Malls are at the heart of shopping, dining, entertainment and general social live in Manila. While the most popular complex is Greenbelt/Glorietta/SM in Makati (reviewed here), one of the nicest and newest alternatives is Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City! It is modeled after a European downtown shopping street, with an open air pedestrian area at the heart of it, many restaurants and shops on both sides and large indoor malls for all budgets at either end of the large strip. Even if you are not staying at the Fort, it’s worth a trip for a little evening fun!
Fort Bonifacio Global City was planned as a new city from scratch on the land that used to belong to a huge military base near Makati. And it was designed well, with High Street as an airy and entertaining heart. In contrast to all other malls in Manila, High Street is open air, with covered walkways providing shelter from rain and misters cooler air during the summer. You have greenery and trees at the center, making it a popular place for people to hang out or stroll, especially in the evenings and on weekends. Most of the restaurants and coffee shops have outdoor seating, so you can take in the atmosphere…
At the Eastern end of High Street, you will find two malls: The gleaming white Aura Premier mall, a high end shopping center by SM. You’ll have plenty of upscale food and shopping options, all air conditioned and with lots of glass, stone and metal, similar to lots of other malls around the world.
From the Aura, you can make your way through an outdoor food and flower market, with lots of local snacks and trets on offer, and head to the lower-end Market!Market! It is anchored by the Metro department store and has several floors of indoor market – from clothes to gifts and jewellery. It’s similar to markets in Thailand, with lots of inexpensive items for sale. There are also electronic stores, kids stores and brand clothing stores represented. The market is a destination for family trips and packed on Sundays. It makes for an interesting contrast to the more upscale malls in Makati and at the Fort.
From Market!Market!, you can start your stroll through the Serendra restaurant area (with some very good local and international food on offer!) towards High Street. Along the pedestrian area, you find mostly international mid-scale brand stores and chain restaurants, from Old Navy to Starbucks. At the opposite end, you’ll have two smaller high end malls with luxury stores as well as a movie theatre, facing a small park. The movie theatre is my favorite in the city – it has one with comfy lounge chairs for a relaxed show. The little park often has activities on weekends, from concerts to fashion shows!
Bonifacio High Street has so many choices, it makes for a great evening or Sunday out of strolling, watching, shopping and of course eating. There are plenty of restaurants we go to regularly, so just walk along and find one that suits your tastes. The more unique options are at either end, around the little park (like Mango Tree Thai, the Salad Stop or Nolita Pizza) or in Serendra (with Chelsea, Mamou or Murray’s). Have fun!