Must-Go, Must-Eat, Must-Try in Manila for Foreigners

Manila-nomadicalsabbatical.com

Have you been put on the spot and asked for recommendations on what to do while in Manila? Only finding yourself at a blank stare trying to remember all the western standard-approved places in your mind?

Your instant reaction would be to let them try the best (i.e. expensive, elite, world class, cleanest, most convenient, etc) of what we have. But it’s a misconception. Foreign guests, especially avid travelers, didn’t come here for what they already have back in their own homes. They came here for what they don’t have. Something that will make they come home changed.

As an Airbnb host, I’ve been meaning to create a Manila Travel Guide for my guests. You know, it’s a responsibility to make sure that Philippine visitors have some one-for-the-books experiences to take home with them.

CROWDSOURCED LIST

As I was building my list, I took this task to Facebook and asked my friends to share their must-go, must-eat, must-try experiences and some “musts” stood out consistently.

From my list, my Facebook friends’ recommendations, and various travel blogs’ consistent suggestions, here are the top of Manila for foreigners.

For the more compehensive spreadsheet with details on location, links, and other notes, you may download the FREE Manila GET (Go, Eat, Try) Guide below.

The Must-Go, Must-Eat, Must-Try in Manila for Foreigners

 

TOP OF METRO MANILA

photo by yannahthewanderer.com

Intramuros (photo by yannahthewanderer.com)

 

  • INTRAMUROS, MANILA – history and heritage
  • CHINATOWN/BINONDO/ESCOLTA, MANILA – history, old architecture
  • BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY, TAGUIG – top notch place for food, drinks, and events
  • P.BURGOS/POBLACION/JUPITER, MAKATI – hubs for night-outs and happenings

 


 

Here are the places that consistently emerged from friends and travel blogs’ recommendations for when you’ve had enough of Manila and would want to see more:

 

NEARBY OUT-OF-TOWN DESTINATIONS

 

 

  • Pinatubo crater trek/ Taal Volcano trek– active volcano crater!
  • Tagaytay– cool weather, a quick escape from the hustling and bustling Manila
  • Corregidor– 30-min cruise from Manila Bay to a historical WWII war zone
    Corregidor (photo from mytravelthon.com)

    Corregidor (photo from mytravelthon.com)

 

NOT-SO-NEARBY OUT-OF-TOWN LAND TRIPS 

 

Vigan, Ilocos

Vigan, Ilocos

 

    • Vigan, Ilocos– 12-hour drive or 1 hour flight to an old Spanish history vibe
    • Baler– 6-8-hour bus trip to a surfing paradise
      Surfers line up in Baler

      Surfers line up in Baler

 

    • La Union– 6-hour bus trip to a surfing paradise
    • Sagada– 12-hour bus trip to the cold, unexploited mountains
      Kiltepan Sunrise above the clouds in Sagada

      Kiltepan Sunrise above the clouds in Sagada

 

  • Banaue Rice Terraces– 12-14-hour bus trip to a man-made rice terraces wonder of the world
    Banaue Rice Terraces

    Banaue Rice Terraces

 

MUST-FLY HERE

    • El Nido, Palawan– international publications’ 1 of the top islands of the world
    • Boracay– pristine beach and beach parties
    • Batanes– quiet little old town up at the tip of the Philippines; simple, fantastic views
      Batanes lighthouse

      Batanes lighthouse

 

  • Surigao– surfing capital of the Philippines; bottomless enchanted river

 

 If you want more, check out the expanded list of Manila GET (Go, Eat, Try) recommendations HERE

 

☝️ Don’t forget to scroll back up to check out the must-eat and must-try tabs!☝️

 

Here are the food and the food trips that consistently emerged from friends and travel blogs’ recommendations. If you have but a limited time in Manila, try one of these for a taste of the Philippines:

  • Binondo Food Tour

Tour around the oldest China Town in the country through your tummy.

  • Dampa (Macapagal Ave, Libis)

Buy your fresh seafood and they’ll cook it for you on-the-spot.

  • Recipes / Abe / Crisostomo / Elias / Mesa / Kanin Club

Try any of this restaurants for the best of Filipino food!

  • JT’s Manukan/ Señor Pollo

Let either of these handle your chicken cravings

 

FILIPINO FOOD TO TRY

  • Adobo– soy sauce and vinegar-based chicken or pork stew
  • Sinigang– sour soup with fish, pork, beef, or shrimp
  • Bulalo– beef (bone marrow) soup
  • Chicken Inasal– roasted chicken with local flavor
  • Halu-halo– local dessert with a mixture of several fruits, beans, jello, milk, and shaved ice
  • Balut– boiled fertilized duck egg; street food
  • Banana Cue– sugar-glazed fried saba banana; street food

If you want more, check out the expanded list of Manila GET (Go, Eat, Try) recommendations HERE

 

For the more compehensive spreadsheet with details on location, links, and other notes, you may download the FREE Manila GET (Go, Eat, Try) Guide below.

This is with the assumption that guests are staying in Makati CBD/ airport area. Guests staying in the north may benefit from a different guide.

 

These are other activities in Manila that consistently emerged from friends and travel blog’s recommendations. If you have but a limited time in Manila, try one of these:

 

DRINKS/NIGHT OUT

  • 12 Monkeys Music Hall and Pub -most sought after local bands and artists perform here daily
  • Z Hostel Roofdeck – acoustics on Wednesdays/Fridays (check schedule on link), vibrant energy; meet travelers from all over the world over drinks
  • SaGuijo Cafe + Bar  – local music and drinks

LOCAL TOURS

LOCAL ORGANIC MARKET

Up and coming local and organic food from 7am to 2pm

MUSEUMS

OTHER ACTIVITIES

  • Manila Bay Cruise – dinner cruise by the manila bay sunset
  • Midget Boxing – watch midgets box over drinks if you’re up for some one-of-a-kind experience
  • Rockeoke/Videoke – Try it with friends in one of the many karaoke bars in the metro
  • Cockfight/Casino – If this floats your boat, Manila has a lot of venues for you
  • Malling/Bargain Shopping – if you have nothing else left to do, the malls await you

 

If you want more, check out the expanded list of Manila GET (Go, Eat, Try) recommendations HERE

Manila skyline photo by nomadicalsabbatical.com

Bringing you back to my blank stare moment, I later on realized, there’s so much to do in Manila. This was my 3am thought as I was absorbed in my task of building the list.

The next time you are faced with the task privilege of bringing your foreign guests around Manila, feel relieved that you can pull this guide from your cloud drive anytime. You will always have someplace to bring them to. Tried and tested, and foreign guests-approved!

Save this Manila GET (Go, Eat, Try) Guide for foreigners or friends visiting Manila on your cloud drives.

Download the free Manila for Foreigners GET Guide