So after almost a year of waiting, we finally arrived in the Philippines. Two very long flights due to delays later oh and a mad rush at Muscat Airport to make our connection and then bam after all that we started our whistle stop tour of Manila.
A little over 24 hours after getting to Manila we’re about to head back to the airport for our next stop, Coron. Manila was only a short stay as it tops and tails our trip and then plan was just to use it as a bit of a buffer place between flights.
So what did we get up to in these 24 hours?
I booked us into the I’M Hotel right in the centre of the business district, Makati and next door to Trump Tower. Manila is such a crazy place, traffic is horiffic think the M25 with no rules and a million mopeds. Here you have wealth and poverty all in one place, there’s a hustle and bustle and great vibe but it is also so heavily polluted that me with my cold right now was struggling to breath.
The hotel though is a sanctuary from the crazy streets, its pretty new and is rather inexpensive too considering this is the capital. It boasts an amazing rooftop bar called Antidote which has a breathtaking view of the city, its cool and modern and the jellyfish tank and neon signs really do make this place a haven. Drinks are more expensive here than some places but you’re paying for location, food was tasty and just hat we needed at midnight after 20 hrs travelling. Also this is a great spot to watch the sunset over the city!
We booked directly with the hotel which gave us perks like a room on a higher floor, access to the Vip lounge that offers complimentary snacks and drinks. The room is a fantastic size and uber clean and modern with dark marble bathroom to compliment its modern vibe. This place is such a great base for a day or so in the city.
You have use of the pool, which isn’t too relaxing as it overlooks the busy street but it’s an experience and the water will an half wake you up as it’s freezing.
The hotel also offers a spa called Onsen which we unfortunately, although planned to go couldn’t as they were fully booked. I’ve heard it’s one of the best in the city so may be worth booking in advance if you can.
What to do in the city?
There is a lot of stuff to do here, more than we’d ever be able to pack in such a short space of time but like I said it’s just a recovery stop for us. There’s a lot of history in the city including the world oldest China Town so if you are here for a while check out some more of the culture than we did.
After breakfast at the hotel, we took a walk and stumbled on a lovely coffee shop called Wild Flour a hipster hangout behind some of the tallest buildings in the banking district. I had a refreshing watermelon iced tea and Jonny sipped a cup of Vietnamese coffee which was darn good. We didn’t walk for long, it’s hugely busy and I think we almost got hit by a hundred cars and bikes oh and these above which are there forms of buses, no 216 to Kingston in sight here.
After coming back to chill by the pool for a bit we ended up having a quick nap that turned into a 4 hour snooze, before heading down to the bar at the bottom of the hotel for a drink before hopping in a cab in rush hour traffic to the SM Mall of Asia. Wow this shopping mall is huge, we wanted to see the bay where the ferris wheel was as we saw it flying in, it was very much like a UK beach town full of amusement games and restaurants all lined along the coast.
The mall was just a humongous maze, we wanted to go here to grab a bite to eat which we did and its a bit of a gem. We ate in a place called Tempura and for less than £18 for the both of us we feasted. Beer for Jonny and more watermelon juice for me with dishes like dynamite shrimp shushi, giant tempura shrimp, chicken teryaki noodles, karage chicken and gyoza. It is by no means high end but the food was delicious and cheap too.
The next time we’re in Manila is the last evening of our trip slighty outside of the busy city so we and relax before that mammoth flight home (not thinking about that now though). All in all Manila is cool and I’m so glad that we’ve seen it, however I am super glad to be heading off to our next stops as the proper holiday starts now.
Be back in 5 days or so with a round of of Coron, followed by Bohol, Borocay and the last leg back where we started.