Day 1: Arrival
We arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) quite late and upon check-out from the airport, it was like 9.00pm. Headed straight to our hotel in Makati area using Grab, check-in at our hotel (Nest Nano Suite @ RedDoorz Poblacion) and went straight to A.Venue outdoor market for dinner.
The place that we stayed at, for about 8 days and 7 nights are located in Plobacion, Makati area which is few kilometres away from the city center. It is known as RedDoorz Plus @ Poblacion Makati and same building as Nest Nano Suite Makati. If you are looking for affordable place to stay in Makati, you might want to check that place.
Day 2: Shopping in Makati, Manila
For day 2, since it was nearly end of the year and Christmas sale and bazaar happens every weekends, we decided to spend the whole day strolling and window shopping in Glorietta Mall 1 to Glorietta Mall 5.
Yes it is probably wonderful time of the year and our wallet admit it too. Sale almost everywhere and ended up spending our pesos to unnecessary things such as new sunglasses and so on.
Glorietta is the best place to visit during your first day in Manila so you can spend some pesos for souvenirs. If you are looking for souvenir for your family and friends, then Kultura Filipina is the place to be. It is located at SM Mall which is connected to Glorietta Mall 1. They have variety of items and souvenirs ranging from cheap to premium price to choose from.
After completed our list, we went to the basement floor for a quick shopping for essential things and dinner before return back to our hotel.
Spend most of our second day by shopping.
Day 3: The Old Manila (Intramuros)
There is no perfect way to learn the rich history of phillipines, other than experience it your own by visiting the walled city or known as Intramuros. The moment you step into Intramuros, you will feel like you have been transported back to Spanish colonial period, with the baroque style of architecture, cobblestone paving and kalesas passing by.
Intramuros houses The Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Manila’s 8th Cathedral), Fort Santiago (a museum dedicated to Jose Rizal, philippines’ freedom fighter), San Agustin Church (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Casa Manila (museum depicting colonial lifestyle during Spanish colonization of the Philippines), defense structures and few old universities.
You can explore intramuros half a day but be sure to start early. There are lot ways to explore intramuros. You can either rent a bamboo bike (bambike), tour with segway, rent an e-trike, walk on foot or even ride a kalesa.
For our case, since most of friends would love you explore intramuros and at the same time would love to experience kalesa ride, so we went to book with Castillan Tours as they offer quite affordable price, they are reliable (based on other reviews) and the tour guide is knowledgable.
After we have done with our Intramuros tour, we went to Mananzan Handicrafts which is just outside Fort Santiago to have a look if they have other things that Kultura doesnt have.
At the end of our tour we took grab to the SM Mall of Asia and pamper ourselves with a little bit of shopping, great food and some fun at the amusement park just few steps aways from the mall.
Day 4: Hunting for religious items and bargain
We spent our 3rd day in Manila by visiting some churches, bargain in Chinatown and hunting for cheap religious articles in Tayuman street.
After fuelling overselves with load of bangus, we went straight to Minor Basilica of San Sebastian (Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine), the only all steel church in Asia. Spent few moments to appreciate the beauty of the church (Of course selfies and more wefies) and few minutes praying.
Continued our journey by visiting Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz (Binondo Church) which is just few kilometres away. What is so special about Binondo church is that, it was founded in 1596 by a group of Dominican priests to serve the Chinese converts to Christianity, and San Lorenzo Ruiz – first Filipino saint, served as a sacristan in Binondo Church.
Binondo church is located in Chinatown just a stone’s throw away from 168 Mall, 11/88 Mall and 99 Mall. You may try your bargaining skills here.
After exhausted bargaining and got ourselves barong, we took grab to Tayuman street and hunt for cheap religious articles. Not bargaining this time but the items are cheap.
A short walk from Tayuman street will lead you to SM Storyland (SM City San Lazaro), grab dinner here do a little shopping and transfer back to our hotel.
Day 5: More Bargain at Greenhills
We love to bargain and Greenhills Shopping Center was our target for day 5. It is just similar to 168 mall just that this place is quite comfortable and less hassle.
After spending half of your day in Greenhills, we took the Grab to Fort Bonifacio Global City (Financial and Lifestyle district) and visit Venice Piazza, a Venice style shopping mall.
For day 6, we spent at least a day for some art classes. There are few classes that you can join such as Jewellery Making, Leather crafting, Soap making, Shoe Making and so on, and unleash your hidden creativity. Beginner class normally will take about half day and you will surprise how easy it is to make things that you might use everyday.
Day 7: Shopping for sports items
Well, if you are into sports, I suggest you Take Grab to SM Pasig and make your way to Decathlon for some sports items. We spent like half of our day in SM Pasig and Decathlon before Grab to Glorietta Mall for last minute shopping.
I really encourage you to buy some souvenirs especially snacks and so on from Kultura Filipino or just at the basement floor, as you will not get cheap price at the Airport (which is one of the mistakes that I regretted, but I did).
Day 8: Departure
Check out and transfer to NAIA terminal 3.