After spending my first five weeks in the Philippines busy learning my new job and traveling to rural provinces, I had no doubt that I wanted to spend my birthday weekend in the Philippines’ capital city for some R&R. The only time I have visited Manila was when I was younger on family vacations and A LOT has changed in the busy metropolis since then.
Let me start off by clarifying that Metro Manila is a HUGE place filled with lots of little cities. This confused me quite a bit when trying to figure out where the ‘centre of town’ was. However through lots of questions, and some help from my colleagues, I realised that old Manila (including Intramuros) is the main part of the city. It just turns out that all the businesses, corporations, embassies etc. are now located in some of the new little cities such as Makati, Pasay and Taguig.
Since Manila is so big we decided to focus on Makati. My husband wasn’t surprised when I told him that Makati held the biggest and nicest malls (other than Mall of Asia) and that’s why we were staying there 🙂 We stayed at the City Garden Grand Hotel which had amazing views over Makati and the rest of Manila. As you can see, we spent quite a bit of time on the rooftop watching the world go by, and realised it was a great vantage point to see how bad the traffic was!
We were ambitious with our planning of all the things we wanted to see, however in reality we took it easy eating Thai food, walking around shiny malls and enjoying our comfortable hotel. We did manage to visit the Ayala Museum which was a great learning experience. We spent almost four hours (maybe more?!) in the museum learning about the crazy history of the Philippines, looking at traditional weaving techniques, and ancient gold artifacts found near my mum’s hometown of Surigao. It was only when my feet and legs starting throbbing that I realised that we needed to leave to get some food. We highly recommend the Ayala Museum!
After the Ayala Museum, you could say that we made the mistake of exploring the malls. Not realising that four huge malls are interconnected through a series of bridges and walkways (with cool street art), we just kept walking and walking and walking…. From Greenbelt (which has 5 sections and holds high-end and International stores), we followed the signs to the Landmark Mall, which connects to Glorietta Mall (also has 5 sections), which then opens up to SM Makati. It was a looooong night and my feet and legs definitely hated me!
Three days in Manila is not enough. We will definitely be back to taste more delicious food and visit some unique boutiques and historical places. I just need to let my feet recover and forget about all of the walking (and standing) I made them do.