Destination Diary : The Philippines


We found ourselves in transit for 48 hours in Manila recently, so naturally we decided to give you a quick guide on what to do if you have 48 hours in Manila.

The Philippines is such a natural gem of a country, it’s not surprising that tourists and backpackers swarm here day in day out for its tropical waters or lush mountainsides.

We took a recent trip to the Island of Boracay to soak up the sun and relax on one of the best beaches in the Philippines.

 Beach Hopping Boracay

Most Islands are remote and therefore many find themselves in Manila for one or two nights for easy access or as a stopover.

So first question, “What is there to do in Manila?” This was actually our second time in the city, the first was last year (on another stopover).

Destination Diary : The Philippines

Now you might be thinking why did they write ‘survive’, is it really that bad!? Well we have to admit Manila is not one of our favourite Asian cities, it’s crowded, congested and there is a lot of construction EVERYWHERE!!

There’s a reason why most people only visit Manila as a stopover and not as their final destination.

However, with that being said Filipino’s are some of the friendliest people you will come across on your travels, so we decided to make the most of it and go exploring!

Day 1: Within the City…

The area of Makati has a lot of brand name stores, restaurants, coffee shops etc; and many expats living in Manila generally tend to live here.

From here we strolled to Rizal Park, which is the Philippines equivalent to Central Park in New York, nice greenery for a picnic!

For history buffs, a must see is Intramuros, this walled city was built-in the late 16th century by the then Spanish colonists; very interesting to walk around and take in the architecture.

Here you can see San Augustin Church, the oldest church in Asia and a world UNESCO site.

48 hours in Manila

From here, you can walk to Chinatown, packed with chinese stores and restaurants.

If you enjoy markets, Baclaran Market is one of the most famous markets in Manila, where you can bag a bargain or try a local delicacy.

48 hours in Manila

There are many ways to take in the city sights either on foot, map in hand and a desire to explore or you can join one of the many walking tours available.

Destination Diary : The Philippines

Alternatively you can hop on a bike tour to see a different angle and even experience it on one of manila’s newly designed bamboo bikes by local entrepreneur Bryan McClelland.

48 hours in Manila

If you prefer to take a tour of the city and see the streets, sights and sounds without walking your feet off you can always opt for a tuk tuk ride.

Ask the driver to take you to various  location on a map or simple negotiate a price for the entire days adventure.

If you’re feeling  adventurous you can always ride on one of the famous jeepneys of manila.

A colourful, cultural, cheaper option for a ride to a specific location, jeepneys are a great way to experience the local transport and chat with some friendly manilenos.

48 hours in Manila


Day two: Outside the City….

This time around we opted for nature, with a little research we chose to head to Taal Volcano, which is around 2-3 hours from the city and perfect for a day trip.

Taal Volcano

Talk Volcano is located on Luzon Island and it’s said to be one the second most active volcano in the Philippines.

We were counting on the luck of the Irish to ensure our visit passed eruption free, luckily for us the Volcano has been quiet since 1977.

There is an easy hike to the top of the crater and back down, but remember to bring water (of course we forgot)!!!!

There’s even a few horses to take you up to the summit if you’re feeling lazy! The whole day was a lot of fun, and seeing the Volcano was very impressive indeed.

48 hours in Manila

Destination Diary : The Philippines

If you want to escape the city altogether, take a trip to Anilao 30km west of Batangas.

This sleepy town offers the chance to indulge in some great diving, relaxation and a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of Manila.

Whilst Manila does get a bad reputation for being overcrowded, dusty and less appealing than its neighbouring asian cities, it has come a long way and is slowing starting create a vibrant atmosphere for tourists to enjoy.

It’s hip nightlife, creative arts scene, coffee culture and newly established craft beer crazy will soon put Manila back on the map as an appealing travel destination.

 Day-tripping from Manila:

Taal Volcano~From Manila, go to San Augustin Bus Station take a bus heading to Tagatay City (78 peso)
From Tagatay City, take a tuk tuk to Talisay (100/150 peso)
From Talisay take a boat across to the beginning of the volcano (2000 peso per boat, Max 6 people)
Take a horseback ride for a few hundred peso or hike the moderate trail to the summit.

There is also an entrance fee once you get on to the Volcano but I’m pretty sure it was only a few hundred peso.

Budget around 1500 – 2000 peso p.p for the day trip

Anilao~From Manila (numerous bus stations) take a bus to Batangas (3-4 hours).

From Batangas take a jeepney or tricycle to Anilao.

See our recent post: Boracay…The price of PARADISE

 “Don’t wait to be inspired to travel, let travel inspire you” xx HHIH



Janine & Janice | Irish Travel Bloggers | Portugal Based Work Smart | Travel Often | Explore More Two Ladies on a mission to life an Unconventional Life, full of Love & Adventure.

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