Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss


MANILA

Manila is the capital city of the Philippines, home to many businesses and mixture of culture. Manila may not be the most appearing South East Asian country to visit, but it is worth staying here for at least a night or two to discover the interesting historical culture of the Philippines. Many people travel to Manila just to transfer their flights before they head to one of its many popular islands, like Palawan, Cebu or Boracay.

Manila might have horrible traffic or ridiculous history of crime rates, but amidst all the “bad” stuff that is associated to Manila, it is still welcoming city with a rich mixture of old and modern.

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss


What to do and see?

Get hold of old Manila
Spare at least half a day exploring Intramuros, a famous walled city with a rich history dating back in the 1500s. Intramuros means “within the walls” in Spanish, and it is a historic area with many sites that are protected and conserved within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the walled city by walk, or you can rent a bamboo bike, rent a cycle rickshaw or go on a horse-drawn carriage, locally called kalesa. 

Visit sites such as Fort Santiago, San Augustin Church and its history museum, Manila cathedral or Casa Manila and immerse yourself into the rich history of Spanish colonial life, and Intramuros, which was once the original Manila city.

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss



Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss


Visit the oldest Chinatown in the world
Across the river from Intramuros, you will find Manila Chinatown, or so-called Binondo. It is a busy district of the city with many commercial and dining spaces. You’ll be welcomed to the Chinatown by its large arch which is about 63.5 feet high. Apart from strolling around this quarter, make sure to pass by The Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz. 

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Immerse yourself in historical artworks or interactive displays
Among many other galleries and museums, visit the National Museum where you can find variery of displays,including ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual arts collections. The entrance to the museum is free for everyone, and they are closed on Mondays. If you are looking for a more creative and fun day out, spend them in more interactive or speciality museums, like The Mind Museum, Upside down museum or Dessert Museum.

Shop your way in SM Mall of Asia
Call a Grab to SM Mall of Asia, the home of the largest shopping mall in the country. It is a comprehensive and large complex of shops, restaurants, IMAX theatre, ice skating rink and other entertainment places.

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Brush up your bargain skills at Greenhills Shopping Center

If you are looking for a more affordable place to shop, check out the indoor market that sells everything, from clothes, souvenirs to tech accessories. Make sure to carry cash to shop here, as they won’t be accepting cards. A great spot to get some bargain souvenirs or locally handcrafted items for a memory.

Get some Italian moments in Venice mall

Venice Grand Canal is a lifestyle mall development in Taguig district of Manila. It is considered as the most romantic mall in the country, and there are no arguments to it. Stepping into this mall, you will totally feel like in Venice. You can even take a short gondola ride, or enjoy some Italian inspired events, entertainment and dining around this area. The mall has been even awarded for the best retail architectural design a the Philippine Property Awards in 2017.


Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss



Walk on Escolta Street
If you are into history, then make sure to walk on the Escolta Street, a historic east-west street located in the old downtown district. The street is home to several amazing examples of early skyscraper designs and architecture in the Philippines. It is also not too far from Philippine Postal Corporation building, which was built in neoclassical style.

Manila Baywalk
The Baywalk is a seaside promenade overlooking Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard in the City of Manila, Philippines. The Baywalk is a two-kilometre stretch from the US Embassy near Rizal Park up to the Cultural Center of the Philippines just past the Manila Yacht Club.

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss



Where to eat and drink?

  • I am sure you won’t miss seeing Jollibee on a street, as it is a popular chain in Asia. It is similar to McDonald’s or any other fast-food chains you may know.  
  • If you are looking for a Filipino comfort cuisine with a twist, make sure to check out Manam. 1919 
  • Grand Cafe - The site of the old HSBC building has now been transformed into a very beautiful and elegant coffee place.  
  • The wholesome table - Looking for some organic food, then book yourself a table in one of its chain of The wholesome table around Manila.
  • Early Night? - Looking for a new hangout in BGC where you can just chill out with affordable food and drinks? Check out this popular hot spot for a drink or two.
  • Ms. Gee - The layback sit down restaurant and bar is Makati district of Manila.
  • Barbara's Heritage Restaurant - Manila's top Filipino-themed restaurant located in the Spanish-era old district of Intramuros.

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss


Where to stay?

Airbnb (£-££)
Having an own apartment after a long haul flight is always great, and Manila has a wide choice of apartments for affordable rates! Another benefit of having Airbnb flats is access to a kitchen where you can cook your own meals and save some money for eating out.

Z Hostel (£)
If you are looking for an affordable place and an opportunity to meet other travellers, check out Z Hostel Located in Makati district of Manila, you are surrounded by many restaurants, bars, shops as well as the amazing rooftop view on Manila from the hostel.

City Garden Grand Hotel (££)
Boasting an outdoor pool and complimentary WiFi access, City Garden Grand Hotel offers luxurious accommodation with sweeping views of the Manila

Manila Marriott Hotel (£££)
Embrace stylish accommodation at Manila Marriott Hotel featuring thoughtfully appointed rooms and expansive suites in the heart of Resort World Manila.

Hyatt Regency Hotel (£££)
A luxurious Hyatt Regency, City of Dreams hotel located in the entertainment and business district of Manila. Enjoy the nearby SM Asia mall, casinos and outdoor pools during your stay in here.

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss


Booking.com

What to know before travelling

Transportation

The transportation in Manila isn’t the greatest, in fact, the best way to get around is either by walk or getting a Grab car. Download the app before so you are ready to order a taxi whenever you need it. The rides are fairly cheap, you are looking about up to £5 to get around. 

 The city itself is very spread and it is divided into few neighbourhoods, which you may not even need to visit them all. The Intramuros and the downtown of Manila can be pretty easily walkable, but make sure to plan your day in advance, as you might have to travel around to get to places because it really feels like several towns in one larger city. It is easy to get around the city, as the signs will be written either in English or in both languages. Nevertheless, local people speak well English and always happy to help you if you are lost or need direction. In fact, I was a pretty surprise that pretty much everyone spoke well English in here. 

Money 

The local currency is Philippino’s pesos, and I do recommend you change the money when you get here, as many places won’t be accepting cards. So always make sure to carry cash with you.

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

Manila in 24 hours - what not to miss

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