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Makati's Wealth Is Worth a Whopping P233.4 Billion. Is It Richer Than Some Countries?

Makati is once again hailed the Philippines' richest city.
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Makati is once again hailed the richest city in the Philippines. The Commission on Audit (COA) assessed Makati’s wealth to be worth a whopping P233.4 billion, leaving Quezon City far behind in second place with P96.4 billion. 

Makati’s history of wealth and prosperity goes all the way back to the 1800s when the Roxas-Zobel-Ayala clan purchased 1,000 hectares of farmland in the Hacienda San Pedro de Macati, which would become a third of present-day Makati City. After World War II, the Ayala family developed this estate, envisioning it to become what is today, the most successful business district in the country. 

Much of Makati’s wealth today comes from taxes collected from its business district, home to many of the country’s top 100 corporations. Makati Mayor Abigail Binay has not forgotten this, which is why the city government's purchase of P1 billion worth of vaccines is not only for residents in Makati, but also for business employees who work in the city. 

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Makati Wealthier Than Top 4 Cities Combined

To put things into perspective, Makati has more wealth than the combined assets of the top two to four wealthiest cities in the Philippines. 

According to data released by the COA on January 14, 2021, the top 10 wealthiest cities for 2019 are Makati (P233.78 billion), Quezon City (P96.423 billion), Manila (P64.805 billion), Pasig (P45.639 billion), Cebu City (P34.711 billion), Mandaue City (P32.157 billion), Taguig (P29.065 billion), Caloocan (P20.599 billion), Pasay (P19.795 billion) and Davao City (P19.783 billion).

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Makati Wealthier Than Some Countries

The city’s assets are even comparable to the GDP of small countries. Fiji, a country in the Pacific Ocean that has a land area 30 times larger than Metro Manila has a GDP of P264 billion. Palau, an archipelago of 500 islands, has a GDP of P12.9 billion. There are many other countries Makati is wealthier than, but like the rest of the Philippines, the city is not free of poverty. 

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Despite its wealth, beyond the business districts of Makati is the poorer side of the city. In fact, the city has been a favorite subject of columnists and photographers seeking to juxtapose the extreme wealth and poverty in the Philippines. A single photo of Makati’s gleaming skyscrapers fronted by shanties is enough to paint a thousand words. 

Nevertheless, many cities still look up to Makati as a blueprint for success. It was the first city in the country to announce vaccine procurement plans independent of the national government and has one of the most efficient social services in the country. Its Makatizen App has a quick response time and can be used to ask for help for emergencies, medical needs, and other services. Makati is far from perfect, but sometimes, especially when a crisis paralyzes mayors, it feels nice to dream about living in the country’s wealthiest city. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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