Manila, Philippines (Makati)

(2018/2019, 1 MONTH)


  • Everyone knows English fluently, it’s amazing.
  • For being a big city, it is not touristy. Often times at public venues I could point out the few white people in the crowd.
  • Not too much to do for being such a big city. This is worsened by the congestion and bad public transit which restricts your available activities to your immediate neighborhood. It seems the majority of folks work and party (which doesn’t start until 11pm).
  • This one was unexpected. The Filipino people I have met outside the Philippines are extremely friendly. However, the Philippino people in the Philippines or a bit cold. They’re not interested in making conversation in public with strangers. An overwhelming number of times I was ignored. Or, if I tried to make conversation with a taxi driver, someone in the elevator, there would be little to zero response. Not even a smile. This is the biggest negative of Manila. (However, at night in bars, it seemed to be easier to meet people).
  • Supermarket (Rustan’s) is extremely expensive, even for being the high-end grocery store. See below for prices.
  • The women are attractive here more so than any other Asian country I’ve been to and their personalities are bubbly and energetic.
  • Most men are gay. I even got directly approached on the street by a gay man and asked for my phone number. That’s a first and I lived in San Francisco for 8 years!
  • Prices are much more expensive than surround countries like Thailand and Vietnam
  • They have two of the ten largest malls: SM Mall of Asia and SM Megamall
  • The taxi system is horrendous. Grab taxi app often reads that there are no driver’s available, especially in times of need. Taxi’s are very hard to find and they’ll request 2x the price during peak hours. They also don’t give change. Even when I gave 200PHP for a 120PHP ride, I had to request change and he only gave me partial change.
  • The women do not shave their legs
  • The food was just ok. It doesn’t compare to Thailand.
  • I made a trip to Siargao island, it's a chilled out surfer vibe, good for a short vacation from the city, see above for pictures

rickshaws manila philippines

Known For: Abodo, Jeepney’s, Civiet coffee (coffee beans pooped out of a wild cat)


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