The Philippines’ capital is one of Asia’s best-kept secrets. The capital of the Orient’s only catholic country seems somehow out of place, vibrant with Latin American and Caribbean undertones. Music and dancing are everywhere, and the smiles and laughter rival Bangkok’s in their warmth and enthusiasm. Manila’s rich history, shaped by Spanish religion and American consumerism, has led to the saying that the city spent "400 years in a convent and 50 in Hollywood." This blend of diverse cultural influences has resulted in a city of extremes that is sure to pleasantly surprise any unsuspecting traveller.
Philippine peso (PHP)
₱10 ~ US$0,19
Philippine Daily Inquirer – www.inquirer.net
Manila Bulletin – mb.com.ph
The Manila Times – www.manilatimes.net
The Philippine Star – www.philstar.com
Manila Standard – manilastandard.net
Daily Tribune – tribune.net.ph
Shops usually open from 10am–8pm, but shopping malls close at 9pm or 10pm. Smaller shops close for lunch between noon–2pm. There are many 24-hour convenience and drugstores. Malls are open on Sundays and public holidays.
Metro Manila is an urban sprawl that has swallowed up 11 cities and five towns in the past two centuries. It’s a place of opposites: old and new wealth and poverty grandiosity and decay. Smog, traffic jams and a general air of decay make a less than favourable first impression, but just beneath the surface lies a fascinating and pulsating place to enjoy. Filipinos call it “The City of Our Affections” where the people’s love affairs with fashion, music, entertainment and sheer fun are on bright and beautiful display.
By day, the original, medieval walled city of Intramuros delights with its history and elegant Latin architecture. By night - and it can be a very long night - the bright lights of Ermita and Makati beckon with jazz pubs, clubs, karaoke lounges, 24-hour diners and trendy bars. The Filipino people’s zest for life, natural friendliness and ease with the English language make them the perfect hosts, always ready to invite you to their daily party. This is a fun city where your shoulders loosen in relaxation and only the muscles you use to smile are seriously stressed.
Manila’s colourful history has bequeathed an interesting range of attractions to keep the energetic sightseer busy for several days. There are plenty of historical sites to admire and museums where you can learn more about the city and its culture.
Take a stroll along the Roxas Boulevard and witness the famous Manila sunset after exploring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Agustin Church and one of the oldest churches in Manila, the Manila Cathedral. And don´t forget the stunning nature the city has on offer like the beautiful Taal Volcano with a breath-taking view or take a guided tour to the a small rocky island of Corregidor.
For sure, there are plenty to explore including shiny gems in a city with a bustling, sprawling and unique atmosphere. The cosmopolitan city of Manila is Asia’s best-kept secret and it is just waiting to get explored.
Club Intramuros Golf Course
San Agustin Church
The Manila Hotel
National Museum Of The Philippines
Manila Ocean Park
City Tour With A Segway
Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Manila Luxury Spa
Few would claim Philippine food was among Asia’s best. However, Filipinos love food, especially a long lunch, eaten with their hands off a banana leaf. Manila is one of the most affordable places to enjoy Thai, Chinese, Japanese, French, and Italian food to international standards. Excellent service and beautiful settings make Manila a happy place to wine and dine.
So here are the top restaurants in Manila, Philippines:
Le Petit Soufflé
Casa Armas Tapas Bar Y Restaurante
Harbor View Restaurant
G Point Smörgåsbord & Bar
The coffee culture in Manila is continuously growing and evidently, there is a wide variety of local cafes, including big international chains to choose from where the baristas are passionate about their coffee. Whether you like your coffee hot or iced, strong or mild, black or flavoured, you will for sure find a place where to tickle your taste buds. When the craving for something sweet kicks in, do not worry, there are plenty of desserts and pastries to pair with your coffee or tea.
Here are some the best cafes in Manila:
Hizon's Cakes & Pastries
Cupcakes By Sonja
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
J. CO Donuts & Coffee
The Washery Laundromat & Café
Filipinos take fun seriously and Manila’s bars are among Asia’s liveliest. Happy hour is everyone’s favourite time of day – and lasts long into the night at certain hangouts. Great service, ice-cold drinks, and music nearly everywhere.
Manila is party central. Venues stay open until 5am at weekends and 3am midweek. The action centres are on JM Nakpil Street, Makati Avenue or Pasay Road in Makati and throughout the Malate and Ermita districts. The palace, Manilas biggest destination is also a great place to head for when in the party mood.
Star Of Manila
Casino - Resorts World Manila
The Tap Room
The Palace Pool Club
XYLO at The Palace
Sky Deck View Bar
12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub
Manila one of the most exciting shopping destinations in Southeast Asia thanks to the giant malls so-called `megamalls´ where you basically will find everything your heart might desire. The malls are open seven days a week and generally the doors opens at 10 or 11. These air-conditioned malls are also a welcome escape from the tropical heat and many families and friends are regularly spending the entire days to stroll around the stores or to have a bite to eat. Many of these malls are not just for shopping, but also boasts with theatres, spas, ice-skating rinks and cinemas, making them to a huge entertainment complex.
When you get tired of the malls, head over to one of the bazaars (called tiangge) or the markets that overflows with the hottest trends and some amazing bargains to bring back home. You can easily stock up on clothes, shoes and accessories without breaking your wallet but make sure to bargain and try to aim to pay about 30 to 40 percent lower than the original price.
Clothes, shoes and accessories are the best deals but be aware the size of the clothes tends to be smaller in Asia.
SM Mall of Asia
Greenhills Shopping Centre
San Andres Market
Seaside Dampa / Seaside Market
Silahis Arts & Artifacts
Robinsons Place Mall
168 Shopping Mall
The Manila Collectible Co.
Passport / Visa
The Philippines can be visited visa-free for up to 30 days by citizens of Schengen countries, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. A valid return or onward ticket and a passport that is valid upon entry and for at least six months beyond the period of stay are required to enter the Philippines. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country.
Best Time to Visit
The dry period between November and April is the peak tourist season in the Philippines. Hidden areas and remote islands are fully accessible, and temperatures are very mild, especially from December to February.
During the wet season, May to October, you still have the chance to enjoy sunny days, but bear in mind that typhoons can occur.
The months of May and November are considered low season, which means fewer crowds and lower prices for flights and accommodation. However, the weather is still pleasant and you can experience the Philippine way of life in its entirety.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport is 7 km from the centre of Manila, located south of the city, and southwest of Makati City's Central Business District.
From Manila airport, you can take the bus to various points in Manila. There are nine bus routes; eight of them go via Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), and one through Circumferential Road 5 (C-5). The bus departs every 30 minutes.
A taxi is for sure the quickest and most efficient way to travel to and from the airport. You can book a taxi at an official desk at the airport or grab a taxi outside the terminal. The journey can take between 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the time of day and the traffic. There are two types of taxis: yellow and white. The yellow taxis are the official registered and certified taxis at the airport and one of the best and safest means of transportation. The white taxis (street taxis) are not allowed inside the airport's arrival (only arriving on the departure level) and if you decide to take one of these, be careful, the driver can give you a higher fixed price without using the meter.
Another option is to arrange for a hotel transfer to pick you up. This you should arrange in advance but it is one of the most expensive options.
Address: Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila
Manila has a rail system comprising the two lines of the Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT) and the single line of the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT), also known as the Metrostar Express or Metrostar. The LRT is open 5am-9.30pm, the MRT for one hour later. Pricing is different for each line and you can buy your tickets at the ticket booths.
The rail system is the cheapest way to travel in Manila and easiest way to avoid the traffic but be aware during rush hours the trains are usually packed and there will be long queues to the ticket booths.
16-seat Jeepneys will take you on pre-set routes for a fixed fare. The colourful Jeepneys were originally made from converted US war jeeps. Routes are written on the front of the vehicle. Just flag the driver down and let him know when you want to go off.
Taxi in Manila is a very inexpensive way of getting around. You can flagging a taxi in the street or book by phone but make sure to take a registered and metered taxi. If the taxi driver says that the meter is not working then find another. Also make sure to have small peso notes to pay for the taxi fare, otherwise it could end up you paying too much because they tell you that they don´t have the change, even if they do.
Central Post Office Building:
Address: Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila
Drug stores abound in Metro Manila, many operated by market leader Mercury Drug.
Address: 660 San Andres Street, Malate, Manila
Phone: +63 2 523 1696
Country code +63
Area code: 02
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