The Ultimate Manila Travel Guide!

Manila is an easy city to disregard as a tourist destination. Most people regard it as merely a starting place for visiting the country’s stunning islands. Outsiders may be perplexed, but I enjoy Manila. It’s far from perfect, but it’s my home. It has now been 22 years. Manila and its neighboring areas have so much to offer.

Yes, Metro Manila is enormous, congested, and insane. Just as you’re getting started, you become lost in the crowd, suffocate in the smoke, or drown in her incessant nagging. Those who can overcome her misdeeds, on the other hand, are rewarded with the opportunity to appreciate her charms. So here is a travel guide to assist you as you learn more about this undervalued city.

It’s me, hi, I’m Manila, it’s me

The Philippines’ capital is Manila. It is, however, just one of the cities that make up the National Capital Region, also known as Metro Manila. Outside of this hub, the name “Manila” refers to the entire region, not only the city of Manila.

Metro Manila is made up of 16 different cities and one municipality. It serves as the country’s political, economic, educational, and transportation hub. It has a registered population of 12 million people, but because many workers from adjacent provinces also study or work here, there are many more people moving around at any given time. The difficulty is that there is no reliable public transportation system in place. This is a significant concern.

Metro Manila is massive, with plenty to see in many of its nooks and crannies. Traveling from point A to point B, on the other hand, can be challenging if you don’t know your way around. It makes up for what it lacks in this department with its people. The people of Manila, like the rest of the Philippines, are friendly, helpful, and welcoming. Because practically everyone understands and speaks English, the language barrier is unimportant.

Best Areas to Stay in Manila

As previously said, Metro Manila is massive! Furthermore, key places are dispersed, making it even more difficult to determine where to stay.

But let us narrow it down to four good options:

Manila serves as both the capital and the seat of government. It is home to historic landmarks like Intramuros. The majority of low-cost lodging is concentrated in Malate and Ermita.

The primary business district is located in Makati. For first-time visitors visiting Manila, I always choose Makati. It is close to the airport and the historical district of Manila. Its streets are teeming with excellent dining options ranging from gourmet restaurants to weekend markets. It is also a famous shopping destination due to its mall stripes. Best of all, there is a wide choice of lodging alternatives available, ranging from hostels to luxury hotels.
The Mall of Asia and the Bay Area are both located near the airport and along Manila Bay.

Another business district in Taguig is Bonifacio Global City.
However, the most affordable non-B&B lodgings may be found in Makati and Manila. The Mall of Asia and Bonifacio Global City are generally pricey, with a few exceptions.

Getting Around Manila

To say the least, taking public transportation inside Metro Manila is unreliable. For first-timers, commuting requires careful planning. There are various options, including MRT, LRT, cab, bus, and jeepney, but none of them guarantee trouble-free travel. The city of Manila has a lot to offer visitors, but getting from one point to another can be tricky. The truth is that Manila’s transportation infrastructure is disorganized.

Except for departing buses, none of these options adhere to a clear, constant schedule. The truth is that if you’re visiting Manila for the first time and only have a few days, taking public transportation may not be the best option. It’s complicated, and it might take up a lot of your time and derail your plans. Commuter applications like Uber and Grab are the most comfortable and convenient options if you’re on a tight schedule or traveling in a group of two or more. These two apps have also been used by locals.

Important Manila Travel Tips to Keep in Mind

Tipping is not expected in Manila. Check your restaurant receipt to verify if a service charge is included. Otherwise, if you appreciated the service at a high-end restaurant, leave about 10% of the cost. In less expensive establishments, I usually leave P20-P100.


Wear light, breathable clothing. The climate in Manila may be harsh, especially in the summer, when temperatures can reach 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit). Because the day might rapidly get hot and humid, make sure you’re dressed in something light and breathable. If you plan to enter churches, especially during mass, dress modestly.

Wear sunscreen. Due to the sun.

Avoid busy times. Commuting during rush hour is not a good idea if your route includes a major road such as EDSA. These hours start at 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. until 9 p.m., when students and workers leave for work and school and come home. No, not even the MRT can help you out here. This time, every train car is totally filled. As a general rule, either get up early or go out around noon. Lunchtime is often an ideal time to use public transportation. The sun may be too bright, but there isn’t much traffic at this time of day.

Do not go outside if it is excessively raining. Floodwaters inundate Manila at least once a year, which is unpleasant because it is not well treated. Citizens have learned to live with it despite their tantrums. (I know, I know! Ugh, whining again.) The basic line is that if it has been raining all day, traffic has almost certainly backed up. As a result, driving is not recommended at this time. There are, of course, exceptions. Just to be safe (and dry), wait it out.

Discover the skill of passing the time. If you are caught in rush hour or heavy rain, wait it out. In any case, Manila has a lot to offer. Shop, go to the movies, or relax in a cafe until the major routes stop functioning like a gigantic parking lot.

For those of you who haven’t experienced Manila yet, watch this vlog by PH Dot Net to really feel the Manila spirit and vibes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll1ghMpNdBw

Interested to know more worthy spots to visit in Manila? Read this article now! https://forshtravel.com/monumental-spots-in-the-philippines/

And here’s your ultimate guide for the Manila airport: https://forshtravel.com/what-you-need-to-know-at-manila-airport/

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