Popular neighbourhoods in Manila

Manila neighbourhoods
Updated 2023-06-30 11:11

Choosing a neighborhood is one of the most critical decisions that expats need to make when moving to Manila. Each neighborhood in Manila has its unique characteristics, ranging from safety, accessibility of public transport, nightlife, and cost of living to proximity to universities and restaurants. Below is a handy guide to help you choose from the most popular neighborhoods in Metro Manila.

There are a few stand-out neighborhoods in Manila that are hugely popular with expats, like Ortigas Center, Pasig, Ermita Manila, Eastwood City, Bel-air Village, Legazpi Village, and Bonifacio Global City.

Ortigas Center, Pasig

Ortigas is one of the first districts in Manila that fully established itself as a prime real estate location that suits yuppies and expats alike. It is home to some of the country's most prominent institutions like San Miguel Corporation, Meralco and several international call center companies.

Ortigas is ideally located between two major business districts in Manila, Makati and Bonifacio Global City, making it a popular destination for expats. It has excellent transportation links to different parts of the city, including the MRT (Manila Metro Rail Transit System) and several major roads, such as EDSA, C5, and Ortigas Avenue. It's easy to navigate and commute to other parts of Manila through these transportation options.

In this highly-accessible neighborhood, you will find shopping malls like SM Megamall, Robinsons Galleria, the Podium and St. Francis Square. It is also home to premium hotels like EDSA Shangri-la, Holiday Inn Manila and Crowne Plaza Manila. Apart from malls, other popular places for expats include Metrowalk, which offers a vibrant nightlife with bars, pubs, and restaurants, and the Capitol Commons, ideal for those seeking a more upscale dining and entertainment venue.

Ortigas offers a range of accommodation options for expats, including condos, apartments, and townhouses in various price ranges. The Pearl Place, One Shangri-La Place, and The Sonata Private Residences are some of the popular condominium buildings in the area.

Ortigas District is a great choice for expats who want a convenient area to do more or less everything! The district boasts an ideal location, easily accessed by different modes of transportation, world-class shopping malls, entertainment options, a range of accommodation choices, and quality education, making it a comfortable and convenient location for families and professionals alike.


Ermita is an important district of finance, culture, education and commerce in the country. It is also known to be one of the most popular districts in Manila, close to the central business districts of Makati and Bonifacio Global City. It is well-served by several modes of public transportation, such as buses, LRT-1, and jeepneys, which makes travel around the city district easy and accessible.

Famous tourist attractions and landmarks like Rizal Park, National Museum, and Ermita Church are also tucked into this district.  Some well know universities can be found here, like the University of the Philippines and UP College of Medicine, to name some.

Overall, Ermita is a great choice for expats who want to experience the vibrant culture of Manila. With its central location, easy accessibility, cultural attractions, entertaining nightlife and education options, it is an excellent place for expats to call home. However, expats should be vigilant about safety and ensure they take the necessary measures to ensure a safe and pleasant living experience.

Eastwood City

Eastwood City is a 18.5-hectare commercial and residential development developed by Megaworld Corporation and located in Quezon City. It has a BPO-targeted office complex named Eastwood Cyberpark. This area is home to companies like Accenture, Dell, IBM, and Citibank. It is also home to research and development companies for electronics and power supplies like Canon and Emerson Power Network. It currently hosts 19 luxury residential condominium towers, has 10 first-class corporate office buildings, seven ongoing residential projects, and a modern IT Park, with several more being developed, making it a suitable location for both young professionals and expats.

Accessibility in Eastwood City is conveniently located in Quezon City, which is one of the largest cities in Metro Manila. It is easily accessible via the C5 highway and other major roads. The district has an efficient transport system with a shuttle service that offers a direct connection to and from the metro stations in the area.

Bel-Air Village, Makati

Makati is still well renowned as the safest city district. This bustling city in the heart of Metro Manila has gained popularity as a preferred destination for expats seeking an immersive experience in the Philippines. With an average population of 580,000 and an annual income of 20 billion pesos/ $358m USD, This city district is mostly preferred by expats.

Located at the center of the city, Bel-Air Village's reputation and location make it a prime investment for those who can afford the district's real estate prices. Home of the old rich of Makati, Bel-Air is the country's richest barangay. It is flanked by some of the metro's major thoroughfares with entrance gates at Rockwell Dr, Jupiter St., Kalayaan Ave and Paseo de Roxas. It also has the luxurious Power Plant Mall right next door. The majority of the residential developments in the area offer exclusivity and security afforded by the rich and famous.  In terms of transportation, both villages of Bel-Air and Legazpi are accessible by car or public transportation. The metro rail transit (MRT) stations in Ayala and Greenbelt are also nearby, making travel to other areas in Metro Manila convenient.

Legazpi Village, Makati

One of the most popular residential areas in Makati City is Legazpi Village. This bustling neighborhood is located at the heart of Makati's central business district and is bordered by Ayala Avenue and Chino Roces Avenue. Legazpi Village is known for its modern, high-rise residential towers, upscale restaurants, and specialty shops that cater to its cosmopolitan residents. This affluent neighborhood is within walking distance from Makati CBD. You will find many banks, department stores and shopping complexes located here. It is also close to the country's top-tier universities like Centro Escolar University Makati, La Salle College International, and the Asian Institute of Management.

The village offers a wide range of residential options, from high-end condominium units to cozy apartments. The condominium buildings in the Village offer top-notch amenities such as swimming pools and fitness centers. For those who enjoy going to the park, it also has several green spaces within its boundaries. The Legazpi Active Park is a popular destination for joggers and fitness enthusiasts. It is also home to the famous weekend food market (Legazpi Sunday Market). This makes living in this homier side of Makati a viable option for growing families.

Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig

Bonifacio Global City, popularly known as BGC, is considered the most modern district urban center in Taguig City. This district is a hub for international businesses, expats, and young urban professionals. It's known as the "home of passionate minds" because of its dynamic community and entrepreneurial spirit. BGC has a lot to offer, and that's why it's an ideal location for expats who are looking to live, work, and thrive in the Philippines. BGC has something most of Manila doesn't have – lots of space and greeneries.

It is a highly urbanized, modern community in Taguig, home to startups, local and international companies. It has several high-end lifestyle hubs like SM Aura Premier, Serendra and Bonifacio High Street and Uptown Bonifacio. BGC is home to many multinational corporations, making it an attractive location for expats seeking work opportunities in Manila. It's also an ideal place for entrepreneurs because of its supportive business environment. It has lots of residential condominium complexes to choose from, best suited for yuppies, starting families, expats and even retirees.

Finding the right neighborhood for you in Manila

Finding the right neighborhood in Manila as an expat can be an exciting adventure. With its diverse mix of cultures, bustling city life, and beautiful natural scenery, there is a neighborhood in Manila that will fit anyone's lifestyle and preferences. The key is to prioritize safety, accessibility, and proximity to necessary amenities such as hospitals, schools, and supermarkets. Also, expats should take into consideration the community's warmth and friendliness, as this can help one feel more at home in a new place. Ultimately, the right neighborhood in Manila will provide a sense of belonging and comfort for an expat, making their stay in the Philippines a memorable and enjoyable experience.

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