There are many options for a night out in Makati: you can dine out at one of the many different restaurants dotted around, especially in the Greenbelt area; go for a drink in one of the hundreds of slick and modern bars that are found all around the capital; or dance the night away at one of the clubs like the new Royal, the established Time, or at a more underground and warehouse-type of venue like Black Market. Alternatively, you could eschew all of these options and go for something more ‘local,’ cheaper, more down to earth and, for me, much more enriching.
I recently discovered the A.Venue outdoor market on Makati Avenue in Poblacion. A car park that gets converted into a festival-type of setting at night, this is something different and enlightening, and I had a great time while doing everything I would normally do, yet I only spent half the money.
There are two dozen little food stands set up in a type of semi-rectangle shape, offering all types of meat-on-skewers, fresh fish, barbequed meats, noodles, and cakes, and there’s even a Greek stand serving up kebabs and moussaka. Most of the food is raw and gets cooked while you wait. A lot of it shows off Filipino sauces and cooking techniques, and it’s generally delicious with portions that are more than reasonable. There is also a small drinks stand that offers all types of soft drinks as well as beers at a fraction of the price you would normally pay in a bar.
There is a large covered area where people sit on plastic chairs and tables and enjoy their food and drink, but best of all, there’s a small stage where local bands belt out classic rock covers and pop hits from different eras, and even some Filipino songs that I didn’t understand (but still thoroughly enjoyed nonetheless). If you need to stretch your legs, you can take a little wonder around the stalls just to the side of all this where you’ll find jewelry and clothes stands, as well as kids’ toys stalls offering all types of bargains.
This is a simple night out where you can get a real feel for Filipino culture (most of the other patrons were locals), eat, have a drink, listen to some music, chat to your friends, and still go home with some money in your pocket – so head on over and check out the other side of Makati.