I know that Manila is a beautiful city. In fact the glory that was Spain and America is so evident here. The Intramuros, the Cathedral, etc, are here to let you experience the glory that was the Philippines, and the reigning Manila in the present such as the one in Makati CBD.
But when you are in transit, this place could turn out worst without planning ahead. These are the things you just have to remember to avoid hassle or unpleasant first encounters starting from the airport.
1. Use the taxi from the departure area when in NAIA3.
Taxis in manila can turn out unpleasant especially when you seemed a little lost in the world here. Based on experience, taxis from the departure area are generally fair. Besides that, the route at the departure area to the main city is shorter compared to the route in the arrival area. You will pay less, and there is a lesser chance that you will be taken advantage.
2. Utilize the shuttle bus service from the arrival area.
There is a white shuttle bus service made available for commuters in the airport at the arrival area. Pay Php20.00 and it will take you to EDSA LRT/MRT station where you could easily get to other interesting places and cheaper. Just look for this white shuttle bus or ask the guards to point out to you the direction of these buses outside.
3. LRT and MRT can take you anywhere in the city
LRT can take you back and forth Manila City, the commercial and historical area, while MRT can take you to Makati, the financial and business district of Luzon. There are certain cities i miss out on this generalization, but this is the easiest comparison i can picture out. The airport bus can take you to the Taft Avenue Station, the first station of both LRT and MRT.
4. Decide now, historical places or malls?
As i mentioned above, the great Manila is the best place to see Spanish colonial evidences in the country. You can choose to go to the Intramuros, called the walled city of Manila; the Luneta Park, a very significant area in the history of the Philippines; or the National Museum. But if you want to just eat out, try the local food somewhere decent, and shop. You can go to Greenbelt, Shangri-la Mall, Gateway Mall in Cubao or any SM stores. You bet one day isn’t even enough if you want to explore Greenbelt. Watch out, you might end up saying that Filipinos are obsessed with malls. Though not really.
5. Regardless, trust the local food and savor it.
Street foods are definitely a must try wherever you go. And you may reluctantly eat one once in a while. But regardless, try sometime the local food. There are street foods that may not lure your appetite, but definitely try this local ice cream found in UP Dilliman’s Shopping Centre. Its clean, real fruit flavor, and especially delightful!
Where was your last transit experience? Have you been to Manila?