Manila City

Type : City Break
Best Date : November – January
Expense :  Medium
Things to do : Sightseeing, Casino, Shopping
Points of Interest: Star City, SM mall of Asia, Ocean Park, Resorts Worlds, Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, Quiapo Church, Malacanang,

Brief

Manila is the capital city of the Philippines. It is one of the 17 cities within the Metro Manila region. It hosts the majority of Philippines cultural museum, malls, theme parks, convention centres and cathedrals.

The Place

For whatever reason if you want to experience Philippines city life, then Manila is best for it. Everything you would want to see, as a complete day is just around 15-30 minutes away from the airport. Whatever your plans are for Manila whether cultural, shopping, bars and clubs, theme parks, food and a more are all within one area, which is really good if you are just in a short transit. SM Mall of Asia alone may take all day to roam, it has all levels of shopping from low level, mid range and luxury budgets, restaurants and bars also vary from all sorts of budgets are also available. Bored!!! Cinemas, arcades, gyms and an ice-skating ring are found inside the mall for your leisure. However if money is low and a simple tour or walk is needed, then manila baywalk is just outside, this is a manmade bay which overlooks the west Philippine sea, beautiful to sit around and soak up the atmosphere and the sun. Other attractions neighbouring the Mall of Asia is the Ocean Park, Star City theme park, various museums and cathedrals an31954_397127005817_1152763_nd also the Rizal football pitch, again just minutes from the airport for transit passengers. However if you are planning to stay in Manila for a little longer, then this city hosts many festivals, shows, sports, concerts and large conventions so if you are in the correct place at the correct time you may want to stop by and watch a show. If casinos are your fascination, then there are 2 large and popular ones “Resorts World” and “Solaire” however be aware that you must be over 21 with ID, with no shorts and slippers and strictly no pictures as we found out the hard way (security will come, and make you delete any photos). Nonetheless Casinos are a good way to pass time, and “Resorts World” being right opposite the airport, is a good way to transit, or waste time if your too early for your flight or whatever reason.

Transport

Like the Metro Manila (Transport) page, Taxis are best advisable mode of transport. Manila is also very easy to get one, Taxi bays at the airport make it easier for arriving passengers, however I do advise to sort hotel transfers with your hotels as taxi drivers at the airport know how to take your money (they are the best at it). Taxi bays are also very presence in all the Malls and areas of interests, making it easier for a point to point transfer.

Buses are also present in Manila and they journey across to other regions of “Metro Manila,” however they do get very crowded in peak times and school holidays and weekends, so luggage’s and bags are not advisable. Buses also have no designated stops, they simply stop whenever you tell them to stop, this could confuse tourists. They are vey cheap though costing 15-50 pesos, 30p- 80p pence. If you as a tourist would like to use Buses to get around, it is best to do so with a local friend or someone familiar with the area, if you know any.

For tourism the Kalesa (horse carriage) is popular in Manila I’m not too sure in price but they are found in the monumental and bay area.

There is much more modes of transport in Manila,  however I advise tourists to be safe, and use hotel services, hotel pickups or tour transport as much as possible, yes it may be pricey but a place like Manila safety is priority. If there is no such services like that in your hotel then use taxis as much as possible, just be wary of cheat taxi drivers (always be clever) if something doesn’t seem right, ask the driver to stop and get out. However the majority of taxi drivers are safe friendly and even informative. I do believe if tourists want to use other modes of transportation, then do so with someone from around the area, someone who knows the street smarts. However if you are an experienced traveller in a place like Manila then traveling in public transport should be just like Bangkok and Jakarta.

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Metro Manila.

Type : City Break
Best Date : November – January
Expense :  Medium
Things to do : Shopping, Bars, Sightseeing
Points of Interest: Dependent of Region

BRIEF

I start off with introducing Metro Manila, the capital of the Philippines, the region I could say is home away from home. Don’t get confused by “Metro Manila” and “Manila“, Metro Manila is a region consisting of 17 cities one of them being Manila itself.

Metro Manila is a large region which consists of 17 cities, the capital being Manila, largest and most populated  Quezon City then others being Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan, Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Las Pinas, Makati, Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Pasay, Pateros and finally Taguig.

As you read my blog, you’ll notice ill be writing a lot about Quezon City where I lived, grew up and where my family home is. However just recently I have managed to buy myself a one bedroom high rise apartment (locally known as a condo unit) in Mandaluyong for my yearly holidays. However Quezon City will always be home, other region in Metro Manila I’d mention are Makati, Taguig which are the richer areas and lastly Manila itself being the capital and the most tourist attracted. All areas are similar but different in their own stature, differences are visible through buildings, roads and local laws, the people can also be different in behaviour. Whatever the differences all regions are all connected, the EDSA highway, bus and rail transports connect Metro Manila as one big city.

The Place

Id like to say I’m no longer a tourist in Metro Manila, although locals would say otherwise. In Philippines, it doesn’t matter if you are Filipino, if you do not know the street-smarts, then you are as good as a newbie to the country. Philippines like other 3rd world countries would be very difficult for any Foreigner to travel in, that’s why knowing someone when you travel to Philippines is important for safety.

When any tourist travels to the Philippines you would more or less likely arrive in Manila although Cebu is getting more and more popular with major airlines to arrive in. The Airport formally known as the “Ninoy Aquino International Airport” (NAIA) is just minutes away from where tourists would want to go. Hotels, Casinos, Ocean Park, Star City, Mall of Asia, Rizal Park, Cultural  Museums and Churches can be found within 30 minutes from the airport (not considering the famous Filipino traffic).

Taguig and Makati are the more richer areas, where tourists will feel more confident and safe to roam around. Bonifacio Global City and SM Aura in Taguig is a shopping district that foreigners will feel at home. It has the more modern structure and architecture in the Philippines and is safer due to security being on another level as armed guards are more present here than anywhere else.

Upper class clubbing is also here in Taguig, Valkyrie club, Revel, The Pool Club Palace, Prive, Haze and Raven are some of the well known clubs there. If clubbing here is what you want, prepare yourself to spend in the region of Php 10,000 to Php30,000, £160 to £320.

Makati on the other hand has more of the high rise business districts, here you can find offices of international businesses and local corporations. Makati is the financial centre of the Philippines. You can find the upper class shops in Greenbelt malls, shops such as Prada, Armani, Chanel, Montblanc and many alike reside in this class mall, Glorietta Mall which is a little bit cheaper is right beside, so there is something for the filthy rich and also for the middle class.

All around Metro Manila there is different things to see from region to region. Manila, Taguig and Makati are where I believe tourists stay and roam. However I have always told everyone I recommended going to Philippines to stay in Metro Manila only for 3-7 days, there is more to see in Philippines if you go out of town and onto the different islands and beaches.

Metro Manila (Transport) continues in another page (Click here)