Manila in the Philippines is a sprawling city. It is so different and distinctive from one area to the next. And just spending 24 hours in Manila is enough to experience the diversity of the city.

The traffic is totally crazy. Cars are constantly driving in front of each other and traffic lights are a suggestion. In this friendly on the street – I saw no accident – it can take 45 minutes to get from one adjacent suburb to the next.

No wonder street vendors get in and out of cars and sell everything from water bottles to fishing rods.

Manila, Philippines skylineMakati skyline at night. Makati is a city in the Metro Manila region of the Philippines and the country’s financial center. It is known for the skyscrapers and shopping malls.

How to spend 24 hours in Manila

If you only have 24 hours in Manila, I recommend you do the following three things:

1. Eat a buffet in the evening

Filipinos love to „eat and talk” at the same time. Buffets allow you to socialize and, of course, eat as much as you want. In the Lola Maria restaurant The buffet featured traditional Filipino foods like chicken adobo, fried seaweed, grilled seafood, smoked tuna belly, and DIY halo halo for dessert. I was intrigued by the seaweed with little „gres” that were salty and burst in your mouth as you crunched through the leaves.

2. Shop in at least one mega mall

Get moving in Manila, Shopaholics. Manila is home to many shopping malls such as Greenbelt, Rockwell and the infamous Mall of Asia – the largest mall in the southern hemisphere. If you are pressed for time and on a tight budget, I would check out the Landmark department store for its crazy prices. I bought a bikini for $ 15, a headband for $ 2, and socks for 50 cents.

Metro Manila is known as the host three of the 10 largest shopping centers in the world.

Shopping malls may not be an ideal destination for travelers to the Philippines, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss them. Aside from shopping of course, here are 5 things you can do to make your trip to the Filipino mall more interesting.

Take a gastronomic excursion

Filipino malls are home to a number of restaurants – with many food options. You can try Filipino, Brazilian, Chinese, Janean, British, Spanish, Ethiopian, Jamaican, Thai, Indonesian, French food (the list goes on …) in a mall alone. Prices are reasonably priced with food choices starting from PHP 100 (€ 1.5).

Insider tip for travel: If you want to try some cheerful Filipino snacks, go to the grocery store and try some groceries that can cost as little as 15PHP (€ 0.25). These stalls can usually be found in SM shopping malls.

Enjoy local music

Head to the activity center or food court of a mall and there’s a good chance you’ll see a performance by a local (or sometimes foreign) music band. Attending the performances is free.

Insider tip for travel: Performances usually take place in the late afternoon from 4pm to 6pm

Watch the famous Manila sunset

Go to the SM Mall of Asia (the largest mall in the Philippines, covering 4.2 million square feet) and grab a table with a view of the coast. On a clear day, it is one of the best places to watch the sunset and have a nice dinner too.

Do your souvenir shopping

The department stores and some specialty stores in the malls have a great selection of souvenirs – from wardrobes, postcards, shirts, groceries, and liquor. I admit the price may be a little higher than local sellers but lower than airport sellers but if you are in a rush – the malls are the most reliable place to get them (malls are usually from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm: Open at midnight – Monday to Sunday). ).

People watch

I admit this is my favorite activity from the list. Going to shopping malls is one of the most popular pastimes among Filipinos (instead of going to parks, for example). So shopping malls are a good place for people watching as you can see facets of people’s everyday activities. Be aware, however, that the malls get very crowded in the afternoon and into the night – especially on Fridays, weekends and the 15th.NS or 30NS of month. So if you want to be quieter people watching, avoid these times and go in the morning

24 hours in Manila, Philippines - SM Mall of AsiaSM Mall of Asia –

3. Have a night in the fort

If your 24 hours in Manila falls on a Saturday night … you’re on a party night for fun!

A Saturday night has to start but not necessarily end in the Fort of Bonifacio. The area is a center of night life and is full of bustling restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Pier One is a themed bar on the high seas. The waiters are dressed in sailor outfits, signal them with an ahoy if you dare and order cocktails. Bar fare like sisig (the non-mysterious type of meat) are a great accompaniment when you’re still hungry after a buffet dinner!

Once you’re ready to hit the dance floor, head over to Encore. Chandeliers hang over the stairwell as you strut up to the party area on the third floor. The DJ puts on an intoxicating mix of old school RnB and new hits, while the dance floor is shoulder to shoulder with the trendy set of 20.

When you’re done, hop in a cab back to your hotel. If that song on the radio is „It’s Time To Go Home Now,” you know you had a great night.

After you’ve spent your 24 hours in Manila, here are some things you can do during your time in the Philippines:

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