Aug 4, 2013

10 Ways To Enjoy A Weekend While In Manila

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The City of Manila although eclipsed by its more progressive neighbors like Makati and Quezon City in terms of infrastructure and business development, remains the most interesting city when we speak of history and cultural heritage. I live and breath Manila. It's never boring with all the sights and attractions the place has to offer. How to spend a weekend of adventure while in Manila? Here's my Top 10.

If it's your first time to visit this lively city and travelling alone, I'd suggest you join a guided tour because the place might overwhelm you. There are many tours offered around the net, that popular tour by Carlos Celdran or go pick one of your liking.

But if you're the adventurous type, the one willing to go out of their comfort zone to explore and experience a place, here are the many ways you can enjoy Manila and feel its real vibe.
Manila Attractions

Manila Attractions


1. Wear Comfort and Act like a Local

There'll be long walks, it's wise to dress appropriately and make sure you wear your most comfy shoes. Be like any local and blend in the crowd. The place is busy and bustling with lots of action. If you must bring a camera, carry one that won't take much attention and secure it after every snap. Ask directions if you feel lost, most ManileƱos are friendly and willing to extend help anytime although there are also crooked individuals that you must stay away from. 

2. Take the Local Transportation

Jeepneys, Tricycles, Kalesa, these are rides that offer a more colorful way to feel the real vibe of Manila. Ready yourself for some chaotic moments, traffic scenarios and smoke-filled atmosphere. Plan your route and check the regular rates to avoid paying more. Standard jeepney rate is 8.50 pesos for the first 5km distance. Learn to shout "PARA" once you reach your destination to signal the driver to stop.
Manila Attractions

3. Sample the Local Flavors

Find out what makes Filipinos/ManileƱos tick by sampling what they love to eat. Try balut, isaw, sisig, chicharon bulaklak, fish/squid ball, dirty ice cream, mani, banana cue, taho, turon, tokneneng, kwek kwek, binatog and the list goes on.
Pinoy Street Food

4. Hunt for Bargains

Manila is still the best place to hunt for bargains. Check out DIVISORIA for the cheapest products you have in mind. Refer to my Divisoria post where to find the items you might need. From Divisoria you can go to Quiapo afterwards by riding a jeep and find more bargains like camera and all related stuffs (the cheapest in the country), handicrafts, beads and accessories. You can also pay a visit to one of the most famous churches in the country, Quiapo Church, say a little prayer and make a wish. Outside you can find a row of fortune tellers ready to tell your fortune for a fee.
Manila Attractions

5. Visit The Oldest Chinatown in the World

Established in 1594, Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the World. You can walk your way here from Divisoria. Go visit Binondo Church, explore the streets and find plenty of quaint looking Chinese restaurants you can try, exotic Chinese medicines, charms and beads for good fortune and exquisite jewelries.
Manila Attractions


6. Bike your Way around Manila's Heritage Attractions

Since most of Manila's heritage attractions are not far away from each other, you can explore them easily riding a bike. I saw some bike rentals in Luneta and near Cultural Center of the Phils. You can start your tour from there, then head to the walled city of Intramuros, check Fort Santiago, bike your way to Roxas Blvd and have a massage by the bay for 50 pesos while waiting for the famous Manila Bay Sunset. 
Manila Heritage Attractions

7. Time your Trip during the Annual Aliwan Fiesta

Aliwan Fiesta is held annually on one weekend of April. Here, you'll witness colorful parades from representatives of most provinces in the Philippines, exhibiting their products and their cultural dances. You'll get a glimpse of every Festivals held in some parts of the country through Aliwan Fiesta.
Manila Attractions

8. Visit Mall of Asia, the 10th Largest Mall in the World

Partly Manila and partly Pasay, Mall of Asia occupied a reclaimed portion of Manila Bay. You can do your shopping here and afterwards have a seafood meal on one of the restos along the bay and a night cap on some of the bars offering live music or ride the MOA Eye.
Manila Attractions

9. Send A Postcard from Manila's Central Post Office

At Liwasang Bonifacio, you will notice a commanding neo-classical structure designed by our National Artist Juan Arellano in 1926. Get inside and send yourself a postcard before it becomes a hotel in the near future.
Manila Attractions

10. Capture Manila's Nightscape

If you're into photography, you should capture how lovely Manila turns out at night.  Take your tripod and position your lens along Roxas Blvd, from Harbor Square, and from  Cultural Center of The Philippines. The views from there are awesome. Practice your high aperture and long exposure shots to photograph Manila's breath taking nightscape. (still on my to do list!)
Manila Attractions
This was only taken using my HTC phone from a room in Manila Hotel
There are still many ways of spending a weekend while in Manila, I just listed my top 10. Enjoy Manila!

Written by

Occassional blogger, photography enthusiast, apparel designer, engineer and a big believer of God. In my spare time I love to create DIY projects or chase the bliss of solitude, sipping a cup of nicely brewed coffee, munching some yummy cookies while reading a good book in a new place with an awesome view.

29 comments:

  1. Manila at night and at Sunset is just majestic. Manila also has the biggest and the fanciest mall.

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  2. As I was reading your post, I could imagine that a tour guide is relating to me in details in what to do when I am in Manila. Very nice travelogue.

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  3. This is a great list of things to do while in Manila for both Filipinos who do not live in Manila and foreigners looking for things to do in the city.

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  4. I miss Intramuros! And I have yet to visit the Fort Bonifacio since the time when we're in Intramuros, we were not allowed to enter inside. Maybe next year where we're scheduled to fly in Manila. :D

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  5. I never knew we had the oldest China Town! And the Aliwan Fiesta looks interesting! I hope I could watch that next year.

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  6. It's nice to know that MOA has that MOA eye now just like in London. Very cool! I'm gonna check it when I have the chance to visit :)

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  7. Thanks for the online tour. BTW, just be alert when you visit Binondo, daming snatchers dyan.

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  8. this list is helpful! i already explore japans heritage but never been explored manila yet! intramuros is one of the place i always wanted to go ever since but at the same time i always forgot when im on vacation on the philippines! keep in mind your tips list! thanks!

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  9. You may also include riding the kalesa in Intramuros then a trip to Fort Santiago. =)

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  10. OMG! There's a lot I can suggest on this list..
    My first glimpse of Manila was back as a HS Stude then.
    But as an adult, LRT rides gave me glimpse of Manila from Buendia to Munomento.
    Manila Ocean Park has a nice view of the harbor during sunset..
    and of course, Manila Bay is a must.

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  11. When I visited Manila last year, I have done number 1, number 2, number 3 and number 8. Since time is limited, I was not able to really explore the whole of Manila.

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  12. This is so wooow! Makes me want to go out and explore my own hometown! ;)

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  13. I will bookmark this page and visit it again in case I go back to Manila. I visited the city last week pero umuwi agad ako by evening. I only went there for a quick lunch date :) I will be back in the metro by October for the bar operations!

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  14. Food trip sa Binondo and shopping sa 168!!! Sure formula namin yan pag nasa Manila kami...

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  15. Even if I am born and race here in Davao City, in my 37 years I somehow live in Manila for a year. And I miss the noise and the busiest street of it.

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  16. I agree, one should have blend in with the crowd. No bother will look at you indifferently. I wasn't that brave enough to pull out even my sluggish camera phone but I enjoy visiting Manila.

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  17. No offense but no matter what Manila could bring I still can't see myself staying longer than a few hours there. One very obvious reason is the traffic that could and would derail your plans.

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    1. none taken :) if traffic is your biggest concern then you can check it now, coz traffic has considerably improved since Mayor Erap step in ...

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  18. Hi, Shie,I've read blogs about the street food you mentioned. About the battered deep fried egg, some say kwek kwek is the quail egg and tokneneng is the chicken or duck egg...but others say it's the other way around. I'd sure appreciate it if you can enlighten me. Thanks.

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    1. Have you tried it? It can be a bit confusing and I'm not 100% sure but I think "Kwek Kwek" sounds like the duck sound Quack Quack, so I guess this is the one that uses duck eggs or chicken eggs while "Tokneneng feels like something small and cute and thus apply more to quail eggs. Well ;)

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    2. No, I haven't but would like to. Oh yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for the info:) By the way, I was reading up on the news of flooding in Manila - I hope you and your folks are ok.

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    3. Thanks for the concern. We're fine but a bit inconvenient. Flood is everywhere and its ankle deep inside our house. These monsoon rain is relentless but it mellowed for now, thank God.

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    4. Glad to know that you're all fine. Stay dry;)

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  19. Wow! No. 8 (MOA Eye) reminds me of the "The Big Wheel" at Seattle's Waterfront Arcade, which I visited exactly one year ago today. Official figures lists the MOA Eye to be taller by 5 ft. I counted 42 climate controlled gondolas which (we were told)) could accommodate 8 individuals. At that time the fee was $13.00 per person (regular) and $50.00 (VIP). They say the wheel extends about 40 ft. into Elliott Bay. It offers a spectacular view of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, and beyond. Much like the MOA Eye, there was a night time light show.

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    1. Would love to see that Big Wheel. I tried the MOA Eye regular ride for 150 pesos for 10 mins, it was brief but the awesome nightscape view is worth it.

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    2. The Big Wheel ride is between 10 to 15 minutes, I think (can't remember). You're right, the view from to top is worth it.

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  20. It's been 10 years already since the last time I visited Manila. First place I'd like to visit whenever given the chance to get back is the church of Quiapo. Outside the church was my first time to experience having a palm reading. lol!

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  21. i wan to attend the sunday mass in quiapo church :)

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  22. I was born in Manila, I grew up in it and every fiber of my body speaks Manila, and that is even if I usually stay in another place right now because of some obligations to perform. There can be no place quite like it.

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