Saturday, June 24, 2017

Philippines (Manila) 2017

" My 7 days 6 nights (from 18-24/6/2017) in Manila, Philippines - fulfilling my dreams of visiting the major touristy places in Manila - my last visit to Philippines was in 1996, merely on official visit "

Travel Itinerary : Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia > Manila > Kuala Lumpur

Total expenses incurred (7days) : Rm653 + PHP6,690 = Rm1,255 (US$292)

Air Asia airfare (inclusive of travel insurance): Rm617
Sky bus (Sentral>KLIA) : Rm6 x 2 = Rm12 (Senior)
In flight lunch: Rm24
Hostel (6 nights) : PHP525 x 6 = PHP3,150 (Rm284)
Food (7 days): PHP1,586 (Rm142)
Jeepneys, LRT/MRT & Taxi : PHP1,739 (Rm156)
Entrance fee : PHP75 (Fort Santiago)
Sundries : PHP140 (Rm12.60)
Exchange rate: Rm1=11.11 Peso; US$1=49.50 Peso; US$1=Rm4.30

I had visited Manila once in 1996 to attend a regional training workshop for 3 days but due to time constraints, I did not extend my stay to explore the touristy places around Manila. The thought of visiting Manila has been lingering in my mind for sometime but due to adverse publicity reported in multi-media about the security & social crime issues in major cities in Philippines, it took me quite awhile to make a firm decision to visit Manila ! 

Metro Manila & the suburbs have a number of iconic landmarks & touristy places for tourists to explore, be it historical & cultural (Spanish influence in the 15th century & rule for over 130 years) & the American presence in Philippines from 1896 - 1946. 

Using public transport such as jeepneys, LRT & MRT trains, taxis & information from Google & our hostel reception, we were able to visit the major touristy places in and around Manila. Taking jeepneys & LRT trains during the early morning and after office hours can be stressful for foreign visitors / tourists but using this combination of public transport enabled us to visit the various places of interest we desire to see in downtown & suburban Manila ! So if you have been too cozy in your living life at home, taking public transport could present a major challenge to you when in Manila !

If you enjoyed deep fried food, Manila is the right place for you to savor these food found at food courts in major shopping malls in Manila. The 2 popular local fast food chains are Jollibee & Chow King.

The historic Intramuros & Fort Santiago are a must see & the Commercial Business District of Ayala & Makati is worth a visit especially near the Greenbelt & the Ayala Triangle Gardens area. For those who enjoy window shopping, you may like to visit the new concept mega malls ie Malls of Asia & the Venice Grand Canal Mall / Piazza .

Manila was voted as one of the 100 Best Cities in the World by Lonely Planet in 2009 ! I am glad that after all these years of travelling, my passion has taken me to a total of 58 Best Cities in the World - a great outcome indeed !

Travel Highlights:

1) Rizal Park, Manila

2) Statute of the Sentinel of Freedom, Rizal Park

3) Jose Rizal Monument, Rizal Park

4) La Madre Filipina, Rizal Park

5) Diorama of Rizal's Martyrdom, Rizal Park

6) Gomburza Execution Site, Rizal Park

7) Chinese Garden, Rizal Park

8) Kilometer Zero, Rizal Park

9) Manila Ocean Park

10) The Musical Dancing Fountain

11) National Museum of Anthropology

12) Intramuros (Old Spanish City of Manila)

13) Roman Catholic Cathedral of Manila, Intramuros

14) San Agustin Church & Convent, Intramuros

15) Fort Santiago (Spanish Military Garrison), Intramuros

16) National Museum

17) City Hall of Manila, Metro Manila

18) Binondo (China Town), Manila

19) Chinese Cemetery, Papas / Abad Santos

20) Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio

21) Quezon Memorial Shrine, Quezon

22) Balintawak Market

23) Manila Bay, Luzon

24) Bay Walk

25) Ayala Museum

26) Ayala Triangle Gardens

27) Greenbelt 1-5

28) Glorietta (Makati)

29) The Landmark (Makati)

30) The SM Store (Makati)

31) Mall of Asia Arena (Pasay)

32) SM by The Bay (Pasay)

33) Power Plant Mall (Makati)

34) Century City Mall (Makati)

35) A Venue Mall, Makati

36) Venice Piazza (Taguig City)

KC, my travel partner from USJ joined me for this Manila trip. KC was also my travel mate during my recent visit to China in May this year (Xian, Yan'an, Hukou Waterfall, Zhengzhou, Kai Feng, Tianshui & Maijishan) . 

For hostel accommodation in Manila, we were looking for a " Good Shepherd " and instead we got " Our Melting Pot " - the pot which melted our time & presence in Manila for the next 7 days !

D-1 Manila, Philippines 2017

Image result for makati city map

Day 1 (Sunday 18/6/2017) - Kuala Lumpur > Manila

Air Asia Flight departing KLIA 2 on Sunday 18/6/2017 at 11.05

Arriving Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 at 14.55 (approx. 4hrs)
1) KLIA 2 Airport - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2) Arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Terminal 3, Manila, Philippines. Took a yellow cab airport taxi (PHP558=Rm50) to our hostel in Bel-air Village, near Makati Up area. Suggest takes a white cab taxi at the airport as the fare is much lower than the yellow cab - a lesson learned on our first day in Manila !

3) Hostel accommodation at Our Melting Pot, 3rd Floor Wang Mart Building, 37 Polaris Street, Bel-air Village, Makati City - PHP525 (Rm43) dorm bed. Our Melting Pot's sister hostel, The Good Shepherd Hostel which is located on the same floor in Wang Mart is owned by the same management.

Bel-air Village & Makati Up Area, Manila

Evening walk from our hostel to Century City Mall (15mins)

Taxi ride from Century City Mall to Power Plant Mall (10mins - PHP100=Rm9)

Dinner at Wood Spoon Restaurant, Power Plant Mall - PHP400 for this dinner for 2 ie Fried rice + Vegetables + chilled water