The Philippines. Sprinkled with 7641 islands. The perfect place for tourists to find paradise, sip on cocktails and forget about their busy lives. But first stop. MANILA.
This guide is specifically for the travelers who are only in Manila for 24hrs or less before jumping on their next flight. We will cover what Manila has to offer.
I’ve made it easy with THREE printable itineraries.
- 12hr Manila Itinerary: Pasay
- 24hr Manila Itinerary: Red Light District
- 24hr Manila Itinerary: Global City
READ ON FOR HIGHLIGHTS
There are THREE areas I would suggest to stay:
- Pasay (15 mins from the airport)
- Bonifacio Global City (25 mins from the airport)
- Makati (25 mins from the airport)
Mall of Asia (PASAY)
Labelled the biggest mall in Asia, MOA has everything! Looking for Forever21, H&M, ZARA? Want to get a facial, massage or a new hair do? Super hungry for a variety of cuisines? Go to Mall of Asia. This place is perfect for stopping by just before you flight out. It is super close to the airport. You would have to take your luggage with you. MOA has a luggage storage on Ocean Drive on the ground floor, beside the Ice Rink. It is called “Package Pick-Up” but it is recommended not to leave valuables such as wallets, laptops and phones. This place has potential if your time in Manila is under 5 hours.
Seaside Boulevard (PASAY)
Along Manila bay and right out front of MOA. Seaside strip has a variety of buffet restaurants, a Ferris wheel, Bumper Cars and other family activities. You can sit at one of the bar and it is a great place to watch the sunset. Just grab a beer and enjoy!
Okada, City of Dream, Solaire and Resorts World are all top pick for casinos and accommodation. They are all close together and near the skyway to the airport. Whether your are wanting to kill a few hours or a day, these are options to keep you entertained. I heard there is a really great Japanese-Korean restaurant called Ginzadon at Resorts World.
High Street (BGC)
This is the main street of Bonifacio Global City. You can eat, shop and buy bubble tea. Often there are events held here and if you love dogs, this is Dog city. A very popular place for people to walk/carry/stroller their dogs. What is great about High Street, at the end you have an option of two malls- Market, Market or SM Aura. Market, Market is kind of an outlet mall and SM Aura is for your basic such as H&M.
The Island (BGC)
The Island is an awesome hangout with bars and a pool. This place usually gets busy from 10 pm but if you are wanting a quiet drink and seating go a little earlier. The best thing about The Island is that it is surrounded by bars and night clubs. All you need for a messy night out is all in one place. Just remember, dress appropriately to get access to the other bars. If you are just wanting to go to The Island you can dress casually and even bring your swimwear.
Mercato Centrale (BGC)
Mercato Centrale is a food market with pretty much any cuisine that you want. It is really affordable ranging from 30-300 peso. You can also sample Philippine delicacies such as Isaw and Betamax. I am not going to tell you what those are. Just try them. Open from Thursday-Friday at 4 pm-2 am on the corner of 25th Street and 7th Avenue.
The Peak (BGC)
For the best views in Manila, The Peak at Grand Hyatt is the place to impress people. Drinks are a bit pricey but remember you are paying for the service, venue and the amazing view by spending a little extra on a cocktail. Definitely for people that have fine taste and like a bit of luxury. If your flight gets in on time, I suggest heading there for the sunset. You will get to see the sky on fire and the building lights glittering.
This is the red light district of Metro Manila. Located on B. Burgos Street. Rooftop bars, cocktail bars, restaurants, shows, strip clubs and midget boxing. This street is for the adventurous and the non-conservative. It is fairly safe because it is a tourist attraction and it is well patrolled. When I bring people here, I show them the fancy stuff in BGC and then show them Burgos street for contrast. There are so many hidden cocktail and wine bars. My favorite is Run, Rabbit, Run which is a great cocktail bar. Also, turns out that one of the owners lived in New Zealand for a couple of years. For the shock factor, I take people to Ringside which is midget boxing. You can decide if you agree with it or not. If your are looking for shisha check out a place called Pasha Grill and Shisha Lounge.
If you are planning to stay in Manila for longer, make sure to check out my Explore Metro Manila with Me post which gives you some more options for accommodation and shopping.