Manila doesn't have the same charm as Bangkok and Hong Kong but it is one of those travel destinations in Asia you are supposed to visit just to say that you have been there. Even some of the frequent Philippines visitors have never been to Manila. Many Angeles City visitors make a beeline for the city from the Manila airport. Manila usually stays under the radar of many travelers. Especially now when the country has the president who is hot-tempered, foul-mouthed, and anti-Western, Manila, the capital of the Philippines, doesn't offer any new incentives for foreigners to visit. However, if you are willing to take the bad with the good, Manila can give you some pleasant travel experience.
So before brushing Manila aside, get our book and decide for yourself if Manila is worth your time and money.
Money exchangers are widely avaiable but their exchange rates vary, even in the same neighborhood. If you happen to have old notes, make sure they are not obsolete. They had a major currency change, which is covered in the book. While some locals live in the Giorgio Armani-designed luxury residential apartments, many locals are in the street, looking for their next meal. And some of them are willing to resort to violence to get money.
Manila is facing the South China Sea but don't plan to lie down on a sandy beach somewhere. The Philippines is blessed with many beautiful beaches but not Manila. It is a bustling metropolis. The sea around Manila is literally a cesspool. You can actually smell its stench.
Manila is a historical city, full of monuments and ruins. You don't need to venture out of the city to touch one. Many of them are conveniently located within the city. Chinatown in Manila is the world's oldest one. If you need luck, try Chinese lucky charms.
Manila has several modern shopping malls. Even if you have nothing to buy, check them out. You also go there to try the local and international foods. If the timing is right, you will see free entertainment.
Get away from the hustle and bustle of Manila. Thankfully, the natural beauty of the Philippines is within easy reach: you can return to your downtown hotel for early dinner.
Don't feel like braving the Manila traffic to see some green? Walk over to these parks instead.
Just because you arrived here alone doesn't mean you have to stay here alone. The choice is yours.
As always, be sure to check our online photo album for more detailed views of Manila.
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