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Favorite thing: Global roaming rates are very expensive and since GSM (global system for Mobile Communications) phones are more popular than CDMA (Code Divisivion Multiple Acess), there are more countries with roaming areas for GSM and the latest hybrid of 3G (WCDMA-Wireless Code Division Multiple Access) here in Asia. 3G is also catching up in North America.
It is better to buy a pre-paid SIM card here (note: only GSM and hybrid 3g/GSM phones need SIM but pure 3G and CDMA Phones does not!) which is only 50 pesos and load with pre-paid credits than use your CDMA phone here since you need a dual phone (means it has GSM and 3G Capabilities for your roaming here) and besides, the philippines has the chepeast SMS rates for local use at just 1 peso per sms sent (it costs 40 cents in the states or 18 pesos sms text!) so you can just use your sms rather than relying on calls (calls cost about 7.50 pesos a minute on a pre-paid card) and save a lot than roaming (a roaming call here costs 80 pesos a minute and a international text costs 25 pesos).
You can buy SIM cards and Pre-paid Loads Everywhere! (malls, stores, supermarkets)
Fondest memory: If you're using T-Mobile like I do, remember that roaming rates for the philippines is $ 2.50 a minute for inbound calls and $ 2.80 a minute for outbound calls and sending and receiving text messages are $ 0.40. Better to buy the local prepaid cards here if your phone is not sim locked.
Updated Mar 20, 2012
Favorite thing: Filipino cuisine often comes as a pleasant surprise for foreigners as it's more moderate in its use of spices than some other Asian foods. Rice is the staple and is served with almost every meal. Fish features strongly and is served grilled, boiled, fried or steamed. Crabs, lobsters, prawns, oysters, tuna, freshwater fish and a regional speciality called 'sweet maliputo' are all commonly found on local menus.
Pork or chicken dishes are popular and include adobo, arroz caldo and crispy pata (fried pig skin). Vegetarians will have no trouble in Manila. Try gulay, (a vegetable dish simmered in coconut milk), mongos (chick peas) and pinangat (vegetables with very hot peppers). For dessert please try halo-halo (mish mash of fruits and sweets), buko-pandan (young coconut with pandanus leaf flavoring) or Ube (purple yam), pls see my local custom tips here in my manila page!
Fondest memory: The assorted Regional cuisines of the philippines
Updated Mar 18, 2012
Favorite thing: Hi ninaike...
I agree with the others. You can also go to the outlying provinces such as Bohol, Cebu, Vigan and Iloilo. You'll find traces of Spanish culture there. You can also visit Cagayan de Oro for some water rafting adventure.
Fondest memory: Luneta Park.
Written Jul 28, 2011
Favorite thing: Hi,
You won't stay long in Manila Bay especially in the morning or afternoon. It will be hot and not much happenings . I think 1 and a half hour is the most to sit there, have something to eat, look at the sea, ships,people etc.
But if it is in the evening where the weather is cooler and more people , more food peddlers and happenings around, then 2 hours is just nice for you to walk and sit around.
The rest of the time is best to spend at Intramuros.You need at least 2 to 3 hours there. Walking may take too much time and tiring. Taking a trishaw ( 3 wheels bicycle ) is good. Take a map of Intramuros and tell the man to take you to where you want to go in the map. BUT REMEMBER TO AGREE THE PRICE WITH THE MAN FIRST. THEY MAY SAY 30 , ASK 30 PESO OR US DOLLAR. vISITORS ALWAYS THOUGHT THE PRICE THEY QUOTE IS PESO BUT ENDED UP IN US DOLLAR.
Many people were conned by these horse cart man, trishaw peddler, tourist guide who will say the amount in Peso but will ask for US dollar at the end .
I was there in Manila in March. Met many nice and helpful people though.
Have a nice trip
Fondest memory: Helpful people around ready to show you the way.
I have heard of the helpful people in Manila before i went there. But I thought this is common everywhere and nothing special. Everywhere will have its good and bad people.
When I was there in March, one night I was with my wife on the way back to our hotel in Melati. To save some pesos, instead of taking a taxi, we needed to use a few jeepneys . We got up a jeepney in front of Balikbayan Handicraft Centre where this lady told us we were heading on the wrong direction. She volunteered to take us to the nearest station where we could walk to our hotel. On the way,we changed a few jeepneys and she led us all the way and told us to be careful of our belongings .
We told her that we should be able to find our way but she told us that she won't leave us alone especially at this part of old Manila where pick-pockets are plenty. She was on her way back from work that night and she sacrificed her time and effort in helping total strangers like us .
On another occasion, another lady also led us to the correct exit point in the LRT, used the exit point for Philipinos where it is faster than the other lanes. Told us what to do and what to avoid etc.
I'm sure there are many more Philipinos around ready to lend a helping hands to visitors.
And I'm sure too that many visitors to Philipines have met these kind-hearted people.
Thank you Philipinos. I'll cherish and remember this wonderful moment.
Written Sep 9, 2010
Favorite thing: Well, for me, you can visit anytime (I grew up there!)! But for non-Filipinos, remember that the rainy season in Manila lasts June to October - and when we mean the streets are flooded, they literally are. Unfortunately, even just a small tropical rain causes so much traffic! The water drainage system is not so good in this very old city...and once I had to brave the flooded waters --- carrying my wife in my arms (we were still in college). It was awful (but a bit romantic for my wife), not to mention the risk of getting the disease called "leptospirosis" if you walk on rat-infested flooded waters...
But then enough of that, I did not want to scare you out of my Motherland! Of course, Manila is exotic - what did you expect? Very exciting...And the true traveller will experience everything.
But the best time is still December to March with sunny coooler days, and lower humidity. As for April and May, be prepared for the HEAT!
Of course, the world is experiencing such weather changes now, so always check with the Weather Channel! This is just an overview....
Updated Jun 5, 2009
Favorite thing: Generally speaking, There are quite a few that you can get. Typhoid, dengue fever, rabies, hepatitus, just to name a few. I always suggest a minimum of getting the hepatitus series, but that takes about 6-8 months for the whole series, and some of the others may take some time for effect. Depending on where you are going to be going you shouldn't have any problem. I suggest the hepatitus shots only because you can get that anywhere, US, Europe, anywhere. Doesn't look like you'll have enough time for it. If you are staying in Manila or other big city you should not have a problem, and it's not the rainy season. You are not going to be checked so there are no legal ramifications and you are not required to carry a shot card. If you venture into the provinces or country, again you should be OK, mosquito netting is always good to be sleeping under if in the provinces during the mosquito/rainy season. If you are healthy, you should be OK.
Written Feb 6, 2009
Favorite thing: Sorry to differ, but you should always be getting a better rate for a hundred dollar bill versus a 50 or 20 bill. If not, go somewhere else that will give you a better rate. This is usually the case in all of the SEAsian countries, at least any country I have been to.
The rates may be comparable at the airport versus in town, but generally speaking you can get better rates in town. Money exchangers are all over, in the malls for the most part.
The only big difference that I have found from one country to the next is whether to take travel cheques. Some countries will give you better rates for cheques than actual dollars, some will not.
Written Nov 16, 2008
Favorite thing: there are a lot of taxi that you can hire here.on the airport, you can hire them if you want.there is also a rent-a-car here in manila.i have no idea what their phone number is.but you can wait on the street and just call a taxi if you want.try our jeepneys..
Fondest memory: night life here in manila is really good
Written Oct 9, 2008
Favorite thing: Here are some things to "see" & "do" in the country's capital of Manila:
1.) Experience the famous Manila Sunset
2.) Stroll along Roxas Boulevard where you get an unobstructed view of the Manila Bay
3.) Visit antiquated churches around town especially along the old Manila area (e.g., Malate)
4.) Visit Intramurous--the old and charming historic district of Manila
5.) Eat at the many Filipino oriented restaurants serving an array of local dishes/specialties
6.) Visit Luneta Park/Rizal Park
7.) Visit the Japanese Garden
8.) Visit Nayong Pilipino (a replica of famous tourist spots in the country)
9.) Visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines
10.) Visit the Manila Chinatown in Binondo
11.) Visit Fort Santiago
12.) Visit the neighboring cities (e.g., Quezon City, Makati, Pasay, San Juan, etc.)
13.) Shopping in the "tiangges" (local markets) of Quiapo for cheap native handicrafts & souvenirs. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities in the upscale malls of Makati.
Enjoy your trip to busy Manila!
Updated Aug 7, 2008
Favorite thing: I'll second Intramuros and from there you can walk to the nearby Rizal Park (I think that's the name).
Also, you should take a tour (by boat) to Corrigidor Island, which was a location of fighting during WWII.
If it is raining, you could visit the large mall there (I think it's called the Mall of Asia).
You can also take a day trip by car to Tagaytay, and see the volcano's there. It's possible (and I recommend) arranging a boat to the island volcano and then bargaining with the villagers to take you to the crater on horseback.
Written Jun 9, 2008
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