The poop guide to Metro Manila
The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) recently began its “toilet rehabilitation program” in an effort to upgrade the public restrooms located inside MRT stations. The project involves the renovation of both male and female restrooms located in the 13 stations of the MRT.
The project is expected to be completed by September of this year. In announcing the project, DOTC Spokesman Migs Sagcal had this to say, via the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
“One of the basic necessities of an MRT-3 rider are functioning and decent comfort rooms. Alongside our improvement projects for train operations is this toilet rehabilitation project, which responds to the call of our commuters for better passenger comfort and convenience.”
The project will start with male restrooms, followed by restrooms for persons with disabilities, and then finally female restrooms.
That the state of MRT restrooms is terrible is not surprising. After all, government has always had a rocky relationship with restrooms. For the longest time, even our international airport had horrible restrooms. And of course, who can forget the awful pink-turned-green urinals that the MMDA has placed throughout the city.
And in the many ways that private businesses have had to pick up the slack for government, so it goes with restrooms. Instead of waiting around for the DOTC to hopefully restore our public restrooms with some level of decency, the options created by private businesses are much better choices—you know, the kind where bathroom stalls have locks, toilets have seats, the aroma doesn’t trigger gag reflexes, and most of all, there is toilet paper.
For this collection of public restrooms, we’ve laid out a few requirements for any bathroom to make it to this list. First, they have to be publicly accessible to anyone without having to purchase anything (restaurant bathrooms are eliminated). Second, under no circumstances must you have to pay to use these facilities. Third, they all have toilet paper as a minimum requirement. Fourth, some of these restrooms are quite possibly nicer than your homes. Marble floors, hands-free faucets, ridiculously beautiful lighting—yup, these are the Shangri-La of bathrooms. (More on Shangri-La later on).
Century City Mall
One of the newest malls in Metro Manila is also home to one of the nicest bathrooms on this list. From the accented lighting, to the modern design, the Century City Mall could easily pass for a spa. The scents are wonderful, and best of all, this lightly populated mall offers excellent privacy. There aren’t that many stalls, but then again, there aren’t that many people either. You can simply take your time in relative peace and comfort.
Ayala Fairview Terraces
The majority of mall-goers head over to SM Fairview right across the street, but the thrones at Ayala Fairview Terraces are the epitome of peace and tranquility. The cubicles may not have individual tissue holders, but there are plenty of wipers by the sink counters. While automatic faucets, soap dispensers, and hand dryers are mainstay features in sosy restrooms, at FT, these items are in topnotch condition. The maintenance staff are courteous too, so return their perky hellos to show appreciation for their awesome work.
Shangri-La Hotel Lobby and other hotel restrooms
Any hotel lobby can actually make it to this list. These places can seem intimidating, but once you muster up enough confidence, you’ll realize no one really pays attention. There’s more than enough business going on in these hotels for staff to police everyone who uses the lobby restrooms. So simply walk up like you’re meeting someone, and then casually stroll the lobby to find the restrooms. Shangri-La has a powder room, high-end toiletries, and even music inside.
The bathrooms at the Shangri-La hotel are perfect not just for their opulence, but doubly so because of the location. Who needs Glorietta restrooms when Shangri-La is a short walk away? The hotel’s proximity to the business district also makes this the closest nice restroom for maximum privacy and comfort. Unless of course you work in the Legaspi Village side, in which case, we highly recommend..
Adora in Greenbelt 5
The restrooms of Greenbelt are nothing spectacular. In fact, with them being spaced so far apart, they can be a bit crowded. The much better option? Walk into Adora in Greenbelt 5. Pretend like you actually have money and browse a few items. After successfully wandering about for a few minutes, make a beeline for the restrooms. You won’t regret it.
City of Dreams and other resort-casinos
Using the toilet at the newly opened City of Dreams is the polar opposite of your most nightmarish bathroom memory. If you’re over 21, waltz in into any casino’s bathroom and bask in the golden glow of its wall lamps and golden tiles. Casino toilets are rarely a full house, so lock yourself inside a spacious cubicle longer than you normally would. Why so? Because sitting on that throne feels like hitting the jackpot.
The new wing at the Shangri-La Mall
What is it with these Shangri-La people and their restrooms? Whatever it is, your precious buns should send them a thank you note. The Shangri-La mall is incredibly strategic for commuters of the MRT. With a link directly into the mall, this is an excellent stopover for a mid-commute emergency. Instead of going to the older restrooms in the original mall, upgrade to first class and head over to the new wing. The restrooms, introduced through a suspenseful long corridor lined with white marble, are worth the trip, and then some.
Central Square in High Street
The High Street complex, while perfect for long romantic walks, is definitely not perfect for long trips to the restroom. Not enough stalls, sinks, and often without toilet paper, this place just isn’t ideal. Don’t worry though: Its younger, air-conditioned sibling can make up for any of its shortcomings. The restrooms in Central Square are simply topnotch. There’s toilet paper in every stall, every thing is hands-free, and best of all, it’s not busy.