- Brief History of Manila
- Unique Features of the City
- Best Time to Travel
- Precautions and Safety Guidelines
- Ways to Reach Manila
- By Air
- By Sea
- By Land
- Visa and Immigration Guidelines
- Places to Visit
- Manila Baywalk
- Rizal Park
- National Museum of the Philippines
- Manila Cathedral
- Experiences in Manila
- Shopping in Divisoria
- Street Food Tasting in Binondo (Chinatown)
- Cultural Encounter in Cultural Center of the Philippines
- Nightlife in Malate district
- Exploring Manila Ocean Park
- Accommodation in Manila
- Luxury Hotels
- Budget-friendly Hotels
- Bed and Breakfasts
- Short-term Rentals
- Local Cuisine
- Popular Filipino dishes
- Top Restaurants in Manila
- Street Food Culture
- Vegetarian and Vegan Options
- Iconic Filipino Desserts
- Transportation in Manila
- Public Transport - Jeepneys, Tricycles, and Buses
- Car Rentals
- Taxis and Ride-hailing Apps
- Ferries and River Taxis
- Walking and Biking
- Souvenirs from Manila
- Traditional Filipino Handicrafts
- Food and Drink Souvenirs
- Local Fashion Brands
- Art from Local Artists
- Specialty Shops
- Culture and Etiquette in Manila
- Dress Code
- Local Customs and Traditions
- Interaction with Locals
- Tipping Culture
- Safety Tips
- Practical Information
- Local Currency and Money Exchange
- Internet and SIM Cards
- Health Services and Emergency Contacts
- Language and Communication
- Weather and Climate Conditions
Brief History of Manila
Steeped in a rich whorl of history, Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines, was first ruled by Sultanates in the 13th century. It endured a series of invasions, first by the Spanish in the 16th century, transforming it into a key outpost of the Spanish Empire. In the 20th century, it faced heavy devastation during World War II under Japanese occupation, but quickly rebounded. Having rebuilt itself over the years, modern Manila now presents a unique blend of Asian heritage and Western influence, making it one of the most vibrant cities in Southeast Asia.
Unique Features of the City
Manila, the heart of the Philippines, is an intriguing amalgamation of old and new. The cityscape ranges from centuries-old colonial architecture to modern skyscrapers, providing a unique visual contrast. Lively street food scenes, vibrant local markets, and a myriad of multicultural festivals reflect Manila's dynamic spirit. Its warm-hearted locals, colloquially known as 'Manileños', are famed for their hospitality, adding to the city's charm. Perhaps the most distinct feature is Manila's history as the only city in the world that was a colony of both Spain and the US. This unique past echoes through its eclectic culture and aesthetic.
Best Time to Travel
The best time to visit Manila is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. During these months, one can explore this bustling city and its attractions at their finest. However, for budget-conscious travelers willing to brave sporadic rains, the wet season (May - October) offers cheaper airfare and accommodations. Note: August to October can have typhoons. Remember, whenever you choose to visit, Manila's vibrant culture, fascinating history, and warm-hearted locals promise a memorable experience!
Precautions and Safety Guidelines
Manila, despite being a fascinating city, necessitates taking some safety precautions. Be vigilant of your possessions in crowded places and avoid traveling alone at night, especially in less frequented areas. It's also advised to only use legitimate transportation services. Drink bottled water to avoid waterborne diseases, and be mindful of street food hygiene. Moreover, it's best to acquire travel insurance to shield against unexpected incidents. Due to Manila's tropical climate, pack sun protection including hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Lastly, watch out for scams and tourist traps; local insight can be a valuable resource to navigate safely.
Ways to Reach Manila
Manila, the vibrant capital of the Philippines, is well connected to the global flight network. Ninoy Aquino International Airport serves as the city's primary gateway, hosting countless domestic and international airlines. It offers direct flights from major cities worldwide, including Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. Bear in mind, if you’re traveling long-haul, a layover may be included. Low-cost carriers such as Cebu Pacific also offer budget-conscious flights predominantly from Asian and Australian cities. Once arrived, airport shuttles, taxis, and ride-hailing apps are available to take you to your accommodations. Overall, accessing Manila by air is convenient, providing options for different travel budgets and preferences.
Traveling to Manila by sea is an exciting option for adventurers. The city's principal seaport, the Port of Manila, serves domestic and international routes. Regular ferry services connect Manila to various Philippine islands and encouraging easier inter-island travel. From international shores, many cruises make a port of call in Manila. Several shipping lines also operate freight services that accommodate passengers. For a more leisurely, scenic journey to Manila, reaching it by sea offers unique experiences.
Taking a bus to Manila is quite accessible and inexpensive. The country’s capital is well-connected to other parts of the Philippines through a network of expressways. Major bus terminals, like the ones in Cubao and Pasay, offer trips to and from various local destinations. Car travel is also feasible but expect heavy traffic, especially during rush hours. The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) are the main conduits into the city. Travelers may also opt for taxis or hire a private vehicle for a more comfortable journey.
Visa and Immigration Guidelines
Most foreign travellers to the Philippines can stay visa-free for up to 30 days. However, ensure to check with your home country's Philippine embassy for specific visa requirements, as some countries may require a visa. Upon arrival, immigration officials would need you to present your valid passport, return or onward ticket, and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay. Overstaying without the proper authority is a serious matter and can lead to detention by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.
Places to Visit
Known as the "Walled City," Intramuros is a must-visit for history buffs. A step inside takes you back to the Spanish colonial period with its perfectly preserved buildings, churches, and cobblestone streets. It houses the oldest stone church in Manila, the San Agustin Church. Ride a horse-drawn carriage for a charming tour and don't forget to visit Fort Santiago, a historical fortress. Enjoy breathtaking views of Manila from the walls of Intramuros, particularly at sunset. This place offers a rich cultural experience, immersing visitors in a piece of the Philippines' past.
If you love scenic views and fresh air, Manila Baywalk is a must-visit spot. This stretch, spanning almost 2 km, is renowned for its lovely sunsets and bustling nightlife, complete with lively musical performances. During the day, it's a picture-perfect jogging spot, dotted with colorful bench swings. In the evening, the Baywalk transforms, populated by street food vendors and filled with the sound of pop-up bands. Whether you want to enjoy a peaceful walk or savor the vibrant local culture, Manila Baywalk offers a distinctive experience.
Unwind in Manila's iconic breathing space, Rizal Park. Known as Luneta, it's an oasis of history and tranquility, showcasing monuments, gardens, and the Rizal Monument dedicated to the country's national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Enjoy the park's weekend shows, varied eateries, children’s playgrounds, and museums like the National Museum of Anthropology. For a remarkable experience, be sure to catch the Musical Dancing Fountain show that lights up the park at night. Rizal Park isn't just a leisure spot but a significant symbol of Filipino patriotism, making it a beautiful stop on any Manila itinerary.
National Museum of the Philippines
Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the Philippines at the National Museum. Centering on art, archaeology, and natural sciences, the museum houses a vast array of noteworthy exhibits, spearheaded by Juan Luna's remarkable "Spoliarium". Exploring its collection will lead you to stunning traditional textiles, indigenous art, and impressive botanical illustrations. An entire day can be devoted to exploring this institution, fully capturing the essence of Filipino heritage. Steeped in history and beauty, it’s a must-visit in Manila.
The Manila Cathedral, an emblem of the Philippines' Spanish-Colonial heritage, beckons visitor with its blend of Neo-Romanesque and Neo-Byzantine styles. Majestically located in the heart of Intramuros, the "Walled City", it's a stunning sight, featuring intricate stained glass windows, a grand altar, and a wonderfully tall dome. It's not just a place of worship, but a snapshot into Manila's history, surviving earthquakes, wars and reconstruction. Unmissable when in Manila, it reflects the resilience and faith of Filipinos in the face of adversity. Make sure to experience Mass for a truly authentic encounter.
Experiences in Manila
Shopping in Divisoria
Divisoria is a shopper's paradise located in the heart of Manila. Known for its wide array of affordable goods, it's a go-to place for budget-conscious shoppers, local retailers and even tourists. Here, you can find everything from clothes, accessories, toys, home essentials to fresh produce and street food. Haggling is part of the experience as most prices here are negotiable. Visiting Divisoria can be chaotic but it’s a worthwhile experience for those looking for a strong shot of Filipino culture and unbeatable bargains. Just remember to stay alert and be mindful of your belongings.
Street Food Tasting in Binondo (Chinatown)
Manila's oldest Chinatown, Binondo, is a culinary gem with street food in every corner, showcasing both Filipino and Chinese flavors. Here, food tasting can be an eye-opening experience for any visiting foodie. Begin your venture with "siomai" (dumplings), then indulge in the crunchy "kikiam" (seafood snack). Don't miss a bowl of savory "lomi" (noodle soup), a local favorite. Finish off with "hopia" (bean-filled pastry), a blissful sweet treat. Numerous food carts and hole-in-the-wall eateries are scattered around, ready to satisfy your cravings. This engaging gustatory journey offers a unique perspective into Manila's rich food culture, a must-try for all travelers visiting the city.
Cultural Encounter in Cultural Center of the Philippines
Immerse yourself in Filipino culture at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This lively center hosts a myriad of events, from art exhibits to theater plays, showcasing local talent and rich heritage. You can spend an entire day admiring artworks and catching live performances. Don't miss the chance to sample local cuisine in the area. With its blend of arts, history and food, it renders a vibrant picture of Manila's culture. Make sure to keep track of the scheduled events to fully enjoy your visit.
Nightlife in Malate district
Manila's nightlife shines brightest in Malate district, a lively hub brimming with bars, clubs, and restaurants. The district thrives as a thriving hotspot for locals and tourists alike. From vibrant discotheques like Oarhouse Pub to the classy rooftop lounges like Sky Deck View Bar, there's a place for every mood. The district also presents various cultural performances, street parties, and live bands. A stroll down the Roxas Boulevard provides unmatched ocean views. Remember to sample local culinary delights at the numerous night markets and street food stalls that stay open late. Malate's nocturnal charm is truly captivating.
Exploring Manila Ocean Park
Delve into the aquatic wonders of Manila Ocean Park, Philippines' first marine-themed park. The impressive interactive Oceanarium transports tourist beneath the surface with hundreds of marine species. Not to be missed is the 'walkway tunnel,' rewarding you with a 360-degree view of marine life. Challenge your thrill level by trying the Shark & Ray Encounter or dive into an exhilarating adventure with the Mermaid Swim Experience. Spectacular shows showcasing the talented sea lions and birds add fun flavor to your visit. This astonishing ocean theme park truly makes a splash in Manila exploration!
Accommodation in Manila
Manila boasts a range of luxurious accommodations to please the discerning traveler. The Peninsula Manila and Shangri-La at the Fort provide opulent rooms, fine-dining restaurants, and immaculate service. These establishments also offer breathtaking views of the bustling cityscape and tranquil Manila Bay. For a more local charm, Raffles Makati exudes an old-world elegance coupled with Filipino hospitality. It is nestled in the heart of the city's business and entertainment district, guaranteeing accessibility. No matter where you choose to stay, luxury and relaxation await you in Manila.
Manila offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodations. Red Planet Manila Binondo is highly-rated by budget travelers. It is located in the city center, a short walk from Chinatown. Rooms are both practical and comfortable, providing the essentials for a good night’s rest. The Hop Inn Hotel Ermita is another excellent economical choice. It is situated near Manila Bay and Robinson’s Place Mall. The rooms are clean with modern amenities. Z Hostel located in Makati is also recommended for budget travelers with its stylish industrial look and lively rooftop bar.
Bed and Breakfasts
If you want a more personalized accommodation experience, bed and breakfasts in Manila offer a homely atmosphere. You'll cherish the friendly service and quaint charm of these establishments that differentiate them from typical hotels. Noteworthy spots include Heroes Hotel for its remarkable interiors, and La Casita Mercedes which suits vintage enthusiasts. The Clipper Hotel in Makati is a converted 1930s Art Deco mansion, perfect for history buffs. Book well in advance as these popular B&Bs fill up quickly!
Manila boasts a wide selection of budget-friendly hostels that suit every type of traveler. Z Hostel in Makati and Pink Manila Hostel in Malate are popular choices, both offering a vibrant social atmosphere, clean dorm rooms, and private options. Many hostels also arrange city tours and exciting activities, ensuring a memorable stay for their guests. Manila’s hostels strike a perfect balance between affordability, comfort, and a sense of community, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious explorers.
Manila offers a wide selection of short-term rentals popular among tourists for their convenience. You can find fully-furnished apartments, residences, or condos that cater to different budgets and preferences. Places like Makati, Bonifacio Global City, and Pasay are prime locations to consider. They're near shopping centers, restaurants, and tourist spots. Websites like Airbnb and Booking.com can help you find the most suitable option. Remember to read reviews and check the proximity to public transportation. Lastly, ensure to understand the house rules before making any bookings to avoid potential issues.
Popular Filipino dishes
In Manila, every culinary adventure should start with adobo - a marinated meat dish cooked in vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, and spices. This iconic dish varies with regions but remains a beloved Filipino classic. Another must-try is sinigang, a sour soup featuring a tamarind base with vegetables and choice of meat or seafood. Don't miss lechon, a whole roasted pig served on special occasions. The delicately crispy skin and succulent meat are truly unforgettable! Be sure to sample a dessert of halo-halo, a blend of crushed ice, evaporated milk, and varied ingredients like sweet beans, jellies, and fruits. This popular sweet treat is a delightful quencher in Manila's tropical heat.
Top Restaurants in Manila
Manila boasts an array of phenomenal restaurants. For top-notch Filipino cuisine, 'Barbara's Heritage Restaurant' offers an incredible buffet against the backdrop of a live cultural show. 'Toyo Eatery' is another gem that presents local dishes with a contemporary twist. Seafood lovers should head to the famed 'Dampa Seaside Paluto Market', where an ocean-fresh catch gets cooked to your liking. For global cuisines, 'Blackbird' and 'The Corner Market' offer a delightful surprise around every corner. Remember to leave room for dessert at 'The Dessert Kitchen.'
Street Food Culture
Manila's street food culture is a vibrant culinary tapestry, presenting a mix of Spanish, Chinese, and native Filipino flavors. Stalls and mobile carts lining the city's bustling streets offer delectable snack-sized portions of Filipino delicacies. Try the balut, a boiled duck embryo or the isaw, skewered chicken intestines deliciously smoked. For sweets, go for the kwek-kwek, quail eggs engulfed with vibrant orange batter. Be sure to top your gastronomic adventure with a cold mug of halo-halo, a popular dessert mixed with shaved ice, evaporated milk and various ingredients.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Even though Philippine cuisine generally involves meat, Manila hosts an impressive choice of vegetarian and vegan eateries. Explore "Corner Tree Cafe" known for its veggie comfort food, or try "The Vegetarian Kitchen" for scrumptious vegan dishes. Local markets flourish with exotic fruits and vegetables. Don’t miss out on the “veggie meat” widely available in groceries. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask local chefs to whip up a vegan version of classic dishes like Adobo or Sinigang for a unique gastronomic experience.
Iconic Filipino Desserts
Manila's dessert scene is vibrantly diverse, with treats inspired by our Spanish, American, and Asian heritages. At its heart though are Filipino comfort-classics. Don't miss the halo-halo, a cool layered dessert with sweetened fruits, jellies, leche flan, and ube ice cream. Another must-try is the bibingka— a hot rice cake cooked in banana leaves and topped with butter, cheese, and shredded coconut. For the adventurous, the delicacy 'balut', a fertilized duck egg, is served as a sweet pudding in Manila. These iconic Manila desserts will undoubtedly leave you with a sweet ending to your meals.
Transportation in Manila
Public Transport - Jeepneys, Tricycles, and Buses
In Manila, you'll find a colorful mix of public transport. The most iconic method is the jeepney, post-WWII military jeeps turned vibrant mini-buses, with unique decorations and seating for about 18 passengers. Lined alongside roads, tricycles (motorbikes with sidecars) are prevalent for shorter in-city jaunts. For long distances, air-conditioned city buses are reliable but can be crowded. These transport means are affordable and give you an authentic local experience, but remember that Manila's traffic can be intense, particularly during peak times. Be prepared for a bumpy, lively ride!
In Manila, car rentals are extensively available for both long-term and short-term use. Leading international car rental companies including Avis, Budget, and Hertz have offices in and around the capital. Local firms also provide competitive rates. When renting a car, be aware that traffic in Manila can be congestive, particularly during rush hours. Most renters demand an international driving license besides your local license. It's a convenient way to move around if you’re planning to visit places out of Manila. Consider renting a car with a driver to navigate Manila's confusing road networks.
Taxis and Ride-hailing Apps
Taxis are available across Manila but can be affected by the city's heavy traffic. Be sure to insist on the use of the meter to avoid being overcharged. For a more convenient experience, consider ride-hailing apps. Among them, Grab is the most popular in Manila. It operates like Uber and offers a reliable means of transport. Rates are usually reasonable unless there's high demand, causing surge pricing. With ride-hailing apps, tourists can circumnavigate any language barriers or pricing disagreements.
Ferries and River Taxis
In Manila, Pasig River Ferry Service operates 5 ferries traversing major waterways. Ferries can be an enjoyable way to avoid traffic and congestion while witnessing the urban scenic journey through Pasig River. Alternatively, river taxis are available in the city. They're smaller, faster, and more intimate, with quicker access to city's attractions. Schedules may vary, so always check in advance. Both modes offer a unique perspective of Manila and are favored for their affordability. They provide a much-needed escape from the city's bustling streets and thus, are must-try experiences for travelers.
Walking and Biking
Manila has walkable areas, particularly within Intramuros, Rizal Park and Makati. However, always stay cautious due to heavy traffic and erratic pedestrian infrastructure. For cycling enthusiasts, Pasig River offers bike lanes in a more relaxed setting. Some parts of Makati also offer this, though Manila isn’t entirely bike-friendly. The Manila government has plans to set up more bike lanes in the future. Always remember to adhere to safety precautions every time you go out walking or biking on busy streets.
Souvenirs from Manila
Traditional Filipino Handicrafts
Traditional Filipino handicrafts make ideal Manila mementos. Their vibrant colours and intricate details show off the country's rich culture, honed by skilled hands through generations. Local markets offer a wide selection such as woven baskets, coconut shell crafts and abaca dream catchers. Don't overlook the 'Banig' mats, 'Barong Tagalog' embroidery, and unique 'Capiz' shell items. These treasured keepsakes reflect the Filipino spirit of 'Bayanihan', symbolizing unity and cooperation. Choose your favourite handicrafts and bring a fragment of Filipino tradition back home. As well as being beautiful items, they help support the local economy and maintain age-old craft traditions.
Food and Drink Souvenirs
Sampling the flavors of Manila is an experience in itself. Dried mangoes and Chocnut, a local peanut-milk chocolate, are delicious treats to take back home. You can also grab a pack of Barquillos, traditional biscuit rolls, a true delight for the sweet tooth. For a more exotic taste, snatch a bottle of Lambanog, the Filipino coconut vodka. Or grab a pack of local coffee beans, known for their unique and robust flavors. Remember, these souvenirs are not just about buying products, but sharing a piece of Manila's local life.
Local Fashion Brands
While in Manila, don't miss the chance to score pieces from local fashion brands. Ensembles from Bayo, Plains & Prints, and Bench are staples for Filipinos, known for their trend-forward yet wearable styles. Bags by Aranáz, Rags2Riches and bags made from indigenous fabric by AKABA are also worth checking out for their craftsmanship. Coupled with the rich Filipino heritage, these items will remind you of the vibrant local culture.
Art from Local Artists
Relish the Philippines' creative spirit by purchasing art from Manila's local artists. The city is teeming with talent, producing everything from traditional paintings to innovative mixed media pieces, often inspired by Filipino culture and history. Visit artist-run spaces like Escolta's 98-B and Paco's Pinto Art Museum for unique finds. For affordable prints and original works, check out Saturday Future Market. Supporting local artists not only provides you with a truly unique souvenir but also helps nurture Manila's vibrant art scene.
For unique mementos of your Manila trip, specialty shops offer a rich assortment of local crafts and delicacies. Outlets such as Kultura and Tesoro's are famous for their high-quality, handcrafted items ranging from woven fabrics, wooden sculptures to intricate jewelry and pearls. You may also visit Seryna Japanese Restaurant’s mini shop for their special products like handmade mochis. Let these specialty shops in Manila complete your immersive Filipino experience with tangible memories to take home.
Culture and Etiquette in Manila
In Manila, locals dress modestly but with a style befitting the tropical climate. Lightweight clothing, preferably cotton, is the most comfortable due to high humidity; short sleeves, knee-length skirts, and loose pants are common wear. Although Manila is cosmopolitan, it's important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. For such occasions, women should avoid bare shoulders and short skirts, while men should aim for trousers and collared shirts. Finally, don't forget to carry a light raincoat or umbrella, especially during the rainy season (June to November), when sudden downpours can happen.
Local Customs and Traditions
In Manila, a firm handshake accompanied by a warm smile is the standard way of greeting. The common expression “Mabuhay!” meaning “Long Live” is often used. Removed shoes upon entering homes and always wait for seating instruction during meals. Respect forms the basis of Filipino values. Elders are greatly respected and children often 'mano', a gesture where they take an elder's right hand and touch it to their forehead as a sign of respect. Fiestas and festivals are integral to the Manila way of life. Often characterized by parades, performances, and feasts, each celebration is steeped in history and Filipino culture.
Interaction with Locals
Friendly and approachable, the locals in Manila are prone to laughter, frequently use hand gestures for emphasis and speak English fluently. Feel free to strike up a conversation or ask directions if needed. Respect the conservative nature of Filipino society by not discussing politics or sensitive issues. When entering homes, it's customary to remove shoes and say "Mano Po" as a sign of respect to elders. Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory. Always remember to smile as it goes a long way when communicating in Manila.
In Manila, tipping isn't obligatory but is greatly appreciated. It is customary to tip service staff in restaurants, hotels, and taxis. Usually, a gratuity of 10% to 15% of the total bill is deemed appropriate. For hospitality service workers, such as porters and housekeepers, a tip of around 50 pesos is sufficient. Taxi drivers typically receive the rounded-up fare as a tip. Regardless of the amount you decide to give, tipping in Manila is a reflection of the quality of service received. So, if you're happy with the service, a small token of appreciation would be welcomed.
Though Manila is a busy city, pickpocketing and scams are common, particularly in crowded areas and on public transport. Stay vigilant and keep personal belongings secure at all times. It's best to avoid flashy displays of wealth to deter potential thieves. Avoid walking alone at night in deserted or poorly lit areas. It is always safer to travel in groups or take a trusted taxi. Additionally, try to blend into the local scene to avoid drawing undue attention. Finally, always mind traffic regulations. Manila is notorious for its congested streets and unpredictable drivers, so always look both ways before crossing.
Local Currency and Money Exchange
The local currency of Manila is the Philippine Peso (PHP). Notes come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 PHP. Money can be exchanged at major banks, hotels, or at authorized exchange shops. ATMs are also widely accessible throughout the city and a practical option for withdrawing cash. However, be aware of your bank's foreign transaction fees and remember to alert your bank of your travel plans to avoid any card blocking. Credit cards are also widely accepted in most establishments in Manila.
Internet and SIM Cards
In Manila, the Internet is widely accessible. Most hotels, cafes, and shopping centers offer free WiFi. For constant connectivity, purchase a local SIM card from telecommunication companies like Globe or Smart. They offer tourist-specific packages with generous data allowances. Purchasing a SIM card is easy and requires no ID. Just visit any convenience store or telco kiosk upon arrival. Public Internet speed may be slower compared to Western standards, hence getting a data package can be extremely valuable. Check if your phone is unlocked before purchasing a local SIM.
Health Services and Emergency Contacts
Manila offers numerous health services, from public hospitals like Manila Doctor’s Hospital to private clinics. Pharmacies are widely available. Some establishments may require health insurance, so tourists should be prepared. In case of emergencies, dial 117 or 911 for immediate assistance. You can also call Manila Doctor's Hospital at +632 558 0888. Air ambulance services can be contacted via +63 2 852 2515. Consult with your travel health insurance prior to departure to ensure coverage overseas. It’s recommended to get vaccinated for typhoid and hepatitis A & B before traveling to Manila.
Language and Communication
The official language in Manila is Filipino, but English is widely spoken and understood, being taught in schools as a second language. You'll find most locals, especially in urban areas, are bilingual. Signage in malls, restaurants, and public transport is often in both languages. However, while language barriers are minimal, the Filipino accent may be difficult to grasp initially. Just politely ask them to repeat if you're having difficulty understanding. For communication, the country has a good internet connection and local SIM cards are widely available for tourists. It's advisable to get one for easy navigation and communication.
Weather and Climate Conditions
Manila experiences a tropical climate with high humidity levels year-round. The average temperature ranges from 21°C in January to 30°C in May. The city faces two prominent seasons: dry (November to April) and rainy (May to October). The hottest months are April and May while the coolest are January and February. Travelers who want to avoid rain should also avoid the peak of the typhoon season, which is from August to October. Despite the high rainfalls, Manila offers various indoor activities, making it an enjoyable destination all year round.
Have a good trip!