Latest Stories


BGC as ‘gimik’ place: Dance music, R&B thrive at Jill’s


THE FACADE of Jill’s, one of the first clubs to open at The Fort Strip in BGC. PHOTO BY POCHOLO CONCEPCION

What was once part of a somber military camp—where the likes of Ninoy Aquino, Serge Osmeña and Geny Lopez were once imprisoned—is now a vibrant “gimik” place called Bonifacio Global City (or BGC) in Taguig.

Most people still refer to it as “The Fort” because that was its original name when the government started selling parts of Fort Bonifacio for commercial development in the mid-1990s. Besides, it’s more convenient to pronounce—The Fort has only two syllables compared to BGC’s three; and taxi drivers still knit their eyebrows when you ask to be taken to BGC. But when you point out, “Sa The Fort po,” they sometimes quip, “Ah, sa Global!”

Whatever, the place is virtually on equal footing with Manila, Quezon City, Ortigas, and its neighbor, Makati, as a nightlife destination. The only drawback is that first-timers are bound to get lost and confused in the maze of streets in the sprawling BGC grounds, although there are now signs posted along the roads directing motorists to specific locations.

Three main areas

SINGER-SONGWRITER Abby Asistio (right) performs with keyboardist James Sace and percussionist Paolo de la Rama on Tuesday nights at Jill’s. PHOTO BY POCHOLO CONCEPCION

There are three main areas in BGC where the restaurants and clubs are concentrated: Bonifacio High Street; Burgos Circle; and The Fort Strip. We’ve been to High Street a number of times last year, having enjoyed the food at Abé, Lorenzo’s Way (both of the LJC Group) and Sentro on various occasions, and the gigs at Seventh High. We’ve also gone to Burgos Circle with friends, dining and drinking at Café Juanita.

But it’s The Fort Strip we remember most, since it’s the most visible coming from McKinley Road; its most prominent club a few years ago was Embassy before it closed down. Among the original tenants in the Strip which has fortunately remained open is Jill’s.

Owned by three business partners, one of which is lawyer Ray Espinosa of the MVP Group, Jill’s always attracts attention by way of a loudspeaker outside its door that blares the music playing inside the club.

‘Friday Madness’

Go to Jill’s on a Friday if you like ’80s music, specially the dance-based tunes. There’s no live band, but DJ Jon Tupaz, with another jock, Martin Porta, will keep you preoccupied with a nonstop mix of songs that came on the heels of the golden era of punk-New Wave-disco in the ’70s.

PARTY PLACE. Architect Mary Ann Gannaban (left) partying at Jill’s with her college batchmates from the University of Santo Tomas. PHOTO BY POCHOLO CONCEPCION

Tupaz and Porta’s record-spinning gig, dubbed “Friday Madness at Jill’s”—actually a spin-off from the nothing-but-’80s music programming on FM radio station Magic 89.9 every Friday—expects its denizens to get up and dance.

Which everyone does, except that it now feels weird, at least to those who used to party in Where Else? and other discos of their high-school youth, because the people who dance at Jill’s somehow look embarrassed when shaking their booty. We don’t know if it’s the weight of middle age or the frustrating desire to recapture the dance steps of yesteryears.

The jocks’ song choices are fine, but we think they have a slight tendency to repeat some tunes in a familiar cycle. (Familiarity breeds contempt, right?)

In any case, expect to hear “Footloose,” “Tenderness,” “You to Me Are Everything,” “Karma Chameleon,” “Night To Remember,” “Get Down On It,” “Pump Up the Volume,” among many others. But geez, when are they putting “Awitin Mo, Isasayaw Ko” to rest?

Abby Asistio

Interior designer Norman Agleron (in cap) celebrating his birthday at Jill’s with cousins and friends. Photo by Pocholo Concepcion

Tuesday is also a good night to visit Jill’s; featured live act is an acoustic group led by singer Abby Asistio who sports a bald pate a la Sinead O’ Connor.

On the first Tuesday we catch her performance, Asistio reveals a cool sense of rhythm with her covers of foreign stuff from mixed eras including Janet Jackson (“Let’s Wait Awhile”); Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Cool With You”); Lisa Stansfield (“Been Around the World”); and Des’ree (“You Gotta Be”).

But she also has a rock edge, even if her versions of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” and Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes” are fine-tuned to suit her R&B style.

The club’s dancing crowd on a Friday night. Photo by Pocholo Concepcion

On the second Tuesday, a party is in full swing—balikbayan interior designer Norman Agleron (back home from Australia) has his college batchmates from the University of Santo Tomas and former officemates from DM Consunji Inc., including a few who flew in from Singapore, joining the fun despite the rainy weather.

Onstage, Asistio tries—and succeeds—to keep the party people’s spirits up with a repertoire that swings from past to present: Shanice’s “I Love Your Smile”; Michael Jackson’s pivotal hit “Rock With You”; Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man”; and, surprise, Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child.”

Open mind

DJs Jon Tupaz and Martin Porta. Photo by Pocholo Concepcion

Asistio has fine vocal chops as well as an open mind—willing to listen to criticism as she joins our table and gets a comment from a friend: “You’re good but there are some notes that you don’t seem to hit right.”

A daughter of Macario “Boy” Asistio Jr. and Veronica Jones, the singer tells us that she also writes songs and is recording an album. We wish her luck as the party winds down.

At 2 a.m. we step out of Jill’s and flag down a cab. Some of the drivers are rude, choosing passengers according to their destinations. That’s quite unbecoming in a place that calls itself a “global city.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bonifacio Global City (BGC) , Jill’s , leisure , Lifestyle , Nightlife , Philippines - metro , Taguig

  • iriga1_city1_boy1

    Agree on that.BGC is a vibrant place.But aside from rude cab drivers,there are also rude drivers who don’t respect pedestrians and stoplights.They try to run you over even though the lights are timed for people to cross.I don’t know why Filipinos don’t have that inborn discipline to respect the laws and ordinances.Somewhere in that place,somebody gonna get ran over because of negligence of others.That place should be a showcase of the country’s progress and observance of decorum.Hope it does not go to the dogs!! And chaos.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  3. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  4. Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  5. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  6. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  7. A tale of two Priscillas: my mother Prissy and Chona Recto Kasten
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
  • 4 French journalists freed from Syria captors home
  • Thousands celebrate Easter in Holy Land
  • Transcript reveals confusion over ferry evacuation
  • Pimentel wants Balikatan-type drills for PNP
  • Sports

  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders