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MANILLA, PHILIPPINES! Should You Visit, What To Do & Where To Stay!

First impressions of Manila were good and it was great to be back in an South-East Asian city! A few of the questions we began to ask ourselves were 'what is there to do' and where should we go and explore whilst on our extended stop over in Manila? Well, in this blog post we'll be answering those questions, sharing a bit about our experience in Manila and going over why you may or may not want to actually visit yourself.

Sunrise, Gramercy Residence, Makati, Manila, Philippines

First Impressions

Depending on who you ask about Manila, you're likely to hear a variety of things... That was certainly the case for us anyway before we flew to The Philippines and let's just say that they weren't all good - borderline scary in fact! Hearing those things definitely put us on edge a bit whilst we were there, which is absolutely not what you want when setting out for a round the world adventure to see exciting new places and experience amazing cultures that are different to your own! Trying to not let those things effect us, we were excited to check out some of the must-see sights and experience what Manila had to offer.

First of all, we noticed that the streets were surprisingly clean! There were a few stray dogs that we had to try stay away from and we also quite quickly noticed the distinct rich-poor divide, but the people were amazingly friendly and welcoming. An obvious mix of Spanish and American influence created a very charming culture, and that wasn't the only quirk to Manila - wait until you hear about the jeepneys!

Getting Around

It didn’t take long for us to notice the “jeepneys” driving about with their comical sounding car horns, bold colours and crazy, half-jeep, half-bus design! Jeepneys are by far the cheapest way of getting around in Manila with the average journey costing just 9 pesos (£0.13). If you’re on a tight budget, then they’re definitely the way to go, although they can be a bit confusing and quite daunting at first. They come highly recommended, but that might just be for the experience and to be able to say that you did it. Still, the jeepneys are supposedly safer than the buses and more efficient than the metro.

Most of the time, it was easy for us to walk from place to place in Manila, but another great option to get around was 'Grab' - South East Asia's very own ride hailing app just like Uber. We used Grab to get from the airport into the city and it cost only 160 pesos opposed to a 250-450 pesos in a private taxi. The taxi's are notorious for scamming people and they also looked like they could fall apart at any moment, whilst we had absolutely no issues with Grab. The other great thing about Grab is it's “GrabShare” feature, so you can share lifts and not contribute to the traffic problem and air pollution quite as much.