Manila, Philippines: A Quick Guide

Tastes, Sights and Sounds of Manila

Once a hub of entertainment in the sparkling jazz age of the 1920s and 1930s, Manila fell on hard times, as so many places did, as a result of the widespread devastation of the Second World War. However, the capital city of the Philippines is going from strength to strength and is fast becoming one of the coolest and most popular travel destinations in the whole of Asia.

Food and Drink

Manila is a cornucopia of traditional and quirky culinary delights. Taking inspiration from places like Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong, the food options are packed with sweet, spicy, moreish flavours and ingredients like pork, ramen, duck and even chorizo are common among many of the favourite local dishes. Street food is huge part of Manileno culture, and some of the most popular vendors of recent years have been El Chupacabra, which offers a quirky Asian/Mexican hybrid menu, and Charlie’s Grind & Grill, which utilises a delicious combination of American and Manileno favourites.

When it comes to drinking, craft beers have experienced a huge renaissance in Manila, with the main hub of culinary and drinking culture situated in and around the vicinity of Maginhawa St in Quezon City, home to many of the city’s leading establishments such as Van Gogh Is Bipolar, Pipino Vegetarian Food and Greens Vegetarian Restaurant. For those visitors who want to recreate the flavours and aromas of the Malinelo street foods, there are two prominent farmer’s markets within the city, Legazpi and Salcedo, that are ideal for stocking up on all of the vital ingredients for replicating your favourite holiday treats. You needn’t worry about whether your Bupa travel insurance covers you for any untoward intestinal diseases here!

Entertainment and Culture

Manila also boasts a thriving and vibrant music scene, with the localised genre of Pinoy rock being well respected and widely played in many venues across the city. Head down to SaGuijo, one of the most popular music bars in Manila for a great evening of rock n roll performed by live bands. Those looking for something alternative can visit B-Side, part of the Collective Warehouse that indulges in a number of different musical styles including house, reggae and blues. The city has a strong clubbing scene, with the Black Market venue hosting many of the most acclaimed DJs and electronic music artists around.

For a little more refined culture, tourists will be delighted to visit any number of the museums and art galleries that the city has to offer. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila should be on the top of everybody’s to-do list, having the reputation as one of the world’s leading institutions akin to New York and Berlin. Other galleries include the Cultural Centre of The Philippines and the Vargas Museum, all wonderful places that showcase the very best of Manila’s ever expanding art scene.

Whether it is good food, good music, or good culture that you seek on your travels, you can rest assured that Manila has all of this to offer in abundance. A visit to the Filipino capital is guaranteed to be a holiday that you will never forget.

Photo Credit: Storm Crypt