Recently, Philippines just launched tourism campaign to promote tourisms coming into Philippines. The idea of the campaign basically to introduce the beautiful natural places over the Philippines, Filipino delicacies as well the friendly filipino.
When I informed my friends in Jakarta about my trip before going to Philippines, many of them are quite surprise as Philippines is not common tourism destinations, unlike Singapore, Hongkong, or Macau. The information on the interesting places to visit in Philippines as well is also a bit lack. Fortunately, when I moved to Singapore for work, I have a bunch of very friendly Filipino friends in the office whom are so eager to help me out as well provide a list things to do, visit, food to eat, security tips while travelling there.
Total days I spent for my trips in Philippines last November are 9 days. I will share my trips and tips on Philippines on series on coming weeks.
Day 1 – Manila
Travelling from Singapore to Manila takes me about three and half hour. For the flight, I get a really good deal from Cebu Pacific as it takes me only around 90 SGD for my return flight. Basically I only paid for my surcharge, tax, admin as well my baggage.
My flight arrived in Terminal 3 Ninoy Aquino International airport, where Cebu Pacific serves all the domestic and international flight from Manila. Manila has three terminals, terminal 1 basically serve for all international flights from Manila except for cebu pacific, Phillipines Airlines, Air Phillipines and All Nippon airlines. Terminal 2 serve for both domestic and international flight from PAL (Phillipines airlines). Terminal 3 used by all operations of Cebu Pacific, Airphil Express, and All Nippon airline. While both Zest air and SEAIR occupy terminal 4.
For transit, people can spend their times in Manila resort world complex which is located opposite side of the airport terminal. There are free shuttle bus from the airport to resort world. For terminal 3, the free shuttle is located on the ground level area outside the airport building. It takes sometimes for you to wait for the shuttle bus, or if you want, you can also directly takes taxi to there which shouldn’t cost so much.
There are 2 types of taxis serving from the airport to the city center :
1. Charter taxi : before you take this type of taxi, you should know the normal rate for you to your hotel or hostel. When you go outside the terminal building of the airport, you can easily find this or drivers approaching you offering the taxi services.
2. Metered taxi : metered taxi stand located after the charter taxi stand. When you go out from the terminal 3 arrival , go outside the building, turn right and go straight. Based on my experience, the metered taxi serving from the airport seems to have more pricey compared to the one you take in the city. I paid about 500 pesos from airport to the city center meanwhile when I take taxi from city center to airport, it just cost me around 350 pesos.
Manila itself consist of 16 territorial districts, and most common districts for tourists :
a. Intramuros : a must visit in Manila. This is where you find the old town of Manila with old spanish architecture buildings on the area, include Manila cathedral.
b. Malate : a night life area in Manila, where you can find many restaurants, pub, karaoke surround the area.
c. Ermita : another night life area in addition to Malate include area where Robinson Place located. Formally known as red light district in Manila.
d. San Miguel : known as University area as well Malacang palace.
e. Binondo : China town in Manila. Please be more cautious and take care your valuables when visiting the areas as there are crowds around.
As I arrived early in the morning, I take the metered taxi to go to Where 2 Next hostel in Malate. It’s a suitable area especially for people who like to enjoy night life in Manila. Exact on the left side of the hostel, you will find a pub where they have live music at night. it’s quite new hostel opened in Manila. For the hostel, I paid for 426 pesos for one person shared in 6 beds dorm include breakfast through booking in Hostel world. For that budget, it’s really worth as it’s include breakfast with toast, fruit and coffee or tea. Remember to bring your own towel, and some tissues in case the tissues in the toilet run out.
Where 2 Next Hostel
1776 M. Adriatico Street Malate, 1004 Malate, Manila, 1004,
ph: +63 2 3543 533
Email : email@example.com
My Manila trip begin with looking into Malate church. Malate church is one of old church in Manila, a walking distance from the hostel. It’s quite a lot of people attending the ceremony in the saturday morning in the Malate church. Next destination is CBD area of Manila in San Miguel districts. First place visit is Green Belt mall. Green belt mall consist of several malls joining together especially serving for people working in the CBD area. I find one nice cafe in the mall serving very nice dark chocolate cafelate, a nice combination of Chocolate , gelato and coffee.
While writing this blog, I wish i have dark chocolate cafelatte on my desk 😆
Next visit in the CBD area is Ayala triangle. It’s located nearby Manila stock exchange area. I like the decoration in Ayala triangle. The view at night will be better with the light decoration.
For lunch, I am ordering Bacolod chicken in Ayala triangle mall. You can find there are a lot of bacolod chicken restaurant around Manila and Philippines like other franchises like Mang Inasal. Bacolod is one of the city located in Visayas, where it’s famous for the barbeque chicken. Bacolod chicken looks like Indonesian barbeque chicken (Ayam panggang) and it’s normally served with garlic rice.
Normally when you go to restaurant or eating places in Phillipines, you will find 2 types of condiments serving on your tables, the soy sauce and the vinegar like below
For my desert, I order my favourite filipino desert, Leche Flan, a sweet filipino egg custard. If you go to Filipino restaurant or visit Philippines, you must not miss ordering this savoury desert.
The journey continue to Intramuros. The first building I saw in the Intramuros area is government official building with the Manila Cathedral.
Unfortunately during my visit, Manila Cathedral is being used for marriage ceremony. Many famous Filipino people in Manila conducted their marriage ceromony in this cathedral.
Intramuros itself has a nice cobble path along the way. At the time when you arrive in Intramuros, there will be a lot of people offering you horse ride, tricycle ride or tour around the Intramuros. Normally horse ride or tricycle ride is charged on half hour or an hour basis.
One of nice church in the Intramuros area is St Augustin Church. You will need some time to explore the area as there have huge collections. Don’t forget to view the cathedral from the upper floor.
Last destination for the day in Manila is SM Mal of Asia. Mal of Asia is one of the biggest mal in Asia. The mall is owned by Henry Sy, the richest conglomerate in the country and operate SM malls in cities accross the country. You will find SM mall in most of the city you visit in Philippines. SM stands for Shoe Mart, where Henry Sy began the business in old times which turns into mall nowadays.
It’s was November, yet christmas decoration and people start to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is the biggest event for Filipinos and they started to celebrate the christmas as early of September or October of the year.
Mal of Asia itself have a nice food court, where you can find both international food or local Filipino food like lechon baboy (crispy pork barbeque). The most famous of lechon is coming from Cebu, city in Visayas region.
If you visit Mal of Asia, don’t forget to go the area behind the mal. You can have a nice view of Manila bay from there include sunset view, however there might be a lot of people also to do the same as well waiting for fireworks which is available every weekend at night on area behind the mall.
If you bring kids with you, there are children playground on the area as well. Food stalls selling finger foods are also available in the area like fried quail eggs, and famous tender juicy hotdog, one of the food most Filipinos miss when staying abroad.
On the next posting, I will share my journey to Boracay, most famous and beautiful beach in Philippines.