Working in McKinley Hill

Friday, April 01, 2011

(subtitle: why it sucks)
McKinley Hill is a patch of land near Bonifacio Global City (BGC) developed by Megaworld for residential, commercial, and corporate purposes. Because of its proximity, it is often confused as part of Bonifacio Global City, even when it's not. If McKinley Hill were a person, he'd be a out-of-school hipster who gets by through his links with his big brother BGC. Meanwhile, BGC does everything to distance himself from McKinley Hill, and does it to some degree of success, as we will discuss further into this article.

1. McKinley Hill has an identity crisis
Understandably, BGC is also a potpourri of all purposes from recreation to schools to work to residence. The city within a city concept works well. McKinley hill also tries to cater to all these things. The only difference is that McKinley Hill is about 1/6th the size of BGC, and ends up with offices built next to housing projects, schools next to chain smoking call centers, and expensive restaurants below common-man work areas. If you live here and wanted to relax by jogging, you'd end up mingling with a 24-7 workforce from outsourcing companies. Your kid will be going to schools beside malls. And dining will always feel like office cafeteria because there's always a lot of workers eating.

2. McKinley Hill hates commuters
Megaworld refuses to outsource transportation but exceptionally sucks at providing its own. The lone bus loading terminal is in the middle of it all, which is sensible, until you realize that if you live, study, or work somewhere around the further edges of the development, you will have to walk the long walk everyday, through uneven terrain through every weather imaginable. You'd think the fact that it's called a HILL would tip off planners that people might need better ways to get around. Since the buses are privately operated, they are few and far in between, limited in scheduled hours, and oftentimes jampacked with workers during rush hour. To add insult to injury, the fares are grossly overpriced at 20 pesos and can only be discounted if you pay for the tickets in advance. Oh yeah, the tickets are also expiring, as though for some reason paper has become a perishable good. The only public jeep station is just outside McKinley Hill, but you can reach it only through a short uphill climb worth two stories if you happen to be working in the lower McKinley parts. A few months back, admin thought that the jeeps were an eyesore so they had the jeeps move 300 meters away from the entrance where it's dark and without cover from the elements of nature. They then closed down the perfectly-working shed. Other options for commuting are taxis, and habal-habals, unofficial for-hire scooters that zigzag in and out of traffic as though they're in some videogame where getting bumped reduces health and does not cause your brain to be thrown into the pavement 50 meters from where you land in the event of an automobile collision. They fetch for 40 pesos, and a few days of your lifespan per ride.

3. McKinley Hill hates drivers as well
As mentioned earlier, BGC secretly hates McKinley, and goes out on a limb to ensure that there is no direct path between McKinley Hill and Global City. McKinley Hill figures this is all good and normal and sticks to the idea that somehow, a two-lane road on one end and a two-lane road on another end with NO TRAFFIC LIGHTS WHATSOEVER is somehow enough to cater to a population of several thousand cars, not including visitors who wish to avail of the various restaurants and events held in the Piazza. The only entrances and exists of this place is along Lawton Ave, and C5 which is subject to heavy traffic both in the morning and in the rush hours of the evening leading up to late at night. If God designed the human body the way designers organized this place, we'd have mouths and anuses the size of our nostrils and we'd be required to eat 20 pounds of meat every day. The only 5000-slot carpark available has the first three floors reserved for corporate accounts (mostly managers) the parking is laid out in a 700 meter narrow building with only one functioning elevator in the middle. The ramps are poorly maintained, with steel spikes poking out of the edges, waiting for its next rubbery victim. Oh and yeah, because of the topology, when it rains hard, the ground floor becomes a swimming pool. Free exterior and interior washing, see? I hope you like the scent of a wet dog.

4. The area sucks as a work place
The buildings themselves are poorly equipped to handle disasters. There's a power outage every week, and even though the building is less than five years old, the air conditioning oftentimes smells like it can swap war stories with my grandfather. While I'm not one to say ghosts do exist, there's something unsettling about working a stones throw away from a thousand graves from WW2. But then again, maybe that will ensure the ancient aircon system won't have to run out of war stories.

The food is just slightly more varied than a penal colony in North Korea. Along the whole 4 block stretch of Upper McKinley, there are only 10 food outlets including Starbucks and 7/11. Four of them do not offer solo meals below 100 pesos. There are no canteens, no food courts, and I heard that Jollibee, Chowking and other related outlets are not allowed to franchise within the district. The only other option is to walk to The Venice Piazza which likewise offers pricey meals that's obviously not designed for the quick and cheap luncher.

As for transport at night, the buses stop coming at 9pm, even though half of the companies in McKinley support 24-7 operations. The only other option is to take the taxi, or walk to the jeep terminal, which is, and gladly, not lighted AT ALL.

5. Establishments
The establishments in McKinley close early, and I suppose that's understandable because it's partially residential, but that also makes it a hassle since it's also supposed to be partially corporate, where people tend to stay very late. The food is designed to cater to the higher society crowd, which unfortunately doesn't cover 80% of the working populace. What happens is the food establishments are forced to come up with cheaper versions of their dishes, but to ensure that these cheaper foods don't kill the atmosphere or at least compete with their regular dishes, you can only order them TO GO. SO you walk to Piazza under the blazing sun only to order food, and then return to your office so you can eat. Because it's either that or you're stuck with KFC or McDonalds FOREVER.

6. Lack of infrastructure
Here are some things BGC has and McKinley hill has not bothered to give a damn about:

1. Church
2. Hospital/clinic
3. Drug store
4. Any shop other than 7/11
5. Working stoplights

What MH does have is easy access to any of two major cemeteries, for what its worth.

The location of McKinley Hill is technically a good location. It's near Makati, BGC, the airport and access to the South Luzon Expressway. It's tucked away from busy traffic, and is peaceful because of it so, but with the lack of infrastructure, lack of a clear vision of what it wants to become, and a simple disregard for most of the people visiting it regularly makes it come far below its potential. With so many alternatives popping up in BGC, and even the Mall of Asia, I won't be too surprised to see that McKinley Hill will become the next Eastwood Libis - once the hottest place for living and tech startups, and touted as the best place for IT business, now slowly becoming a ghost town. And as far as ghost towns go, being surrounded by dead people is a clear advantage.

Part 2 here:


McKinley Inmate said...

Highly entertaining yet TRUE..

I can totally relate with everything you wrote in this post. Everyday, thousands of people face these problems; and it seems like MH is doing nothing about it.

I stumbled upon this page when I was google-ing "Mckinley Hill+Drugstore"... and tada! I got an answer to my question. THERE ARE NO DRUGSTORES IN MCKINLEY... :(

Mrs. Blaze said...

The developer of McKinley Hill is MEGAWORLD who is known for overpriced and substandard development. It seems like they have no supplier which does not sell goods from China.

My family has bought a few LUXURY condos at preselling. Luxury??? Really??? We were sorely disappointed with the quality and development.

Sadly, this also seems to be the same way for McKinley Hill. I chanced upon your blog on my research regarding McKinley Hill since I am planning to work there. one of my concerns really is the availability of public transport. We all cannot afford to pay for taxis everyday.

If there is any improvement I hope to hear about it.



Since I last posted, here are some of the improvements:

1. There are traffic lights now at the main entrance, though half of the lights are covered by overgrown trees.

2. There are now three elevators working in the parking lot (half the time)

3. There are now a grand total of three 7/11s for you to choose from.

4. A pan de manila has opened. A REAL BAKERY! OH WOW.

So there.

Anonymous said...

I can see McKinley hill from my apartment in Boni and I work there so I do not know how two explain my very long commute to that darn place evryday

Anonymous said...

Hey there,

would like to know if its practical to live in McKinley for someone who travels a lot without a car.

Anonymous said...

McKinley Hill sucks!

Anonymous said...

Mckinley Hell in other words

Anonymous said...

the author seems to hate the working class as the way that they are described in his entry.

I wonder what his status in life is..poser

David Alexander said...

This is an old post. I was just there 2 days ago. There are supermarkets, drugstores, it's still a new development and parking does still suck though. The nicer restaurants are further down near Tuscany townhomes. Not a place for call center people.

Callcenter 19 said...

Any update about this article? Thanks

Callcenter 19 said...

Any update about this article? Thanks

Anonymous said...

MckinleyHill Hates Commuters. until now the citylink busses are getting worse by the minute they reduce the busses , only available reliable options for public transportation are now taxis and illegal habal habal.


Search This Blog

Most Reading