Manila Travel: How to spend USD 130 for 3 days 2 nights in Manila
The Philippines is a tropical country famous for island destinations such as Boracay, Cebu, Siargao and Palawan. Because of this, Manila is often only regarded as a pit-stop to tropical attractions outside the city. But the capital city also has its own charm and beauty and if you want to experience Manila, here’s our Manila travel guide on how to spend USD 130 for 3 days 2 nights in the Philippines’ capital city!
Getting to know Manila
Technically speaking, Manila is the city where you can find attractions such as Intramuros and Fort Santiago. But it is also regarded as the whole metropolitan area which consists of cities such as Makati, Pasay and Quezon City, to name a few.
Best time to visit
The Philippines has two seasons – dry and rainy season. The dry season is from December to May while the wet season is from June to November. The hottest months of the year are March to May – the time where most people fly to Cebu, Siargao, Palawan or Boracay. December to February is the coolest months making it the best time to visit Manila and other destinations in the Philippines.
How to get to Manila
Most international flights arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 but if you’re flying with Philippine Airlines (PAL), you will arrive at Terminal 2.
Regardless of which terminal you’ll arrive, the best way to get to your hotel is by private transfer or by booking an Uber or Grab.
How to get around
Commuting in Manila isn’t exactly as easy as it is in other countries like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore which is why it is best to book your accommodation near Manila attractions you want to visit. This will prevent you from wasting time getting stuck in traffic or spending too much on Uber or Grab rides again, because of traffic.
Where to stay
Depending on what type of Manila travel itinerary you would like to prepare, you need to choose an accommodation close to your places to visit in Manila. If you want to go shopping and would like to stay in the business district, you can book your stay in Makati where you can find a mixture of luxury and budget hotels with nearby shopping malls, museums, parks and restaurants.
Poblacion in Makati is a great place to stay in Manila because it has a variety of Manila attractions nearby.
Photo Courtesy: Z Hostel Website
Z Hostel offers a budget-friendly accommodation for travellers who want to stay within Manila’s business district without spending too much. It’s a hip backpacker hostel for solo and group travellers with their choice of private or dorm rooms. Z Hostel also has a Roofdeck Bar for some afternoon chill out or late night drinks with fellow travellers.
La Casita Mercedes
Photo Courtesy: La Casita Mercedes
If you want to have a more local experience during your Manila travel adventure, book your stay at La Casita Mercedes, an old Filipino house which was converted to a 7-bedroom bed & breakfast.
Photo Courtesy: La Casita Mercedes
La Casita Mercedes was a residential property built in 1939 but was later renovated in 2015 as a bed and breakfast for travellers who want a glimpse of old Manila in the heart of Makati. Furnished with vintage and contemporary Filipino art, this bed and breakfast is an experience itself, boasting original furniture for a complete local experience.
What to eat in Manila
If you’ve already researched about the food to eat in the Philippines, one or two Manila travel guides may have already featured the famous “balut” or duck embryo that is often among the must-try exotic food in Manila. But we know that not everyone is into exotic dishes, which is why we’ve come up with this list of food that are more tourist-friendly and are given a thumbs-up by the locals!
Tapsilog is a Filipino comfort dish made up of tapa (beef), sinangang (fried rice) and itlog (egg). You can find this breakfast staple in restaurants such as Kanto Freestyle, Rodic’s Diner, Tapa King and Rufo’s Famous Tapa.
One of the most famous bar chow dishes is the pork sisig, a dish made of pig’s chopped face, ears and liver. It is often seasoned with calamansi plus pepper and is served on a sizzling plate. Aside from being a favourite bar chow dish, it is also considered a main dish that goes perfectly with rice.
You can try pork sisig in Mesa, a Filipino restaurant in BGC.
Adobo is the Philippines’ unofficial national dish with main ingredients either pork or chicken marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, laurel leaves and black peppercorns. You will also need one or two orders of rice when you eat this dish! It is the most iconic of the local food scene and is greatly loved by the Filipinos.
If you’re staying in Makati, just a few minutes drive away you can try the famous adobo in Abe, Serendra.
Halo-halo is probably the most iconic dessert in the country. From its name “halo-halo” which translates to mixed together, this classic dessert is a mixture of different ingredients such as shaved ice, shredded coconut, palm nuts, nata de coco, evaporated milk and other some fruits. Filipinos love to devour this flavourful and refreshing dessert in the summer when the heat can get pretty intense in the Philippines. But you can also try halo-halo when you dine at Filipino restaurants within the metro.
Things to do in Manila
Tour the walled city of Intramuros
Join a bicycle tour to get to know Manila through the walled city of Intramuros. In this tour, you will have an English speaking guide to tell you everything about Intramuros as you make your way and explore the city.
Cost: P1,200 per person
Visit the National Museum
Photo Courtesy: Philippines Travel Guide
Visiting museums is one of the main activities when you’re travelling and you can do this too in Manila. Take a visit to the National Museum in Manila and get to know the country’s history and view some of the displayed works of art.
Shop in Greenhills
Manila shopping scene is an exciting experience as there are quite a number of shopping malls in the metro. But if you’re looking for cheap but quality finds, head over to Greenhills for your much-needed shopping haul. Restaurants, bars and a movie theatre are also within the area so there’s still a lot to see after shopping!
Bonifacio Global City or more commonly known as BGC is a few minute drive away from Makati. Home to towering condominiums, offices and a number of bars, clubs and shopping malls, BGC is also a great place to stay when you’re in Manila. There are also museums you can visit and some live performances you can anticipate especially during the weekend.
Summary of Expenses
Travelling with a friend or a group of friends will help lessen the expenses whether you’re in the Philippines or another Southeast Asian country. Below are estimated expenses for 3 days 2 nights stay in Manila assuming you are a group of two and will be splitting the cost.
Accommodation: Around P800 per night | P1,600 for 2 nights
Food: Around P1250 (P200-P250 budget per meal – this is actually a big allowance already).
Transportation: Around P2000-P2500 if you will be travelling using Uber or Grab.
Total: P6,550 per person
- Manila Travel Guide: Unique cafes to try within the metro
- Philippines Travel: Long weekend in 2018
- Things to do in the Philippines: Ride some waves at these surfing spots
- Philippines Travel Guide: Must-see festivals in the country
- Siargao Travel Guide: A look at another breath-taking island in the Philippines