Despite the “not-so” positive feedback from people who experienced Manila, some people from other places or provinces like me still want to explore the Capital City of the Philippines. As a person who has been born and raised in the Province, a visit to Manila is something to look forward to. Everything we see on TV and movies always feature the lifestyle of people in Manila.
The provinces in the Philippines have rich natural resources that could easily attract foreigners and visitors. Davao City has Pearl Farm, Bohol has Chocolate Hills, Albay has Mayon Volcano. Manila could not offer the aforementioned attractions, but there is something about Manila that would make you want to come back for more.
For backpack travellers who would like to visit Manila and stay there for 3 days to one week, here are my “itinerary-worth” suggestions that you may want to consider:
1. Mall Tour
Manila, though congested, has a vast number of malls that can accommodate the overcrowded population of the city. SM malls are everywhere, like you can see it in every corner of the City. If you are a shopper-traveller, you would love it here because Malls are omnipresence.
I can’t exactly remember how many malls I visited when I went to Manila. I visited Market Market to meet my Mother’s cousin.
I also passed along Greenhills Shopping Center. My Aunt said this is where celebrities and rich people shop.
I also visited several SM establishments but the most unforgettable is the visit to SM Mall of Asia.This one is very huge. It’s like having a mall inside a mall.
And my favorite tambayan is the Robinson’s Galleria as it is the only mall accessible to me.
Next time you visit Manila, check out their malls and experience amazing shopping activity.
2. Meet Relatives
As a center of commercialism and media, I’m sure every single person in the province has at least a family member in Manila. If you get a chance to travel to Manila, why not set one day of your stay or even just half day to visit long lost relatives or those family members you haven’t met yet.
In my case, I even stayed at my Aunt’s house during my one week visit in Manila. It’s nice to live under one roof with relatives eventhough you just met them for the first time.
I also went as far as Paranaque and Makati just to see some relatives that I haven’t met before.
I had an eyeball with my cousins, Aunties and Uncles.
It’s good meeting them all.
3. Visit Public Park
Don’t you ever dare leave Manila without even visiting even one of their Public park. A visit to Luneta or Bonifacio High Street would not really take too much of your time.
My Aunt brought me to Luneta Park. As quoted from my Aunt, Luneta is a “Pasyalan ng mga Walang Pera”, because here, you don’t need money to enjoy.
At Luneta, you can enjoy watching dancing fountain, visit our National Hero’s grave and relax, all for FREE. You can just bring extra money to experience Kalesa, mini train and for food trip. The best time to visit Luneta is during night time so you can see the lighting effect on dancing fountain.
I was able to visit also the Makati Park and Garden. It’s just a small but clean and cute park. They have mini zoo inside the park and I think this is a perfect place for jogging, good for those who love running like me.
If you want some classy tour, go to Bonifacio High Street.
You can eat, you can walk around, you can sit and sip some coffee or even shop.
If you have a car or an exclusive vehicle to tour Manila, why not let it rest for just one day and try to experience Manila as an ordinary commuter?
I tried almost every means of transportation in Manila, but the most memorable one is the MRT.
Wow, that was an amazing ride. When you try MRT, prepare to stand, bump, and stumble amidst the crowd. This one is not for individuals who can grip weakly.
The same is true with the bus. I experienced standing from the point of my departure to my destination.
Jeepney and tricycle are also must try. You must experience traffic jam, standing position, and stumble with the crowd. Just be careful and be watchful with your belongings. Thieves and pickpocketers are everywhere.
5. Eyeball with Friends
Social Networking nowadays allows you to create a community even with the people you haven’t met yet. I have a lot of good friends and acquaintances in Manila that I just met through Twitter. When I visited Manila, I contacted them and met as many people as possible.
It was an awesome experience meeting people for the first time. But what is good about online community is that, you already know about them before you actually meet them.
If you have friends or even college or high school classmates that reside in Manila, you can contact them and meet them. I am sure you will enjoy the chit chat.
6. Do Something that you can only do in Manila
The first 5 suggestions I mentioned can also be done in other places. Those were not only applicable for Manila but for other places also. So think of something to do that you can only do in Manila.
For example, in my case, I visited a radio station. Yes, a radio station. I am an avid listener of RX Monster Radio FM. This is a Manila based radio station which I can only access through livestreaming in the internet.
I was able to meet the faces behind the cool voices in the radio.
I can visit a radio station in other places, but I can only visit RX Monster Radio in Manila.
There is no other place like Manila. Therefore, as a Filipino, we must love Manila including the pollution, the traffic and the long lines everywhere.