Manila

2 10 2010

Manila, the capital of Philippines, have gone into headline news due to the incident that killed a couple of the Hong Kong tourists. My encounter with this city are all on business, but at least on all the encounters, the city is not really as unsafe as what the media protrayed so long that you take the necessary precautions.

To be frank, there’s nothing very much to see in the city itself. But it is a good place for food, shopping and massage. Also, Philippines has lots to offer, such as the nice beaches at Boracay and Cebu and Manila can be a good gateway and stopover.

For most visitors to Manila, Makarti City is where most activities are. The Greenbelt located at the heart of Makarti City is a gret shopping and dining location. If you want to venture out of Markarti City, the Mall of Asia (which it claims as Asia’s largest mall) is one of my favourtite shopping mall located near to the sea.

Tips:-

– Do try out the Jeepney which is a small little bus unique to Philippines.

– To cross many roads of Manila especially in Makarti City, you have to use the underpass. Do note that the underpass is closed around 9.30pm. As there are barriers along the pavements to prevent people from crossing the roads without using the underpass, it will be a challenging task to cross the road after the underpass is closed (you will have to climb over those barriers). So I suggest that you do not stay out too late, and if you need to, take a cab back to your hotel (even if your hotel is just across the street).

– Security in Makarti City is usually pretty good but do take extra care as well. When you are moving out of Makarti City, it is best that you get a local friend or guide to show you around.

– Manila airport made it to the list of one of the world’s most tourist unfriendly airport not without reason. Do make sure that you allocate sufficient time (at least 2 hours) before flight departure for check-in, customs clearance and the cumbersome security scan. Also, note that you have to pay the airport tax (750 pesos) at the customs when you depart so make sure you have sufficient cash with you.

– For massage, you can arrange for it to be at the hotel instead of going to the spa. It is usually cheaper and you have the comfort of your hotel room.

– For hotel, I strongly recommend The Peninsula Manila which is really a nice and posh hotel and conveniently located opposite the Greenbelt.

Food:-

– Try out Halo Halo which is the local dessert/drink.

– For nice crepe, Cafe Breton at Greenbelt is THE PLACE to go 🙂

– Peninsula Hotel Manila has nice restaurants (Spices serving Thai food & Escolta which serves international buffet are both really nice).

– For Filippino food, you can try Travel Cafe Philippines at Greenbelt 5.

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