Manila Tourist Traps

  • Jaz, our negotiator
    Jaz, our negotiator
    by dovalyn
  • Can't figure out which one.  I'll take them all!
    Can't figure out which one. I'll take...
    by dovalyn
  • Sunset at the beach plaza
    Sunset at the beach plaza
    by dovalyn

Best Rated Tourist Traps in Manila

  • whvcebu's Profile Photo

    Manila - Calesa

    by whvcebu Updated Feb 20, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Calesa

    In General - negotiate the price before going onto a Calesa.
    Despite prior arrangements the driver of the Calesa tries to increase the price when you get off. It is also common to let you off only at the "Calesa Waiting points' because there are many of the drivers who would help them in a dispute to argue for a higher fare. Don't get irritated.

    Unique Suggestions: Get off a Calesa somewhere near to the place away from any of those waiting areas and pay only the agreed amount.
    Make sure you will have exact change as they will pretend not to be able to change your money if you pay with bigger bills.

    Fun Alternatives: Ride an airconditioned taxi with a meter. Insist of switching on the meter. It is definetely cheaper than a Calesa ride through the poluted city. If the driver says the meter doesn't work tell him to stop and leave without paying anything.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Theme Park Trips

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  • whvcebu's Profile Photo

    Manila Transport - Beware of pick-pocket thieves

    by whvcebu Updated Feb 29, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In public transportation, particularly jeepneys and busses take good care of your valuables. Never keep your purse in the rear pockets of your trousers, always in front pockets.

    For ladies, hold your hand bags on your lap, never keep it on your side. Bags are snatched or slit open with sharp knifes and the thieves disappear just by jumping of the slow riding busses.

    Unique Suggestions: Don't pay with big bank notes. Always look to it that you have available some small change

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Theater Travel

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  • joysweet's Profile Photo

    calesa ride at baywalk

    by joysweet Written May 23, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    before getting on the calesa for a leisurely trip along baywalk or malate area, please make sure that the rate that the driver has quoted is for your group and not individually priced. they normally give out a low price (say 500 pesos) only to find out at the end of the trip that the 500 pesos quoted is PER person and not per trip.

    Unique Suggestions: you can always take the calesa ride at intramuros instead where they have a relatively fixed price for the tour/ride

    Fun Alternatives: go to binondo instead, and ask for a short round trip ride that will cost you about 100-200 pesos per ride, although not really going through the scenic places.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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  • sirenna's Profile Photo

    Pedicabs

    by sirenna Updated Feb 8, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pedicab Driver

    Oh, what fun we had! We exited the Hobbit House (having had a great night, as there was an excellent blues band playing there, 'Huka') and decided, as we were slightly drunk (OK, a lot drunk) that we would take a pedicab for the three blocks back to our hotel. Ha! After 10 minutes or so of this young guy frantically pedalling his little bike, we eventually realised that we were in a completely unfamiliar district, and callled a halt to the proceedings. "Bianca's Garden!" we said! "You are going the wrong way!" .... "OK, sige", says the driver, "Bianca's" whereupon he proceeds to take us on another scenic tour of some of the less pleasant parts of the city. Finally, we gave up. "Stop!!!" we slurred "Do you actually know where you are going?" The answer, basically, was, "Er, no, not sure Ma'am". So dutifully we hopped out and paid (oh yes, you still have to pay, even if the person didn't manage to complete the task...) and found another pedicab driver who claimed to know where we were staying.. We were now hopelessly lost in a strange district of the city. We told him the name of our hotel, and off he set. Twenty minutes later, we were still circling around aimlessly, while the driver whistled a merry tune, and greeted a cheery hello to his drunken friends along the way. Finally, I lost my rag. "Do you actually know where Bianca's is?" I yelled - "It's on Adratico St, just off Remedios Circle!". So the guy turned and looked at me in mock surprise and said "Oh, Bianca's - I though you said Victorias!" Sigh...
    It was just around the corner, and he took us there. I won't even tell you how much money we wasted on this b0llocks, but I'll tell you this, they had a good laugh out of us I'm sure!

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel

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  • IamCCunnings's Profile Photo

    Six Undeniable Reasons Why Roxas Boulevard Rocks!

    by IamCCunnings Written Aug 6, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The long stretch of Roxas Boulevard

    Formerly Dewey Boulevard in the American colonial times, Roxas Boulevard takes its name after the fifth President of the Philippines, Manuel Acuña Roxas, when the country gained its independence in 1946. The long stretch of Roxas Boulevard offers a scenic view of Manila Bay, which most local and foreign visitors like to capture on their cameras. Known as the sunset strip, Roxas Boulevard has six undeniable reasons why it rocks as a worthy stopover.

    Unique Suggestions: Glittery Lamps on Baywalk. At dusk, the Baywalk, a popular promenade along Roxas Boulevard, comes alive with an estimated crowd of 30,000 to 40,000, who come to enjoy the many restaurants and street performers that populate the area. One of the main attractions: colorful street lamps that illuminate the Baywalk's paved footpaths in multicolored lights.

    For more details, check on this link!

    To read more, link!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Backpacking

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  • herzog63's Profile Photo

    Rizal Park - Calesa Drivers

    by herzog63 Written Jan 30, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rizal Park

    You gotta watch out for the Rizal Park Calesa drivers. They are friendly enough but they will hound you for more money! Even after you've both agreed to a price. My son wanted to ride on one so I agreed but I told him that I would have to negotiate a price first. So I approach one of the drivers and ask him how much a ride is and says something like 300 pesos for a ride around Rizal Park hhhhmmmmm...sounds expensive to me so I say "nah that's ok and we walk away a then the price drops to 50 pesos!! Ok So we hop in and I ask the guy if it's 50 pesos to go around Rizal Park without any added fees "Sure" he answers! Well we take off Clip Cloping down the road and my son is having a blast!! It was a nice little ride around the park. Then when we get to the end of the ride the guy wants 100 pesos and I said "I thought it was 50?" and he said "Yes 50 each" Hmmm...I'm being scammed!?! Then here comes his buddy from out of nowhere holding some sort or Calesa Regulations Sheet that stated that the fees were per person!! ahahaha I'm having fun so I say kind of loud "Come on Buddy?" And then I said "I'll tell you what, I'll give you 60 pesos total but my son gets to pose in your Calesa while I take a couple of photos" The other guy said no and then I said Well I'll give you 50 pesos then! Then the driver agreed to the 60! We took pictures but they didn't come out good as the sun was behind the Calesa. My son got a lesson in South East Asia bargaining and Bait and switch tactics!! When something like this happens don't get mad just keep smiling and having fun and everything should work out fine in the end!!

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  • GenuinelyCurious's Profile Photo

    Get rubbed the wrong way

    by GenuinelyCurious Written Jun 24, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I was offered an hour-long massage at Radiance "Spa" on Polaris street on the corner of Makati Av, very close to the Burgos street entertainment center.

    I was pummeled and mis-handled for about 45 minutes, was told it was "almost" an hour, got offered a hand job and told I was taking a shower in the wrong place after they asked me if I wanted one.

    Service is poor, service nearly surly

    Unique Suggestions: IF you go, let them know your requirements and get it clear as possible up front.

    Watch your stuff! They also claim no responsibility for your belongings and they were so extreme about it, that I worried too.

    Fun Alternatives: Visit the much better, much more professional and even less expensive Touch of hands massage parlor which can be found at my tip here

    Related to:
    • Spa and Resort

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  • Frank&Yan's Profile Photo

    Money Changers In Manila

    by Frank&Yan Written Jan 24, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When converting your cash into the local currency, avoid touts who offer good rates. They will bring you to an unauthorized Money Changer outlet and you will get ripped off. First is they will request you to change more than what you need. The reason being that they are offering you a good rate and in return you should reciprocate the favour. Later, they will count the money in front of you and asked you to count again. After you finish counting, they will count again and hand over the cash to you. Once you put it into your wallet, any short change will be your responsibility, because you have been short change of at least 30 percent. This is how they make money by offering good rates.

    Unique Suggestions: If you do not have any choice, this is what you should do. Count your money several times with a friend and never let them touch the money again.

    Fun Alternatives: Always go to the authorized money changers whose licences are being advertized clearly on the front of the office/counter.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel

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  • we2364's Profile Photo

    Taxi Drivers in Manila is so nice

    by we2364 Written Jul 2, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Comparing to the latter unfavorable experience in Cebu, almost all of the taxi drivers I met in Manila is very helpful and nice. But from what my friend told me, I am probably very lucky to meet all the good ones here.

    I met a young and handsome driver after visiting intramuros, when I felt going a different way back, I suspiciously told him(politeness is always needed even others are doing sth. wrong). He then explained to me that was one way which he could not turn left. He told me no worrys at all and afterwards we had a great conversation, talking about the country, their female president Alojo, average income (the monthly income of the stuff works in the office is only $200. Comparing to what we earn in Shanghai, we are much developed country). Finnally he sent me to the destination and good tips is always something I can appreciate his help and good time spent.

    Another good one I met is the one whom drove me to see the cockfighting.
    After getting on one taxi, I just told the driver that I wanted to go to the place for seeing the cockfighting. Instantly, he felt surprised that I would do this by myself and told me it was highly not recommended to try this on my own(I was terribly unintelligent as I didn't know how dangerous that could be). Finally he companied me for 2 hours by driving me to the court, companing with me in the taxi before the game started and helping for getting all kind of information I would need for watching this event. I can tell without his help, it is impossible to have this visit on my own. Ultimately, good pay is something I can appreciate his help (even it is a bit higher, but personally i feel it is still very worthwhile).

    Unique Suggestions: Pls refer to the same section in Cebu page.

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  • syllybabe's Profile Photo

    Metered Taxis vs. Rental Cars

    by syllybabe Written Sep 20, 2002

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When you get to the airport, whether arriving on a domestic or international flight, you can either take a chauffeur driven airport taxi or a metered cab. Metered taxis are cheaper as long as you make it clear to the driver you know where you're going and make sure he turns the meter on. You'll end up paying 5 times more if you hire a car but you usually get newer more comfortable models than the metered ones. Regular metered cab fare to Makati is about $2US and airport taxis about $10 or $11.

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  • Always taxi strife

    by englishlalaki Written Oct 11, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    getting a taxi to or from an airport in manila or Cebu is always a pain in the backside due to drivers trying to make a quick buck from white travellers. My fiancee always tells me to stay out of sight while she gets a taxi and arranges a price, cos she knows if the driver sees me he will bump up the price. generally taxi's never use meters for airport trips. just last week a driver agreed on 800 pesos, but when we got to the destination he asked for 1,000 and wouldnt give in asking until we slammed our house door in his face.

    Unique Suggestions: If you are travelling with a filipino, then let them arrange the price of a taxi while you keep out of sight. It's maybe a good idea to confirm the price as soon as you get in the car so the driver doesnt try to ask for more after you've set off. If he tries to raise the price when he sees a white man getting in his cab, then simply say no thanks and find another cab. chances are he'll give in cos he's already making more than if he used his meter.

    Fun Alternatives: If you have only 1 or 2 pieces of luggage, finding a jeepney to take you closer to the airport is a big advantage. Unfortunately it's not always easy to spot where the jeepney will be going, so try to get advice from locals. Jeepneys do not raise their price for white people so if you can use one it's a big help. You wont be able to make the whole journey to the airport in one, but if you are a long way from the airport it will save you a lot. I stayed in cavite and would have to pay 1,000 to 1,200 to the airport in a taxi. Instead we got a jeepney to alabang metropolis for just 28pesos each, from there the taxi driver tried to ask for 500, but accepted 300.

    Related to:
    • Work Abroad
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • dovalyn's Profile Photo

    Green Hills Mall

    by dovalyn Updated Nov 26, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Jaz, our negotiator
    4 more images

    OMG! If you ever wanted to buy anything, this mall certainly has it. Two full floors of hundreds of restaurants and shops co-existing side by side. Multitudes of local people and tourist alike swarming this small inner city within a city. Bargains can be had for a song but there is much to negotiate as local owners do not like to "give the store away". Walk around for a bit and if you can remember where your better bargains are, let them wait to offer you a good deal. They definitely don't want to loose a customer to a competitor. The name of the game here is: negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.

    Unique Suggestions: If the shopping gets to be overwhelming, take a break and enjoy the many inexpensive restaurants within Green Hills and each one trying to out do one another as they tempt you with samplings of their food and try to lure you to their booths.

    Fun Alternatives: Hail a taxis and go to the beach or boardwalk. It's not too far from Green Hills and an inexpensive ride. Be sure to negotiate the fare before stepping into the cab. It is approximately about 40 minute ride in traffic and seat belt yourself good because in the Philippines, everyone drives chaotically there! The driving lanes seem to make no sense at all to them. Not once did I see an accident but many close calls and the people love to "honk" their car horns alot! A taxi can bring you back to Green Hills and again, negotiate the fare.

    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

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  • Nightmare in Chinese Cemetary

    by vvink Written Nov 11, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    there will be people offering a tour around the cemetary with charges of 480 pesos.
    since that the cemetry is big, we agreed with the offer.
    The tour guide will bring u round n explain wat he knows about the cemetary, of coz we wouldn't know which is true or fake.
    however, we still continue the tour till the end until he mentioned the charges, I was in the shock of my life!!.. it costs me 2000 pesos!! as he said its 480 pesos PER HOUR!!!... I'd gv the amount if its worth of money.. but this jz the CEMETARY!!!!...
    It's less den 3 hours though, but he insisted that we've walked for more den 3-4 hours.. WHAT A CHEAT!!!...

    Unique Suggestions: DO make sure the charges PER HOUR...
    DO make sure HOW LONG IS THE TOUR...

    Be cautious alwix with what some people offers you.. as they would alwix assume that you r rich and be able to pay...
    even though this might be a way for them to earn some extra money... but sigh~~... this will just restrain ppl from coming another time... and they might even earn less....

    Fun Alternatives: You can just go round the trip yourself instead of with a tour guide...
    there is nothing much though...
    Even though the area is big, but wat i can say... it's just of cemetary that is built tall...

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

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  • malbari's Profile Photo

    GREENHILLS MALL

    by malbari Written Sep 24, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Greenhills is known for its flea market-type environment. It is an indoor mall full of individual stalls where you can buy almost everything, particularly local products and native Filipino gifts. It's great for presents to take back home!

    Two warnings:
    1) If you are thinking about taking home a purse, a pair of shoes or some perfume, chances are it will be fake. I'm sure you'll be able to tell by carefully inspecting the product. The store people know its fake but they are not going to be the first ones to tell you that. And if you do ask for its authenticity, please do it politely as to not embarass them. Ask with a smile or a gentle laugh. The store people will more than likely assume that you will be aware that it is not the real thing anyway.

    I have regularly bought various fake items from Greenhills and people back home love it, as some items look pretty darn close to real!

    2) Negotiate!!! Some if not most vendors will "knock down" a price for you voluntarily anyway however in cases when they do not, ask for a lower price. If they know you can handle a good bargain, chances are they will give you the "local" price just to make a sale. But remember, never settle for the first price they offer you.

    Hope these help.

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  • johannlucas's Profile Photo

    RIDING A CALESA IN MANILA

    by johannlucas Written Apr 29, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I would just like to warn tourists who hire a horse drawn CALESA to be careful on dealing with them as there are some of them who duped tourists by charging them more than what the price you've agreed to EXAMPLE..... THEY SAY THAT YOU WOULD PAY HIM 500.OO PESOS for the cith tour BUT WHEN YOU'VE GOT OFF ON THEIR CALESA & PAY HIM THE AGREED AMOUNT,,THEY WOULD ASK U $500.00!!!!! SO THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A WARNING TO TOURISTS WHO WANT TO HIRE A CALESA!!!!!!!!!!!

    Unique Suggestions: CALL THE POLICE!!!!!!!! SCREAM!!!!!!!!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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Manila Tourist Traps

Reviews and photos of Manila tourist traps posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Manila sightseeing.

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