Whenever we think of going to Makati, we think horrendous traffic, the countless stoplights, towering skyscrapers, and the expensive parking rates. There's also the noise from the construction of new high-rises, the endless honking of car horns, the clatter of diesel from public utility vehicles (PUVs), and of course, the crowded streets.
As the business capital of the Philippines, it's not surprising given the number of people that live, work, and commute in the hustle and bustle that is Makati City. In fact, whenever we get invited to a car launch or automotive-related event and the venue will be in the country's business capital, we're already dreading it.
But just like the busy bees that work (and live) in Makati, the city also goes on weekend breaks to rest and recharge in order to face another (hectic) working week. The city can go from a noisy metropolis to a calm and relaxing cityscape.
Find it hard to believe? To prove that the city takes on a different look during weekends, I decided to take an early Sunday morning stroll in Makati, as well as check out some go-to spots for some R&R. For this particular Sunday drive, my steed of choice was the Ford Territory. While we have already driven this crossover several times since last year, this is actually the first time that I’ll be able to drive it without paying mind to traffic.
One of my favorite places to hang around in Makati is Salcedo Village. While it may be more known for the Salcedo Saturday Market at the Jaime Velasquez Park, this particular locale is also known for several restaurants and cafes. It’s also the place to do some car-spotting but we’ll get to that later.
Thanks to the lovely overcast weather (I prefer it over sunny days, to be honest), I decided to open up the huge panoramic sunroof on the Territory. I usually don’t open the sunroof when I’m in the metro, but since it was a Sunday and there weren’t any smoke-belching vehicles, I said to myself "to heck with it" and decided to enjoy the open air when I was heading to Makati.
Arriving at a very early 7:00 AM, there were only just a few cars going around the city. However, I immediately noticed that there were more cyclists and joggers going around the metropolis. The usual rush of traffic, pedestrians, and deafening noise have been all replaced by the subtle sounds of joggers going the extra mile, as well as cyclists looking to get more seat-time and improve their endurance.
For my first stop, I decided to go to L.P. Leviste Street. Despite my early arrival, I noticed that there were already cafes and restos that are open for business. Starting with a light breakfast, I decided to go to Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters.
My go-to drink here is usually a hot cup of Caffe Mocha. However, I decided to get instead a nice big glass of Cold Brew that I paired with their famous Bucky. While some might say it’s just like a brownie (to which I mistakenly called it before) it’s actually quite different since it’s denser and has a more cake-like texture. It also has more crumbs when you sink your teeth into it, unlike a brownie which feels more solid.
While I was enjoying my first meal of the day, something immediately caught my eye outside the cafe; a pristine 1987 BMW 3 Series E30 Convertible finished in a dark green hue. Remember what I said about car-spotting? L.P. Leviste is one of the hang-outs to check out vintage cars, modern classics, as well as the occasional supercar in case you spot one.
I managed to chat with the owner of the BMW E30 who goes by the name of Richie. According to the gentleman, the E30 Convertible is a 1987 model and he’s actually the latest owner. He has kept it mostly stock and the only change it received is the tan leather interior. The owner said it originally had a fabric interior although the previous owner decided to change it. While some purists (including Mr. Richie himself) prefer the original fabric seats, the tan upholstery does go well with the green exterior.
Aside from the exquisite E30 Convertible, I also managed to spot another German automobile, a Porsche 911 Targa 996. While this particular generation wasn’t initially loved by enthusiasts, reception towards the 996 has softened and it’s now becoming a modern classic. Personally, I actually like this 911 since it was one of the Porsches I grew up seeing in movies, magazines, and video games apart from the 993 and the 964 generations.
After finishing my light breakfast, I decided to go around Makati some more. My next stop was Single Origin Osteria which is actually not that far from Toby’s Estate. Located at Tordesillas Street, this quaint cafe is another one of my favorite spots. Tucked into a corner near a side street, the cafe has 180 degrees of view to allow guests to enjoy the world go by, and that I did.
Since I already had coffee earlier, I decided to switch it up and get some tea; Iced Gorgeous Geisha Tea to be exact. Unlike your typical green tea, this one is sweeter and has elements from strawberries and cream added to give it a bolder flavor. I then paired it with some truffle fries because who doesn’t love a plate of delicious spuds to go along with their drink?
As I relax in the cafe, I noticed that it was surrounded by Italian, American, and Japanese motorcycles, including scooters. From Ducatis, Kawasakis, Vespas, Lambrettas, Hondas, as well as Harley-Davidsons, those who prefer two wheels over four wheels will not be disappointed when they hang out in Makati on a Sunday.
I also managed to spot another German classic, the Mercedes-Benz 190E; AKA the W201. DTM and Euro enthusiasts know that the 190E (particularly the Cosworth variety), are the ones to get if you have the means to do so. I wasn’t able to get a good look if it was a Cosworth (in disguise), but that didn’t matter. What mattered more was the lovely condition the car was in when I saw it. Kudos to the owner for keeping the classic Benz on the road for several more years.
With the distant chatter of the other guests, the continuous pouring and preparing of coffee/tea, as well as the constant sound of the kitchen cooking a new set of meals, the cafe’s sights and sounds kept me company throughout my stay at Single Origin Osteria. I was so relaxed that I almost didn’t notice I spent nearly 3 hours just watching everything go by. Since it was already past 12 noon, I decided to pay my bill and head back home.
Some people spend their Sundays cooped up at home under the covers and just do nothing. Others, meanwhile, decide that a sumptuous buffet is the best way to enjoy a rest day. Still, some prefer to go on a road trip to shake the stress off a hectic work week.
While I’m a fan of all those options, driving around Makati City on a Sunday morning and enjoying a good cup of coffee (or tea) complete with breakfast is one of my most preferred escapes after finishing a week of work. With the pandemic derailing my go-to escape several years ago, getting to do it again after so long felt like a warm hug from a close friend or relative.
Some might only see Makati City as a bustling metropolis that doesn’t know how to take a break. But if you actually dig a little deeper, you’ll find that even the busiest and one of the most bustling cities in Metro Manila knows how to enjoy a Sunday morning. I'm sure I did.