Manila is a mega-city with a lot of different shopping scenes: malls, boutiques, markets, bazaars… There are endless options for all wallets but some areas just have that extra charm that make you want to hang around with your friends, turning a day’s activity into an evening diner and late night drink…
The Fort Bonifacio in Taguig-City did just that for me. The neighborhood is spanking new and clean with new high rise condos springing up like mushrooms. The whole area started developing about 10 years ago, offering a new vibe to Metro Manila, very modern, dynamic and well-organized.
Just a few minutes from Makati city, on a magic no-traffic ride, my friend first took me to Market Market, which offers everything from a traditional mall, bazaar sections and an outdoor market. With this eclectic offering I found it very nice to walk around, going through the latest collections of international and local brand names to the stalls covered with Philippine crafts and produce. The main building has different sections according to the type of goods: fashion, furniture, electronics… making it easy to browse and compare between vendors. From the main alleys you can go through discreet corridors to access the many booths where you can bargain for anything from colorful shoes to original clothes and accessories. I really liked Follow Your Heart for its boutique display and adorable bags in many colors and patterns which were perfect for Christmas gifts. In and around Market Market is a wide selection of fast-foods and restaurants. We ate Chinese at Hap Chan; the congee soup, dim sums and siopaos (Filino steamed buns) were very tasty and served in a simple yet nice atmosphere. My friend treated me to a Filipino delicacy, polvoron, a sort of powdered milk cookie which melts in your mouth; the perfect energy booster to continue on our shopping spree!
Next we crossed over to the Bonifacio High Street where we found the high-scale stores and restaurants of the Fort. The small European style buildings were the perfect backdrop to a leisurely stroll. We stopped at the newly opened Muji store which had some cool items but seemed so expensive right after Market Market. We also checked out The Spa with its sleek entrance and wall fountains, the treatments seemed nice but we were more intrigued by the dance studio on the ground floor offering classes mixing ballet, yoga and pilates. As the temperature got cooler in the evening we saw many joggers on the main streets, I really liked the laid back atmosphere in the Fort.
I could not resist the charming Cupcakes by Sonja boutique, the decoration and presentation were really cute. The strawberry cupcake I had tasted great, but the icing really was just whipped butter. Sitting at the terrace we enjoyed people watching, everyone starting their marathon Christmas shopping. Later on, we enjoyed some cocktails at Pier One. The terrace was lively with many groups of all ages having a good time or maybe one too many of the local cocktail… the slammer!