10 Unique & Fun Things to Do in Manila

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. It’s often seen as gritty and chaotic, especially if you visit the areas of Quiapo and Divisoria.

I often take the tourist sights in Manila for granted because I live here. 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?  Continue reading

Travel Guide: SuperStar Virgo Cruise from Manila

Last May 2017, I went on a 6-day-5-night cruise aboard Star Cruises SuperStar Virgo, the first cruise ship to homeport in Manila. Compared to my usual DIY backpacking trips, this was an amazing hassle-free vacation that I got to enjoy with my mom and nephew. Going on a luxury cruise is something I’d never thought I’d get to do. It’s a unique type of travel experience worth saving up for and ticking off your bucketlist!

Star Cruises just announced that they’ll be sailing again starting March 2018 from Manila. This time, they’ll be heading to Naha or Ishigaki in Okinawa, Japan and Keelung, Taiwan – no VISA required!

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Room Escape Game: Breakout Philippines

I’m a big fan of point and click room escape games online and horror video games with puzzle solving elements like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. But there’s really something different when you get to play these in real life. You can’t just pause the game to check for walkthroughs if you get stumped. The time element and pressure feels so much more real. It’s up to you and your companions to figure out everything. breakout philippines door travelup

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Amélie Hotel Manila

Amélie Hotel Manila is a charming new boutique hotel that captures the bohemian spirit of the old-world neighborhood of Manila in a contemporary setting. Everything about the place — from the graphic art deco details of iconic landmarks to the warm and sincere service — makes the hotel stand out from the typical business hotels in the area. The hotel was formally launched amid Chinese New Year festivities last February 19, 2015 to signal the start of a prosperous life in the heart of the city.

amelie hotel manila lobby

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Manila by Motorcycle

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