Luzon Things to Do
Intramuros I found was probaly the most interesting part of Manila and is one of it's oldest districts. It's location was originally a Malayan Muslim area but the Spanish took control of the it and completed building Intramuros in 1606. Intramuros is a giant walled city that literally means "within the walls" as it has huge thick walls that kept the location population seperate from the Spaniards. Intramuros mostly survived World War 2 but then many of the original buildings were knocked for modern ones when the Americans made it a HQ. Today it is a great place to wander around and admire Spanish influenced architecture. Or you can also walk along the 4 kms of the rampart and admire views of both inside and outside of Intramuros. There are a few old cannons still pointing out from the walls that you can wander around.Related to:
Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and is located on the southwest portion of Luzon. The city itself has a population of around 1.5 million while it's greater area has a population of around 10 million. Manila proper has the highest population density of any major city in the world with 41,014 people per square km. This is the travel hub for the country. For me I used it as a base for nearby sites. When I came here I haven't been around shopping malls and fast food restaurants for a while so having all that around me was nice. But all the street hawkers trying to sell you Viagra and overly aggressive prostitutes get annoying real fast. If you like big cities you should enjoy Manila as it is very vibrant and has some really nice parks but it should not be your only taste of the Philippines.
Taal Volcano can be a good trip. We did it as a day trip from Manila which I thought it would have been better as a side trip to somewhere else. It is about 50 km south of Manila which there are buses that go to nearby towns and some jeepneys make their way but we hired a car and driver for the day. One of the reasons this is an interesting spot is that there is a lake in the cone of the volcano which there another volcano with a lake inside of it. It is a fairly active volcano with 33 recorded eruptions since 1572. Once you take a boat across the lake you will be swarmed with money trying to sell you hats, dust masks and water. Then you will be told you need to take a horse or a donkey up to the crater which I thought was quite expensive. You do not need to take a horse or donkey and all you need to do is follow the trail. It goes through a small town but there is a constant flow of traffic that you won't get lost. If you decide to do the hike make sure you are in decent condition. The views at the top are pretty decent and when I was there you could see a little bit of steam coming up from inside the cone.
Corner Montinola Street, Kisad Road, 2600
Good for: Families
Lot 14, Argonaut Highway, Boton Area Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Philippines
Good for: Couples
Mimosa Drive, Mimosa Leisure Estate Pampanga, San Fernando Pampanga, Luzon 2009, Philippines
Good for: Families
On of the standard ways of getting around some of the cities on Luzon. When the Americans began pulling out of the Philippines after World War 2, they sold and gave a lot of jeeps to the locals. Since much of their cheap public transport was destroyed these stepped up for the need. They stripped down the jeeps then started adding benches so it could hold around 12 people. Now they are decorated what everway they can. All painted and shiny with lights and all different items. They have set routes with set payments. All you do is jump on the back of one and pay the driver a couple of pesos.