So I'm in Manila!

For the next nine (9) nights, I will be in Manila. Together with my brother Nathan, we touched down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 10 a.m. aboard Cebu Pacific Air flight 5J 564 from Cebu. While we are on an official business trip here for a visa interview, we fortunately have a great deal of time to explore the metropolitan area around the capital city of the Republic of the Philippines.

This is the first trip I have taken outside the Visayas for quite some time now. The last time I traveled outside the Visayan Islands was when I joined a familiarization trip for Dakak Park and Beach Resort in Dapitan City on December 2015. This is also the first time I returned to Manila since 2011 when along with my brother Janus and college buddy Jai, I watched the L.A. Galaxy and David Beckham rout the Philippine Azkals men's national football team at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The Manila trip is the first and longest leg of my 17-day sojourn, a 4-leg trip that will also take me to an island escape at Boracay Island (Malay, Aklan), a scuba trip courtesy of Divelink in Malapascua Island (Daanbantayan, Cebu), and a familiarization trip and complimentary tour courtesy of Virgin Beach Resort in Northern Cebu. 

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Thadz in Manila

Bayview Park Hotel: Our Home for the Next Nine (9) Nights

We are billeted at the Bayview Park Hotel along Roxas Boulevard in the City of Manila, right across the Embassy of the United States of America and in close proximity to many places of tourist interest such as Luneta Park, Intramuros, the Ermita and Malate districts, several museums, convention centers, and churches.

Read more: Bayview Park Hotel

Quo Vadis Wanderlust?

Nine (9) nights and Manila and just two (2) days of official business, on the second and penultimate days of our trip. We will also probably spend a couple of days visiting family and friends based here in Manila. And the rest of the days are free. So what's my plan? Which places do I go to on the free days that we have? Here is what's on my mind:

Roxas Boulevard Baywalk

We're looking forward to enjoying a lot of the free things a tourist can do in Manila. And we have the Roxas Boulevard to start with, a stretch of open park space that we usually just see in the movies. We're here and we'll find out whether it's fresh air we can enjoy or the infamous Manila Bay stench.

Mall of Asia Arena

Most probinsyanos who come to Manila never miss out going to the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, probably the biggest mall in Metro Manila or perhaps even the Philippines. There's more reason for me to drop by SM MOA. One of the biggest reasons I have is I want to avail of offers from my SM Advantage Card such as buy one, take one meals at Gumbo and Burgoo as well as treats from Uno Pizzeria and Fatboys' Pizza and Pasta.

Ermita Shrine

Home to the oldest Marian image in the country, the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Our Lady of Guidance (Nuestra Señora de Guia) is a church with a great deal of history. The church itself is the reason why the district around it is referred to as Ermita, which literally means chapel in Spanish.

Liwasang Bonifacio

One of four (4) freedom parks in Metro Manila, the Liwasang Bonifacio is also within the Ermita district where we are staying. We look forward to visiting this public freedom park.

Luneta Park 

Another popular spot for tourists and locals alike in Manila is the Luneta Park. Within the park are many areas of tourist interest as well: the dancing fountain, the Chinese Garden, the Japanese Garden, the relief map of the Philippines, Kilometer Zero, the national memorial to Dr. Jose Rizal, and several museums.


The history buff that I am, I cannot forego exploring the historic core and oldest district of the city of Manila. More than just its walls, there's a lot more to explore within the walled city itself such as Fort Santiago, its puertos or entrance gates, several churches, and a few public parks and gardens. 

Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex

A legacy of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, the 62-hectare CCP Complex has a rich history of its own. Some of the buildings within the complex are the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the Tanghalang Pambansa (National Theatre), the Folk Arts Theatre (Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas), and the National Arts Center.
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