in the Philippines in terms of local income and per capita, empowered by multinational companies, banks and major businesses located around Ayala Triangle, and supported by a robust economy, infrastructure and local governance. Makati today continues to be the leading world city for business, tourism and culture in Southeast Asia, and is now the country’s pioneer in sustainable city living and climate change mitigation.

About the Tour Guide

JOEL ALDOR is a member of Python Philippines, and an organizing team volunteer under the Cultural Ambassadors sub-committee for PyCon PH 2024. He studied BS Multimedia Studies at the University of the Philippines, and has worked as an enterprise cloud architect for a number of local and international companies based in Makati. As a cultural heritage and local history advocate, he co-founded Grupo Kalinangan, an NGO that provides technical assistance and capacity building for local governments and grassroots communities in using IT-enabled tools to protect and promote their local history and cultural heritage. He is currently working as Data Science and AI Practice Lead for ePLDT.