There’s a Filipino song that goes, “No place in the world like Manila…” The capital of the Philippines is vibrant, filled with happy and energetic people, sumptuous food, and simple joys that come together for an incredible Manila holiday.
The uninitiated must first take a jeepney ride. Nicknamed “hari ng daan” (“king of the road”), Manila’s primary mode of public transport started when an enterprising engineer converted an American army jeep to shuttle passengers around the city. Hang on tight; this is like a roller coaster ride on asphalt, in all its bright, noisy, and breakneck splendour. For the less adventurous, a leisurely tour on a calesa (horse-drawn carriage) is a more relaxing option.
The Manila Cathedral is laid out like a cross within the walls of Intramuros, the original Spanish settlement around which the present city was built. The San Agustin Church just a block away is one of the oldest in the Philippines, having survived the bombings of World War II, and a few earthquakes too. History buffs will have fun at the Ayala Museum in Makati, the main business district. Browse through exhibits of Philippine costumes, paintings, sailboats, gold antiques, and a diorama illustrating sixty scenes from Philippine history.
Manila holidays are a bargain-hunter’s dream come true. A little money goes a long way, as shopping here is cheap, whether in flea markets or malls. Divisoria is immensely popular, with wares like household items, accessories, and toys. Haggling is a standard business tactic in informal settings such as this. The Mall of Asia is the largest in the country, with a wide array of stores, boutiques, and restaurants. Gifts are available at the Filipiniana section of the main department store, and favourites include embroidered pineapple cloth, rattan baskets, and capiz (scallop-shell) products. This open-air structure is right by the Manila Bay, and shoppers can enjoy the warm sea-breeze and beautiful sunsets for which the place is famous for.
End a Manila holiday with a play, concert, or ballet performance at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.