It's a totally bad idea to go to the SM Mall of Asia on Sundays! The whole mall is knee deep in people that it negates the whole concept of relaxing weekend. You cannot appreciate the store displays and the layout of the mall because you are too busy dodging people! It is also difficult to find a good place to eat because most restaurants are full during weekends. :(
It is better to go there during weekdays when most Manilans are at work! The only downside of this is if you love sales. Most mall sales are set on weekends, otherwise weekday visits is wiser.
Do not get in a taxi without advising that it is a meter trip. If you see no meter, get out. If the doors don't lock, get out. Make sure the meter is working, or advise the driver to stop, and get out. From the airport, do not accept the "line" that you must use an authorized taxi service that services the airport. There's no such thing. I was coaxed into thinking that there was a licensed taxi service under exclusive contract (which seemed fishy, but we're dealing with an extremely corrupt country here). I paid about 3 times what I should have (and endured the driver's tale of woe: "I have 9 children, blah blah blah..."). Expect to pay about 200 pesos from the airport, south of Manila, to the American Embassy (for lack of a better reference point). That's about 4 USD. I paid more than double, plus a tip, for which the driver was entirely ungrateful. Riding in a taxi in Manila is about being ripped off. Be smart, and also, be careful to keep cameras, and expensive looking bags/packages out of sight, and LOCK YOUR DOORS! **Jeepneys (shown, picture 2) are very inexpensive, based on distance, and for the horse and buggy rides, (shown in Intramuros) negotiate negotiate negotiate first!**
For muslims travellers , be more aware that some food might seem to be halal but they are not as they use lard or some pork in it. In a nation which loves pork so dearly ...it wouldnt hurt to ask the waitress / waiter :-)
it is always nice t o have a horse ride around the walled city especially during a sunny day ..but becareful ...the cart ride is per half hour ( Peso 300 ) and its not flat rate , so it person will bring you to a museum and ask you to go down and have a look ( and if you forget that he charges per half hour ) ...then at the end of the trip ..you will have to pay a hefty amount ...just becareful and use the ride for a round the wall trip . Anyway moving from one tourist spot to another is not that far
The most unpleasant episode in the Philippines happened in the men’s loo inside the boarding area. The gents near the gates was strangely empty for an airport toilet. A cleaner was there, presumably busy with his chores. Paying no attention to him, I went about my task. But as I was washing my hands after at the washbasin, the cleaner offered a clean towel to wipe my hands. “What a nice gesture!” I thought, only to realise that the hands remained outstretched and the smile now degenerated to a leeching look of expectance. I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book. No wonder the washroom was empty. I grudgingly paid out a pittance of money and retreated hastily. This was a first – being harassed for money in an airport’s toilet! I avoided THAT toilet like the plague the second time.
Last year I wrote about the necessity of insect repellant, and after getting bit on the eye while I slept, I'm here to stress the importance of it. There's a product called katol that smells like absolute garbage (it probably isn't good for you) but its effective in keeping the insects away while you sleep. Make sure you use it in a well-ventilated area.
On a side note, sleeping in an air conditioned room works well too because mosquitos hate the cold.
i would suggest you to change your money to smaller bills particularly to hundreds, fifties, and twenties.
this would be useful when you're using the taxi. a lot of drivers would take advantage of you especially when you're white. for example, your taxi rate is is 60, some drivers would say that they don't have small bills to change and would wait for you to say , keep the change. also, it has been a practice that the taxi rate is rounded off to the next ten, if it is 71, they will get 80 from you unless you give exact amount, which is absolutely a crap practice. but it's a habit now cos filipinos don't complain.
having small bills also would ease up your buying particulary in small shops. a lot of establishments here would always ask if you have smaller bills if you give 500 or 1000. even 7-11 stores here ask for that which is really crap. it is unbelievable that they don't have change for big bills considering the number of sales they have in a day.
hope this would helpful for you. sorry for the rant.
Only deal with store representatives wearing ID's or store uniforms. I've heard of people posing as employees, then taking the customer's cash or credit card to the "cashier" down the aisle and never returning. Oh and be sure to destroy all credit card carbons.
You would think drivers in Manila won their license in the lottery. They just know enough about traffic rules to stop at red lights, and sometimes not even that. Right of way at intersections is decided mostly by who has the bigger and more fierce-looking vehicle. You can forget road signs. They are in many places in Manila a little more than targets for vandals.
But on the other hand, since you can't really drive fast in Manila, road accidents are rather rare.
Whenever you go anywhere in a car/ taxi, I was advised to lock all doors.
The hotel and taxi driver told me this is because westeners are seen as having huge amounts of money and well, if an opportunity presents itself, you will find yourself a victim of daylight robbery.
Some of the horse-cart riders may seem to be geniun but all they want is your cash.
I was spotted by one of them in Rizal Park, this guy came to me amd started talking, when he learnt that i lived in sydney, he was excited to give me a short ride because he used to go to australia a lot as a seaman, i hesitated but couldn't refuse him. And it turned that the ride took a few hours rather than "20" minutes that he said at the beginning. At the end of the trip he brought me to this gun shooting centre and "Forced" me to shoot( which cost you P 50 per bullet ), at the time i was really too ashamed to refuse this as he was doing his best explaining everything during the ride. Then the bill came up, something like P2900 for 14 bullets. As much pissed off as i was, he asked for money again at the end of the ride saying we were already friends so that i needn't pay him but his horse really deserved some pay, i got outrageous and finally beat *** out of him (well, not physically).
Any of you who might be lucky enough to encouter this guy on the photo, take his offer of the free ride, and remember pay nothing if he desires anything.
I'd rather advised you to dress conservatively, especially when visiting Muslim and Catholic shrines. When you are planning a trip in the countryside then it is even more important to bear this in mind, as rural areas can quite patriarchal, and it is important that women should dress and behave modestly so as not to offend.
When you are coming out of Fort Santiago you will funneled through a room that has a big Guest Book that you will asked to sign then you will shown these huge sums of Pesos that others have donated! I doubt that most of them donated those sums. What they do is get you sign first then if you say no then they write in the amount the you donated which probably more money than you have with you!!
NEW YEAR'S EVE or other COUNTRY CELEBRATIONS
If you're planning on taking part in holiday revelry in the Philippines, be extra wary of stray bullets and fire-crackers. In early New Year celebrations 10 people have already been hit by stray bullets and 156 more have been injured by firecrackers, according to the Department of Health. Extra police and traffic forces will be deployed on New Year's Eve to uphold the peace.
Be very careful of what travel agent you use if you want to book a tour or a hotel package. We used one -- unfortunately I can't find the name of it written anywhere -- who totally misrepresented the package we bought. The hotel was supposed to be 'three-star'; it barely deserved one. It was supposed to be just a few minutes' away from Puerto Galera; it wasn't, it was 30 minutes' away by outrigger launch. There were supposed to be several restaurants nearby; there weren't. And last but not least: They charged us 2 1/2 times the rate we would have gotten had we shown up unannounced! In any event, what it all gets down to is caveat emptor. When we confronted them about it on our return to Manila, and told them we would report them to the Filipino tourist bureau, they simply laughed in our faces.
Again, care is advised. Make sure you are clear about what kind of travelers' checks they accept. We tried to cash some Visa checks, we were signing them in the teller's presence, but she did not tell us that her company would not accept them until AFTER we had signed over five hundred dollars' worth... If possible, bear with the bureaucracy in the banks because they're much more honest and reliable.
This is my Makati Shangrila Tips with the Newer Pictures. The Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is a...more
Interesting... Sometimes ,yes, yes, yes, means no ,no ,no. --Very disappointed with staffs English...more
Stay was ok. The worst part is if you are a member, you get to be passed around until you get a NO!...more