TRAVEL GUIDE // Manila, Philippines
In January, I had the privilege of traveling with a group of social entrepreneurs to Manila, Philippines on Rank & File’s first ever Global Retreat. During the trip, we connected with Filipino social impact businesses that are using their gifts, talents, and resources to alleviate poverty and create dignified jobs in their beautiful country. Travel has always been a way for me to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to see the world differently than my narrow perspective, and this trip was no different. I hope that by sharing my travels, you will be inspired to journey to these incredible places and discover meaningful connections and shake up your worldview as well.
At its best, travel should challenge our preconceptions and most cherished views, cause us to rethink our assumptions, shake us a bit, make us broader minded and more understanding.” –Arthur Frommer
TRAVEL GUIDE: MANILA, PHILIPPINES
THE ELEMENT HOTEL // $$
This cute boutique hotel in Makati is owned and operated by a French-Filipino couple, so no surprise that the breakfast is fantastic. Start your morning slow with a latte and one of their homemade French croissants. Prices range from 60-120 USD per night.
Z HOSTEL // $
The term “hostel” used to conjure up images of metal prison-style bunks, dingy linens (if any) and questionable bathroom situations. But over the years hostels have stepped up their game and offer great amenities in a more boutique hotel like atmosphere. Z Hostel is a great example of this new breed of hostel and is conveniently located within walking distance of some of Makati’s best restaurants and bars. Prices range from 14-44 USD per night depending on whether you stay in a bunk room or opt for a private room.
Savor the local flavor of Manila at one of these restaurants:
Lola Cafe + Bar // Trendy spot in Quezon City with Filipino bites
El Chupacabra // Try the chicken sisig paired with a local brew.
Wild Poppy // Grab a seat on their rooftop patio and try one of their handcrafted cocktails.
Be sure to try one of these Filipino staples:
Ube (purple yam) ice cream or Ube stuffed pastries anywhere you can find it!
BAMBOO BIKE TOUR
Take a tour of Intramuros (Manila’s historic walled city) with Bambike. This socio-ecological enterprise hand-makes their bamboo bikes with fair trade labor and sustainable building practices. They employ their bamboo bike builders (Bambuilders) through Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine based community development organization for the poor, working to bring an end to poverty. Bambike’s goal is to do better business and to make the greenest bikes on the planet. That’s a cause we are happy to get behind…or in their case, get on.
VISIT THE PINTO ART MUSEUM
Spend the afternoon at Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo. This contemporary art museum is set within the buildings and gorgeous grounds of a Spanish Colonial villa. It was founded on the belief that art can be a bridge between different nationalities, world views, and communities. It also has a primitive exhibit that houses an incredible collection of traditional handicrafts and textiles from all over the Philippine islands.
After the hustle and craziness of the city, Pinto is a little slice of paradise. Grab lunch at one of the cafés on the grounds, and then take your time wandering through all of the galleries the museum has to offer. The grounds itself are gorgeous and offer endless places to relax and unwind in the shade.
RIDE IN A JEEPNEY
Take a ride in the unofficial national symbol of the Philippines - the Jeepney. After World War II, the United States sold the Philippine government their surplus Jeeps. The military vehicles were then stripped down, extended to hold more passengers, and painted up in a style that reminds me of the chicken buses from Guatemala, or the decorated trucks of India. During the 1950’s, they became the official public transportation in Manila. While the original Jeeps may no longer be around, new Jeepneys are still manufactured to resemble the 1950’s vehicles keeping the nostalgia alive.
For an extra interesting ride, make sure to snag one with KARAOKE!
Traffic is REALLY bad, so don’t expect to get anywhere quickly - even if you’re only traveling a couple of kilometers. Leave ample time in your schedule to get to important places like flights or appointments.
Download the GRAB app if you need convenient way to get around town. (It’s their version of Uber or Lift.)
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