Top 10 Places to Visit in Metro Manila

As the Philippines is getting more and more popular as a holiday destination, I look at the top 10 places I believe that cant be missed whilst in the country’s entry point Metro Manila.

10th) Manila Ocean Park

Firstly we start off with a family amusement. This Oceanarium has plenty to see and do, with over 300 marine species indigenous to South East Asia. There are also land creatures with a barnyard, bird and insect section. Most anticipated are the seal show which is applaudable and last but not the least is the symphony of evening show which is a magical light, water and fire show which come together to gives a great end to the day. Honestly it is not the best Oceanarium that would blow your mind, but it is a worthy visit whilst in the capital.

Manila Ocean Park
Manila Ocean Park ( photo from https://www.shoreexcursions.asia/manila-ocean-park/)
9th) Quiapo Church and China Town

Quiapo church and the surrounding area is no doubt very important to the Filipino people, its religious and cultural significance is the reason it is on my top 10 list, however this area is also known to be very dangerous to locals themselves, so any tourists would need to be cautious. Nonetheless this Church is very important with many miracles said to have happened, one of which is the story of the black Nazarene statue which arrived from Mexico in 1606 surviving a huge fire.

The nearby Binondo China town is also significant for being the worlds oldest china town in the world. A place that should be high on this list but because its not accessible and a little dangerous, im happy this being 9th.

asianjournalusa.com/the-political-rallies-in-plaza-miranda-the-mercenary-prayers-at-quiapo-chu-p13552-184.htm
8th) Poblacion, Makati

One for those who enjoy a bit of nightlife, Poblacion has a mixture of affordable and high-end bars and clubs. It is popular for locals and foreign tourists. A place that must be visited to appreciate Filipino night life.

7th) Bonifacio Global City

The first of four shopping site on my list. Bonifacio Global City is an outdoor high street retail arcade which has both affordable and high end shops and restaurants. Boasting a beautiful parklike greenspace in the middle with fountain and artistic features this shopping district is very popular.

Bonifacio High Street (goodfreephotos.com)
6th) Resorts World

The brand ‘Resorts World’ is well known around the world. For Manila, Resorts World is a complete high end entertainment complex including a casino, theatre, cinema, shopping complex, restaurants and accommodations. Resorts world is high on my list as it is popular amongst tourist and it is nearest to the airport.

5th) Greenbelt Ayala Centre

The most extravagant and  luxurious of all the malls in Metro Manila. the Greenbelt shopping mall consist of high end shops such as Prada, Gucci, Armani and others alike. This mall makes the 5th best place to visit in Metro Manila as in my opinion it takes you out of the hustle and bustle of the city, a nice place which may make you feel at home. The nice green space in the middle, vegetable plantation, cat play area and the outdoor church makes a brilliant hotspot for tourism

4th) SM Mall of Asia

…and another mall but its the last one I promise. SM Mall of Asia was arguably once the largest in Asia when it was built in the year 2006, it has since been replaced as 4th largest in the country and down to 14th in the continent.  4th on my list as unlike ‘Resorts World’ this is a complete leisure complex for all ages that is affordable to the average person. Complete with concert halls, Imax, bowling, arcades, funfair, shops, restaurants and an Olympic sized skating ring. Furthermore the man made bay area is a good place to chill and take it easy.

Mall Of Asia
https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=59538&picture=mall-of-asia
3rd) Intramuros

A fortified walled complex from the Spanish colonial era makes it as my 3rd place that I believe people should visit. Formerly the Spaniards centre for governance, this had huge significance through all colony from Spanish, Japanese and American rule. Intramuros has lots of Spanish architecture within its walls which I believe is  a must for visitors.

File:Intramuros Manila.jpg
Intramuros (photo by Armanbambuco)
2nd) Quezon Circle

My 2nd placer is questionable and I believe a lot of people who is from the Philippines or Metro Manila itself would find my choice quiet surprising and interesting. Quezon Circle is a park situated in between a large 8 lane roundabout, it is a park where many locals visit to chill, date, unwind, stay active and just have a good time. Central to this park it the Quezon Shrine which is a beautiful 3 pillar structure which houses the remains of the popular late president Manuel Quezon. On top of the monument is an observation deck and below is a museum about the late president and also about the country in general. The park has a cute theme park with traditional fair games and rides. I believe Quezon circle doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, maybe the sheer distance from the main Manila region or the lack of advertisements. I have always found this place amazing and when I brought my visiting friends over to see this, I was surprised by their very positive reaction, so this park makes it as my top 2 place to visit whilst around Metro Manila.

Quezon Shrine (Photo from https://www.justrunlah.com/running_route/quezon-memorial-circle/)
1st) Rizal Park

Probably the cover attraction of the capital and what I believe is the must see place whilst in Metro Manila is Rizal Park. Adjacent to the walled city of Intramuros this place is a favourite leisure spot for Filipinos. This park also has history as it was the location of the execution of Filipino patriot Jose Rizal which started the Philippine revolution against Spain. The monument which holds his remains is the focal point of this park and because of this the area remains a significant place for the country and for what I believe is a place visitors should visit whilst in the country. 

File:Rizal Monument at Rizal Park.jpg
Rizal Monument (photo by Maynard Rabanal)

So there’s my personal top 10 places to visit whilst in Metro Manila, do you think?

Thanks for reading!!!

 

GIF 1

 

Reference:

https://www.myproperty.ph/journal/2019/02/13/the-top-10-largest-malls-in-the-philippines-infographic/
Advertisements

A year full of discoveries 2018

So its another year with plenty of trips being fulfilled. I have managed to tick off my hit-list it has been wonderful with plenty to write about. Last year (2017) I missed out a trip to Helsinki and Tallinn with the winter proving too expensive for me to finish the year off, however 2018 fulfilled this plan.

Below are just some of the places ive managed to visit, click on them to read some of my write-ups. Next year I already have plans to go to Cambodia, Turkey and Chamonix in France. Other places that are a possibility are Morocco, USA and a return to South America.

South American Trip

Sao Paulo, Mar 18First trip of the year and entering South America for the first time on a Brazil and Peru trip. The city was safer than I thought I used public transport and walked everywhere.
Lima, Mar 18 The Peruvian capital was a pleasure to visit, its museums were different to any other in the world.
Cusco, Mar 18 The city is beautiful, old churches and Incan ruins was out of this world. Be very careful when visiting this place as the high altitudes do affect people in different ways.
Ollantaytambo, Mar 18 One of the smallest but most beautiful places I have stayed. Me and my brother stayed next to a river with some of the best views of the surrounding river.
Aguas Calientes, Mar 18 The main stage for the world famed Machu Picchu, one of the best places I have been, truly majestic.
Rio De Janiero, Mar 18 As long as you’re extra careful Rio is a safe place to be, maybe a few money hustle form a few taxi drivers or vendors but other than those it is safe. Its scenery and beaches are some of the best in the world.

Wales Trip

Cardiff, Apr 18 A short weekend in the welsh capital, a place full of investment in order to establish it as a shopping haven.

20180420_162210

Philippines & Japan Trip

Manila, Jun 18 Its that time again where once a year I visit Philippines. A base to srelax before we head off to Japan.
Osaka, Jun 18 Our entry point in Japan, smaller than Tokyo but a metropolis nonetheless.
Kyoto, Jun 18 Beautifully preserved temples and religious places. Home of the world famed Geisha entertainers and the most cultural traditions preserved.
Tokyo, Jun 18 Last city visited in Japan, a beautiful busy metropolis. Very crowded and bustling 24 hours a day. Bright lights, most modern technology and cuisine were a huge plus for this city.

England Trip

Devon, Sep 18 A short weekend trip to the English country side, new attractions has been built in Ilfracombe attracted more tourists.

20180827_095952
Finland & Estonia Trip

Helsinki, Dec 18 The Finnish capital had little to offer in attractions however the beauty of the capital is its people, arts and history.
Rovaniemi, Dec 18 A true winter wonderland, the coldest place ive visited and the most magical place for families.
Tallinn, Dec 18 (post coming soon) Outstanding pagan churches, Medieval Castles and modern festive market. Spookiest place ive ever been to with many stories of haunted past on many building in the old town.

Where to go in the Philippines?

Brief

Philippines is a very popular destination for different modes of tourism, whether you are a backpacker, solo traveller, couple, family, young or old there is something the Philippines can offer.  Moreover the country has its more luxurious properties and places to visit whilst there are others which don’t need plenty of funds to enjoy.

Philippines has approximately 1,700 islands and islets, full of beautiful scenery and wildlife. There are also places built up like any modern metropolis around the world.

Below is a few ideas of where to go, depending on what type of a holiday or travel you are looking for. Click on the links (if available for galleries or blogs). This page will be updated regularly.

Where should I go?

Beaches: Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Boracay, Puerto Galera, Pangasinan, Bohol, Pagudpud, Baler, Siargao, Panglao Island, Camiguin

54

Cultural: Vigan, Cebu, Baguio, Bacolod City, Sagada, Dumaguete, Iloilo City, Quezon City, Manila

quezon-shrine

Religious: Manaoag, Antipolo, Novaliches, Quiapo , Cebu, Sagada, Iloilo City

our-lady-of-manaoag-church-in-pangasinan

Party/ Nightlife: Boracay, Makati, Taguig, Subic Bay, Angeles, Quezon Avenue, Cebu (Mango Avenue),

pub crawl (8)

Bargain/ Shopping: Makati, Manila, Quiapo, Cebu

31146_393598040817_7629561_n

Adventure/ Adrenaline: Cebu, Zamboanga, Laoag, Tagaytay, Baler, Cagayan De Oro, Pagudpud

208

Couples retreat/ Honeymoon: Busuanga (Palawan), El Nido (Palawan), Coron (Palawan), Davao, Siargao, Panglao Island

boracay pool

Families: Subic Bay, Cebu, Manila, Tagaytay, Baguio,

Subic (85)

Backpacker: Banaue, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan

12115716_10154047194565818_1993751543776267698_n

Luxurious: Davao, Palawan, Fort Bonifacio, Busuanga,

dsc_5225

Diving: Davao, Palawan, Cebu, Panglao Island

309

Trekking: Banaue, Camiguin, Cebu,

201

Food: Tagaytay (for Bulalo), Cebu (for Lechon), Pampanga (For Sisig, Longanisa, Tocino), Dagupan (Milkfish),

32

Metro Manila (Transports)

Transport

Transports in Manila can vary from the different regions. Modes of transportations include taxi, buses, trains, boats, pedicabs and the culturally famous tricycle and jeepneys. Whatever the mode you choose in Manila there will always be a big disadvantage, whether crowds, traffic, temperature or even safety.

The easiest way to get around is definitely by owning a car, with one you can get from point to point to a desired destination. However like I said there will always be the downsides, for a tourist to rent a car is dangerous and unrecommendable, drivers in Philippines are irresponsible. Counter flowing, speeding, beating the red light  are some of the many craziness in Philippine roads. There will also be no reliable structure to the roads, apart from worn out road markings, drivers seems to know some kind of make a lane rule, whereas a 3 lane highway could become a 5 lane highway ( just find space and take it). I do not advise tourists or newbies to drive in Manila, leave it to the locals.

Taxi on the other hand is safer, as you relax enjoy the aircon whilst getting through the traffic, whilst letting someone else do the driving. However locating a taxi could be a job in itself, unlike London where a taxi driver would love a passenger, Manila are more likely to turn a passenger away (depending on where you want to go, and how busy it is). After finding  a taxi be careful by drivers who love to cheat and take as much money as possible, meters could be tapped or they may ask for extras because of traffic or distance. Majority of taxis are good and is the most advisable mode of transport in the Philippines, a ride from Heathrow to London by taxi could cost £50 whilst the same distance in Philippines would be in the region of £5-£10 equivalent.

Railways called the MRT/ LRT (don’t know what they stand for) are definatly the quickest way of transport in Metro Manila. The MRT Starts in North EDSA and ends in Taft Avenue a short commute away from the airport in Manila (basically following the EDSA highway). Tickets are cheap at about 12 -45 pesos or 20- 70 pence. MRT/LRT can get very crowded at peek times and thieves do roam around stations, however I do not feel this should discourage tourists to try it.

Tricycles are more of a local type of transport. They never travel more than a mile away from their base/ station. It is like a shopping district to village type of transport, like corner shop to home equivalent in London. Fares vary from distance although usually 15 pesos per person. Sometimes a tricycle can be shared making it cheaper as locals share the fare. I don’t see a lot of foreigners use this mode of transportation as like I said this is usually for Locals with huge amounts of shopping from groceries or markets.

Pedicabs like tricycles are a local mode of transportation. Difference being that instead of a motorbike stuck to a cabin, pedicabs is a pushbike stuck to a cabin. It has the same approach as the tricycle but more cheaper, these can be found at the poorer parts of the city. I believe Pedicabs are for the poor, I have never seen tourists use these, however what do I know.

And finally the Jeepneys, the leftover American military vehicles culturally used as buses. There is never the same looking jeepney as they all have their own independent image, as their owners cover their vehicles in bright colourful artworks. Unlike the ordinary buses around the world Jeepneys can be boarded wherever in the jeepneys journey, you can also get off at anytime by saying “para” which means stop. There is no need for bus stops, this may be the argument for being dangerous or creating traffic. Jeepneys are an interesting but uncomfortable way of travelling, it may be hot, smokey, wet (when raining), crowded and even dangerous at times. However rightly so this mode of transportation still seems to be popular for tourism.

There are many more modes of transportation, like FXs, Boats however these are only in limited areas and are not usually well known.

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.

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)