Guide to Makati Cinema Square: Ukay-Ukay, Art, Books, Vegan Ramen, and More
by: The Beat Asia
August 29, 2023
When you walk inside Makati Central Square, also called MCS, it feels like stepping into an era decades past. The mall has been standing since the early 1980s, after all, and while it has undergone renovations in recent years and welcomed new businesses within, it's managed to preserve its endearing quaintness.
Long before its rebranding and revamping, though, the mall was just plain old Cinema Square (or Makati Square) to its most loyal regulars. This same mall once teemed with labyrinthine stalls of pirated DVDs for sale and even had a Pancake House inside (is our age showing?). These no longer exist in the mall, but the outdated charm persists.
Cinema Square still offers the same things goers have loved for a long time—vinyl record bargains, best ukay-ukay deals, self-defense weapons, audiophile equipment, to name a few—but there are also new, exciting, and better establishments to explore. If you ever find yourself along Chino Roces, make sure you drop by this gem of a mall.
Ukay-Ukay and Gown Rentals
For those who love vintage finds and fashion bargains, Makati Cinema Square is a goldmine. The mall is peppered with multiple ukay-ukay stores throughout, so take your pick from a slew of fashionable bags, shoes, accessories, clothes, and more. We suggest you spend the afternoon scouring the shops and taking your time. Those in search of affordable gowns for rent for special occasions should also come here. One of the popular places you can visit is Gowns for Rent by Damsel, which is on the lower ground floor of the mall.
Are you into vinyl records? If the answer is yes, then Cinema Square should be up your alley. It's a favorite haunt among audiophiles and music lovers, and for good reason. Whether you're just dipping your toes into vinyl records or an avid collector, you're bound to find some gems and bargains at Bebop Records and Plaka Planet, which are both located inside the mall.
Bebop Records is a long-standing institution located in the first basement of the building and offers pre-owned and new records for the serious and casual listener. Plaka Planet is another place for you to check out; it carries a wide range of genres and titles and offers hump day sales every now and then!
Bookworms in the metro are no strangers to the Booksale in Cinema Square, but if you're new to the area, make sure to check this branch out. The nondescript store may leave much to be desired aesthetically, but it fits the rest of the mall's antiquated look. Like with most Booksales, prepare to literally get down and dusty as you dig through piles of books in search of your familiar author, that never-read classic, your next favorite novel, and more. Make sure to carry cash in small denominations!
Self-Defense and Weapons Stores
The mall is also a haven for weapons and self-defense enthusiasts. It teems with stores and stalls that sell not just firearms and ammunition, but also other types of weapons like knives and swords as well as self-defense and security products like stun guns, utility tools, pepper spray, and bulletproof vests, among others. There are also some shooting ranges inside the mall – perfect for unleashing pent-up stress!
If you're feeling famished during your visit to Cinema Square, there are a slew of restaurants and food stalls that you can check out. Little Tokyo is also just a hop, skip, and jump away if you're craving authentic Japanese food! Inside the mall, we recommend you try out Emer's Food Center, a humble Chinese diner on the lower ground floor that's known for its delicious yet affordable fare. It's one of the oldest restaurants in the mall and is likely as old as Cinema Square.
For vegan ramen and delicious Japanese desserts, we recommend you make a beeline for Wabi-Sabi Noodle House on the upper ground floor. Make sure to try its delicious bestsellers like tantanmen ramen, shoyu ramen, Bahn mi, sweetcorn and cream cheese tempura, okonomigyoza, and more.
Bowling and Billiards
For a fun, affordable activity with your friends or a casual date, check out the Superbowl Bowling and Billiards Center on the mall's third level! Aside from striking pins and shooting pool, the center also offers comfort food and drinks like pizza, sodas, beer, pasta, and other greasy grub to keep you fueled throughout your games.
Party animals, don't fret! There's something for you, too. NoKal, an underground club known for its house, disco, funk, and soul music, is situated in the mall's underbelly. Head to basement one in the parking lot and walk past the cars until you find NoKal at the far end. The club regularly hosts international and local DJs to fire up the dance floor and share curated, rare beats that transcend genres!
Art enthusiasts will also have a ball at Cinema Square, as it has a few galleries up for exploring! Located in the first basement is the Underground Gallery, known for championing contemporary art by local artists across the country. Catch Underground's latest exhibits, namely Jojo Serrano's "Objects and Cream" and Cris Villanueva Jr.'s "Who's in Charge?" from Aug. 30-Sept. 20.
There's also Kanto, an artist-run space and gallery, on the second floor of the mall. You may still view Kanto's exhibit, "Limbus," which honors and celebrates the stories and lives of indigenous peoples. It was launched on Aug. 9, on the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, and runs until Sept. 9.
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