What is the average cost of living per day in Manila?
I truly recommend the rule of 10x10x10, which, as mentioned earlier, is USD 10 for food, USD 10 for transportation, and USD 10 for things to do. This is entirely doable if you are willing to use public transport or walk more, find cheap things to do (or even free ones) and cook your own food. You can also allocate accordingly – if you feel like adding USD 5 more, sure, why not? It gets you five more beers!
Are there any free attractions, events or shows in Manila?
Interestingly enough, yes there are.
In a country that asks for payment for the smallest labors, there are free things to do in the city.
- Embassies of France, Germany, Japan, and Korea have free movie nights (a more detailed explanation can be found here).
- You can also watch fireworks near The Mall of Asia every Friday and Saturday at 19.00.
- Get to know the country’s National Hero and spend your early morning in Rizal Park.
- If you happen to be in Manila on a Sunday, try the Intramuros free walking tour organized by Viva Manila (you can contact them here). Note that if you don’t have a Sunday free, you can go to Intramuros anytime, although some attractions within the walled city have fees.
What can you do in Manila for free, or nearly free?
If you’re in Manila on a Sunday (yes, Sundays are fun and free), drop by The National Museum of the Philippines.
Visit The Money Museum and get some La Casa del Papel vibes, it is also free to visit.
Manila’s Chinatown, which is located in Binondo, is also a sight to see. But you might dish out some cash on Chinese food and other items as they are tempting whilst on a trip there.
Are there any scams in Manila I should be aware of?
This is Manila. Its middle name would be ‘scam’ if it had one.
I would waste years telling you about every reported scam there is and another hundred years to discover (or rather be a victim) of the unknown ones.
Just always make sure that other people have experienced and recommended it, may it be a tour or a rental company. Or they have a good number of followers on Facebook or good reviews on TripAdvisor. Contact other people and don’t hesitate to ask.
Life is tough in Manila, and a lot of people try to get money easily from foreign travelers.
Where can I go shopping on a budget in Manila?
There is only one place in Manila for this, and it’s called Divisoria.
There is no experience similar to this place, though the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok gives off similar vibes but is more crowded and has more shops.
Are there any group tours I can join that are worth the price?
No, unless you have a specific interest in that particular tour.
The problem with tours in Manila is that it is expensive, and you could do more on your own.
This is not Athens, everything is better experienced at your own pace! Take the liberty to just go in and out of places.
You can stop at a sari-sari store and talk to the locals, and it will give you a better perspective about Manila than spending hours going around with a tour guide.
Are there any recommended day trips from Manila?
The pollution, heat, and chaos can get to you quickly if you are not used to it, so a day trip out of Manila might just be what you need.
There are two popular places to go to, both are just a 2-3-hour drive away and offer two different settings – Subic, a popular beach area, and Tagaytay, a mountain resort.
Tagaytay is famous for its cooler climate and is a breath of fresh air – literally and figuratively. It is about 65 kilometers from Manila, which is a 2-hour drive.
For a quick day trip, you would want to see the Taal Volcano & Lake (it is a quick hike, or you can hop on a horse), the Museo Orlina, and Sky Ranch for some amusement park fun.
Eat at the picnic grove in between adventures, so you won’t have to spend on meals but if you want, try Antonio’s, Bag of Bean’s or Balay Dako’s – good food, breathtaking views, and only about USD 20 for 2 people).
If you are dying to get some vitamin ‘sea’, Subic is the place to be. It is a longer drive at 168km from Manila, but if you leave before sunrise, then you have more time to spend at the beach.
Camayan Beach Resort prices at USD 5/person for a day pass, which is a steal. Just pack your beach towels and be ready to spend the day on the shore.
They have a restaurant and a bar, showers, huts (for a fee), and barbecue stations, so you are good to go.
If you want to spend more money and also need the thrill of a waterpark, head to White Rock Beach Resort. It has a hefty fee of USD 18 for a day but has a lot of amenities.