Getting the Most Out of Your Manila Experience

The Philippines. From the sandy beaches scattered across the archipelago to the mountain ranges dotting the landscape, there’s a distinct and endearing sort of charm to this small island nation. Even in the hustle and bustle of its capital city, Manila, you can still find the beauty amidst the chaos.

Here are ways you can liven up and make your trip easier inside the heart of the Pearl of the Orient.

Know when the rush hour begins or ends

You could say that Manila is known for its busy streets, but that’s pretty much an understatement. This city has an ongoing traffic congestion problem. It especially worsens during rush hour, usually during early morning and late afternoons–times when typical workers would start or end their shift. By 10 AM to 4 PM or 8 PM onward, traveling is then fair game.

However, by knowing the rush hour schedule, you can explore the Metro unhampered by the endless sea of honking cars. You can also take advantage of the rush hour by going against the flow.

There’s more to life than malls and tourist traps

If you’re visiting Manila, know that there’s more to life than going to the mall and the famous tourist spots. There are many places in the Metro you could go to, whether you want to pass the time or learn more about the city. You can check out museums, such as the National Museum in Manila, Yuchengco Museum in Makati, or Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo–a few hours away from the Metro.

Rent a car instead of commuting or ridesharing

It’s easy to depend on ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. They function like taxi on-demand, after all. When you’re in Manila, it’s better to have a car of your own. Look for sedan rentals in Manila; you have an option between hiring a chauffeur or driving yourself. You won’t be dealing with the stressful commutes, the long queues over the taxi bay, or drivers not accepting your rideshare request.

Taste the local cuisine

Filipino food, Sisig

Take your Manila trip to the next level and eat the local cuisine. Philippine cuisine is a distinctive mix and variations of Chinese, Indian, Spanish, and American cuisines, with some similarities with Malaysian and Indonesian food. Explore and find the Filipino-themed restaurants scattered across the Metro.

You can also trace the steps the late chef Anthony Bourdain did in exploring Philippine cuisine in his show, No Reservations. From the Filipino-Chinese dishes of Binondo to having freshly made seafood dishes in “dampas”, you can taste the culture if you just know where to find it.

Manila nightlife is where the fun begins.

Amidst the chaos of the rush-hour traffic, Manila nightlife remains undeterred. You can go to Poblacion, Makati and visit its string of bars and nightclubs. Bonifacio Global City, a business district in Manila, has a night food market aside from nightclubs and 24-hour food stops. Pasay offers bars and grills across the Manila Bay. The night is young, so cap it off with a bang.

Whether you’re in Manila for business or pleasure, there’s always time for fun if you want it. Instead of staying cooped up in your hotel room, you can make your rather dull trip into something truly worthwhile.

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