Manila is a vibrant city and is the capital of the Philippines. It offers a marvelous view of nature and wondrous wildlife. It’s one of the popular tourist destinations in Asia. Manila boasts of historical tales and sites that speak vividly about its interesting past. But, this is not all; there are many other things that you should know about Manila.
How to prepare for your trip
Planning your Manila tour will involve booking flight tickets, making hotel reservations, and packing right. With the Philippines growing as a tourist destination each day, getting a Manila flight is never a problem. You can now fly into Manila from London and many other parts of the world. With airlines like Cathay Pacific, you’ll get different tour packages and flight classes to suit all travelers.
How about accommodation? Manila boasts of various high-end hotels scattered in all parts of the city. These are, for example, Okada Manila and Raffles Makati. The City of Dreams and Conrad Manila are also great choices for tourists.
What you go for depends on your budget and the available amenities. Research in advance and choose what suits your preferences. However, consider the distance from the airport and the top tourist sites. You don’t want to get caught up in traffic for hours before reaching your hotel room.
Once you book the flight ticket and have decided on the hotel, start packing. Create a checklist of all you need to guide you. Only carry what you need and pack light. Forgo some of the things that you can get at the destination.
What types of clothes should I carry? This will depend on weather conditions—pack light clothes for summer and heavy cardigans for the cold seasons. The weather in Manila is normally hot, and the temperatures are always high. But you expect a lot of rain from June to October. The dry spells run from January to April, with May being the warmest month.
What to know before visiting
1. Little pocket money is enough!
Manila is one unique tourist destination, and touring the city won’t cause a dent in your wallet. Your plane ticket is all you need to worry about. Once that is sorted, you can manage the lifestyle with ease. For example, food is cheap, and you can get a meal in a local restaurant for as low as $3. Staple foods are also available and abundant. No wonder, Philippines is one of the leading retirement destinations, thanks to low its low cost of living.
2. The modes of transport are adventurous.
Manila is a big city that offers various transportation options. These include; light metro, commuter rail, bus, rapid transit, jeepney, and taxis. The most popular is the Jeepney, which has been in existence since World War II ended. You’ll come across many Filipinos riding the jeepney, and this is a typical task for them. But for tourists, it’s more of an absolute sport.
In Manila, the jeepney divers are quite fast, and the safety handrails always come in handy. Hold unto them to enhance your comfort while traveling. The tricycle is also popular in the city and is ideal if traveling for short distances. There are various tricycle terminals in most parts of the city, and getting on shouldn’t be an issue.
3. Traffic can be annoying!
Traffic in Manila can really drag, and you expect to spend some hours in traffic. To avoid this, reserve a hotel near the places you came to visit. Avoid rush hours, or give yourself enough time to reach your destination.
4. Manila is hot-brace yourself for the warm weather.
The Philippines is a tropical country, and the weather can be burning hot or very wet. Most passengers use hand fans, and you’ll notice this when riding in a jeepney. As you pack, stash a hand fan or mini-electric fan, or an umbrella.
They will come in handy when the temperatures soar. But don’t pack light simply because it’s hot. You might need a few warm clothes once it starts pouring- Manila weather is very unpredictable.
5. Manila is a shopping district!
Shopping malls are all over. You don’t have to walk for long to get your desired items. For example, Divisoria is a shopping district that draws shoppers from all social classes. It’s packed with malls in an entire block and proffers a wide range of items. What’s more? You’ll get tents outside the malls. They sell discounted items, and you can still negotiate for lower prices. Pack an extra bag; you’ll for sure go back with lots of goodies.
6. Be ready for buzzing nightlife.
Manila never gets boring at night. Many visitors are dazzled by the lively clubs, sleazy bars, and mellow music. There’s a strip of clubs in the southern part of the city, and you can always get a nice joint to party, sip your favorite drink and still have some cash left. The entrance fee in most clubs ranges around$10, and the drinks are affordable; you don’t need much to get drunk.
7. Expect some stares!
Most of the locals in Manila aren’t used to seeing tourists around. And this is because most tourists choose destinations like Cebu and Palawan. If they gaze at you in admiration, don’t get uncomfortable. They adore your skin color and might even request a selfie.
8. Manila is wealthy yet poor!
You’ll be welcomed by affluent neighborhoods and futuristic shopping joints in Manila. But you haven’t seen it all. The scenes of poverty in the city can be disturbing. The gap between the rich and the poor astounds most visitors, and you should prepare for it.
9. Expect a rich art scene.
You’ll find poets, musicians, dancers, songwriters, ballerinas in high numbers that you’ll rarely get in other parts of the Philippines. And this can be attributed to the Spanish influence, or perhaps the island vibe. Nevertheless, the Philippines is a bed of creativity and is evident in its strong culture and arts.
Manila is a charming city and is worth touring. Before you travel, research thoroughly and get some information about the city. Understand the weather patterns and pack accordingly. If possible, go with family and experience the thrill of a lifetime.