Disclaimer: All views expressed on this blog are my own based on my own experiences and do not represent of any entity with which I have been, are now or will be affiliated.

November 26, 2021
Manila, Philippines

I have been wanting to visit my friends from Manila and this is a perfect time to be with them after I had my 2nd dose of vaccine.

I used to live in Manila for 10 years and I actually missed seeing it once in a while but it’s not really my favorite place to live. Manila, is the capital and chief city of the Philippines and it’s north of Batangas.

Domestic tourists can now visit Manila and it’s attractions but since it’s pandemic, we still need to follow health & safety guidelines to ensure a hassle free visit.

Travel Requirements

I travelled by bus going to Manila. I did not book in advance for my seat because you can actually just walk in the terminal. I rode Alps bus in SM Lipa going to Edsa- it was really spacious, with power outlet so you can charge your phone and the fare is Php 250. The fare was a bit pricy, the standard fare pre-pandemic was just Php 130. In order for my travel to run smoothly, I made sure that I have my vaccination card with me, however, they did not ask for it. So, I guess everyone can travel in Manila without any restrictions now.

Travel Time

Travel time from Batangas to Manila is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes without traffic.

Accommodation

I stayed in an AirBnB in a condo in Urban Deca near Shaw MRT. It cost me Php 1700 for a night.

Curfew

No more curfew in Manila so you can stay up all night and party!

Budget

For my Manila trip, I allotted Php 4,000 for fare, accommodation and food.

Language

Manila is a tagalog speaking without a dialect city. People can speak English too so if you are a foreigner, you’d love it here because everyone can speak basic English.

Food

Restaurants are now open for dine in and take out. Bars operate until 4 in the morning.

Ihawan ni Kuya Speed
Price: Php 10- Php 150

I love street food, especially if it’s cooked and marinated really well! One of the popular street food in Manila is isaw or grilled pork/chicken. The intestines are boiled first until tender then they grill them. I came across Ihawan ni Kuya Speed near my place in Shaw, Mandaluyong and it really did not disappoint. I had pork ears, intestines, skin and meat. They were grilled in perfection. It was smoky and chewier especially when you seasoned it with vinegar and chili sauce. It is extremely satisfying and highly recommended! The best street food I have ever tasted to date! 5 out of 5

Little Flour – Megamall Fashion Hall
Price – Php 170-Php 300

I remember a time when there was a cronut craze in the Philippines – I jumped the bandwagon. To be honest, it was nothing special for me before, but I wanted to try again if it will change my mind. Cronuts originated in New York. It was a fusion of donuts + croissant. I tried Little Flour cafe as they cater to this dessert. I tried out their calamansi (Philippine lemon) cronut. The bread was flaky which was good. The savory notes of calamansi was evident but it was not a melt in your mouth quality of a deep fried donut that I was looking for. I also ordered Vietnamese coffee and it was a bit disappointing – bland taste and under par, I’d still prefer the authentic Vietnamese coffee – strong.

Black Olive Cerveceria
Capito Commons
Price Php 200 – Php 3000

Finally, after 3 years, I met my friend, Jill and her son, Nicolo again. I was so excited to be seeing them again. The last time we saw each other was in 2018 when they visited us in Singapore. Time flies as Nicolo is already grown up and already 12yrs old with a girlfriend haha. We planned to go to Capitol Commons since most of the restaurants close around 4am there so we have more time for chitchat. We came across Black Olive, it looked cozier and quieter compared to the other bars so we chose to try this place. We ordered ultimate sharing platter which cost us Php 2300 and mojito which cost Php 200. When the platter arrived, all the food tasted so salty and oily. It was not even huge serving and there was nothing special to the dishes, anyone can cook those but will taste better. It was really disappointing. We did not like the food experience and not worth the money. I did not even like my mojito – it was not a refreshing drink at all with less mint. I will rate this as 0.5 out of 5, 0.5 because of the popcorn. hahaha

Tipsy Pig Gastropub
Price Php 250-Php 1500

We hopped on to the opposite bar which was Tipsy Pig. We ordered sisig. Original sisig is composed of chopped pigs face with snout and ears, liver, pig and onion. However, their sisig was too dry and salty as well. I don’t understand the reason behind the saltiness of the dishes but maybe because there was too much MSG haha. They only cater for drinks and some food to munch on. But nevertheless, the food was very disappointing. We also ordered buffalo chicken wings – it was just enough to fill your stomach but nothing special, not crispy and even spicy. I love my beer though, it was a Filipino beer (San Miguel beer). Beer will never disappoint so thank god for beer! haha. I will rate this 1 out of 5, 1 just because of the beer. hahaha

We ended the restaurant hopping by 1:30am and I needed to rest for my 5:15am call time with other set of friends on a Saturday for our island getaway in Bataan. I was so looking forward to that getaway!

I was very happy to see Leng and Nikolo again. Although the food exploration turned sour, it was still worth the time because I had to spend it with them. Even though we did not see each other for 3 years, we still feel connected after all the years of separation. I will always go back to Manila to have these kind of experiences haha but hopefully better tasting restaurants and alcohol next time! 🙂

Love,
Maria, sometimes Niskie