Here is all the information needed for a stopover in Manila. Many travelers arrive in the Philippines in the capital: a noisy and sometimes confusing city.
Staying in Manila inexpensively
If you are looking for budget accommodation in Manila, there are two main areas where you will certainly find your happiness:
Makati: This is the financial center of Manila. You will find many luxury shops, skyscrapers and boxes of chic nights. And some accommodation for small budgets are at the heart of this hyper-vibrant neighborhood.
Malate is the quintessential backpacker district of Manila. The area teems with day and night since most establishments (karaoke bars, nightclubs) are open 24h / 24! This is ideal if you are looking for a really low cost and you enjoy the nightlife of Manila.
Be aware that Malate, perhaps Filipinos try to ask you a tip in exchange for temporary help. Indeed, searching my hotel in Malate, a young took into his head to help me find the ideal accommodation … and he helped me as I dug a really cheap room. By cons, he tried to get a tip in exchange for this service. I refused politely thanking him for his help and he was not pushy. You can also opt for housing a bit more upscale, hotel prices remain reasonable in Manila.
Join central Manila from the airport?
Leaving the airport, two main choices available to you to reach the city center, metro or taxi:
Take the bus and metro: If you arrive before 22H (métro closing time) you can take a local bus to the nearest metro line from the airport and then you point where you want it to downtown . This is the most economical solution but not the fastest or easiest when you arrive with large bags.
Take a taxi: the easiest way to leave Manila airport. However, be aware that you will not pay the same price range as the taxi you choose. If you arrive by the Terminal 1 (the international flights) you will certainly come on ‘yellow’ taxis. They are paying their race kilometers and you are sure to pay “normal” prices. However, these taxis are taxed by the government and their prices are not really attractive. I advise you strongly to choose another line of taxis: the “white”! These are much cheaper than yellow and you will easily find at the exit of the third floor of Terminal 1. Third Some will tell you that these taxis are “less sour,” but for my part I did not have any worries. Know that a white taxi ride from the airport to Manila Malate (for example) should cost you between 180 and 200 pesos – a yellow cab for the price rather turn around 350 / 400Pesos.
How to get around the Philippine capital?
In Manila, there are countless transports, for every need and every budget! Here are several ways to move to Manila:
Taxi: it is easy to take a taxi in Manila and the prices are not excessive if you have a median budget. By cons, ask well the driver put the meter, otherwise you risk paying more than normal.
The bus and Megataxi: bus borrow the main streets of Manila and Megataxi (mini vans) run much like Jeepney but being much more comfortable.
The MRT (Metro Rail Transit) and LRT (Light Rail Transit): MRT conducts trips North to South. Prices vary between 10 and 15 pesos. As for the LRT, it is a bit more expensive (price of 12-20 pesos) and less recent than the MRT. However it can be very handy. In all cases, the MRT and LRT are good ways to move quickly to Manila (avoiding traffic jams) and for cheap!
The Jeepney: Here an original means of transport! The Jeepney is the most used means of transport Filipinos. A journey costs from July to December Pesos and direction (and the main stopping points) are displayed on the vehicle. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to ask the driver or your local road not far wrong.
On foot: it is possible to walk in Manila if it is confined to one or two quarters. Malate, for example, it is easy to reach Intramuros in 30 minutes. If you are afraid of losing you, know that a card “offline” Manila is available on the application that I CityMaps2Go touts in this article.
The caps are common in Manila and the rain does not help. The day I arrived in Manila, water tubes fell on the city and the streets were literally flooded! In some places, I even had water up to the knees, it is to say! But I have it coming since I landed in the Philippines in the rainy season … But do not worry too much because, although showers are violent, it is rare that it rains all day. The rain is concentrated mainly in the early evening and usually cease quickly.
Eating in Manila, some figures
You can eat everything in Manila. There are restaurants everywhere, including in lively neighborhoods. Remember that it is possible to eat well for less than a euro in Manila. Examples of prices:
Price of a flat in the street for 30-50 Pesos
Price of a menu at McDonalds: 120 to 150 Pesos
Price of a 1.5-liter bottle of water: about 25 Pesos
Price of a kilo of bananas: 50 Pesos
Possible activities in Manila?
Manila is a city rather noisy and polluted. It is rarely advisable to stay there more than a day or two because the city is of little interest. Yet it is interesting to stroll through the streets of Manila because, as all big cities of Southeast Asian Asia, it is humming, surprising, disturbing … There are also some tourist places to explore:
Intramuros Manila: This is the old district of Manila where you can discover a church (100 Pesos), a cathedral and the Fort Santiago (75 Pesos). And you sit quietly, you have the Rizal Park next door. These are usually the only spots that tourists visit in Manila …
Chinese Cemetery: If you have time, you can also go to the Chinese cemetery. It is amazing because the tombs are real little houses are arranged as a village (with the names of different streets). Admission is free but we offer you a guide to enter (you are of course completely free to refuse).
Shopping: there are many shopping centers in Manila, particularly in the Ermita area (near Malate) and Makati.
Prostitution and poverty, the city major problems
You can see at a street corner, kindness as the plight of the people … The poor are indeed more numerous and fully visible (the 9% unemployment and huge disparities between rich and poor) .
Many children roam the streets trying to scrounge some money or food. You will also come across many homeless and prostitutes. These are numerous in some lively areas of Manila. They generally come from poor families and are grouped in the hostess bars, karaoke, go-go bars, etc … You should know that prostitution is a major problem in the country and it is not just about adults. Many children are in fact victims of sex tourism in the Philippines.
But Manila remains a must if you pass by the Philippines. You will undoubtedly have to spend to take planes, so as to try to enjoy this city at its true value!