Welcome to Manila: A 24-Hour Guide
As a travel writer, I’ve had the opportunity to explore many cities around the world. But there’s something special about Manila that keeps drawing me back. From its bustling streets to its vibrant culture, there’s never a dull moment in this city. And if you only have 24 hours to spare, don’t worry, because I’m here to help you make the most out of your time in Manila.
Morning: Start Your Day with a Filipino Breakfast
The best way to start your day in Manila is with a traditional Filipino breakfast. Head over to Kanto Freestyle Breakfast, a popular spot known for its delicious and affordable meals. Try their famous silog dishes, which consist of garlic fried rice, a choice of meat (such as tocino or bangus), and a fried egg on top. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
After breakfast, take a stroll around the neighborhood and soak in the local atmosphere. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try some street food like balut (a boiled fertilized duck egg) or kwek-kwek (deep-fried quail eggs).
Mid-Morning: Visit Intramuros, the Walled City
No visit to Manila is complete without exploring Intramuros, the historic walled city that was once the seat of Spanish colonial power. You can take a guided tour to learn more about its rich history or simply wander around and admire the well-preserved Spanish architecture.
Be sure to visit Fort Santiago, a citadel that served as a military stronghold during the Spanish and American colonial periods. You can also walk along the walls of Intramuros for some stunning views of the city.
Lunch: Indulge in Filipino Cuisine
After a morning of exploring, it’s time to fuel up with some delicious Filipino food. Head over to Abe Restaurant at the Mall of Asia for a feast fit for a king. Must-tries include the crispy pata (deep-fried pork knuckles) and kare-kare (oxtail stew in a peanut-based sauce). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a refreshing glass of sago’t gulaman, a local drink made with tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup.
Afternoon: Explore the Cultural Center of the Philippines
For a dose of art and culture, head over to the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This complex houses several theaters, galleries, and museums, showcasing the best of Philippine art and culture. Check out the Main Gallery for rotating exhibits or catch a performance at the Main Theater.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch a traditional dance performance by the world-renowned Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group. And don’t forget to take a stroll around the beautiful grounds of the CCP and snap some photos for your Instagram feed.
Evening: Sunset at Manila Bay
As the day winds down, head over to Manila Bay for a stunning sunset view. You can choose to take a sunset cruise or simply find a spot along the baywalk to watch the sun go down. Don’t forget to try some halo-halo, a popular Filipino dessert made with shaved ice