Information & Facts
Manila has hot, humid weather all year round, although it is a
little cooler between November and February. The hottest month is
May, when the temperature averages 83ºF (28ºC). The rainy season is
between June and October, although some precipitation is possible
all through the year.
The roads in Manila are notorious for heavy smog and traffic
congestion, especially at peak hours. Public transport is
inexpensive and plentiful, including the elevated light rail system
(LRT) and the Metrostar that has helped to alleviate some of the
congestion. Travelling above the chaos, it is fast, clean and
efficient, although very crowded during the evening rush hour.
There are numerous bus companies that comprehensively service the
city, as well as local
jeepneys(brightly coloured converted jeeps used as
minibuses) that can be hailed anywhere; they are best for shorter
journeys, and are the most popular form of transport. Buses and
jeepneys are the cheapest form of transport for areas not covered
by the LRT. Taxis are also inexpensive and convenient, although
traffic is bad and some drivers try to overcharge visitors. There
calesas(horse-drawn carriages) used by tourists for short
trips, and tricycle pedicabs available for hire. No matter how you
travel through Manila, be aware of pickpockets.
The official language of the Philippines is Filipino, but
English is widely spoken. Tagalog is the most predominant of the
many dialects or local languages spoken throughout the
The currency of the Philippines is the Peso (PHP), which is
divided into 100 centavos. Major credit cards are widely accepted
in the cities and tourist destinations. Banks do not always accept
travellers cheques, but a receipt of purchase is useful. ATMs are
available in the major cities. US dollars are widely accepted in
Manila and other tourist areas and are the easiest currency to
exchange; otherwise Euros and Pounds Sterling can also be exchanged
in banks and hotels. Banks open from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday,
but their ATMs are open 24 hours. It is best to carry pesos when
travelling outside of major centres.
The nightlife in Manila is among the most vibrant and exciting
in Southeast Asia, with the requisite dose of sleaze of course.
You'll find everything from bar strips to strip bars and everything
in between on a night out in Manila. One thing is for sure: it will
be a memorable experience!
Morato Avenue in Quezon City is a good place to start. Have
dinner at one of the many restaurants before hitting a local bar or
comedy club. The Hard Rock Café in the heart of the Malate district
is always a good bet and with two levels, pool tables, and a stage,
guaranteeing a really good night out.
Head to the Pasay City and Makati region to visit upscale girlie
bars, or for a really good variety of nightlife, the Malate
district of Manila where everything from bars, nightclubs and
discos to karaoke clubs, gay clubs and lounges can be found. Most
bars in Manila close around 2am, but some will stay open later.
Looking for live music? Head to 70s Bistro in Quezon City, while
the Hobbit House in Malate features live musicians performing in a
very Tolkien-esque club. Or what could be more fun than partaking
in a little karaoke? One of the favourite pastimes for Filipinos,
there are numerous karaoke bars peppered throughout the city for
travellers, tourists and just those passing through to enjoy a
drink and a sing-along.
Eastwood City at Quezon City features a great selection of
clubs, bars, cocktail lounges and discos to choose from, while
Quezon Avenue's strip is brightly lit up after dark where all the
bars and clubs are conveniently ordered in a neat little row, and
bustles with party goers, expats, tourists and ladies of the night.
The Greenbelt region is another good place to head for a great
choice of bars and clubs where revellers looking to dance the night
away will have no problem finding a club to suit their taste.
Remember, the legal drinking age in the Philippines is 18.
Those looking for a more cultured night out can see a
performance by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra or the
Philippine Chamber Choir, which perform at the Cultural Centre of
the Philippines or at the open-air Rizal Park Amphitheatre.
The Manila has several theatre companies, including the
Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA), Tanghalang
Philipino, and Repertory Philippines. You can also see performances
by the Ballet Philippines, the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk
Dance Company, and the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group.
Manila has just about every kind of shop, boutique and specialty
store under the sun, including literally hundreds of shopping malls
scattered across the city. With three large signature shopping
malls in the Metro Manila area that form part of the world's top 10
largest malls, it's not hard to see why Filipinos are passionate
about their shopping and tourists will enjoy sharing their love of
consumables. Head to the monstrous Mall of Asia on Roxas Boulevard
for the ultimate shopping experience, though a bit of carbo-loading
beforehand will help weary shoppers maintain their stamina as
trying to conquer the entire mall in one day is virtually
impossible. Boasting an IMAX theatre, science museum and an entire
entertainment centre, this mall is an attraction in itself. Other
shopping malls worth a visit are the SM Megamall, Robinsons
Galleria, Shangri-La Plaza, and The Podium. Head to Greenbelt 4 and
5 located in Ayala Centre for big brands like Mango and Armani,
while Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City is also lined
with boutique stores, perfect for that little black dress or
signature piece to add to your wardrobe. A trip to Southeast Asia
wouldn't be complete without a little bargain-shopping and haggling
and travellers should pay the Divisoria Market a visit, where
everything and anything from cookware and handicrafts to clothing
and toys can be bought at astonishingly low prices - just beware of
pickpockets. There are other interesting markets located at St.
Francis Square, Greenhills Shopping Centre and Tiendesitas.
The cosmopolitan capital of the Philippines, there is plenty to
see and do in Manila. The city is full of history and this is
evident in the ruins that still stand from the original capital of
the Spanish East Indies which was founded in 1571, Intramuros,
located on the south bank of the Pasig River. The surrounding area
is full of performing venues, art galleries, shops and restaurants,
making it a popular tourist Mecca. History buffs will also love the
National Museum which exhibits sunken treasure from one of the
Manila galleons dating back to 1600, while the Ayala Museum
educates visitors on the history of the Philippines. Manila
sustained heavy damage during WWII, but has since rebuilt itself
into a major tourist destination in Asia.
Travellers should note that many Filipinos are Catholic, evident
in the multitude of ornate churches, such as the San Agustin Church
which dates back to 1606 and has survived invasions and world wars.
Manila has one of the largest Chinatowns in the world, where one
can find exotic Chinese goods and delicious cuisine.
The Malacanang Palace, which is the residence of the Head of
State is also worth a visit, while the American Cemetery and
Memorial honours those who died during WWII and is a peaceful
retreat from the buzz of the city.
Local time is GMT +8.