5969: The newest attraction in Makati Poblacion


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photo caption:L-R: dynamic, creative owners-Mendy, Bryan, Keisey and Michail

5969: The newest attraction in Makati Poblacion

Of all the “happening places” in Metro Manila, the Makati Poblacion is arguably the most colorful and fun. It’s a place where people can unwind in bars and restaurants offering a unique experience when it comes to entertainment and dining.

Even more out of the ordinary is a three-story building called 5969, the latest establishment to open in this area. This is more than just a bar or restaurant – as the owners describe it, it’s a creative hub. It has a Japanese and Hong Kong-inspired bar, a tattoo salon, curiosity shop, a premium bed and breakfast place, a creative workshops venue, and even a mini music school!

Located along Fermina Street and just a few houses away from bustling Kalayaan Avenue, 5969 got its name from its address number. It’s owned by six young entrepreneurs who decided to make a business out of their hobbies or field of interests. One of the partners is Mark Mendoza.  He and his five friends decided to pool together to come up with a place where people can explore and indulge in more than just one leisure interest and also appreciate Filipino craftsmanship. 

Mendoza said he and has five partners have been friends for over a decade now. They all met when they were working in the music and nightlife industry. “We’ve always had this vision of merging all our dream projects into one,” he said.

He noted that 5969 is patterned after a creative hub in the U.S. “That one occupies a warehouse that has 5 creative work and community spaces in one. Our’s isn’t a warehouse just yet but I think it’s a great start,” he said.

It took them a year to find a place that would house their dream project. They checked out properties in Poblacion and Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig. They finally discovered building number 5969 when Mark and his wife were driving by one weekend. It had a “For Rent” sign so Mark called out to a lady who happened to be standing by the entrance. He inquired about the building and he learned that she owns the place. She soon became their landlady. 

After signing the lease, they initially hired an architect to convert the former hostel into their creative hub although after a couple of months, that one didn’t work out so they decided to hire Arch. Alvin Tong to really bring the magic to the interior that they envisioned. Each partner was assigned a space where he can open and run the commercial establishment of his choice. Whatever they select would have to involve or showcase Filipino artistry and know-how.

Today, the ground floor of 5969 is called the 11:11 Tattoos and Curiosities. It houses the tattoo salon and a shop where clothes and gift items are sold. There’s also a young tarot card reader on duty every evening.  The place is painted with cheerful colors and adorned with various paintings that also impart a vibrant vibe. One of the artists featured is John Magnus who has done 2 live art sessions inside the building, both of which are now hung at the lobby of the said building.

It’s a combination of Mikhail Guingon, Jerich Eusebio and Mark Mendoza that run 11:11. Mikhail says he is a self-confessed connoisseur of tattoos (he has a few on both arms). He isn’t an artist but he’s been intrigued by the art of creating them. His salon looks more like a lounging room where customers can feel comfortable and not intimidated. Mikhail employs Filipino tattoo artists and he’s intent on hiring more. Many of them are based in the provinces, he says. He wants to scour the country to find them.

The ground floor is perhaps the most crucial part of 5969 since it’s the first thing passersby will notice. From the outside, 11:11 doesn’t look like the usual place where one gets a tattoo. It looks more like a fashion atelier and gift shop which it also is.  The store has given local merchants an opportunity to reach out to potential customers, particularly the titas of Manila. Thus while checking out the merchandise the titas will discover they can have their fortune read by the resident tarot card reader.  Moreover, they’ll be delighted to discover what this building has more in store upstairs.

The second floor is where the Modular Room is ensconced. It’s a place where people can relax on the sofas and use the videoke using a high-definition projector. The room can be converted into a party room that can accommodate 15 to 20 guests. Rent for the place on weekends is Php10,000.00 or Php15,000.00 on weekends both of which are consumable. But if you would like to rent it out for workshops or any creative venture, rent is just Php1,000.00 per hour.

The Modular Room can also be used as a studio for content creators, and also for artists who want to give painting lessons. On certain days of the week, Mark meets with his musician friends at the Modular Room to go jamming.

Next to this space is a classroom of sorts that contains a sound system used by DJs. One of the partners and also DJ/Music production instructor, Bryan Jalasco describes it as a music school where keyboard and guitar lessons are given.DJ workshops are held on weekends. Bryan studied Music Production and Audio Engineering at the Musicians’ Institute in Hollywood, California.

Across the Modular Room is the speakeasy which they christened the Dim Dim (fookien for “drink, drink”). It serves dimsum and various cocktails. It’s operated by Kelsey Uy, Mark Mendoza and Chef Jose Mari Inigo, (of which Kelsey and Chef Mari are graduates of Enderun Colleges with Mark graduating from UST). They all collaborated on creating the menu and concocted the cocktail drinks with a mixologist. It’s the building’s “gimmick place” where artist cocktails are paired with yummy munchies and good music every night.

The entire third floor is occupied by the Kin House bed and breakfast. A pet project of Kelsey Uy, the Kin House has four spacious guest suites that come equipped with queen-sized Emma beds and high-definition projectors instead of a flat screen TV. Kelsey works in the properties space and also likes to invest in art. She has commissioned a number of artists to collaborate with for all four suites.

To book one of the suites, it’s best to make reservations in advance. However, if there’s a room available, Kin House will accept walk-ins. After all, this place is right in the heart of the Poblacion where dancing and partying lasts until the bars start taking last orders before closing time.  Someone is bound to be in no condition to go home.

With 5969, the six owners get to realize their dream of pushing local talent and art to the forefront. Filipino visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians now have a place to converge and collaborate. 5969 is truly a safe haven for creatives and those craving for some art and a cozy third home.