Jeepneys make a fun and easy way to get around the city. They cover the whole city and run 24 hours a day. Simply spot one of these colourfully decorated vehicles, flag it down and hop onboard. The ride may be a little hair-raising but it's cheap and probably the most practical method of getting around the city with ease.
Taxis are plentiful in the city and should run by the meter, which ensures they don't overcharge. Make sure to get your driver to turn on the meter as soon as you depart to avoid being taken advantage of. There are several companies running taxis and all have varied rates. EMP, R&E and Avis are some of the trustworthy companies.
Avis, Budget and Hertz all offer car rentals in Manila. However, you should know that driving conditions in the city are far from what you would find in Western countries. Traffic jams, aggressive drivers, lack of adherence to the traffic laws and horn-honking are just some of the problems you can expect to encounter as a driver in Manila.
There are several metro lines running throughout the city, all with limited coverage of Manila. The trains shutdown early and tend to run along commuter lines rather than following touristy hotspots. If you're looking for particular parts of the city, the metro will take you there. However, it may not be best for short-stay tourists who just want to see the sights.
Manila is a city of many parts and it's nothing if not diverse. Get a feel for it with a city tour where you can explore both the commercial and the historical. Tours will take you through Makati, known for its entertainment and malls, as well as Intramuros, which was the seat of the government during the Spanish colonial period.
At 1,250 feet above sea level, you can see an awful lot. But the most incredible sight Tagaytay Ridge offers is that of the smallest flowing volcano in the world – Taal in the middle of Taal Lake. The tour includes an extensive history and the People's Park in the Sky, which has excellent views of Manila and a trip to a local museum.
Head out of the city for a day and explore Hidden Valley, a protected natural area boasting a huge, 300-foot deep crater. The crater shows off a 110-acre extinct volcano, natural springs, rock pools and wildlife including ferns, trees and rare orchids. Just one hour out of Manila, it's a must-see when you travel to the Philippines.
Get your culture fix with an evening of traditional Filipino food and a display of traditional folk dances, in costume, from both the north and south of the country. There's plenty of audience participation so don't leave your dancing shoes at home. There are several restaurants throughout the city that offer show and dinner packages, so book ahead to ensure a night of entertainment.
Get to know Manila by Jeepney. The city is quite disjointed but easy to get around. Intramuros makes the most spectacular stop-off, especially if you have more than a passing interest in the Spanish colonial past of the Philippines. Top off an afternoon of culture at a Filipino restaurant, where specialties include braised pork or paellas.
Manila is all about shopping. Experience its consumerist culture for yourself by heading to one of its best malls, the Mall of Asia in Pasay. One of the largest malls in Asia, it takes a good half-day to do it justice. Once you've shopped 'til you drop, head to Makati's restaurants and bars to wrap up your big day.
Pack your camera and take a short one to two-hour trip out of the city to visit Tagaytay Ridge for excellent views of the lake and volcano. There are options for staying overnight in the area, but it's also doable in a day, if you get an early start. Hit up one of Manila's famous entertainment restaurants for a show and dinner to cap the evening off.
Take a day trip to Corregidor Island 48km away from the city. During World War II, the island was fortified to be part of the Philippine's defense against the Japanese. It was attacked heavily, and now serves as a memorial to the soldiers who lost their lives there. After a thought-provoking day, head back to the city for a subdued evening of drinks in Antipolo, overlooking the Manila sunset.
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