Metro Manila, one of the most densely populated cities in the world with over 25 million people alone as of 2007. Being a gamut of all sorts, Metro Manila is the center of the Philippines from politics to economics to star biz gossips to NEWS reports.
However, it is probably the only place in the country that has a smorgasbord of restaurants and food joints that’s too many to count. It is a heaven for food bloggers, travel enthusiasts and vacation addicts.
This was my nth time in Manila and Leia‘s first. Remember, just like any other over-sized city in the world, you gotta have some smarts in you or you’ll end up scratching your head with the street wolves.
7 Basic Tips before Invading Manila
- 1. Prepare an itinerary beforehand. You don’t want to be wasting your time figuring out where to go in a place like Manila. The traffic alone will eat a huge chunk of time.
- 2. Set a budget. Wherever you go, your budget will go with you and it won’t exceed as long as you got a lid on your budget.
- 3. Ask for tips. That means you should contact people you know who are living in Manila. It really helps a lot and I mean a lot. If ever your a foreigner, at least ask some folks you know who have been to Manila or just read blogs like this one.
- 4. Be vigilant. That means, you have to be conscious of your valuable belongings especially your wallet and other important stuff with you like passports and gadgets.
- 5. Know your map. Come on, I know you don’t want to look like a tourist with a map sprawling in front of the locals so you better do your assignment by being familiar with the map beforehand. You don’t have to memorize the map like Jason Bourne, but it pays a lot to have an idea where you are and where your destinations are located.
- 6. Use the MRT/LRT. Those letters stands for: Manila Light Rail Transit System, or the LRT, and the Manila Metro Rail Transit System, or the MRT (Wiki). Both of these will save you a lot of time crossing between cities. Even if you have the money to burn for taxi rides, the traffic will still spoil your vacation. Rush hour is from 7-10 am and 5-9pm for both roads and railways. Better getting sandwiched in an MRT/LRT in a rush hour than in a traffic, at least you save time albeit smelling each others armpits.
- 7. Last, but not the least, check your stuff before leaving the hotel, your friend’s condo unit or your relative’s house. If your staying in a friend’s place, don’t ever forget leaving the keys to your host especially in Manila because you won’t have time to get back to return the keys once your on the road. The traffic will lock you up in one direction to your destination and there’s no turning back. Take it from me, because it happened to me on this trip. Crap!
Your important allies in Manila:
Your presence of mind, itinerary, friends, maps, and of course your budget on hand.
Your worst enemies in Manila:
Traffic, pollution, traffic, hustlers (anybody interested of ripping you off), traffic, street cons, traffic, rain, traffic, dark alleys, traffic, NAIA luggage handlers, traffic, grumpy airline personnel.. wait, did I mention traffic?
So without further ado, here are some of the photos we took in Manila:
From the plane:
Luneta, Rizal Park, Roxas Boulevard and Quirino Grandstand:
MRT Station, Mall of Asia’s Ice Skating Rink and Inside PepperLunch at MOA or Mall of Asia:
Here’s our itinerary –
CityLand Shaw Tower (where we stayed.. Super thanks to Jmson and Lulu!)
Ortigas Center (Lunch)
Mall of Asia – dinner
MOA – lunch
Global City – dinner
Tagaytay Batangas Border – left at 10 am from Shaw Boulevard
Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA – headed for Cagayan de Oro
Next, I’ll be blogging more about the places we visited in our 4 day trip in Manila.