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Discover the Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila: 2024 Local’s Guide to the City’s Prime Spots

Discover the Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila: 2024 Local’s Guide to the City’s Prime Spots


Have you ever wondered where the cool cats of Manila hang their hats? Imagine a city where every corner has its own story, where the vibe changes from one street to the next. That’s Manila for you – a mosaic of neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and character. We’re diving deep into the city’s hottest neighborhoods where life is more than just a daily grind; it’s an experience.

Manila isn’t just a city; it’s a living, breathing entity, constantly evolving and reshaping itself. From the glitzy streets of Makati to the innovative skyline of Bonifacio Global City (BGC), the cultural richness of Quezon City, and the suburban tranquility of Alabang, Manila offers a neighborhood for every lifestyle. Whether you’re a young professional looking for a bustling urban scene or a family seeking a serene suburb, this city has got you covered.

But here’s the real deal: finding the best neighborhood to live in Manila isn’t just about picking a place; it’s about matching your lifestyle, your needs, and your vibe with a location that resonates with you. It’s about finding that sweet spot where convenience meets comfort, where amenities meet quality of life. In this guide, we’re not just showing you the best neighborhoods in Manila; we’re helping you discover where your life in this vibrant city can truly thrive. Buckle up, as we take you through the streets of Manila’s most coveted neighborhoods.

1. Makati City: The Glitzy Heart of Manila

Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila Makati City

Overview: Makati City, often referred to as the financial heart of the Philippines, is not just a haven for businesses; it’s a top choice for expats and professionals seeking an energetic and upscale lifestyle. With its blend of cosmopolitan charm and a flurry of activities, Makati stands as a beacon of modern living in Metro Manila.

Key Highlights:

  • Shopping and Dining: Makati is a paradise for shopaholics and food enthusiasts. From luxurious malls like Greenbelt and Glorietta to a myriad of dining options ranging from upscale restaurants to local eateries, it caters to all tastes and budgets.
  • Nightlife: The city is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, boasting an array of bars, clubs, and lounges that come alive as the sun sets. Areas like Poblacion and Greenbelt are particularly famous for their lively night scenes.
  • Access to Travel and Exploration: Makati’s prime location makes it an ideal base for exploring the rest of the Philippines and even Southeast Asia, with easy access to local transport hubs and airports.


  • Luxury Condos and High-End Apartments: Makati is synonymous with luxury living, offering a range of high-end condos and apartments. Areas like Rockwell Center, Ayala Triangle Gardens, and Salcedo Village are known for their upscale residential options.
  • Rent Costs: Rent in central Makati starts at around ₱45,000 per month for condos, with more affordable options available in the outlying areas. Despite the high cost of living, the quality of life and amenities justify the price for many.
  • Real Estate Market: Makati is one of the most expensive places to own property in Manila, with prime locations and high demand driving up prices.


  • High Cost of Living: Makati is one of the more expensive areas in Manila, with higher rent and daily expenses.
  • Traffic and Pollution: Like many urban centers, Makati suffers from traffic congestion and air pollution.
  • Wealth Disparity: The stark contrast between the affluent and less affluent areas can be quite apparent.

Makati City, with its blend of sophistication, vibrant culture, and an array of amenities, continues to be the go-to destination for those seeking a dynamic urban lifestyle. Its blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, along with its status as a business hub, makes it an attractive locale for both expats and locals alike​​​​​​.

2. Bonifacio Global City (BGC): The Future-Forward Urban Oasis

Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila Bonifacio Global City (BGC)

Overview: Bonifacio Global City (BGC) has rapidly risen as a modern, expat-friendly area in Metro Manila. Known for its innovative urban planning and a forward-thinking approach, BGC embodies the future of urban living. It’s a place where work, play, culture, and convenience seamlessly intertwine, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a dynamic and contemporary lifestyle.

Key Highlights:

  • Modern Architecture and Urban Design: BGC’s skyline is a testament to modern architectural brilliance, with an array of high-rise buildings and beautifully designed public spaces.
  • Upscale Shopping and Dining: The area boasts a plethora of shopping options, from high-end malls to unique boutiques, and a diverse culinary scene that caters to all tastes, from fine dining to casual eateries.
  • Vibrant Art and Culture: BGC is celebrated for its commitment to the arts, with street art, galleries, and cultural events adding color and creativity to the urban landscape.
  • Green Spaces and Sustainability: Amidst its urbanity, BGC integrates green spaces, promoting environmental consciousness and offering residents areas to relax and rejuvenate.
  • Work-Life Balance: With a mix of commercial and residential developments, BGC is a hub for businesses and a favorable area for professionals seeking to balance work with leisure and family life.


  • Upscale Condos and Residential Spaces: BGC is at the forefront of offering premium condos and innovative residential spaces, characterized by space-efficient designs, cutting-edge amenities, and modern aesthetics.
  • Eco-Friendly Living: Emphasizing sustainability, many residential developments incorporate eco-friendly initiatives, aligning with global trends towards responsible living.
  • Connectivity and Convenience: The well-planned transportation network and pedestrian-friendly streets enhance the quality of life, providing easy access to various parts of Metro Manila.

Bonifacio Global City stands as a testament to what modern urban living can offer. It’s a melting pot of cultures, a hub of creativity and innovation, and a beacon of sustainable urban development. For those seeking a lifestyle that blends the excitement of city living with the comforts of a close-knit community, BGC is the place to be​​​​​​.

Read next: Ultimate Guide to Buying a House in the Philippines in 2024: Making Dreams a Reality.

3. Quezon City: The Laid-Back Cultural Hub

Quezon City Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila

Overview: Quezon City, known for its relaxed and cultural vibe, is a unique blend of urban hustle and laid-back lifestyle. As the largest and most populous city in Metro Manila, it offers a diverse and vibrant lifestyle that combines modern living with rich cultural experiences. Its appeal lies in its ability to offer something for everyone, from students and young professionals to families.

Key Highlights:

  • University Culture: Home to prestigious institutions like the University of the Philippines Diliman and Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City is a hub of academic excellence and youthful energy.
  • Diverse Amenities: The city boasts a wide array of entertainment services, shopping malls, parks, and recreational areas, catering to a broad spectrum of interests and needs.
  • Culinary Scene: With a plethora of dining options, Quezon City is a haven for food lovers. From authentic Filipino cuisine to international dishes, the city’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its population.


  • Variety of Options: Housing in Quezon City ranges from affordable to upscale, offering a mix of condominiums and single-family homes. The city’s residential landscape caters to different budgets and lifestyle needs.
  • Affordable Living: Despite being a highly urbanized area, Quezon City offers relatively affordable housing options compared to other major districts in Metro Manila.
  • Ideal for Families and Students: With its blend of residential comfort and urban convenience, Quezon City is an attractive option for families and students looking for quality living spaces close to educational institutions and workplaces.

Quezon City, often referred to as the “City of Stars” due to its role as a major entertainment hub, continues to charm residents and visitors with its unique blend of urban excitement and cultural richness. Its mix of educational institutions, entertainment options, and diverse housing choices make it a top destination for those seeking a dynamic yet relaxed urban living experience​​.

4. Alabang: The Suburban Dream South of Manila

Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila Alabang

Overview: Alabang, located south of Manila, epitomizes the suburban dream with its tranquil atmosphere and well-planned residential areas. It’s a haven for those seeking a respite from the urban hustle while still enjoying the perks of city life. Known for its lush landscapes and modern conveniences, Alabang offers a perfect balance of comfort and luxury.

Key Highlights:

  • Upscale Residential Areas: Alabang is home to some of the most exclusive gated communities and luxurious residential developments in Metro Manila.
  • Golf Courses and Country Clubs: The area is famed for its top-notch golf courses and country clubs, providing residents with recreational and social venues.
  • Shopping and Dining: Alabang boasts a variety of shopping centers and dining establishments, catering to the sophisticated tastes of its residents.
  • Educational Institutions: It is also home to reputable schools, making it a favored location for families.


  • Premium Suburban Homes: Alabang is characterized by its upscale residential options, including spacious single-family homes and elegant townhouses within serene neighborhoods.
  • Gated Communities: Many of its residential areas are gated, offering enhanced security and privacy for residents.
  • Modern Condominiums: The area also features modern condominium developments, such as Botanika Nature Residences, offering luxurious amenities and innovative architectural designs.

Alabang stands out as a prime location for those who aspire to an upscale suburban lifestyle. Its blend of lush greenery, modern amenities, and high-end residential options make it a sought-after destination for those looking to enjoy the finer things in life in a more relaxed setting​​​​​​​​.

5. Ortigas Center: The Strategic Business Hub

Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila

Overview: Ortigas Center is a bustling commercial and business district strategically located at the junction of Pasig, Mandaluyong, and Quezon City. It’s Metro Manila’s second-largest business district and is a hub for a myriad of multinational companies and business process outsourcing centers. This district is ideal for those who thrive in an urban setting and seek proximity to corporate offices, public institutions, and commercial centers.

Key Highlights:

  • Commercial and Business Center: Ortigas Center is home to several corporate headquarters and multinational companies, offering a wide range of career opportunities.
  • Shopping and Entertainment: The area is known for its major shopping malls and vibrant nightlife, providing endless leisure and entertainment options.
  • Accessibility: Well-served by public transport, including two MRT stations, Ortigas Center is easily accessible and well-connected to other parts of Metro Manila.


  • Condominium Living: The majority of residential options within Ortigas Center are condominiums, ranging from affordable to upscale units.
  • Resort-Inspired Amenities: Developments like The Fifth offer residents a mix of condominium conveniences with resort-inspired amenities, including pools, gyms, and co-working spaces.
  • Diverse Choices for Residents: With more than 700 units in developments like The Fifth, residents can choose from studios to three-bedroom units, catering to the needs of young professionals, millennials, and start-up families.

Ortigas Center is a dynamic and multifaceted area, perfect for those looking for an urban lifestyle that balances work with leisure and modern conveniences. Its mix of corporate offices, shopping centers, and residential condominiums makes it a self-contained urban hub ideal for young professionals and families alike​​​​.

6. Pasig City: The Emerging Urban Retreat

Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila Pasig City

Overview: Pasig City is rapidly evolving into an attractive blend of urban efficiency and residential comfort. Situated centrally among the bustling business districts of Ortigas Center, Taguig, and Makati, Pasig is becoming a favorite for those who desire a balance between work and leisure. Its transformation from a traditional urban area to a modern cityscape makes it an ideal location for young professionals and growing families.

Key Highlights:

  • Work-Life Balance: Pasig is the epitome of combining corporate life with leisure. The city’s lively mornings and vibrant nightlife offer a diverse range of activities fit for all ages.
  • Green Initiatives: Known as a ‘Green City’, Pasig is recognized for its sustainability projects, including the rehabilitation of the Pasig River and the promotion of eco-friendly living.
  • Food Paradise: Pasig, especially the Kapitolyo area, is a haven for food lovers, offering an array of dining experiences from street food to fine dining.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: The city supports a healthy lifestyle with bike-friendly policies, jogging and running venues, and indoor sports facilities like wall climbing.


  • Diverse Housing Options: Pasig City offers a range of housing options, from budget-friendly apartments to stylish condominiums.
  • Modern Condominiums: Developments like those by DMCI Homes provide residents with a mix of modern amenities and a community atmosphere.
  • Accessibility and Convenience: With its location, residents in Pasig have easy access to major business districts and a variety of transport options for hassle-free commuting.

Keywords: “Pasig lifestyle”, “Affordable living in Pasig”

Pasig City is emerging as a top choice for urban dwellers seeking a harmonious blend of modern conveniences and a touch of green living. With its evolving landscape, commitment to sustainability, and vibrant community spirit, Pasig offers an ideal urban retreat for those looking to enjoy the best of city life​​​​​​.


Each of Manila’s neighborhoods we’ve explored – Makati, BGC, Quezon City, Alabang, Ortigas Center, and Pasig City – has its own unique charm and character. Makati dazzles with its upscale lifestyle and bustling nightlife, while BGC offers a glimpse into a future-forward urban oasis. Quezon City strikes a balance with its laid-back vibe and cultural richness, and Alabang exemplifies suburban luxury. Ortigas Center stands as a strategic business hub, bustling with career opportunities and urban conveniences, and Pasig City emerges as an eclectic blend of modernity and comfort, making it an attractive choice for those seeking a mix of urban efficiency and residential relaxation.

Ultimately, choosing the right neighborhood in Manila boils down to aligning your personal preferences, lifestyle, and needs with what each area uniquely offers. Whether you’re drawn to the glamorous city lights of Makati, the innovative spirit of BGC, the cultural heartbeat of Quezon City, the tranquil elegance of Alabang, the strategic dynamism of Ortigas Center, or the evolving charm of Pasig City, Manila caters to every inclination and desire. Whichever neighborhood you choose, Manila’s got a flavor for every taste. Find your spot and live it up in one of Asia’s most dynamic cities!

FAQ: Best Neighborhood to Live in Manila

Where do most foreigners live in Manila? Most foreigners in Manila tend to gravitate towards areas that offer a blend of comfort, convenience, and lifestyle amenities. Popular choices include Makati City, known for its modern infrastructure and expat-friendly environment, and Bonifacio Global City (BGC), which is favored for its contemporary living spaces and vibrant cultural scene. Other areas that attract foreigners are Ortigas Center and Alabang, both offering a mix of urban sophistication and suburban tranquility.

What is the safest city to live in Manila? Safety is a top priority for many when choosing a place to live. In Manila, Makati City is often regarded as one of the safest due to its well-maintained infrastructure, efficient local government, and the presence of private security in many areas. BGC is also considered safe, with its well-planned urban layout and strict enforcement of local ordinances.

What is the richest part of Manila? The richest part of Manila is often considered to be Makati City, particularly areas like Forbes Park, Dasmariñas Village, and Urdaneta Village. These areas are known for their luxurious homes, high-end amenities, and the presence of affluent residents, including top business executives, diplomats, and celebrities.

What are the safest neighborhoods in Metro Manila? In Metro Manila, neighborhoods known for their safety include Makati City, particularly the gated communities in Forbes Park and Dasmariñas Village. Bonifacio Global City is also known for its safety due to its modern infrastructure and efficient security measures. Ortigas Center and Alabang are also considered safe neighborhoods, with their own set of security protocols and community-driven safety initiatives.

What are the cleanest and safest cities in Metro Manila? For clean and safe living in Metro Manila, Makati City and Bonifacio Global City top the list. Both areas are well-known for their cleanliness, efficient waste management systems, and high standards of public safety. Other cities that are known for their cleanliness and safety include Pasig City, particularly in areas like Capitol Commons and Ortigas Center, and Taguig City, which includes parts of BGC and McKinley Hill.

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