People/Local Culture, Manila
I lived for three months over Xmas '07 in central Ermita in accom like Slouch Hat and Duck Inn.
I was never cheated or asked for money by beggers on the street. I did though have two invitations to be the mug in scams which I simply laughed at and walked on.
As for safety if you stick to main streets like Roxas Blvd and Padre st as I did mostly in the day and all night you will be fine. A good precaution is to make friends with the shotgun guards outside businesses. They kept an eye on me after a few days to see I was safe back to my hotel.
The best protection is your attitude. Don't look like a victim.
Head up and confident body language with an unhurried but purposeful walk will keep the baddies looking for an easier target.
I found the Filipinos in Ermita to be extremely friendly and helpful. To the extent that my planned one week stay extended to three months.
As for bars with no girls? I can only think of Gay bars. And if you don't like women you won't like the Philippines.
Dress Code: Any.
On my way to dinner, there was some traffic in Santolan going down to Libis. Every time the car stopped, I checked myself out in the mirror. I'm vain...so what?! Finally I took a self pic. Ahh...will have to do...too late to go home and change....again!
If you love to dance and want to learn how from the pros, you can hire a dance instructor and at the same time watch some of the pros practice inside the club. In this pic are my niece and nephew showing their form. They've been winning both latin and standard in the youth division in recent asian championships.
Dress Code: No sneakers please. You'll want to be in dancing shoes.
Depends on what interests you ;-p
My best and only recommendation is for one to find a filipino friend who knows Manila well. This way you get to taste what the city really has to offer. If any of you ever get here, I wouldn't mind playing tour guide.
The Manila nightlife is quite diverse and offers tourists and locals alike everything from cheap beer to expensive champagne, a neighborhood karaoke bar to nightclubs where you can see and be seen (depends on what you like to see and who you want looking at you, too).
Dress Code: Manila is quite cosmopolitan. In spite of the present economic situation and our being a 3rd world country, our major cities are as modern as the ones I've visited in other countries...so, people in Manila are up to date with fashion trends. Since sunny 27C weather is pretty much a given here, the dress code is casual trendy. Dress nicely and neatly...that always works anywhere.