Metro Manila is Philippines’ central hub of commerce, entertainment and education, and is one of the main gateways to other Philippine Islands. If you are planning trips to smaller islands such as Palawan or Boracay, you’ll most likely land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport here, that will then connect you to smaller airports all over the Philippines.

While there are many cool things you can and should do when in Manila, here are your essential 5, as suggested by Travel the City, to start off with if you’re only in the metropolis for a short stay.

1. Join fun walking tours

The Carlos Celdran ‘Walk this Way’ tour takes visitors on a leisurely stroll around a selection of must-see places in Metro Manila (Pic credit: Planet Philippines)

Carlos Celdran is on a mission to educate and help locals and foreigners alike understand the city of Manila. Touted as one of the best and funniest guides in the city, he incorporates performance art, comedy, and sensational trivia in his bold and animated spiels about his favorite city. He would take you around Intramuros’ Fort Santiago and Plaza San Luis while providing you with insights on Philippine architecture, culture, and history.

Duration: approximately 3 hours
Rates: Php1,100 – adult; Php 600 – Students with ID; Php 350 – Kids (3-5 yrs old); Php 900 – Seniors with ID (Local); Php900 – Persons with Disabilities, to be paid at the tour’s meeting place (Fort Santiago gate)
Reservations: Tel: +63 920 9092021 (Glenda), Email:

Tour Schedule can be viewed here.

2. Chow down Filipino cuisine

A popular Filipino appertiser, sisig is made of diced meat that is sautéed with onions, soy sauce, vinegar and lemon juice (Pic credit: City of Dreams)

The Philippines is a unique culinary melting pot that combines flavours from both east and west. A trip to its capital Manila is incomplete without sampling local Filipino favourites. Start your Filipino cuisine 101 by tasting adobo, tapsilog, kare-kare, sisig, kaldereta, sinigang, and lechon. Level-up your Pinoy food knowledge by sampling taba ng talangka (crab fat), bulalo, dinuguan, laing, and kinilaw.

Filipinos also have this habit of coaxing foreigners to try balut (fertilised duck embryo), so don’t be surprised if someone you just met dares you to slurp one.

3. Watch cultural shows

Enjoy a delicious buffet at Mabuhay Restop while watching Manila Valnilla! – a pop-cultural, musical comedy dinner show (Pic credit: Viajeroking Blog)

Mabuhay Restop, located just right by the Rizal Park, presents Philippine history lessons through a unique musical-comedy show entitled Manila Vanilla!. The show happens every Saturday, 7PM. Price: Php750 inclusive of dinner buffet

The Cultural Center of the Philippines also regularly showcases Filipino talents in their productions and program. For schedules of arts and culture events, check out their calendar.

4. Experience Filipino hilot

Hilot is the science of the Ancient Filipino Traditional Art of Healing in the Philippines (Pic credit:

When in Metro Manila, you must not pass up the chance to try Filipino hilot, a signature massage technique in the Philippines. Hilot treatment employs a procedure called hihilaan where coconut oil is applied to strips of banana leaves to identify areas of imbalance in the body.

5. Ride the jeepney, Manila’s main mode of transportation

Jeepneys, sometimes called simply jeeps, are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines (Pic credit: Jeff Jacinto/Flickr)

Colourful and resilient, the Philippine jeepney has become an important icon in Filipino culture. You might want to try riding them en route to your destination to experience Manila like a true blue local. Jeepneys tread almost all roads in Metro Manila. Base fare starts at Php8.

See the original story on Click the City



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