Monday, June 18, 2012

Living in the South of the Metro

Yes, there is a sub-region in Metro Manila that we call "south" - where there's less stress and where people are laid back. This area covers the cities of Paranaque, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa. We can also include the nearby greater metropolitan areas of Bacoor (Cavite province) and San Pedro (Laguna province).

Getting around
The area is quite far from the center of the happenings in the metro (Manila for many universities, Makati as central business district). However, transportation is easy, safer, and less hassle compared to commuting in other cities in the metro. Did I say safer? Yes, there are still news of snatchers and hold-up gangs in the south but not as rampant as in other cities. And if you have your own car, transportation should not be a problem. Also, riding a taxi in the area is seldom heard of. People in the south have been accustomed, used to and seem satisfied with riding the usual jeepneys, buses or FX's. Taxis are not so much in demand, unless you are in a rush to go to other places in the metro. However, some of the hassles that face commuters and drivers alike when traveling to, from and around the area are:
  • Heavy traffic during rush hours - Roads are relatively narrower in the mentioned cities compared to EDSA, Roxas Boulevard, C5 and other major roads in the metro. The high number of private and public vehicles in the south causes traffic jams during weekday mornings and late afternoons to early evenings.
  • Toll fees collected at Coastal Road and SLEX - The rates of toll fees in SLEX have become outrageously expensive! Good thing toll fee rate in Coastal remains affordable at PHP 24. There are alternate routes that do not have toll gates. However, expect travel to be considerably longer.
  • Taxis - If you're coming from other places of the metro and you took a cab going to the south, most probably the driver will ask for an additional fare on top of the meter reading because they will reason out that it will be difficult for them to get a passenger on their way back to the metro's center. As I mentioned, taxis are not in demand in the south.
What's unique about the south is you can travel within chains of subdivisions and villages to get from one place to another to avoid heavy traffic along the highway. In Las Pinas, this is called the "friendship route." However, one has to have a car sticker ("friendship" sticker) so that security guards will allow you to pass through their subdivisions.

Some of the famous malls that people go to in the south to shop, dine or watch movies are:
  • Paranaque - SM Sucat, SM Bicutan
  • Las Pinas - SM Southmall, SM Center, Starmall
  • Muntinlupa - Alabang Town Center (or ATC for short or fondly called "Town" by people in the south), Festival Supermall, SM Muntinlupa, Metropolis Alabang
  • Bacoor, Cavite - SM City Bacoor

Food trip
Apart from the malls that offer a variety of fast food chains and restaurants where one can dine, below are some restaurants that make the south famous for its food:
  • Soderno (at Molito Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa) - considered as the Mercato of the south. See my blog post on this. (
  • North Gate (Alabang) - mostly fast food chains and some new restaurants that cater to call centers and other offices in the compound.
  • West Gate (Alabang) - upscale restaurants and coffee shops.
  • Maty's tapsilog (Don Galo, Paranaque) - the tapsilog is simply one of the best in the country!
  • BF Homes (Paranaque) - Aguirre Avenue has a lot of restaurants to choose from.
  • BF Resort (Las Pinas) - BF Resort Drive and Gloria Diaz Avenue also have a lot of restaurants.
  • Sinangag Express (or "SEx" to young people) - this famous fried rice specialty restaurant actually came from the south, with its first branches in BF Homes Paranaque and Las Pinas.

Night life
The south seem to have a culture of its own when it comes to night life. Unlike other cities or places in the metro (Malate, Makati, The Fort, Ortigas, QC) where young people would most probably end up clubbing, people in the south prefer to chill and relax - to chillax. In fact, the term "chillax" was coined by people in the south (not sure if fact; this is debatable).

If you have a barkada or a groupie, the group would most probably have a favorite house - a friend's house where the group hangs out most of the time just about for everything - to eat, drink, watch TV or DVD's, play games, gamble, or whatever activity your barkada loves doing. These activities are collectively called "chillaxing" or house partying - trademark of the south!

There are also some people who want to go out to drink and have fun. The south actually offers some cool places to go to for this purpose:
  • BF Homes (Paranaque) - Aguirre Avenue has a lot of bars. Famous bars are Central BBQ, Tides, Cabooze, Laiya, etc. Central BBQ and Tides which now have branches in other cities in the metro actually originated from the south.
  • Festival Supermall has an area where there are bars that are open until the morning.
  • BF Resort (Las Pinas) - BF Resort Drive has bars like Central BBQ, Ultimate Liempo, etc.
  • Alabang-Zapote road (Las Pinas area) - one can find bars (e.g. KTV) along this long stretch.

Beware though - people in the south are pretty much laid back so you don't want to make a scene in the bars by dancing or being wild. Just sit back and chillax. After all, these places are not clubs! You can sing with the music you hear but cannot go crazy. It's a south thing, and one has to respect that culture.

Fashion sense
Unlike people in cosmopolitan cities and areas like Makati, The Fort, Ortigas and QC where people tend to dress up (wear pants or even dress formally), people in the south can basically get away with wearing shorts, shirts and slippers. Again, we're laid back.

Because the area is not overpopulated like other cities, the south seems like a small world. If you grew up here, everywhere you go, you might probably just meet people who know some of your friends (common/mutual friends) - most probably from high school, neighbors, relatives or whatever.

As mentioned above, people in the south are pretty laid back but are definitely as competitive as other people in other areas of the metro. And because of our unique culture, we often brag about being from the south as we believe we are more friendly, peaceful, sosyal (yes, we think highly of ourselves because many of us live in subdivisions and have studied in private schools *wink* ) and "cultured" (*double wink*). Nothing personal though, it's just a south thing.

These are just general observations and not conclusive traits of people in the area. There can still be many exceptions of course.

Fellow people from the south, feel free to add or correct some information that I have mentioned in this post. Everyone, feel free to share your thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great list! I just want to add this catering services in Muntinlupa for a budget catering services.


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