Authored by Diane Wuthrich (Contributor)
They say that Manila is an acquired taste. But despite the seemingly endless traffic and bureaucratic government, Manila’s grit, hospitable locals, and undeniable charm will have you coming back for more. Because in this unique city, one trip to Manila in the Philippines, is never enough.
Preparing for your trip with some research ahead of time will save you the potential headaches. Here are a few tips to help you travel smart for your next trip to Manila.
Organise Your travel documents for your trip to Manila
Before you even leave home, make sure that you have all the necessary travel documents for your trip – and back up hard and soft copies.
Even if Manila is generally safe, you never know when you might lose a copy of your visa or passport. In the worst case scenario, having extra copies of travel documents will save you time if and when you need to fly back home or talk to your embassy.
Pack Intelligently for the trip to the Philippines
The Philippines’ tropical climate can be a boon or bane, depending on your preferences. But it’s a hot country, and Manila is no exception. Pack light and prepare for dry weather, especially if you’re travelling during the warm months of February to May.
You should bring added protection from the sun such as wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and sunblock even if you’re in the city. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes, especially if you plan to walk around the cities quite a bit.
The Philippines utilises 220V for electricity. Travellers can easily purchase adaptors in any mall or a shop that services mobile phones. Local SIM cards with data packages can be purchased inexpensively, but if you don’t have to be connected 24/7, all accommodations and some establishments also provide
WiFi. However, WiFi in the Philippines isn’t the fastest, but it works just fine for social media and texting apps.
Smoking Ban in Manila
The recently-implemented nationwide smoking ban affects several establishments throughout Manila, and if you’re caught smoking in a non-smoking area, you may be asked to pay a fine.
Certain restaurants and bars in Poblacion and Fort Bonifacio have designated smoking areas, so if this is a matter of concern to you, plan your days accordingly.
Transportation in Manila
Trust me; you’ll want to use ride-sharing services such as Uber and Grab in the Philippines, especially in Manila where traffic and congestion are part of everyday life. The Grab app is more popular and more widely used than Uber, and it’s easy to book a car on it anywhere in the metro.
Since the rise of these apps, enduring unhygienic and smelly taxi rides have become a thing of the past, but taxis are still around. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can ride a jeepney for short distances, especially if you want to get a feel of how locals get around. Just make sure that you keep a close eye on your belongings. Otherwise, astute pocket pickers may get the best of you.
There you have it – if you follow these tips, your trip to Manila will be smooth sailing and fun. It’s more fun in the Philippines, as the travel slogan says if you prepare ahead of time and plan accordingly for your trip!