Shaking off its polarized reputation — too seedy, or too snooty — Manila’s
nightlife has now staked out an edgy middle ground awash with
bars fuelled as much by refined menus as free-flow fun.

In early May I was commissioned to shoot two editorial features in the Philippines’ northernmost province of Batanes.  However, in order to get to Batanes, one must travel via Manila, staying the night in the nation’s capital city.  My frequent creative partner, Stephanie Zubiri, had a commission from Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia about the burgeoning food, beverage and nightlife scene in Poblacion, a tiny neighbourhood in Makati’s north, that has “fully blossomed into a gritty urban creative paradise.”  Stephanie asked me if I’d like to photograph the story for her as I passed through Manila, and I happily agreed to the collaboration.

“Far from the glitzy cosmopolitan entertainment districts in big glossy developments that Manila is usually known for, Poblacion has exploded in just the past few years to become a hip new party neighborhood with a rough-around-the-edges locale essential to its charm.”  Together Stephanie and I spent Friday evening and Saturday afternoon roaming the spirited streets of Poblacion, eating and drinking in a maze of “lower rent, unusual Art Deco structures [and] makeshift patched-up buildings from the 70s…[that have] become a hotbed for small bars and contemporary restaurants run by the passionate and adventurous.”

The result of our 36 hours eating, drinking and exploring Poblacion and it’s many little holes-in-the-wall can be found in the July 2019 T+L SEA cover feature, “The Cool Kids on the Block”.  Check our our story below.  Or, better yet, go to Manila and explore the streets and experience the eateries and pubs and cocktail bars of Poblacion for yourself.

SCOTT A WOODWRD - After Hours Cover
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