Although the Philippines is mostly known for the tropical beaches and farther islands, there are treasures hidden deep within the very heart of the metro as well. Since Metro Manila is a cluster of different cities, everyone is just trying to get to their university or their job, and it might seem like there’s nothing much else to do.
However, this isn’t the case! Metro Manila is full to the brim with culture and nightlife as long as you know where to look.
Look for a local guide to find city favorites
One way to find hidden gems in Manila is by seeking out local advice! Contact your Filipino friends or crowdsource must-see places on social media. The best way of getting to know the heart of the metro is to ask people who know it best: the locals.
If you don’t know anyone who’s ever been around Manila and you’re willing to spend some money, plenty of tour companies offer guided tours around Manila. If you’d rather save a couple of bucks, worry not! Filipinos are mostly fluent in English and would most likely be willing to help you find your way around when you encounter them.
This means a spontaneous adventure isn’t entirely impossible.
Rent a car and plan your trips wisely
A thing to know about Manila is that public transportation and traffic are both risky and unbearable, especially for tourists. With this in mind, it would be better for you to look for companies that offer more convenient ways of getting around the city.
There are tons of providers for SUV and sedan rentals here in Manila. Sometimes, they even come with tour guides and drivers in case you don’t want to be the one doing all the heavy lifting in terms of transportation.
Include heritage sites or museums
Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and has gone through centuries worth of development. So if you’re a culture junkie or traveling with one, be sure to seek out heritage sites in Manila. These areas have everything from museums to old buildings to repurposed structures like the National Museum of Fine Arts which used to be the old senate building of the Philippines.
Try the nightlife and street food
Another thing unique about Metro Manila is the fact that there are nightlife areas in most of the cities like Taguig, Makati, and Pasig. Try out local beers and find everything from your typical bar to more exciting unique clubs and even drag shows if you’re into it!
If you’re not the type to stay out ’til the wee hours of the morning, you can always go out on a street food trip late in the afternoon. Street food is a staple in the Philippines and definitely something to try out if you’re more suited to adventurous eaters.
You can try everything from quail eggs to intestines to fried tofu. These things cost almost nothing and are found in stalls almost anywhere in Manila.
In conclusion, Manila is a lovely area surrounded by bustling cities. If you’re flying in from the airport nearby anyway, there are ways to make it worth a couple of days before getting on with the beach trip you’re planning.