For travelers, backpackers and province-based tourists, Manila is often just thought of as a stopover between flights on the way to another destination. The big city can be overwhelming with the heavy traffic and crowded streets. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to do except eat out, go shopping in the malls, visit museums or churches. There’s also the gritty and chaotic areas of Quiapo and Divisoria, which have become synonymous with Manila.
I often take the tourist sights in Manila for granted because this is where I live and work. But if I were a first-time tourist in the Philippines, or if I had to take around foreign tourists, balikbayans, expats or province-based friends, what would I do and where would I go? Here are some suggestions of unique and fun activities you can do while in Manila. Continue reading →
Nowadays, I can’t stand eating in malls and fast food joints. Eating out in big name chains and regular restaurants in commercialized areas just seems so expensive. I always prefer eating in homegrown neighborhood establishments, which are usually family-owned, and offer good and affordable food.
Looking for alternative dining destinations instead of malls? Here are some of the best neighborhoods and food streets around Metro Manila with top 5 recommendations per area. Take note that a lot of these places are mainly residential areas, so traffic and parking can be a bit of a problem. To counter this, we usually just walk or bike when we explore other neighborhoods for food-trips. Continue reading →
As the World’s oldest Chinatown (established in 1594), Binondo in Manila is a well-known cultural and foodie haven. Here, you can find lots of authentic hole-in-the-wall establishments serving everything from flashy Cantonese-themed lauriat meals to homey Hokkien-style Tsinoy cooking. However, there are over 100+ restaurants in the area, so it can be quite overwhelming to decide where to eat.
I normally hate driving to some areas in Manila. Binondo, in particular, with its mad traffic and congested alleys is pretty hard to drive around. If I have to go here, I’d rather commute or take my scooter instead of the car. It doesn’t help that I drive a secondhand manual car with a really hard clutch that has conked out on the road more than once. But a few days before Chinese New Year, I found myself driving through Binondo’s streets and actually enjoying it.
Mention Manila and the most common image that comes to mind is heavy traffic, smoke-belching jeepneys, swerving buses and congested streets. Our country’s capital city hardly seems like an ideal place to visit, and even more so by motorcycle.
But if you give Manila a chance, it may just surprise you. On a Sunday morning ride, when the traffic was relatively light, I found it extremely satisfying to be able to zip along Roxas Blvd. and visit various tourist spots and cultural and historic landmarks. Though I wasn’t expecting it to be a great ride, I have to say, Manila does have a unique charm. Here are just a few scenic spots you can easily ride to and a rough guide of what you can do there. Continue reading →