Manila is the capital of the Philippines. If you haven’t been there yet, it wouldn’t be your fault to think of it as one unified city. Manila is actually multiple cities or boroughs that comprise the Greater Manila Area, a megacity, filled with diversity and so much history that it would take more than a week to visit every single point of interest within its limits.
Metro Manila is known to be one of the most densely populated areas in the world with 71,263 people per square kilometer, you will never run out of places where there won’t be anyone there ready to flash a smile towards you
1. Things to do in Manila: Unlimited Day Trip Activities
Metro Manila is brimming with culture and history mixed with a healthy dose of modern urbanization. You would not run out of activities to do throughout your entire stay.
From Churches to Shopping Malls, various Restaurants and Museums, there is an unlimited array of choices for you to take your pick that it would be impossible to run through all of them in just a few days.
Metro Manila has so many old churches ready for all you history buffs out there. Some points of interests are the San Sebastian Church in Quiapo Manila which was completed in 1891. It is built in the style of Gothic Revival Architecture and is made of pure sheets of steel brought to the country more than a century ago.
You also Have San Agustin Church in Intramuros, the old Spanish walled city that used to comprise old Manila. San Agustin Church was built in the 1570s and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as the Manila Cathedral also located in Intramuros.
Tourists will absolutely love to shop and the fact that 3 of the biggest malls in Asia and the world are both located in Metro Manila is a testament to that fact. No matter where you are there will always be an SM Mall. It offers a huge array of wares from both local and international boutiques as well as cinema multiplexes and food courts.
You can really find everything you need. If you wish to find for even more bargains and local wares, you can head over to the Greenhills Shopping Mall in San Juan or Divisoria in Manila. They offer many of the things you cannot find in conventional SM Malls as well as great discounts by haggling with store owners.
However, in Manila, most of the time, we experience traffic congestion and it causes us inconvenience. As reported by Philkotse.com, a leading automotive website in the Philippines, common chokepoints in Manila are Edsa to Makati business district, Edsa to the BGC commercial complex, U-belt road in Manila, etc… So make sure to keep this in mind when you plan your route.
2. Manila by Night
Metro Manila is literally a city that does not sleep. Not even a little bit. As night falls new establishments pop-up to entertain everyone. Manila at night features various bars and clubs as well as night markets and food courts. You can never really run out of things to do in Manila at night, and by midnight the fun is only getting started.
There are many party districts around the Metro. Head over to Bonifacio Global City where you can get your drink on and get lit Manila’s young and happening crowd. Party on with world-class DJ and bands on through the night and even until the sun comes up.
Just across Edsa from Bonifacio Global City is the bustling Central Business District of Makati, where many of the country’s brightest and most hardworking minds go out after work for a romp around town. Makati hosts a plethora of watering holes to get your lips wet on the finest San Miguel Beer.
Don’t panic if one of these party animals get friendly and make you acquaintance as Filipinos are just so friendly and hospitable, they wouldn’t mind sharing their drink or their Karaoke songs with you.
3. Manila things to do: Getting Around
Now before you plan your trips in and around Metro Manila, you have to figure out your preferred mode of transportation. Metro Manila is unlike any other city in the world.
There are only 3 main train routes traversing the city, the LRT 1, LRT 2 and MRT 3. The Government is ramping up projects to complete new Train Routes to make traveling in and around the Metro easier.
Many travellers prefer getting around by renting their own personal rides. This way will help them not get to hassle in regular traffic congestion happens as a part of Manila life.
One thing to consider though is that Metro Manila has this very weird law to regulate the number of cars on the road and sooth traffic. The number coding scheme is in full effect in the Metro and is probably the only downer in this otherwise perfect plan.
If you rather go the trending route, Ride-Hailing apps are available such as GRAB and Angkas. These apps work similarly to Uber where you download the app and get a ride.
For the more adventurous type, you can also book a motorcycle ride from Angkas. Your ride will include a helmet for safety so all you have to do is hang on for dear life, you daredevil you!
There are also buses that traverse the major roads. They offer a comfortable ride around Metro Manila but make sure that you don’t have a full day ahead of you as these buses travel through the most congested areas in the City. There are no bus schedules to speak of but at least you are relatively comfortable while traveling at a snail’s pace.
Traffic agencies are trying their best to alleviate bus traffic in the Metro but thankfully there are even more ways to get around town.
The most common way to get around by using Jeepneys. These are diesel-powered repurposed military vehicles that can carry up to 20 people at a time. There are bench-style seats in the back where passengers are seated parallel to each other. Imagine the Jeepney as some sort of Mini-bus.
I mentioned earlier that these vehicles were repurposed as their origins started after the second world war, the country’s transportation infrastructure was so devastated that a quick solution was necessary.
Some enterprising Filipinos utilized the military vehicles left behind by both American and Japanese soldiers to replace the ruined Tramway system in Manila.
Thus the Jeepney was born. Jeepneys are colorful and often loud vehicles and their operators would decorate them to reflect their own artistic tastes. Admittedly, Jeepneys may be the fastest and most fun way to get around the Metro, it simply is an outdated mode of transportation that was really meant to be a temporary fix.
The Government is currently planning the PUJ Modernization Program to get the traditional Jeepneys off the streets. If you saw a Jeepney on the road, you would know that they are better off in Museums than on streets, You better try riding one before they go away!
So there you have it, folks! If you ever decide on heading over to Metro Manila, just make sure to follow this fun and simple guide and you should be perfectly fine.
Just make sure you smile and greet everyone you meet and you can rest assured you will have the time of your life. You can also hit us up if you want a more personal approach, just don’t party too hard now.