When people picture the Philippines, it is usually the powdery white sands of island paradises Boracay or Palawan that come to mind. In fact, many see its sprawling capital of Manila as merely a stopover. Sure, to the incurious traveller Manila is simply a concrete jungle, a network of crowded roads connecting skyscrapers and shanty towns alike. But give it the attention it deserves and Manila opens up to reveal a developing city of excitement and leisure; one that truly deserves your full attention.
Manila sits on the eastern coast of the Bay of Manila, with the Pasig river splitting its middle, dividing North and South. A vital trading port, Manila has been the subject of numerous occupations. The Spanish were the first to declare the Spanish City of Manila in 1571, holding it until the 1898 Battle of Manila saw it ceded to the United States. In World War II it was subject to Japanese control for nearly three years, eventually being won back by the Philippine and US forces. This turbulent past has seen Manila become a unique city, influenced by a mixture of cultures and people.
Wandering through its streets you will notice its eclectic mix of architecture, a result of both Spanish and American occupation as well as Chinese and Malay influence. Amongst it all are a collection of hidden gems which speak to Manila’s culture of cool; cafes and live music sit next to shopping malls and hidden bars. To see the best of the city takes a desire to explore, but to get you started, we’ve done some research.
Where to drink
Bank Bar, an upbeat bar serving craft cocktails in glamorous glassware, should be your first stop for a taste of Manila’s excellent bar scene. Bank Bar is perhaps most notable for startling location; access is only possible from a secret entrance behind a 7/11, meaning it is hidden from street-view, giving the space a quiet yet charming atmosphere. Bank Bar also offers a range of finger foods and bar snacks, making it the perfect hidden corner of Manila to sit in comfort whilst sampling the best of the local bar scene.
Bank Bar银行酒吧是一家欢快的酒吧，用迷人玻璃器皿精调成的鸡尾酒，应该是您品尝马尼拉人气酒吧的第一站。银行酒吧（Bank Bar）可能是最值得注意的地方;只能从7/11后面的秘密入口进入，这意味着它隐藏在街景之外，给这个空间一个安静而迷人的氛围。 银行酒吧（Bank Bar）还提供一系列小点心和酒吧小吃，使其成为马尼拉的完美隐藏角落，让您坐得舒适的同时欣赏当地最好的酒吧场景。
Where to eat
For a unique dining experiences, make sure to head to The Belle & Dragon. Serving a fusion of Western and Asian cuisine inside a quirky and elebarote space, you can also sample a wide range of Filipino craft beer. The Belle & Dragon hosts music trivia nights, or if you’re in the mood for movement, occasional dance music events.
If you are keen to sample some more traditional Filipino food the popular Bulalo is a must try. For the uninitiated, Bulalo is a light-coloured soup in which beef shanks and marrow-bones are melded in to make a delicious broth. The best place to sample Bulalo is Bullchef, a small and rowdy restaurant which serves up traditional Bulalo alongside some more creative interpretations.
Where to absorb culture
Once a thriving hub of art and culture, the Malate district of Manila has recently garnered a reputation more influenced by its red light district. Yet this is changing. The Minokaua, a gastro-bar, live music venue, gallery and collaborative work space is part of the changing face of the district. The Minokaua, named after a creature in Filipino folklore, is spread across two levels with ample space for creative types to mingle or work. Spend time here before exploring the changing face of an important district to Manila’s cultural fabric.
马尼拉Malate地区曾经是艺术和文化蓬勃发展的枢纽，最近受到红灯区的影响名气更大了。然而，这一直在变化。 The Minokaua不仅是餐厅，还有酒吧和现场音乐表演，画廊和协作办公空间等，是该区不断变化的一部分。 Minokaua以菲律宾民间传说中的生物命名，它共有2层，一层具有充足的空间让创意混合，一层可作为工作场地。花些时间在这里，是探索马尼拉文化结构的重要区域。
Where to relax
Manila can also lay claim to being the most densely populated city in the world. Darting between its sights and locations amongst a crowd of people can get tiring, so to relax we recommend I’M Onsen Spa. Bringing the best of Western and Oriental massage at great prices, it is the perfect place to unwind from sightseeing. And the best part is it’s open until 2am.
马尼拉还可以声称是世界上人口最稠密的城市。在众多人群之间往返于景点和其它地点之间可能会感到疲劳，因此为了放松，我们推荐我是温泉水疗中心I’M Onsen Spa。它用优惠的价格提供最好的西式和东方式按摩，是观光旅游的理想场所。最好的消息是，它开放至凌晨2点。