Fort Bonifacio: Manila’s alluring anomaly

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Fort Bonifacio
Jeepney-free zone in the upscale neighbourhood of Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila

The 17 cities that compose Metro Manila, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world, each have their own distinct character and history. But it is the youngest district in this vast patchwork of cities that says the most about the developmental progress of Manila today, an overlooked and largely misunderstood story in this low-income nation with a per capita GDP of just $2,200.

By Justin Calderon

Want to see the Manila that perfumes of Spanish colonialism? Head to Intramuros north of Manila Bay. Want a bit of hustle and bustle to match your step? Then its to Makati for you, home of the Philippine Stock Exchange and the iconic Greenbelt mall. But if it is conspicuous show of Manila’s nouveau riche you are looking for, then the gridded streets of Fort Bonifacio, or simply “The Fort” as it is commonly known, is the direction you are heading.

After four years of serious construction that has become an ongoing beat to the district, the former Philippine military base of Fort Andres Bonifacio has transformed into Bonifacio Global City, a clutch of commercial and residential properties stitched together with wide sidewalks reminiscent of a North American urban centre.

The Fort, located in Taguig City just a 10-minute drive from Makati, is now home to multinational corporations set in high-tech offices, including JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, and has become a popular location for expats and chic Filipino socialites alike. It is a place locals go to be seen, and Indian and Japanese expats walk worriless of crime with their family.

In a city that has an outside image of violence and cinder-block slums, The Fort sticks out from this perceived chaos as an alluring anomaly.

Such is the stark contrast between The Fort and other cities in Manila that it feels like a cocoon, insulated from the wily and uncertain world beyond its gridded domain.

A major anxiety of many throughout the Philippines, substantial floods do not beleaguer residents of The Fort due to a massive underground drainage detention structure that can hold 22 million liters of water, releasing it under controlled conditions.

Another gem in The Fort’s world-class crown of infrastructure are large water reservoirs that assure strong water pressure 24 hours a day, seven days a week – a definite luxury in the Philippines.

The Fort can feel a bit separatist from the rest of Manila. Jeepneys, the iconic and bawdy form of Filipino public transport, are not allowed to enter The Fort due to the stop-and-go traffic and belching emissions they create. Instead, The Fort runs its own shuttle bus system that rides passengers in a circuit around the district to Ayala Land’s Market! Market! shopping complex, in which The Fort’s development was anchored around, as well as other routes.

Filipino workers, an inherent eclectic mix of faces from across Asia, employed by BPO companies, call centers and international conglomerates find themselves here, chatting up early evenings in dashes of Tagalog and crisp English. Somewhere from one of the haute pub or restaurant in the Fort Strip, Burgos Circle or High Street, there is a sense that the Philippines is meant for more.

 

 

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jeepney-free zone in the upscale neighbourhood of Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila

The 17 cities that compose Metro Manila, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world, each have their own distinct character and history. But it is the youngest district in this vast patchwork of cities that says the most about the developmental progress of Manila today, an overlooked and largely misunderstood story in this low-income nation with a per capita GDP of just $2,200.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Fort Bonifacio
Jeepney-free zone in the upscale neighbourhood of Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila

The 17 cities that compose Metro Manila, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world, each have their own distinct character and history. But it is the youngest district in this vast patchwork of cities that says the most about the developmental progress of Manila today, an overlooked and largely misunderstood story in this low-income nation with a per capita GDP of just $2,200.

By Justin Calderon

Want to see the Manila that perfumes of Spanish colonialism? Head to Intramuros north of Manila Bay. Want a bit of hustle and bustle to match your step? Then its to Makati for you, home of the Philippine Stock Exchange and the iconic Greenbelt mall. But if it is conspicuous show of Manila’s nouveau riche you are looking for, then the gridded streets of Fort Bonifacio, or simply “The Fort” as it is commonly known, is the direction you are heading.

After four years of serious construction that has become an ongoing beat to the district, the former Philippine military base of Fort Andres Bonifacio has transformed into Bonifacio Global City, a clutch of commercial and residential properties stitched together with wide sidewalks reminiscent of a North American urban centre.

The Fort, located in Taguig City just a 10-minute drive from Makati, is now home to multinational corporations set in high-tech offices, including JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, and has become a popular location for expats and chic Filipino socialites alike. It is a place locals go to be seen, and Indian and Japanese expats walk worriless of crime with their family.

In a city that has an outside image of violence and cinder-block slums, The Fort sticks out from this perceived chaos as an alluring anomaly.

Such is the stark contrast between The Fort and other cities in Manila that it feels like a cocoon, insulated from the wily and uncertain world beyond its gridded domain.

A major anxiety of many throughout the Philippines, substantial floods do not beleaguer residents of The Fort due to a massive underground drainage detention structure that can hold 22 million liters of water, releasing it under controlled conditions.

Another gem in The Fort’s world-class crown of infrastructure are large water reservoirs that assure strong water pressure 24 hours a day, seven days a week – a definite luxury in the Philippines.

The Fort can feel a bit separatist from the rest of Manila. Jeepneys, the iconic and bawdy form of Filipino public transport, are not allowed to enter The Fort due to the stop-and-go traffic and belching emissions they create. Instead, The Fort runs its own shuttle bus system that rides passengers in a circuit around the district to Ayala Land’s Market! Market! shopping complex, in which The Fort’s development was anchored around, as well as other routes.

Filipino workers, an inherent eclectic mix of faces from across Asia, employed by BPO companies, call centers and international conglomerates find themselves here, chatting up early evenings in dashes of Tagalog and crisp English. Somewhere from one of the haute pub or restaurant in the Fort Strip, Burgos Circle or High Street, there is a sense that the Philippines is meant for more.

 

 

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