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Thinking of visiting Manila? Here are helpful tips to get you started

Published on 18 May 2018|
2 min read

Here are some tips to make your visit to The Pearl of the Orient fun!

by Louise M., Carrybeans

You may also be convinced that Philippines’ Department of Tourism got their slogans right.

Manila is one of 16 cities that comprise Metro Manila in the island of Luzon. It is the capital and second-largest city of the Philippines with a population of around 1.8 million people living in a 42.88 km² area. Being a densely populated metropolitan city, expect to experience a lot of hubbubs all around you!

So if you’re planning to take a trip to see this exciting city, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Book direct flights from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Manila (MNL)

Direct flights to MNL from BKI are available via Air Asia every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday on flights departing at 11.40 a.m. Return flights via the same airline fly on the same days departing at 9.10 a.m.


Credit: thephilippines

Alternatively, you can also fly to MNL direct via Cebu Pacific every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday on flights departing at 2.05 a.m. This means you have to be at the airport and check-in the night of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Return flights via the same airline fly every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday departing at 11.15 p.m.

If there are no delays in the flight schedule, you should be able to reach your destination in less than 2 hours.

Note: Flights details are correct at the time of writing.

2. Make sure you get the arrival card before landing


Credit: doj.gov.ph

This is a piece of paper roughly the size of your passport. It requires you to fill in some details about your trip to Manila. The flight attendant should give this to you mid-flight but just in case you didn’t get it (maybe you were asleep), make sure you ask for one and fill it in before landing. You will need to give this paper at the Immigration counter when you land.

3. Get a local sim card at the airport


Credit: mobileworldlive

You’ll notice the kiosks or counters as soon as you exit the arrival hall. There are two mobile providers to choose from which are either Smart or Globe. Both providers give out a free sim card. All you have to do is decide which data package you prefer and pay the amount. The staff there will configure everything for you. Even if you’re just staying for less than a week, it’s good to use a local sim for easy browsing when there’s no wifi and for communicating.

4. Download and use the Grab app


Credit: primer

Unless you already have ground arrangements all set and ready for you, it’s a good idea to download and use Grab. There are a lot of Grab drivers in Manila (private cars and taxis) who can take you places but do expect to wait a while, especially during peak hours. Best thing is, some malls even have dedicated pick-up and drop-off points for Grab users.

5. Expect to eat a lot of delicious food and do a lot of shopping


Credit: philihappy

Sorry to say but you have to forget about dieting. From authentic Filipino dishes to a variety of international cuisines, you will surely be spoiled for choice. There are just too many yummylicious foods not to be missed and in every price range too. No worries, though. You can burn off those calories while you walk in the many huge malls as you go on your (window) shopping spree.

6. Always be vigilant of your belongings and surroundings

Skip wearing any pieces of jewellery or expensive-looking accessories. Don’t attract unwanted attention to yourself. Carry your backpack or your sling bag in front of your body where you can see it and don’t leave it open or unzipped. It is not advisable to place your belongings on the floor or even next to you where there’s a possibility that it could be out of view. Take necessary precautions but don’t stress yourself by worrying too much.

Filipinos are generally very warm and friendly people, but do be ready for the heat and traffic jams. Pack your essentials, prepare to blend in, and enjoy the ride. Wow Philippines! It’s more fun in the Philippines! Experience Philippines! These catchy slogans are for real.

Looking forward to Manila? See what’s their iconic public transport and take a ride!

Featured Image Credit: Google

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