7 Reasons To Give Manila A Chance

0

The Struggle 5272016336 l 249x167 7 Reasons to Give Manila a Chance

I have never once heard Manila, the capital of the Philippines, listed as anyone’s favorite Southeast Asian city. Or mentioned anywhere on a list of “favorites,” for that matter.

As someone who had an absolutely fabulous time in Manila last December, this saddens me. If the adventures I described in my previous post about the Philippine capital didn’t convince you, consider these seven reasons you should spend at least a few days in Manila.

5287525492 27d3decb5f m 7 Reasons to Give Manila a Chance

Manila is the center of the Philippines in every measurable sense.

1. You’re Already Going To Be There

The vast majority of flights arriving to the Philippines from abroad arrive at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Instead of rushing onward to your next destination, why not stay a few days in Manila? You know, since you’re there anyway.

2. Manila Is Rich In Cultural Treasures

Manila has merit as a final destination, not just an initial one. From Intramuros, the city’s historical city center that dates back to Spanish colonial times, to the massive Chinese cemetery that pays homage to Manila’s Chinese immigrant heritage, to the city park dedicated to national hero José Rizal, Manila has literally centuries of culture waiting to be discovered.

5287583702 b79a32f069 m 7 Reasons to Give Manila a Chance

Enjoy Manila’s rich cultural tapestry.

3. Love Shopping? You’ll Love Manila

As I mentioned in my post about spending Christmas in the Philippines, Manila is home to literally dozens of huge malls, which sell everything from brand-name consumer goods to island-inflected toys and trinkets, with prices ranging from bottom of the barrel to high end. Plus, they’re all well air conditioned, which is one of the main reasons they’re so loved among Filipinos.

4. There’s Plenty Of Cool Stuff Right Near Manila

5282653076 c6e609994f m 7 Reasons to Give Manila a Chance

Visit Taal volcano, about an hour south of Manila.

Metro Manila is one of the largest urban areas in the world, but you don’t have to travel very far outside the city to feel like you’re on other planet. Whether you head north to Pampanga to enjoy the annual Giant Lantern Festival, east to WWII-era Corregidor island or south to Batanganas province, home to the Taal volcano and its heritage town, the immediate Manila area provides a diverse range of travel options.

5276534507 c7eb1f3599 m 7 Reasons to Give Manila a Chance

You will love Manila, if only for all the friendly locals.

 

5. Manila Is A Transit Hub

Didn’t take my advice and spend a few days in Manila after you arrived in the Philippines? You’ll get another chance, I promise. Whether you’ve got a day between Cebu Pacific flights from sunny Boracay island to the mysterious Banaue Rice Terracesor pass back through Manila as you’re criss-crossing the country by land, plenty of opportunities to stop in to Manila for a short time exist.

5277066122 94a3d1ba08 m 7 Reasons to Give Manila a Chance

Manila’s bayside Roxas Boulevard.

6. Prices In Manila Are Low

This fact won’t be news to you if you’ve traveled extensively in Southeast Asia, but the prices you find in Manila on accommodation, food and transport are among the lowest you’ll find anywhere in the Philippines, if only because of competition and a large local population. Even if you’re nearly broke from your Palawan beach vacation, you can subsist in Manila for less than you think.

7. Manila Will Surpass Your Expectations

Even if you take this article at face value, you probably won’t be able to shake the “Manila is kind of a shithole” stereotype that seems to dominate the travelsphere — and that’s great, as far as I’m concerned. The lower your expectations going in, the more delighted you will be to find that Manila is, well, delightful.

Robert Schrader
Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who's been roaming the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as "CNNGo" and "Shanghaiist" along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, provides a mix of travel advice, destination guides and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of life as a traveler.
Read More Share

Recent Author Posts

Join Our Community

Connect On Social Media

Most Popular Posts

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

We Blog The World