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Philippines Travel Guide

Philippines Travel Guide seeks to share the vibe of an authentic experience through our idea of adventure travel for explorers and memory seekers in the Philippines.

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Philippine Visa Extension and Food Tours in Metro Manila

We spent 51 days on a planned and organized Philippines Travel tour adventure in 2017. We created the Philippines Travel Guide website to give travelers authentic insights about this archipelagic country in Southeast Asia, comprising almost 7,600 islands divided into three major island groups — Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

A 3-day tour (Day 15-17) in the lovely island of Gigantes was such a challenging experience. We didn’t let the unpleasant weather hinder us from enjoying the view from the top of the island’s historical lighthouse. Also, we went on an island-hopping trip where we met friendly locals and went around the spectacular lagoon, beach, and sandbank on the island

We were scheduled to go back to Manila and spend 3 days (Day 18-20) processing our Philippine Visa extension, so that we can stay a little longer in the country.

Travel Diary 18-20:

Manila, the capital city of the Philippines is located at the heart of the island of Luzon in the northern part of the country. Being the country’s capital for approximately 4 centuries, this bayside city is full of life. Serving as the archipelago’s  economic, political, social, and cultural hub, Manila functions as an administrative region after merging with the surrounding cities and municipalities to form the National Capital Region (NCR). 

Today (Day 18), we kickstarted our Philippine adventure in Manila to process the extension of our visa. Of course, we couldn’t afford not to try the mouth-watering food that this city can offer.

Day 18: How to Apply Philippine Visa Extension in Manila?

10 March:

We left early to get to the Bureau of Immigration Department in Intramuros Manila to renew Zak’s visa because he can’t stay longer than 30 days on a standard tourist visa. We were expecting a long procedure but it was done and dusted very quickly. After an hour, his Philippine visa was extended for another 30 days. But, it did cost him almost PHP 7000 or USD 140.

If you are ready for your next adventure, check the passport & visa guidelines when coming to the Philippines before booking your flight to the country.

The entire administration and bureaucratic system in the Philippines have changed under the new president Rodrigo Duterte who has been trying to eliminate corruption and make public transactions faster. The country is in the midst of a big change under his leadership. We are even curious in what direction the country will be heading in the future.

The political history of the Philippines is very interesting. Get a quick overview from the time of the Spanish colonization to its current democratic government.

How do we Visit the Poblacion Area in Makati?

In the afternoon we went to see Marc, our Swiss-Filipino friend, whom we requested to safekeep some of our things at the start of our trip.

Zak and I stayed in Manila with Marc, which is why we got to see his childhood home in the Makati Poblacion Area, Southern Metro Manila in Luzon Region. There are lots of backpacker hotels, bars, and best food places in the area.

Makati City is home to the best places to visit in Metro Manila, Luzon. Just like any other travelers visiting the country, you will definitely love to dine in these delicious food-serving hubs. Also, setting your feet on the astonishing cultural heritage sites is a must-added option in your itinerary. Although these sites can be best enjoyed by the younger generations, they are originally designed for guests of all ages. So, why not pay it a visit?

We had dinner at El Chupacabra, a Mexican street food restaurant located in Felipe Street, Bel-Air Makati City. This is a highly recommended and very popular restaurant in the area that doesn’t have much seating capacity.

Summing it up, we had a great time in Makati City, the Financial Capital of the Philippines. Surely, you also will.

NOTE : Going early in the evening or making a phone reservation at El Chupacabra is recommended. The street tacos and boneless chicken are must-try.

What are the Best Accommodations in Manila?

As the Philippines’ capital city, Manila is the main arrival destination for foreign tourists visiting the country, before they can travel further to the different stunning destinations in the country. With the constant increase in the number of tourists, the accommodation facilities in the city have also grown throughout the years.

You can find many accommodations to stay. Whether you are looking for guesthouses, budget hotels, five-star luxury hotels, or even Airbnbs, Manila provides you a wide range of alternatives.

How to find the best backpacker hostels in Manila?

As more and more backpackers travel around Manila, guesthouses and hostels are widespread in the city, especially in the area near the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) Taguig, Metro Manila. You can easily find listings on the internet. Get surprised with the available options like dorms that are as low as PHP 200 or USD 4 per night.

Backpacker hostels in Manila are not just relatively cheap, but also ideal for making new friends. You’ll get to meet other tourists during your stay, through whom you can gain good recommendations on which places or destinations to visit in the future.

What is the average cost of Budget Hotels in Manila?

As you will be out enjoying the busy city most of the day, it is practical to stay at a budget hotel where prices are relatively lower than the other available accommodation options. In budget hotels, you’ll have an excellent place to spend the night with. It’s not bad to get basic amenities during your stay, isn’t it?

The prices of budget hotels in Manila start at PHP 1,500 or USD 30 per night, which can already accommodate two adults.

What is the average cost of luxurious Hotels in Manila?

Being close to the many top sites to visit in Manila, luxury hotels make a perfect pick. Can you imagine how pleasurable it is to rest in a luxurious suite with plush bed and marble bath after a satisfying tour around the city’s amazing tourist spots? Pamper yourself with some well-deserved relaxation in one of Manila’s luxurious hotels. Luxury hotels in Manila usually range from PHP 5,000 to PHP 7,500 or USD 100 to USD 150 per night.

Do you want to have more privacy during your stay in the country’s capital city? Not a problem! Opt for luxurious hotels, where you can take a plunge in the outdoor pool, work up a sweat at the gym, and get a complete massage at the spa.

What is the best accommodation of Airbnb Manila?

Are you that traveler who wants an accommodation with greater space and more privacy? Book an Airbnb, as it is the best option for you. There are countless Airbnb options in Manila that are designed with a range of styles and costs. So, finding the best listing is made easier than ever.

Airbnbs in Manila usually cost around PHP 1,000 to PHP 2,000 or USD 20 to USD 40. If you plan to have an extended stay, some hosts even provide discounts. Amazingly, you’ll get more value for your money.

Day 19: How do we Buy Travel Essentials in Manila?

11 March:

Today (Day 19) was all about relaxing, writing some emails, and creating content samples. We checked our equipment and decided to buy a few necessities. We couldn’t afford not to get these things done in such a long and exciting Philippine adventure like this.

In the afternoon, we went to a store that sells a lot of GoPro accessories and outdoor products. The way to ogre.ph. in Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong, National Capital Region (NCR) took us a lot longer than expected. And, finding the store wasn’t easy either. Luckily, we got there in the end. The store is home to a good selection of outdoor brands, and really has a lot of GoPro accessories – offered in limited stock.

Buying top essentials for travel in the Philippines is very important. Packing the right stuff can save you time and money.

Google My Maps Visa Extension & Manila Food Tours: Day 18-20

If planning a trip to Manila, check out the Google My Maps below to experience activities and adventures, and get to know different routes and directions, accommodations to stay, attractions to visit, and restaurants to dine in. Visit the Manila travel Google My Map to learn more about our Philippines Travel routes and adventures.

How do we Find a Place to Eat in Manila?

We were starving after hours of touring around the city, so we looked for a restaurant nearby. We asked the sales lady in the store if she could recommend a good place to dine. She pointed us to the PVL Restaurant and Shabu-Shabu, an Asian Restaurant in Brgy. New Zaniga, Mandaluyong City, National Capital Region. It is a huge buffet-style restaurant with meats, fish, noodle dishes, desserts and a lot more.

You can eat and drink all you can after paying Php 500 or USD 10 per person. Are you wondering how it works? Here’s the catch. You take whatever food you want from the buffet, and have them cooked by yourself at the table. Tables have a barbeque and two pots for soup, which the Filipinos call it Shabu-Shabu. The food was excellent, and its diversity was incredible – highly recommended for an empty stomach.

Whether you are looking for a budget-friendly place to eat or treat yourself to a fine dining restaurant, there are many top restaurants in Manila to choose from.

Day 20: How do we Explore the Best Foods in Manila?

12 March:

We woke up early, and again spoiled ourselves with a lavish brunch at Gerry’s Grill , in Manila Ocean Park, Luneta Manila. The food was delicious. Thereafter, we went back to the hotel to get some more work done. We worked on a lot of things, such a productive day indeed! We then enjoyed the sunset from the rooftop bar at the Bayleaf Hotel Manila , located within Intramuros, Metro Manila Luzon Region.

From there, we came to see our friend Marc for a fun night out with some of his friends. Yet again, we were caught up by hunger, so Marc and his friend brought us to the best Korean restaurant in all of Manila.

A couple of minutes later, we were able to find Jumong Korean BBQ in Don Pedro, Makati, Metro Manila (NCR). It is good to know that through the help of some locals, we reached the hidden gem in Makati Poblacion. For the record, you should try Pajeon, a dish of fried eggs with seafood.

The restaurant’s classic Korean dolsot bibimbap, which is a famous Korean rice dish made of different types of vegetables and an egg served with a separate sauce, is a must try as well. The dish is served in a hot pot. Also, it needs to be mixed properly with the sauce and left to stew for 5 minutes before you can eat it.

Did you know rice is the most important food in the Philippines and in most Asian countries? Rice can be cooked in many ways and it makes a wonderful partner for any savory dish.

The whole procedure was worth it because the flavor was intense. After dinner, we indulged in a Japanese Taiyaki for dessert. It is an ice cream that is in the shape of a fish, which can be bought in the streets of Padre Burgos , Makati, Metro Manila (NCR). Later we went to B-Side in San Antonio Makati City, Metro Manila where DJs played reggae, and showed a great live band performance.

The band created a very happy vibe in the place, with a fantastic group of musicians whose passion for music is undeniable. It was a great late night experience that we enjoyed a lot. We took an Uber (now Grab) back to our hotel. We didn’t have any problem booking with Grab through the mobile app we downloaded on our phones. We were picked up faster than we expected.

Did you know that giving a tip in the Philippines is not expected, but it is appreciated? Yes, you heard it right. You can hand in a tip to the staff of a restaurant who provides good service.

How do we Feast Lechon for Dinner in Pangasinan?

A few hours before dinner (Day 50), Zak stepped on a decorative piece of coral at the resort, which cut his big toe. We had been to more dangerous destinations before, where we could get hurt. But least did we expect that a small piece of coral could cause injury to Zak.

Fe, the lovely lady from the kitchen, took care of him in a traditional Filipino way. She got a few leaves from a tree, squeezed them, put them on his cut, and placed a bandage on it.

For dinner, we feasted on a Lechon, a young pig cooked in Filipino-style over charcoal. Amanda and her brother Rey had dinner with us. With Jonathan from Quebec also joining the party, it turned out to be a fun-filled evening.

What are the Top Things to do in Pangasinan?

Wondering about the things and adventures to try in Pangasinan?  Located halfway between Manila and Ilocos in the northern province of Luzon, the province is an underrated destination in the country. Although it serves as a jump off point for passengers coming to Baguio or other regions up north, it appears to be out of most people’s vacation considerations.

Nevertheless, you’d never regret stopping over Pangasinan after a mountain adventure in the Cordilleras. Loosen up on the beachside. Or, go island hopping in the Hundred Islands if you are into adventure.

Manaoag is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in Ilocos Region. Christ the Savior, on the other hand, is located at the Pilgrimage Island at the Hundred Islands National Park, Alaminos. Take a look at the top things to do in Pangasinan.

Pacific Salt Farms is the Philippines' largest salt producer located in Bolinao, Pangasinan (Ilocos Region). By touring around this approximately 500-hectare salt farm, you’ll learn how salt is harvested and produced. Are you ready to ride a historic train across the property?
Here’s another kicker! Don't miss a visit to the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag situated at the town's hill top. Also known as Shrine of Manaoag, it is renowned for its miracles which are depicted on its murals.

In February 2015, it was designated as a minor basilica, the highest honor awarded to a church outside the Vatican. This means that those who visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag gain the same spiritual advantage as those who go to the Vatican church buildings.

Being the only Christian nation in Asia, the majority of Filipinos in the Philippines practice Catholicism. Find out more about the religion in the Philippines and its interesting history and background.

At this point, you might be looking for a place to relax and unwind. Seek no more. Take a soothing dip at Bolinao Falls and enjoy the stunning off-white sand and crystal blue water of Patar White Beach in Barangay Patar in the town of Bolinao. Gracefully seated at the northernmost tip of western Pangasinan, (Ilocos Region) Bolinao is a hidden treasure.

Get to know more about the most beautiful waterfalls and the top beaches in the Philippines.

Lingayen, the capital of Pangasinan, is a World War II historical site. It is where the Americans landed as they helped liberate Luzon from the Japanese colonizers in 1942. The atmosphere of Lingayen’s downtown area shows a unique American influence, with wide roads and iconic buildings.

Visiting the flatlands in Pangasinan from Manila is approximately a 4-hour ride by private or public transportation, depending on the traffic and weather conditions.

And the best part? It’s food! The Philippines is home to many delicious and tasty desserts that you can eat at any time of the day. The town of Calasiao, Pangasinan boasts its toothsome Puto (a steamed rice cake, made from slightly fermented rice dough). The Filipino rice cake Calasiao puto has become so popular that even people who have never heard of the town know what it is, and believe that they’ve got the best-tasting puto in the country.

Don’t miss to try the most popular local desserts in the Philippines.

Google My Maps Philippines Travel Diary: Day 1 to Day 51

Check out the Google Maps below, to have an overview of the entire 51 days of Philippines travel adventure including exciting attractions and activities we did, destinations we explored, and travel directions in the Philippines.

Why do we Create the Philippines Travel Guide?

Zak and Dani created the Philippines Travel Guide while on 51 days Philippines travel adventure in 2017. Focused on the idea to explore travel routes and documenting location information by using the Google Maps application in the Philippines.

We created a detailed Philippines travel diary each day about our Philippines eco-adventure traveling experiences, including the production of pictures and videos of our trip through the Philippine archipelago.

Philippines Travel Guide is passionate about helping other self-minded adventure travel lovers, to make the best out of the trip to the Philippines by providing real information that passionate travelers and enthusiasts need to know about the archipelago.

Philippines Travel Guide is an ongoing process to work out public shared and detailed Google MyMaps of the entire Philippines to provide easy navigation for travelers.

This website also contains a collection of interesting authentic insights and travel tips and tricks and destinations in the Philippines.

SUMMARY: The Bamboo Paraiso Beach Resort & Hundred Islands Adventures

Manila has a rich culture and is one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Our trip let us see its beauty, and made us understand the reasons why many tourists keep on visiting this lovely and vibrant place. We were also able to process our Visa extension on schedule, so we got plenty of time touring around the Philippines’ capital city.

Manila provides a wide range of activities that both locals and foreign guests will surely enjoy. Some of the activities include sightseeing, food-tasting (street foods and non-Filipino cuisines), and sunset watching. Poblacion, BGC, and Padre Burgos areas were worth-a-visit.

We ended our 3-day (Day 18-20) journey in the country’s capital, as we planned to head on to our Next Adventure in Palawan and explore Puerto Princesa.


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One of the best things when traveling to the Philippines is connecting with the locals and bonding with their children. Visit our website to check out more travel and authentic stories!


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