Manila, the Philippines’ capital city. It actually serves as the country’s center of economy, culture, education, and government. It is kind of a crowded city but composed mostly of the friendliest locals you will ever meet. We may consider that it does not always make the best and brightest news for the right reasons, but its charm is truly irresistible, especially for people who seek urban adventures.
This underrated city may be hot and chaotic, but it surely has a lot to offer. From its food up to its culture, this city is truly remarkable and will make you want to come back for more.
So when you plan to visit the city of Manila, try to explore a little more and experience the city as if you are one of the locals.
If you are in Manila, your trip will not be complete if you will not put these things on your to do list:
Visit the National Museum. When you go to a place that you are unfamiliar of, try to learn some new things from their museum and discover their history. Engulf yourself with the country’s art, history and architecture. This way, you will be able to learn more about the country and able to understand the locals more and have an idea on how to deal with them.
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Go on a shopping spree at Divisoria. It is one of the most famous markets not just in Manila, but also in the Philippines. You can actually find anything you can think of in this market and it offers the biggest bargain deals and lowest priced goods. Just remember to haggle to make the most out of your money. It is perfect for take away goods or what the locals usually call as “pasalubong”.
What I like best in Manila?
For people who enjoy food trips, Manila is the perfect place for that. This city offers a variety of food selections. Technically, it can be a one stop shop when it comes to food because most of the native food from different countries are usually available here. Also, you may find some of the most weirdest food you might think of but is truly delicious. Just by walking down the street, you will be able to bump into someone selling balut or fertilized duck egg. You might also want to try the country’s most famous street food such as fish balls, kwek-kwek or coated boiled quail eggs, isaw or grilled chicken/pork intestine, betamax, or grilled chicken/pork blood and a lot more. These foods may sound a little weird but it is really delicious.
Manila has the nicest and kindest locals out there. They are really hospitable and will surely treat you as one of them. You can easily ask them about anything, whether it would be directions or anything, they will surely answer you nicely and with a wide smile on their faces.
Best Walk in Manila
Never miss a chance to explore and take a walk around these places in Manila:
Intramuros. The historic ‘Walled City’ will take you back to the old time where you will be able to see traces of the Spanish Colonial Era. It projects a different image of Manila. It is lined with old Spanish houses and churches that have been restored, and a lot of Spanish related places that includes the country’s history.
Luneta Park. It is located at the heart of Manila and also considered as a landmark full of historical significance. It is one of the top attractions in Manila and it is a basically a homage to the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal. This park contains and features historical monuments, squares and gardens, a large stadium, observatories, shops, food kiosk, playgrounds, and a lot of fountains.
Manila Bay. Nothing beats the sunset view in Manila Bay. Just a little walk along the bay can easily release your stress and make you feel more relaxed. This is a friendly and cheerful little area with live music street performers and a lot of food vendors.
Best Restaurants in Manila
Craving for Chinese food? Chinatown has the best, most affordable and authentic Chinese Restaurants in the city. Here, you will be able to try different kinds of dim sum, roast duck, noodle soup, hopia, and the all time Filipino favorite, lumpiang Shanghai.
If you want to try Filipino food, take a visit in one of the store branches of The Aristocrat. It is a long established restaurant in the Philippines. It serves a wide range of authentic and delicious Filipino food and specialties at a very affordable price. Their honey-cured chicken barbecue is a must try.
If you want to try a Filipino food with a Filipino ambiance, try visiting Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant. It is located inside Intramuros. They offer genuinie Filipino cuisine with musicians that play serenades during lunch time, and dancers during the evening. This restaurant will truly give you the Filipino experience you are looking for.
Since the Philippines is composed mostly of Catholic people, one of the most famous religious feast and processions in Manila is the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Thousands of people and devotees gather and walk bare foot through the streets of the city leading to the Quiapo Church to celebrate the figure of Christ that is built more than two years ago.
Besides the usual nightlife in a bar, Manila offers night markets and live band performers. When it comes to night markets, the Tutuban Night Market lets you enjoy shopping during the night. They offer a much cheaper and affordable shoes, bags, accessories, souvenirs, and a lot more. Also, a lot of food are available alongside. And when it comes to a more chill experience with live band performers, you may opt to visit Manila Bay at night. Aside from the scenic view, they offer food and drinks that you may enjoy while listening to live music.
Best Day Trip Out of The City
When it comes to day trips out of the city, you can enjoy the relaxing resorts, islands, water parks and beaches near Manila. The city’s friendly neighbors have plenty of beaches for tourists to enjoy the beauty of nature within 2-3 hour drive only. Most worthy places I can recommend are the Masasa Beach in Batangas, Splash Island Resort in Laguna, Aquaria Waterpark in Batangas, and the Crystal Beach Resort in Zambales.
Something that Not Many Travelers Know About Manila
Since most of the locals does not own a private car, Manila has a different way of driving from one place to another. They have a vehicle called “jeepney”. It is a different kind of carpool that brings people to places they want to go with such an affordable rate.
Also, as the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, Manila is definitely full of thrift stores that you might want to shop in to. You may see a lot of these stores in every corner of Manila. Try experiencing an affordable shopping spree in any of these stores and you will surely enjoy not just the shopping itself but the good finds you may buy.
Final Tip for Travelers
There are a lot of things you can do when you are in Manila, make sure to look for the most affordable yet the best place where you can collect beautiful memories.