Your first days in the Philippines – From Manila Airport to the City Center

How to get from Manila Airport to the city center

To get from Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to the city center you have three options.

flying to the philippines

  1. Take a bus and try to find your way around from there by asking the locals
  2. You can take a white taxi
  3. Order a Grab car

Number three is the cheapest option. In Manila you can save a lot of money while spending time in a nicely airconditioned car if you previously download the Grab app. It’s like Uber or GoCar. You can upload credit by credit card or you can pay cash to the driver. Don’t worry if f your phone can’t catch the wifi of the airport. There is a guy at a Grab booth outside arrivals which can order a car for you. Further, you can ask a local to order one for you if you arrive late at night.

sights in manila

Wifi in the Philippines

In Manila, most hostels and malls provide a well working wifi. However, when you fly to an island like Siargao you might go without internet for days if you don’t buy a Philipino sim card. Luckily, this can be done cheaply in Manila for 60 cents and you can upload more internet data anywhere which is very cheap as well. You probably don’t need more than $2 for internet for two weeks (not the best one either of course).

What to do in Manila

Go shopping and enjoy the a/c in the huge malls

Manila is known for its good and huge shopping malls. We checked out a small mall right next to our hostel which was good for food and spa treatments but didn’t offer any goods that we wanted to buy. For the real shopping experience we went to the Robinsons Mall near the University Campus. They had all kinds of brands from cheap market booths to normal and expensive brands. Plus, of course there were all the good restaurants with cheaper prices than in other malls we have been to.

Get a new hair cut

In nice salons you can get a hair cut including washing with shampoo and blowdrying for 280 Pesos. On the street you can even find shops for 38 Pesos! Our guy did a very professional job and I guess you can expext that in most places here.

Get another spa treatment

Like in most of Asia, spa treatments like manicures and pedicures, hair spas and massages are cheap in the Philippines. Spoil yourself a little and simply relax for an hour or two.

Visit Manila Ocean Park

It’s a big aquarium with ocean inhabitants, shows and a bird life area. You can buy different entrance packages starting at 399 pesos. You can even buy a package to swim like a mermaid. Check out the website for more info here.

Visit the Old Downtown of Manila – Quiapo District

It’s mainly a big square and a church and a colonial feel to it. If you need to see a green space you might find your happiness at Rizal Park which is huge and next to the waterfront.

jeepney manila

Do you have more suggestions for a few days in Manila? Comment below.

If you want to read more useful information about travelin in the Philippines, buy my I love Philippines travel guide on Amazon (available in German and English).

philippinen reiseführer