No wonder Makati Cinema Square is still standing after all these years. There’s so much to see and do inside this Makati institution, which opened in the 1980s when mega malls were not yet around. The movie theaters on the top floor are no longer there and the big imported brands that newer malls boast are not here. Not to worry, MCS still has its charm. Below are 11 things you can do there should you decide to play hooky from work one of these days.
1. Fire a gun. On the basement level of MCS is Armscor Shooting Center, a longstanding shooting range that lets you blow off 50 bullets’ worth of stress for just PHP1,000. That covers range fee, gun rental and two pieces of target paper. U/B Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; www.facebook.com, +63 2 6219109. Daily 10:30am-7:30pm.
2. Learn archery. If you think guns are too violent, visit Kodanda Archery Range and play Robin Hood with a bow and arrow. Cough out PHP550 for an hour’s worth of personal instruction, equipment rental and range fee. U/B Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; www.facebook.com/KonandaArchery.com, +63 2 8111551. Daily 10:30am-7pm.
3. Go bowling and play billiards. Superbowl, a billiards and bowling hall, looks, smells, and feels exactly as the billiards and bowling halls of our youth. It’s dark, musty and spacious, has a Magoo’s Pizza branch, and offers opportunities to learn from Olympian Paeng Nepomuceno himself! After a few minutes into your game, you’ll feel like you’ve gone on a time travel. What a trip! 3/F Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; www.puyatsports.com, +63 2 8180239. Mon, Fri & Sat 9am-12am, Tue, Thu & Sun 10am-12am.
4. Tuck into Bacolod’s best inasal. Aida’s Chicken, said to be Bacolod’s best-tasting inasal, and possibly Manila’s most underrated, is every foodies’ well-kept secret. The chicken inasal comes with rice and soup (PHP165). Check out the fine pieces of art on the walls. Aida’s son, we hear, is a photographer and these works are by his artist-friends. 2/F Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; +63 2 8111537. Daily 10am-9pm.
5. Get your watch fixed! Members of the Philippine Watch Club have been getting their watches repaired by Mang Arnesto, owner of Arnesto Swiss Watch Repair on the second floor. He’s been fixing timepieces for over 30 years now, but it wasn’t until 2004 that he put up his own shop, in Magallanes. In 2007, he transferred to MCS, and as expected, the watch club followed him. 2/F Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati. Daily 10am-9pm.
6. Celebrate your bisyo. Right next to Arnesto Swiss Watch Repair is Unique Bisyo, a little shop selling pre-loved watches, vinyl records, vintage stuff, “basta lahat ng bisyo,” says the friendly attendant. But here’s the real story: Unique Bisyo is a result of them watch geeks visiting Mang Arnesto. Because they’re always there anyway, they decided to put up this little shop of oddities. Every Saturday, they come here, have a drink, talk about watches and have a good time. 2/F Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; www.facebook.com/UniqueBisyo. Daily 10am-9pm.
7. Get into a fight. Standing in one of MCS’s former cinemas is Makati Square Arena, an all-in-one fight space with a ring right in the center. On the two-floor sidelines there are stalls for boxing, Muay Thai, Aikiyoi, Karate, MMA, and a gym. But if all you want to do is watch, Makati Square Arena also hosts free international matches every so often. 3/F Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; www.facebook.com. Daily 10am-10pm.
8. Shop for vinyl records. MCS is a haven for vinyl record collectors. Bebop Records, on the ground floor, has well-curated titles and presses. Across them is an unnamed shop for the audio slave that sells high-end and super expensive hardware for your record component. U/B Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; www.facebook.com. Daily 10am-9pm.
9. Send snail mail. Where some malls have Internet cafés to send an email, MCS has a postal office where you can communicate the old-fashioned way. Seeing these old-school post boxes might just inspire you to send yourself a postcard. G/F Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; +63 2 8111902. Daily 9am-5pm.
10. Eat at Catalina Woodlands Café. This café will take you to another world all together. The owner, a cartoonist, has hand-drawn and hand-painted the walls to make the eatery look and feel like a woodland. The ceiling is decorated with leaves and vines, embellished with Christmas lights to look like fairies inhabit them. The wait staff don elven ears. Incredible. U/B Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City; +63 2 8111903. Daily 10am-9pm.
11. Check out Aubrey Miles’ hand print. Did you know that there’s an Aubrey Miles Pawnshop? This is the second branch of the popular FHM cover girl’s business. Unlike the first one in Cubao, this branch features her vision: Italian-inspired wooden interiors, window counters that make you feel like you were inside a church confessional, and her handprint on the floor. 2/F Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati. Facebook. Daily 10am-9pm.
Photos by Federico Cruz