Manila is the capital city of the Philippines, a group of islands located to the east of the South China Sea. Metro Manila (locally known as Kalakhang Maynila) covers a thousand square kilometers comprising Manila, Makati, Quezon City, and several other population centers.
For the first half of the 20th Century, the Philippines was a territory of the United States. In fact, until recently, it hosted one of the largest U.S. Naval bases at Subic Bay. The American influence on its culture and cityscape is evident everywhere.
The hustle and bustle of Manila might overpower a first-time traveler. You need a well-planned itinerary that gives you a taste of the new Manila and the old equally well. In addition to your itinerary, you should also prepare for your trip by purchasing travel medical insurance or travel insurance. It's the best way to protect your pocketbook in case of an unexpected illness, injury or travel mishap.
Things to Do for Travelers in Manila
Peek beneath the surface of Manila and you will find a vibrant culture that has existed for centuries and has evolved into a curious and eclectic combination of the east and west. From jazz bars to the folk dance between bamboo poles known as Tinikling – all can be found within a few city blocks of each other in Manila.
Spend Time at Intramuros
Manila is made up of 16 districts, of which Intramuros is one of the oldest. It was the place where the Spanish settled in the 16th century. Excellent examples of Baroque architecture abound wherever you look. Much of the old city has been torn down, and only about 120 acres remain. The wall around it runs more than four kilometers and remains one of the chief attractions. To tour it in style, hire a horse-drawn carriage known as a kalesa and spend a few hours wandering the charming alleyways.
Drop in at Rizal Park
Located in Luneta, Rizal Park is named after the famous historical figure Dr. Jose Rizal, executed here at the end of the 19th century. This hundred-acre area is well known for being the site where no less than three Popes have held Mass in recent years – recognizing the huge number of Catholics in this country. It is usually considered the largest urban park in Asia, and is known for being the city's tranquil heart where the weary come to relax.
Explore the National Museum of the Philippines
The National Museum Complex is made up of the National Art Gallery, the Museum of the Filipino People, and the upcoming National Museum of Natural History. It serves as the repository of the cultural heritage of this huge country, made of over 7,000 islands. In all, it comprises six buildings that display thousands of artifacts dating back several centuries. There is also the National Museum of Anthropology. If you want the history of the Filipino people, there is no better place. It takes at least a day to view all the major exhibits.
Lunch at Binondo
From San Francisco to Kolkata, many cities around the world boast of a Chinatown. But Manila is the proud home to the world's first. It is also quite easily the noisiest part of the city. From dawn until midnight, the neighborhood is filled with tourists who are busy shopping for souvenirs or feasting on the most succulent pork dumplings and oyster cakes.
At the center of Binondo is a vast brick church dedicated to San Lorenzo Ruiz. A walk through the locality shows you the breathtaking diversity of this country – from Baroque to traditional Chinese pagodas in the space of a few miles.
Shop at the Mall of Asia
With a floor area of over four million square feet, the Mall of Asia at Bay City is vast. Though it is huge, be prepared for a crowd since every day a quarter of a million people visit. Not only are there hundreds of retail outlets and dozens of world-class restaurants, there's an 1,800-square-meter skating rink inside as well. When you are tired, rest your feet at the gigantic 3D IMAX theater with no less than 20 La-Z-Boy recliners.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Manila
Manila is an enchanting city to explore. But you should never take a holiday for granted. At a moment's notice, an idyllic getaway can turn into a stressful event. Far away from your home, an otherwise minor inconvenience can turn into a major affair.
- Be careful about the traffic. It is chaotic to say the least. With rampant honking and vehicles everywhere, it is best if you look both ways carefully before crossing streets.
- Do not bring up religion, and be aware of social norms in the Philippines.
- Manila does have issues with petty crime. Keep your wallet, passport and other valuables securely tucked away.
- Make sure you wear waterproof boots and carry an umbrella. Being an island nation, the Philippines has unpredictable weather, and Manila's streets get waterlogged in a flash.
Manila Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Manila is a large city with advanced healthcare available, but you can't depend on public hospitals for timely treatment. Private care is available and is excellent, but it can come at a steep cost. If you do need to seek treatment at a private healthcare facility, you could get stuck with a large medical bill. This is why you should always get travel medical insurance.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Manila?
There isn't a legal requirement for travel medical insurance in order to visit the Philippines. However, it is highly recommended. A trip abroad is a large expenditure on its own. Treatment at a private hospital could leave you with a medical bill that may not be easy to pay. Travel medical insurance can provide coverage for accidents or injuries you may suffer while in Manila. It can be the difference between an enjoyable trip, and a massive financial inconvenience.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Manila?
Manila is a wonderful city to explore. However, a medical emergency can turn your life upside down. An ill-fated restaurant experience could result in food poisoning. A stumble down the stairs could see you waking up in the hospital. To add insult to injury, without coverage, you could find yourself paying those large medical bills yourself. Make sure you're covered. Buy travel medical insurance.
Manila Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Trip cancellation is a frustrating experience. However, every seasoned traveler knows it can happen sooner or later. A family emergency or inclement weather impacting your flights could dash your travel plans in no time. With trip cancellation insurance, you can make your travel plans knowing you can be financially covered for nonrefundable reservations and cancellation charges.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Manila?
A vacation is mostly paid for in advance. Hotel rooms and flights are upfront expenses. If you were required to cancel your trip, some of those charges may be nonrefundable; others might charge big cancellation fees. Trip cancellation insurance can help you get reimbursed for those charges and fees, allowing you to make other travel plans without the big financial hit.
What can be covered under trip cancellation insurance for Manila?
Most travel insurance plans can cover the usual reasons for trip cancellation. These may include illness and injury, natural disasters and other clauses as detailed in the policy. Depending on the plan you choose, your travel insurance can also offer you coverage for:
The exact coverage offered varies by plan. Consider the most important coverages for you carefully, so you can select the right plan to provide them.
Before You Travel to Manila - Do This
Enjoy your vacation in Manila to your heart's content. But remember this advice:
- Take some time to learn about Filipino culture. This way, you can enjoy the sights and people you'll meet even more.
- Maintain your essential travel documents in a separate bag.
- Enjoy yourself in Manila, but do so responsibly.
- Purchase suitable travel medical insurance or travel insurance for yourself and your travel companions.