So I’m off to the capital with no idea what to do really. All I know is that I have to be there, be mentally prepared and document everything and come along. Exciting right? HAHA
And of course, a trip wouldn’t be complete with some side trips! Despite Manila’s heavy traffic, crowded streets and population, there are actually plenty of places in Manila that are worthy of time. So if you’re in Manila, you better also take a quick tour around.
We arrived at almost 4 pm. We went immediately to the hotel and checked in. Hungry and excited, we went to Binondo for dinner, which is known to be the world’s oldest Chinatown established in 1594. The district is a haven for foodies looking for an authentic experience beyond fast food malls and restaurants in the metro. Bargain hunters and shopaholics might want to check out and head to nearby Divisoria, known for its wide assortment of low-priced goods and wholesale and bargain shopping.
I had a quick morning walk at Intramuros, the oldest district and historic core that best represents Manila’s rich history. What makes it more exciting is you either walk or ride a kalesa or ride a hand-made bamboo bicycle around the place.
National Museums and Gallery Hall
If you’re into history and culture (like me), there are a lot of museums around Manila and among of which is the National Museum of the Philippines. It is a government institution which also serves as an educational, scientific and cultural institution that houses some of the paintings and sculptures by the most prominent Filipino artists in the 19th and 20th centuries who represented a wave of Filipino art that swelled as the Philippines pushed for independence from Spain.
Another a-must visit is the National Museum of Natural History. Admission is free, and museum hours start from 10 am to 5 pm every Tuesday-Sunday. Just don’t get bothered with the strict security and long lines.
There are plenty of old Catholic churches to explore within Manila, and one of them is San Agustin Church, a UNESCO site and the oldest stone-built church in the Philippines. It is in the resplendent Baroque style with its marvellous interior. However, I haven’t visited much of them. These are just some I saw into while walking around.
Malls and Shopping Centers
And what would you expect to the country’s capital? There are a lot of shopping malls with a vibrant range of shops, services, and restaurants around the Metro. The largest of them all is the SM Mall of Asia.
Food and Restaurants
After going around the SM Mall of Asia (MOA), we had sumptuous dining at the Four Seasons Hot Pot. Not your usual buffet resto but the food and service is great, though a bit pricy. It’s a good place for those working millennials who want to treat their whole family for dinner or a birthday celebration for example. Because they offer seasonal birthday promo every month.
Where to Stay:
We stayed for 3 nights at Bayview Park Hotel Manila. Hotel rooms are great. As a development worker based in Misamis Oriental for quite a year now, Bayview Hotel is our top choice whenever we have to conduct a seminar-workshop in Manila given its strategic location. It is just a short walk away from Intramuros, the U.S. Embassy, and Roxas Boulevard. Although a bit pricy (ofc compared here in Mindanao) but it suits really well and we have not encountered any problem so far. Highly recommended. You can also enjoy spectacular views of Manila Bay sunsets and nightlife.
That’s it! So you see, there is beauty in spontaneity. I realized that sometimes, no matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it. It’s okay to just let things flow naturally. Because just like this, the best moments happen when they are unplanned.
Do you agree? Let me know in the comment box.