Whether you are from another country or from provinces and other cities of the Philippines, Manila is surely a place worth going to. You may have heard the song, “Manila”, which topped the chart in the 80s. Surely, there are tons to see and experience in the city during those days, as well as today. So what is so special about the city that made it so popular with foreign and local tourists? Here are the things you need to know if visiting Manila is on your bucket list.
No need to fill your pockets with cash
In contrast with other tourist destinations in the country, you do not need to break your bank when going around the city. There are a lot of affordable places to visit and still enjoy the experience. Different landmarks, parks, museums, and other places do not cost that much. In fact, some of them are even free of charge. Take Rizal Park or Luneta for example. This is a historic place where the national hero, Jose Rizal, was executed during the Spanish regime. This event sparked the hearts of many Filipinos in fighting for their freedom.
Shopping for essentials and souvenirs is likewise affordable. You can find your favorite brands in typical malls, but the highlight of the city is thrift shopping. Try going to Divisoria or Carriedo and feast your eyes on numerous stalls and shops that offer items at much lower prices as compared to those sold in famous malls. You just have to prepare yourself for the crowd, especially during the holiday season.
If you love food, then Manila is known for restaurants and food stalls that offer sumptuous and affordable dishes. Binondo, for example, has restaurants that offer authentic Chinese dishes and you will be surprised with the little amount that you will spend. Want to be adventurous? Visit some sidestreets and more likely than not, you will find food stalls that sell exotic Filipino street foods. Ever tried balut, isaw (IUD), samalamig, grilled chicken feet (adidas), or chicken blood (betamax)? These are something worth trying.
Adventure with the public transportation
Jeepney is the main mode of transportation in Manila. Of course, there are also the LRT, tricycles, pedicabs, and taxis. But your stay in Manila is never complete without riding these king of the roads. For many Pinoys, riding the jeepney and going to various destinations is common. Some would even say that this is like experiencing an extreme sport. Imagine those colorful rides, with ear-splitting sound systems, and roller coaster riding adventures. Fare is likewise affordable, even though the global oil price hike has affected the minimum fare of jeepneys.
Tricycles and pedicabs are also not to miss, especially if you are going to the outskirts and several streets of the city. The fare, though is quite higher than the jeepneys, they will definitely take you to places. However, if you do not feel these modes of transportation, you can always get a taxi cab or book a Grab.
Enjoy the tropical climate
Yes. Manila is not like Boracay or El Nido, but you still experience the warm weather of the country. Sometimes a bit too warm than what was announced in the news. When traveling the city, you should complete your gear, like umbrella, caps, handkerchief, and other means to battle the heat. Depending on the months of visit, you might also experience some rainy days that might progress to flooding.
Prepare for Filipino hospitality
Filipinos are known for their caring and hospitable attitude. Try visiting a friend’s place and you are up for some surprise. You will immediately be offered drinks, and snacks, and might even be asked to stay for dinner. Prepare to meet the family as well as friends and even though you do not remember their names, you will be greeted with a smile. Many of them enjoy a little chit-chat, whether in your personal experience of the city or your personal life. Admit it, we Filipinos enjoy hearing stories and gossip from time to time.
Also do remember that many people are helpful. Whether you are asking for directions or just any inquiry. Many Manilenos will try their best to answer your questions.
Now that you have enough knowledge about Manila, then you are prepared to have the adventure of your life. Kudos!