Metro Manila · A Week in Manila
Just in the city for one week or some days and no clue what to do? No problem, we got that covered! As every day of the week is unique and asks for different activities, we came up with a compilation of what you can do: kicking off the week with a cold after-work beer on Monday and ending the week with sports, a walk in the park, or a big breakfast menu.
Metro Manila is a vibrant, busy Megacity that offers an experience like no other. Its residents consist of those who grew up in the National Capital Region, folks from the Philippine countryside, and a number of expats who have made the metro their home. When you’re in Metro Manila for a week or maybe even just for a couple of days, it will likely be difficult for you to decide where to go and what to do. This is where we come in. Below are a few ideas on what you can do while in the Philippine capital. In addition, we compiled restos, bars and other venues with special promos, events etc. for each day of the week.
Intramuros and Quiapo: Walk Through History
If you would like to get a feel of what the capital was like during the Spanish colonial period, you can visit Intramuros – the walled city. Intramuros has a plaza, restaurants, old churches, and a few museums. You can even stay there for a night by booking a room at any of the hotels located inside the place. Bayleaf Intramuros, for example, offers great views of Manila and the old Spanish quarters. It also has two restaurants that serve wonderful Filipino dishes.
While there are tours inside the walled city, it is a better idea to just walk so you can take in the atmosphere instead of breezing through all the attractions. You can also ride a horse-drawn buggy around the area for a few hundred pesos. If you like biking, there’s a bike tour in Intramuros as well.
Guided tours around Quiapo and Intramuros are available but if you really want an enjoyable tour, joining “Walk This Way” is a must. An informative and often hilarious tour around Manila’s old quarters, “Walk This Way” is hosted by Carlos Celdran who dishes out trivia about the capital’s and the country’s rather complicated history.
Go Shopping, Divisoria Style: Haggling To The Last Peso And A Dash Of History
Tired of the beautifully-designed, upscale malls in the metro? Experience a flea-market-like shopping spree in Divisoria. Due to its proximity to the port of Manila, Divisoria is a called a bagsakan, a Filipino term that means “drop off place”. This is where most goods are dropped off and also the same place where you can buy clothes, gadgets, and everything in between at really low prices.
If you’re up for a different shopping experience complete with hordes of people, muddy pathways, a lot of noise, and rock bottom prices, Divisoria is definitely the place for you. It’s a rather vibrant market that somehow gives one an insight on one of Manila’s oldest commercial hubs. Divisoria has been around since the Spanish times and was basically a marketplace dominated by non-Christian Chinese vendors who were not allowed to sell their goods near Intramuros. In fact, they weren’t even allowed inside its walls. As a result, Divisoria gradually became a mecca for shoppers.
According to historical accounts, it is very likely that the country’s heroes and their families also shopped in this place. Today, Divisoria is a very crowded place and it is advised that you take necessary precautions when going there because there could be pickpockets in the crowd.
Near Divisoria is Binondo – the oldest Chinatown in the world. Like Divisoria, Chinatown has specialty stores selling anything and everything at real affordable prices. It is also a great place to visit if you want authentic Chinese food.
Experience A Mixed Culture Food Trip
If you are looking for noodles and spicy dishes, you’re in the wrong place. While Asian countries are known for such dishes, Manila and the rest of the Philippines stand out when it comes to cuisine. Because of the strong Spanish, Chinese, American, and Malay influences in the country, the Philippines has a unique culinary culture.
It is here where you’d see the traditional Spanish tapa being served with fried rice and fried egg, where Ox tongue is cooked in a peanut butter based sauce served with a spoonful of shrimp paste on the side, and where dumplings and siopao are sold in stalls one would pass by. It is also a place where one can find Spanish dishes, Filipino-Chinese dishes, and American favorites in one menu – in a number of restaurants at least.
Filipino street food is a whole different ballgame too. You’ve got grilled chicken and pork intestines, blocks of blood on a stick, chicken feet, fish balls made mainly from a bit of fish and flour, squid balls, fried plantains and sweet potatoes covered in caramelized sugar, plantains made into a spring roll and fried, rice porridge flavored with ginger and chicken, and balut – a fertilized duck embryo delicacy. If you wouldn’t want to eat fertilized duck embryo, you can still try a tamer version of it –the penoy. This doesn’t include a duck embryo but it does have a tasty yolk swimming in soup.
Enjoy Metro Manila’s Nightlife
First time visitors are often dazzled by the nocturnal scene in the capital’s older streets –Ermita and Malate. Famous for their clubs and girlie bars, Ermita and Malate have always been among the Megacity’s top destinations for those who want to experience the city’s nightlife.
If you are staying in Makati however, the best place to go to is Burgos Street. Burgos has a number of clubs and restaurants and is nearby the Jupiter-Kalayaan hotspot.
The best clubs in the metro, according to reviews, include Prive located at Bonifacio Global City, Pangaea and Chaos both inside City of Dreams Manila, Valkyrie, Hyve, Raven, Universe, 71 Gramercy, Haze, Palladium, Time, Black Market, Excess, and Prime Upscale Club.
Nature & Wildlife Tours In The Concrete Jungle
When in Manila, one can safely say that it’s a jungle out there considering the traffic situation and the large population that resides in this big city but even if one would think that there is not much of nature left in this concrete jungle, you can still find a few places where there are a lot of trees. La Mesa Ecopark is one such place. Located in Quezon City, the park is known for its old trees and its flower gardens. If you are in Manila, visiting Manila Ocean Park is a great idea.
The first day of the week - usually connected to difficulties of overcoming the sudden end of the weekend. Not so with us - we'll show you how you can kick off the week in a way that the rest of it fell like a breeze.
Having survived the first day of the new week - maybe following our suggestions through a cozy after-work event - Tuesdays invite for a more relaxing pass-time. Check out our recommendations!
Wednesday, the peak of the week. Your energy level decides if you have to take it slow for another day or if Wednesday already kicks off your weekend! Either way, we have recommendations for you!
It's officially almost weekend! Thursday is THE after-work event day of the week. There is so much going on which allows you a smooth transition into the weekend - if only there wouldn't be Friday 8 to 5 to worry about!
Friday - do we have to say more? Go out and enjoy yourself - you earned it!
Best day of the week. It leaves us with lots of choices from late breakfast in bed to cultural exposure and dancing the night away. Saturday is just awesome and to make it even better we would like to make a few suggestions.
A day to relax and reflect. Many people go to the local church on a Sunday and meet with their families to have lunch or a big breakfast buffet together. We also compiled some alternative activities for you.