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Last Valentine’s Day, life and love were in full bloom as “Makati Street Meet” revived al fresco dining at Rada and Leviste Streets in Legaspi and Salcedo Village. From the street side, easily connected is Circuit Makati’s River Side which hosted “Riverside Sessions”, offering a variety of food, entertainment and recreation.
Thousands of people came out of their homes to experience a special yet safe Valentine’s Day celebration in three al fresco dining events that happened in the Makati Street Meet at Rada and Leviste Streets and the Riverside Sessions in Circuit Makati. These outdoor dining venues not only provided a sheltered haven for diners, but also gave them a chance to meet their neighbors and see family and friends. Visitors also came all the way from other parts of the Metro.
Makati Street Meet at Rada and Leviste
The bustling streets of Rada and Leviste in the Makati Central Business District (MCBD) were carless for an entire day and free of the usual heavy traffic, to give way to the Makati Street Meet. It was an outdoor dining experience, reminiscent of a Parisian summer with its umbrella-covered patio tables that line the street. Mats and pillows can also be found on the ground for a more casual and comfortable dining.
The Makati Street Meet has been running every month in the past three years at its original location along Paseo de Roxas. However, it was halted because of the pandemic. To start 2021 anew, it refreshed its format with a new purpose - to help rebuild the restaurant industry.
According to Mr. Carlo Lorenzana, restaurateur and owner of Nikkei and a number of other restaurants in the MCBD, “It had a resounding effect on the Legaspi Village community. Even people from far away cities came to visit. It has a world-class appeal and our area needs events such as this.” Chef JP Anglo, owner of Sarsa restaurant along Rada Street added, “What sets the Makati Street Meet apart from other outdoor activations is the ‘bayanihan spirit’ between the merchants and organizers. It brought a sense of community to the neighborhood.”
This well-attended and much-talked-about initiative by Ayala Land, Make It Makati, and MACEA had people clamoring for more. And the good news is, it will now happen on a regular basis.
Riverside Sessions at Circuit Makati
Meanwhile, a different type of event happened in another part of Makati. A short drive further west along Ayala Avenue leads to Circuit Makati, an up-and-coming mixed-use community, that is well-positioned to be the center of arts, culture and entertainment. Serving as a beautiful backdrop to this is the world class, Samsung Performing Arts Theater, soon to be completed. Circuit Makati is also one of the few developments in the city that is located by the river, making it close to communing with nature. Making art reachable to more people while giving them a refreshing riverside setting to appreciate it is the inspiration behind the Riverside Sessions.
These sessions featured dining areas by the water and musical performances which included a saxophonist and a violinist. For those who are into visual arts, a budding caricature artist was present and many lined up to have portraits of their loved ones drawn on the spot. Some guests simply enjoyed the greens and open spaces with their fur babies in tow.
Aside from bringing the community together, these three initiatives enabled start-up businesses, to market their products and services by providing a venue where they can easily sell them. A total of 23 merchants participated. Supporting this endeavor as their source of livelihood or to augment income resources, is one of the thrusts of Ayala Land, especially with the prevailing pandemic. The Makati Street Meet and Riverside Sessions are now venues that support community development particularly, the rising gig economy.
Now, who says Valentine’s Day is only for couples and romance? Truth be told, love comes in all shapes and sizes and in many ways to express. All we need is a safe space, warm and welcoming, to celebrate each other. In Makati, on Valentine's Day and every day, love wins. Makati, the city that #MakesItHappen.
The next runs of Makati Street Meet will happen on the following dates: February 28, March 14, April 4, April 18, May 2, May 16, June 13, and June 27. Riverside Sessions will happen on March 14, April 18, May 16 and June 27.
Editor's Note: This article was provided by Make It Makati.