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Stopover in Manila, Philippines

Fort Santiago
Fort Santiago

You might find yourself in Manila on a stopover on your way to some of the country’s most pristine beaches – or on the way home from Thailand. Whatever your reason, Manila does have some interesting sights, and it’s worth spending a day or two exploring.

Intramuros is home to the city’s Spanish architecture, and you’ll feel as though you’re wandering the streets of Barcelona. The Manila Cathedral is absolutely breathtaking; you can even catch a wedding ceremony on Sundays.

Fort Santiago is essentially a shrine dedicated to the national hero, Jose Rizal, a catalyst in the Philippine revolution. It dates back to the 16th century and also houses some great views of the city.

The Coconut Palace is the current vice president’s residence and its name derives from its structure. Walking along the nearby waterfront is an ideal way to view the city’s skyline (although the harbor is riddled with trash).

Filipinos have a huge sweet tooth: some of my favorite desserts include banana cue and taro cake. A bakery pit stop is a must.

Manila is not a safe city, and I don't recommend walking around by yourself at dark. Personally, I’ve traveled all over Southeast and East Asia, and in my experience, I felt the most unsettled in Manila. That being said, there’s no reason to be frightened, but exercise caution and awareness.

Jeepneys are former American military vehicles transformed into public buses. If you want to get local, use one of these to travel. They cost only four pesos per ride – although be sure to ask the driver where he's heading. For the most part, Filipinos speak excellent English.

If you are considering staying in Manila for an extended period, consider volunteering at Fo Guang Shan’s Buddhist community center. They will provide accommodation, and you'll be able to work with some of Manila’s at-risk youth.

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Fort Santiago
Fort Santiago

You might find yourself in Manila on a stopover on your way to some of the country’s most pristine beaches – or on the way home from Thailand. Whatever your reason, Manila does have some interesting sights, and it’s worth spending a day or two exploring.

Intramuros is home to the city’s Spanish architecture, and you’ll feel as though you’re wandering the streets of Barcelona. The Manila Cathedral is absolutely breathtaking; you can even catch a wedding ceremony on Sundays.

Fort Santiago is essentially a shrine dedicated to the national hero, Jose Rizal, a catalyst in the Philippine revolution. It dates back to the 16th century and also houses some great views of the city.

The Coconut Palace is the current vice president’s residence and its name derives from its structure. Walking along the nearby waterfront is an ideal way to view the city’s skyline (although the harbor is riddled with trash).

Filipinos have a huge sweet tooth: some of my favorite desserts include banana cue and taro cake. A bakery pit stop is a must.

Manila is not a safe city, and I don't recommend walking around by yourself at dark. Personally, I’ve traveled all over Southeast and East Asia, and in my experience, I felt the most unsettled in Manila. That being said, there’s no reason to be frightened, but exercise caution and awareness.

Jeepneys are former American military vehicles transformed into public buses. If you want to get local, use one of these to travel. They cost only four pesos per ride – although be sure to ask the driver where he's heading. For the most part, Filipinos speak excellent English.

If you are considering staying in Manila for an extended period, consider volunteering at Fo Guang Shan’s Buddhist community center. They will provide accommodation, and you'll be able to work with some of Manila’s at-risk youth.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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