Taguig, a city part of the Metro Manila sector in the Philippines. Taguig contains the Bonifacio Global City (popularly known simply as BGC), Metro Manila's second most important business district and a major tourism, shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Other attractions include the Manila American Cemetery and the affluent neighbourhood of McKinley Hill.
Taguig's Fort Bonifacio Global City, is a planned neighborhood built on part of a former military base. It was built upon modern concepts of urbanism, including pedestrian-friendliness and mixed use buildings, which together with the cleanness, safety and unusually rigorous traffic enforcement, makes it sort of a "Singapore"-like city inside Manila. For some people, the area may look sterile, expensive, over-internationalised and lacking Filipino character, while for others, it might offer a welcome respite from the grittiness that characterises most of Metro Manila outside the air conditioning of a shopping mall. It also symbolises the craving for modernity and global thinking which perhaps is also part of Filipino culture.
Nonetheless, it is a misconception to think of BGC as a sort of expat or wealthy-only enclave; the area is bustling with locals from all over Metro Manila, working in the area's call centers during the day, and strolling around the Bonifacio High Street or shopping at the lively Market! Market! on evenings and weekends.
South of BGC, the affluent neighbourhood of McKinley Hill attempts to replicate the charms of Italy with two large mixed used (residential and shopping) developments, the Tuscany Private Estate and Venice Grand Canal Mall/The Florence, which attract crowds of selfie-snapping Manileños, although as of early 2018 the actual shops are still slow to settle there.
In between the two neighbourhoods lies the huge and serene Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, the largest American World War II cemetery in the world, which despite being one of Metro Manila's top attractions, it is still an oasis of peace in the bustling metropolis.
By taxi or e-hailing
If you are coming from Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport or from Makati taking a taxi or hailing a car or taxi to Taguig using the Grab app would be a convenient and relatively affordable option. If you want to hail a car but do not have a data plan, you can use the Grab kiosks in the airport and several shopping malls in Makati. Going to Taguig from Manila's city center will be more expensive (around ₱250-400), and you should be prepared to spend a long time in traffic.
The PNR Southrail passes through the West border of Taguig, which contains the Nichols and FTI stations. However, the BGC area is much closer to the Ayala and Guadalupe MRT-3 stations. If you want to cut through the traffic of Manila, an option is take the MRT-3 to Ayala or Guadalupe, and then take a taxi/Grab or public transportation to BGC. There are buses to the BGC bus terminal at Ayala Station, right across the Shell gas station near the East exit.
If use public transportation try sakay.ph [formerly dead link], it will show you the right type to your destination.
BGC has its own system of comfortable, air-conditioned buses, named BGC/Fort Bus. A full list of routes is here; take note that some routes are only available during evenings and peak hours. Price is ₱12 for all routes; Metro Manila's Beep public transportation cards are accepted.
With wide walkways, plenty of shelter and serious traffic enforcement, BGC is perhaps the best place in Metro Manila to explore by walking. The Bonifacio High Street pedestrian street leading to the Serendra, the Forbestown Road leading to the Burgos Circle, and the Uptown Parade are some places definitely to be explored on foot.
By taxi or e-hailing
BGC and McKinley Hill are quite compact areas and nearby each other, so taking a taxi or using Grab to hail a car or taxi in-between these areas shouldn't be expensive.
By jeepney or tricycle
Bonifacio Global City
The BGC area, with its modern skyscrapers, exhibits of contemporary architecture, wide walkways, street art, and several mixed used developments containing cafes, restaurants and shops, can be considered as a sight by itself and possibly the most pedestrian-friendly area of Metro Manila. It is an area that deserves a few hours of exploration, both in the day and in the evening where some areas get more alive.
To have panoramic views of the area, go to one of BGC's several rooftop bars and sky lounges. BGC also contains the Grand Hyatt Manila, which with 281.78 m, is the tallest building of the Philippines.
- 1 Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Daily 9AM-5PM except Christmas and New Year. The largest American World War II cemetery in the World, containing 17,206 graves representing U.S. soldiers who died fighting Japanese forces during the Pacific War. Besides the graves, it contains a chapel, monuments, sculpted gardens and a museum with 25 mosaic maps depicting U.S. battles in the Pacific, making the area well worth a visit. A photo ID is required for entrance. free.
- 2 The Mind Museum, JY Campos Park, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City 1634, ☏ . Tu-Su 9AM-6PM. The top science museum of the Philippines, with stunning architecture and showcasing 5 main galleries with interactive exhibitions. ₱150-750.
- 3 Burgos Circle, Burgos Circle, Taguig. A traffic circle and a public park surrounded by skyscrapers and by alfresco restaurants, cafes and bars, described as a "a window to the Parisian lifestyle in the heart of Manila". In the center of the circles lies "The Trees" art installation by Reynato Paz Contreras, and bronze and brass sculpture representing three interlocking trees forming a done.
- 4 Forbestown Road, Forbestown Road, Taguig. Linked to the Burgus Circle, Forbestown Road is probably one of Manila's most beautiful and pleasant streets, containing plenty of greenery and mixed used developments with several alfresco restaurants, cafes and bars.
- Bonifacio High Street (see #Buy)
- 5 Serendra, McKinley Pkwy, Taguig. Mixed used development with contemporary decoration and several alfresco cafes and restaurants. It links the Bonifacio High Street to the Market! Market!
- 6 Uptown Parade (at the crossing between 9th Avenue and 36th Street in Taguig). Next to the Uptown Mall, a two-floor "dining mall" with several alfresco restaurants and some clubs.
- 7 The Fort Strip, 28th Street Corner 7th Avenue, The Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, 1634. Building containing several restaurants, bars and clubs.
The Pinagsama barangay contains McKinley Hill, a business and upscale residential area just south of BGC (after the Manila American Cemetery). Its main attraction is certainly the Venice Grand Canal mall.
- Venice Grand Canal (see #Buy)
- 8 Tuscany Private Estates, Upper McKinley Rd, Taguig, 1634. It may sound a bit of joke to have a place named "Tuscany" just next to the "Venice Grand Canal" (and the next project in the area is named "Florence"). Regardless, it is a beautiful mixed used development in Neoclassical style, with plenty of options of alfresco restaurants and cafes facing the Upper McKinley Road.
Outside BGC and Pinagsama
- 9 Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery), Bayani Road, Taguig 1630. Cemetery for the Filipino soldiers who perished in the World War II, as well as for national heroes and former presidents, including Elpidio Quirino, Carlos P. Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos. It contains several monuments, such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and memorials to Korean and Vietnamese soldiers who died in the Philippines.
- 10 Saint Anne Parish Church (Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne), 18 Gen. A Luna St, Sta. Ana, Taguig, 1637. Church built in Baroque style in 1587. In the old cemetery of the parish lies the Simborio, a dome-shaped funerary chapel build in the 1700s.
BGC may be a superb destination for business, shopping, dining and nightlife, but in terms of cultural options it still lags far behind Manila. If you enjoy contemporary art, however, you can find street art, art galleries, and open air installations.
- 1 BGC Arts Center, 26th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig 1634, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. One of the few dedicated facilities in BGC for concerts and cultural events.
- [formerly dead link] Samsung Hall. Indoor theatre and convert venue located at SM Aura Premier (see #Buy).
- 2 MO_Space, 3rd floor, MOs Design Bldg, B2 9th Avenue, Bonifacio High Street, ☏ (ext. 2 or 3), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-8PM. Contemporary exhibitions, shows and performances from emerging artists.
- 3 PABLO, C-11 South of Market, 11th Avenue, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa noon-7PM. Good quality contemporary art exhibitions from local and foreign artists.
- Gondola ride at the Venice Grand Canal. 10AM-10PM. Obviously the Venice Grand Canal mall (see #Buy) isn't Venice, but the price of a gondola ride here is also a small fraction of the "real thing". Plus the atmosphere surrounding the fake canal is lively, especially in the evening. M-Th ₱250, F-Su ₱350.
Bonifacio Global City
- 1 Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, 5th Ave, ☏ . Su-Th 10AM-10PM, F Sa 10AM-11PM. An open air shopping mall shaped as a vibrant pedestrian street occupying 3 blocks in the heart of BGC, and one of the area's most popular attractions. Besides a variety of shops, bars, restaurants, and a cinema it contains a park which often hosts contemporary art exhibitions and other events.
- Fully Booked, Ground Floor, B6, Bonifacio High Street, ☏ . M-F 11AM-11PM, longer on weekends. Fully Booked's flagship store on Bonifacio High street contains 4 floors of books, magazines, and art supplies. Most books are in English, but there is a small foreign language section.
- 2 Market! Market!, McKinley Pkwy, ☏ . Su-Th 10AM-9PM, F Sa 10AM-10PM. If you think that BGC is all about expensive, high-end shopping you will be blown away when you step in the Market! Market!, a large shopping mall that besides regular shops, has also a fair share of "air-conditioned street shopping" with all sorts of bargains and even products of dubious origin. In the external part of the mall, the Fiesta Market also contains an open air food court and a small amusement park.
- 3 SM Aura Premier, 8 McKinley Pkwy, ☏ . 10AM-10PM (supermarket and some stores longer). If the Market! Market! is the shopping mall you wouldn't expect in BGC, the SM Aura is pretty much what you would expect - thin crowds and high-end shopping on its finest, although you can still find some affordable Filipino clothing stores. Even if the expensive shopping does not interest you, the curved L-shaped building it a sight to behold on itself. The Samsung Hall is also contained here.
- [formerly dead link] Uptown Bonifacio, 36th St. cor 9th Avenue lat=14.556591, ☏ . 11AM-10PM. Mall forming a mixed used development with corporate towers, containing a mix of Filipino and international brands. The dancing fountain in the 4th floor is worth checking.
- 4 Venice Grand Canal, McKinley Hill Garden Villas, Cluster B,, Upper McKinley Rd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-11PM. A shopping mall that is more like a tourist attraction, the Venice Grand Canal mall contains a replica of Venice's Grand Canal and a sight to behold, leaving far behind any "Fake Venices" you may have seen in Las Vegas or Macau. Besides gondola rides, it contains a small size replica of the Rialto Bridge and hosts free family-oriented performances. Still not many shops around, but the surroundings of the canal are packed with restaurants.
BGC and McKinley Hill are gastronomic paradises, with restaurants scattered in the mixed used developments including the Bonifacio High Street, Serendra, The Fort Strip, Forbes Town, Uptown Parade and Tuscany Estate, in the multiple shopping malls and some sitting by themselves in the streets. While it is true that many restaurants in the area are expensive by Filipino standards, affordable street food can be found at the Fiesta Market, the Mercado Centrale, and at the usual array of Filipino fast food and casual dining chains.
Bonifacio Global City
- 1 Mercato Centrale, 25th Street Corner, 7th Ave, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. F-Sa 6PM-3AM. Street food fair in a small square in BGC open until late yours. Can become quite packed, do don't count on getting a table.
- 2 BENCH Cafe, B5 Bonifacio High Street, ☏ . Su-M 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. Cafe in the second floor of the Bench flagship store in Bonifacio High Street. Offers Filipino comfort food with a twist and with affordable prices. Don't expect superb service though. Their Halo-Halos are definitely worth trying.
- 3 Fiesta Market food court, Market! Market!. The Fiesta Market located in the external area of the Market! Market! shopping mall contains a food court offering a range of street food.
- Locavore, Forbes Town Center, Burgos Cir lat=14.550523, ☏ . M-Th 9AM-1AM, F Satl 9AM-2AM, Su 9AM-midnight. Contemporary Filipino cuisine at the charming Forbestown Road. Expect queues for dinner.
- 4 Abe Serendra, Serendra, 11th Ave, ☏ . 11AM-3PM, 5PM-11PM. One of the stars of the Serendra, it offers classic Filipino cuisine in the BGC branch of the Abe restaurant.
- 5 Conti's Pastry Shop and Restaurant, 1C-17 Serendra, ☏ . Su-Th 8AM-10PM, F Sa 8AM-11PM. The BGC branch of the famous Conti's pastry shop, famous for its mango bravo, sans rival and ensaymada. This branch seems specialised in take-outs so don't expect great service from the sit-in restaurant.
- Hossein's Persian Kebab Unit 5 & 6 Fort St. Bldg., Fort Bonifacio (☏ or ☏ ) in front NBC tent. Serves authentic Indian, Arabian and Persian cuisine. Halal certified.
- Hossein 2nd Level, Serendra, McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio Bonifacio Global City (☏ or ☏ ).
- 6 Las Flores, One McKinley Place, 25th Street, BGC, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-1AM, F Sa 11AM-2AM. An authentic Spanish bistro from the popular Andilana group of restaurants in Barcelona, popular for its tapas and paellas.
- F1 Hotel (formerly Best Western), 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, ☏ . F1 Hotel offers superior room, deluxe king, deluxe double, city suite king and executive suite with air-conditioning, high-definition LCD TV and high-speed internet connection. Its facilities and services include Infinity lap pool, rejuvenation center, 24-hour room service and guest services.
BGC is certainly one of safest areas of Metro Manila, thanks to the ostensive presence of security and heavy-handed traffic enforcement. It is not unusual to see people jogging by themselves in the evening, which wouldn't be recommended in most parts of Manila. However, some care is required at traffic junctions, where discretionary turns are allowed and drivers performing a turn often refuse to yield to pedestrians, despite signs to do otherwise.
Beware of high-value party drugs and laced drinks in bars. The city's high nightlife has invited illegal drug dealers, so watch out for seedy locations where such drugs are sold. Also, don't just accept a drink from strangers or leave your drink alone.
Although BGC and McKinley Hill are quite close to each other, it is better not to walk between the areas as you pass through desolated roads with no people in the streets. Take a taxi or use Grab instead.
Outside BGC or McKinley Hill, Taguig is rather a mix of slums and residential communities. Drugs and violent crimes are common, so beware.