Traveling to Manila
Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, is a bustling metropolis that is full of culture, history, and delicious food. With a population of over 12 million people, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Despite this, Manila is a city that is full of surprises, and it is a great destination for anyone who is interested in exploring the Philippines. In this guide, we will take a closer look at what you can expect when traveling to Manila.
Best Time to Visit Manila
The best time to visit Manila is during the dry season, which runs from December to May. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with little to no rainfall. The wet season, which runs from June to November, can bring heavy rainfall and typhoons, so it is best to avoid traveling to Manila during this time. However, if you do end up visiting during the wet season, be sure to bring a raincoat or umbrella.
Getting to Manila
Manila is served by two airports: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Clark International Airport. NAIA is the larger and more convenient of the two, as it is located just a few kilometers from the city center. Clark International Airport is located about 80 kilometers north of Manila, and while it is less busy than NAIA, it can still be a convenient option for some travelers. Flights to Manila are available from major cities around the world, and several airlines offer direct flights.
Getting Around Manila
Manila is a sprawling city, so getting around can be a bit challenging. The most convenient way to get around is by taxi or ride-sharing service. Both options are affordable and readily available, although you should be prepared for heavy traffic during rush hour. Jeepneys, which are small, colorful buses, are another popular way to get around Manila. While they can be a bit crowded and uncomfortable, they are an affordable way to travel short distances. If you prefer to travel in style, you can also hire a private car or take a guided tour.
Accommodation in Manila
Manila offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. From budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels, there is something for everyone. Some of the most popular areas to stay in Manila include Makati, which is known for its upscale hotels and shopping centers, and Ermita, which is home to many budget-friendly options. Other popular areas to consider include Malate, Pasay, and Bonifacio Global City.
Things to Do in Manila
Manila is a city that is full of surprises, and there is no shortage of things to do and see. Here are some of the top attractions that you should not miss when visiting Manila:
- Intramuros: This walled city is a must-see attraction in Manila. Built during the Spanish colonial era, it is home to several historic landmarks, including Fort Santiago and the Manila Cathedral.
- Rizal Park: This expansive park is a great place to relax and soak up the local culture. It is home to several museums, including the National Museum of the Philippines.
- Binondo: This vibrant neighborhood is the oldest Chinatown in the world. It is home to many delicious Chinese restaurants and street food stalls.
- San Agustin Church: This stunning church is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the oldest stone churches in the Philippines.
- SM Mall of Asia: This massive shopping center is one of the largest in the world and is home to several restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.
Food in Manila
Is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide range of culinary delights to suit all tastes and budgets. Filipino cuisine is a fusion of various cultures, including Chinese, Spanish, and American, and it is known for its bold flavors and unique ingredients. Here are some of the must-try dishes when visiting Manila:
- Adobo: This is perhaps the most famous Filipino dish, made with chicken or pork marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, and spices.
- Sinigang: This sour soup is made with tamarind and various meats, including pork, beef, and fish.
- Lechon: This is a whole roasted pig that is a popular dish for special occasions. The skin is crispy and the meat is juicy and flavorful.
- Halo-Halo: This dessert is a refreshing treat made with shaved ice, evaporated milk, and a variety of fruits and sweet toppings.
- Balut: This is a fertilized duck egg that is boiled and eaten as a snack. It may not be for everyone, but it is a unique culinary experience that you should try at least once.
Safety in Manila
Like any large city, Manila has its share of safety concerns. While it is generally a safe city, visitors should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime. Here are some tips for staying safe in Manila:
- Avoid displaying valuables: Keep your belongings out of sight and avoid wearing expensive jewelry or watches.
- Use caution when using ATMs: Use ATMs located inside banks or shopping centers, and avoid using them at night.
- Stay in well-lit areas: Stick to well-lit streets and avoid walking alone at night.
- Be cautious when using public transportation: Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuable items.
- Research before you go: Do your research before you go, and be aware of any safety concerns in the areas you plan to visit.
Manila is a vibrant and exciting city that is full of culture, history, and delicious food. While it may seem overwhelming at first, with a bit of planning and preparation, you can have an unforgettable experience in this fascinating city. Whether you are interested in exploring the city’s historic landmarks, sampling the local cuisine, or just soaking up the local culture, there is something for everyone in Manila. So pack your bags, book your flights, and get ready for an adventure you will never forget.