Twin towers rise high in Ortigas Center, the second most important financial and business district in the Philippines. Situated in Metro Manila, it’s home to hundreds of offices, shopping malls, apartment complexes and restaurants. Shangri-La Place and BSA towers dominate the skyline, their glass facades rising over 200 metres above the city. The premier business district of Makati City is found ten kilometres to the south while the origins of Manila city can be found along the coast, 15 kilometres to the west.
Ortigas Center shimmers from afar, especially when the office blocks are illuminated after dark. Eight of the country’s 20 highest buildings are situated here, home to prominent engineering firms, bank headquarters and a huge number of restaurants. Not quite as high but certainly as big, the SM Megamall is one of the biggest in the world and has almost 500,000 square metres of floor space. The Ortigas business centre is hemmed in by EDSA Street to the west and Shaw Boulevard in the south, while Ortigas Avenue and Meralco Avenue mark the eastern and northern boundaries.
The MRT runs from Ortigas Center and stops at Ortigas Station, and most of the business district can be accessed from here. From elsewhere in Manila, any bus passing through EDSA will stop in and around Ortigas Center. Alternatively, take a local jeepney going towards Meralco Avenue. Ortigas Center is awash with taxis, and it rarely takes more than a few minutes to find an empty one on the streets.
Originally owned by the Augustinian Order, the grounds were known as Hacienda de Mandaloyon. Most of the estate wasn’t cultivated, a wild mass of marsh and wasteland that was slowly encroached upon by the ever-expanding Metro Manila. After being purchased by property developers, Ortigas Center was established with a clear intention to become a commercial rival to Makati City.