18 April 2016 Nicole Adarme

Ortigas CBD: Your Guide to Work-Life Balance

nullOrtigas Center
Image credit: Skyscraper City

Located on the boundary line of three major cities in the Philippines, Ortigas is one of the most important business districts and financial centers in the country. The 100-hectare urban development area is home to many office buildings, shopping malls, condominiums, bars, restaurants, and entertainment centers.

Some of the biggest companies in the country can be found here. It can be overwhelming at first, but once you’ve explored the ins and outs of the area, you’ll be surprised that it’s got a lot to offer aside from great career opportunities.

The business side of Ortigas

Ortigas skyline at night
Image credit: Discovery Suites

Prominent companies in various industries such as banking, engineering, food and beverage, and retail are rooted in Ortigas. The headquarters of San Miguel Corporation, Jollibee Foods Corporation, the Philippine branch of HSBC, and Robinsons are all located in Ortigas Center. Big-time engineering firms such as Parsons Brinckerhoff, Sinclair Knight Merz, and WSP Group are also present in the area, as well as banking institutions including Asian Development Bank and Banco de Oro.

Ortigas is also home to many prolific media companies from film (Viva Entertainment and Regal Entertainment), print (Summit Media Publishing Mega Publishing), TV (SkyCable Corporation, Star TV, ZOE Broadcasting, Fox International, and ETC) and radio (90.7 Love Raio, 101.1 Yes! FM, and Monster Radio RX 93.1). Another big industry in Ortigas is business process outsourcing (BPO). Major players such as Teleperformance, Convergys, Sykes Enterprises, Sitel, and Telus have offices in Ortigas.

A wide variety of dining options

Whatever it is you’re craving at the moment, there’s definitely a restaurant in Ortigas that can satiate your fix. Because of its central location, there’s no shortage of amazing dining options. From international restaurant chains to cozy neighborhood food joints, Ortigas has it all.

Tim Ho Wan’s famous baked buns
Image credit: Aroma Cookery

SM Megamall, the biggest mall in the country, is not only great for shopping but for food trips as well. In the past few years, restaurants have been opening left and right to satiate the discerning tastes of Filipinos. Hong Kong’s most celebrated dim sum restaurant Tim Ho Wan opened their first branch here. The One Michelin star establishment offers affordable dim sum variants, as well as their highly recommended Baked Buns. Right next to this dining landmark is another famous joint: Din Tai Fung, renown the world over for their fantastic Xiao Long Bao. For Japanese food lovers, there’s popular ramen joint Ippudo and Ooma, a modern Japanese restaurant that’s famous for their unique sushi creations. If you want to go local, Sarsa Kitchen + Bar should be on your list. They serve traditional Filipino dishes with accompanying sarsa (sauce in English) to enhance the flavors of the food. Highly recommended of the menu are the Sizzling Kansi, Inasal na Isaw, and Ginamos Rice.

Locavore’s Sizzling Sinigang
Image credit: TripAdvisor

Another popular food hub near Ortigas is Kapitolyo. Here, you will find small-time restaurants with affordable yet tasty dishes, making it a go-to foodie destination not only for those residing in Ortigas, but also for everyone around the metro. After a productive meeting with your peers at a spacious coworking office, head over to one of the most popular restaurants in Kapitolyo is Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina, serving delicious burritos, tacos, nachos, and other Mexican dishes at budget-friendly prices. You should also try Locavore, a Filipino restaurant serving local dishes with a French touch. The twist on classic dishes proved to be a winning move, with celebrities and several food enthusiasts traveling to Kapitolyo just to try Locavore. Their bestsellers include the Sizzling Sinigang, Lechon and Oyster Sisig, and Ginataang Kalabasa. For unpretentious and good comfort food, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast is your go-to place. They serve breakfast staples like Beef Tapa, Mixed Berry Pancakes, and Eggs Benedict at very affordable prices. For Php 100, you get to enjoy a good meal and experience street-style dining. Best of all, they’re open 24/7.

A nocturnal adventure at Ortigas Center

Image credit: Ang Kaladkarin

Nightlife in Ortigas is as vibrant as ever. With several developments underway, the once quiet business district is finally catching up to the bar scene that’s famous in Makati and The Fort. If you’re looking for a New York-style night out experience, look no further than Borough at The Podium. Only a few blocks away from modern short-term offices in the business district, the place is open 24/7 and serves amazing American comfort food, but at night they turn things around to become a great hangout spot after work for beer and cocktails. If you’re near Capitol Commons, head over to Tipsy Pig Gastropub for their signature brews, extensive beverage menu, and excellent bar chow.

Moonshine PUB
Image credit: TripAdvisor

Like watching sports while drinking? Bugsy’s Bar & Bistro is your go-to spot for a cold pint while cheering for your favorite football club. For cocktail connoisseurs, there’s Moonshine PUB x Public Urban Bar. It’s popular to Ortigas’ night crowd for their strong yet affordable selection of cocktail mixes, as well as their scrumptious food.

A haven for shopaholics

As previously mentioned, the largest shopping mall in the Philippines (third in the world!) can be found in Ortigas. But don’t just stop at SM Megamall. Ortigas Center has an amazing selection of malls that cater to different demographics. 

SM Megamall
Image credit: Interaksyon

SM Megamall is a shopping complex located at the heart of Ortigas CBD, making it accessible to premium and fully-furnished coworking spaces and private offices. Occupying over 10 hectares of land, it has a maximum capacity of four million people. It features thousands of retail stores from local and international brands, restaurants, and supermarkets. It also has movie theaters, food courts, and an ice skating rink. Some of the popular stores here include H&M, Zara, Forever 21, GAP, and Old Navy. Right beside SM Megamall is Shangri-La Plaza. The upscale mall is part of the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel complex and features high-end brands such as Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, Rolex, and Tiffany & Co. You will also find various international and local restaurant chains inside, as well as state-of-the-art movie theaters by Shang Cineplex.

Greenhills Shopping Center
Image credit: Juan Paolo via Flickr

Another major shopping mall at Ortigas Center is Robinsons Galleria. Similar to SM Megamall, it is a one-stop shop for everything you need, from clothes, food, gadgets, and houseware. You will also find the iconic EDSA Shrine just outside the mall. Of course, shopping in Ortigas wouldn’t be complete without making a stop at Greenhills Shopping Center. It is home to luxury brand knockoffs for bags, shoes, clothes, and gadgets. It’s a great place if you like haggling for prices and buying items in bulk.    

Fun and enlightening activities at Ortigas CBD

nullArk Avilon Zoo
Image credit: Shopgirl Jen

Don’t be fooled by the towering skyscrapers in Ortigas Center. There are plenty of things to do here to relax and spend quality time with family, friends, or yourself. Animal lovers should check out Ark Avilon Zoo. With a two-story building resembling Noah’s Ark, Avilon Zoo is the only indoor interactive zoo in the Philippines and is home to various animals such as birds, monkeys, snakes, rabbits, and sheep, among others. Their newest additions to the zoo are two adorable penguins, Andy and Mercy. You can also go to Las Farolas or The Fish World. They house multiple freshwater animals for exhibition, conservation and preservation, education, research purposes. They are also active in advocating the protection of marine wildlife by educating guests on how they can help in preserving water and taking better care of our planet.

Lopez Museum and Library
Image credit: Wazzup.ph 

Take in a little bit of art and history at the Lopez Museum and Library, the oldest privately owned and managed museum in the Philippines. They specialize in Filipino works including paintings by Juan Luna and Resurreccion Hidalgo, plus personal works of our National Hero Jose Rizal. Right across an elegant and modern office space, professionals can visit this beautiful museum which has over 500 works in its growing collection and over 20,000 titles in its expanding library catalogue, the museum holdings cover over 600 years of scholarship and artistry. You may also visit the Pasig Cathedral Museum that’s located at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. As one of the oldest churches in Manila, it has collected priceless religious artifacts over the years. The cathedral itself is a breathtaking landmark.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle at the heart of Ortigas 

Yoga+ Ortigas
Image credit: Hoppler

No matter how busy you are, it’s important to find time to take care of your physical and mental health. Ortigas offers a lot of choices for you to sweat it out and keep yourself in tip-top shape. One of the best health facilities found in the heart of the business district is Ortigas Wellness Alliance. They house Yoga+, a yoga studio that offers beginner and advanced classes Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, and hot yoga sessions. They also have Polecats Manila, where you can learn about pole dancing to boost your strength, flexibility, and creativity, as well as confidence in expressing yourself. Another popular studio here is 360 Fitness Club, a holistic, functional and fun class known for their intense circuit training which includes kettlebell training, suspension training, body balance, and body combat. It’s great for people who want to bring their fitness game to a whole different level. 

Elorde Boxing Gym in Ortigas
Image credit: Chris Tan via Youtube

Need to let off some steam? Try Elorde Boxing Gym. Take your pick between boxing and Muay Thai for a full body workout. Learn to defend yourself at Project Lifestyle Manila. They offer daily classes for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, Muay Thai, and wrestling.

Ready to make the move to Ortigas? What’s great about this district is that it doesn’t discriminate. You will find all types of workers here and they live seamlessly with one another. People here are focused to take their careers to the next step, but also take pride in having a community that’s welcoming and grateful for everyone who’s a part of it. 

Find out more about workspaces in Ortigas. Visit flyspaces.com and book the perfect workspace that suits your business!


Tags: Manila, Philippines, tips, work-life balance, guide, ortigas, city guide

Nicole Adarme

Nicole is a seasoned marketer who writes to inspire and help readers discover the rapidly developing workspace industry in Southeast Asia. She is proud to work with a company that empowers other businesses to grow and operate more effectively.

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