Manila Solo Travel: The What and Where for the Budget Conscious Traveler

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Quick, you were given a free ticket to do a Manila solo travel adventure. You leave today and fly back 2 days from now, you game?  

I bet you are! Well, not all of us can get that opportunity to be provided a free ticket for a weekend vacation. I for one have not experienced that. I did however got to spend a weekend in Manila.

As a proud Cebuano I am content with the beaches, the party scene and food trips in my hometown.  Don’t worry folks, a feature of my hometown, Cebu City, will be up before 2018 ends.

However, as a travel blogger and a proud Pinoy it is a must to pay homage to the capital of The Philippines, Manila.

There is a lot to do in Manila. In my head I planned for a jam packed 8 hour adventure. There were however, obstacles that ruined my plans. Ehem ehem I’m talking about the seriously bad traffic in Manila.

But despite the traffic I still enjoyed the sights and scenes that is Manila.

So let’s begin my Manila solo travel with answering the question on…

WHERE to stay in Manila:

My main transportation through out my trip was a Grab Car (similar to Uber). However, if you want to be more adventurous you can always take public transport vehicles like the Jeepney, train and buses. I am bad with direction so a Grab Car was my best option. Make sure to download this app if you have not already.

There are many hotel options to choose from. It ranges from high end 5 star hotels to budget friendly lodges.

Based on my previous experience: Maasin Solo Travel . I placed a cap on where to stay on my solo travels.

Security, comfort and price is a must for me especially as most of my trips are solo travels.

Before deciding where to stay you must first answer the WHAT do I want to do in Manila question.

The city is huge thus knowing beforehand the places you wish to travel is a big help to filter out your hotel options.

For my Manila solo travel I chose the area of Roxas, Malate and Ermita (we’ll get to these places in a while).

Hotel Benilde Maison de La Salle

In some internet reviews the hotel is a 3 star hotel while other reviews say it’s a 4 star hotel. I honestly don’t care about it being a 3 star or a 4 star hotel as long as it fits my criteria on security, comfort and price then were good.

Hotel Benilde

The Room inside Hotel Benilde

In a nutshell, the hotel is great! The rooms are huge, the staff are friendly but food however is just average. Guess you can’t have it all can you?

Their rooms start at more or less 3,500 Php / 63 USD. You may check out my review on this hotel by clicking the link here : Hotel Benilde

Hopp Inn Hotel

The name could not be any more of an assurance that it’s a place for travelers to stay (wink).

Perhaps the owner of this hotel got confused on what he wanted to build. “Should I build a hotel or an Inn heck ill just build both “

Seriously though, I love this hotel. It’s a straight forward, vibrant and clean hotel. The room is sufficient with the basic amenities of any hotel.

Manila Solo Travel

The Room at Hopp Inn Hotel

This is the hotel to go to when you just want a place to rest your tired feet for a full day of exploration.

I booked a standard deluxe room at Php 2337 (including taxes) / 42 USD.

Manila Solo Travel

For both hotels they observe a 2pm Check in time and a 12 Pm check out. For Hopp Inn a late check out of 4pm would mean an additional 600 php payment.

There are other hotels aside from Hotel Benilde and Hopp Inn Hotel that you can choose from all you have to do is to search for them at travel booking sights if you want more options.

WHAT to Do in Manila

Now that we have options on where to stay for a Manila Solo travel. It’s now time to discuss the fun part!

As mentioned earlier there are many activities you can do in Manila. I wanted to do numerous activities but I only had a weekend to spare so I zoned in to two things I love the most: Art and Food.

The good thing about all the places I have been to is that there are no Entrance Fees all you need to do is to ride a jeep, taxi or walk towards these places. In short its FREE babeh!

  1. National Museum of the Philippines:

I love art in any form or shape. I am an artist myself. Thus prior to hoping on a plane to Manila I knew for a fact that my itinerary may change or be cancelled due to uncontrollable circumstances.

What must not change and is non negotiable is my visit to The Philippine National Museum.

The place is huge and old. Not the: it’s about to collapse old but the it looks better with time old.

Manila Solo Travel

The Hallway

The museum is the home of the paintings, sculptures and other artworks of famous artists in the Philippines.

Religious Statues

It is basically a creative walk at the history of The Philippines

Solo Travel Manila

The Old Legislative House

I could talk forever about the place (stayed there for 4 hours) but it is best if you visit the place as words can not describe how glorious it actually is. 

The Museum is located at: Padre Burgos Avenue, Rizal Park Ermita Manila.

The National Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

     2. Rizal Park

Commonly known as Luneta, Rizal park is only a few blocks away from the National Museum. As the name suggests it’s a park commemorating the national hero of the Philippines Dr  Jose Rizal.

Manila Solo Travel

Rizal Park

Due to the heavy  traffic of Manila I decided to travel by foot  from my hotel (Hop Inn) to Rizal park. Google told me it was a 10 minute walk.

I started walking 4:30 pm I arrived in the area quarter to 6 pm. I do not know if google was playing with me or I was just bad at directions (definitely the latter). 

The main attraction of Rizal park is the monument of Rizal at the center. It’s a huge park mind you plenty of space to walk around.

Red Blue and Yellow

The park is also the usual chill out spot for families and for those who want to de-stress from the hustle and bustle of the city without spending much.

Rizal Park is located in Ermita Manila right across the National Museum

     3. Binondo 

Aside from Spanish Influence, Filipinos also have strong Chinese cultural influence. This influence can heavily be seen in Binondo Manila.

Manila Solo Travel

China Town

Popularly known as Chinatown in Manila. The whole of Binondo is a hub for Chinese food and culture. Planning to taste authentic Chinese food and check out Chinese herbal medicines? Then this is the place to be.

Manila Solo Travel

The closest I can compare Binondo is HongKong (but the later is way cleaner though). There are a lot of restaurants and establishments to visit in Binondo.

I enjoyed touring around the place and even bought authentic Chinese food home which tastes awesome.

    4. Churches in Manila

I love visiting churches here in the Philippines. Despite how progressive the city is you would always get a feel of how Philippines used to look like through the architectural structures of the churches.

Manila Solo Travel

Ermita Church

Ermita Church and Binondo Church are no exemptions. These historic looking churches exudes the nostalgia of the Spanish era. Today these two churches are nestled in the busiest and progressive streets of Manila.

Solo Travel Manila

Binondo Church

And there we have it the list is complete. I had fun with my Manila Solo Travel. Yes, traffic was bad and my flights heading back to Cebu was 6 hours delayed but hey it is all worth it.

There is definitely more to see and experience in Manila. Erik the Hungry Traveller has only scratched the surface of the adventure that is Manila.

Thus expect for more Manila solo travel related posts in the coming months. But for now i bid you adieu!

Maraming Salamat at Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! (in English: Thank you very much and long live the Philippines)

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Erik the Hungry Traveller

Erik James aka Erik the Hungry Traveller is a Human Resource Ninja and at the same time a travel & food blogger. He uses his passion for the arts particularly with painting and photography to add more fun and color to his social media pages. He loves extreme adventures and does not back out on any food challenge. His passion for food and travelling started during his childhood years where he would accompany his parents to business trips around the Philippines. He currently focuses on writing blogs on solo travelling and trying out restaurants that are not your usual run of the mill places. To counter his extreme love for travelling and FOOD he also enjoys swimming and mix martial arts so that he can stay “relatively” fit and healthy. Instagram : Facebook: Email: [email protected]

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5 Responses

  1. Great post Erik! We would like to visit those places someday – definitely on our Bucketlist now! Safe Travels – Stay Awesome!

  2. Avatar prabhu says:

    it seems you are regular traveler and visit world wide places and cities. Hope i could be same like you and can see most of unexpectable places and activities. Thanks for sharing the nice post with images.

  3. Avatar Rebecca says:

    From one fellow budget traveler to another, thank you for all this information. I am going to be going on a trip to Manila and I wanted to make sure I got the most bang for my buck. I travel 4 or 5 times a year and people assume I have a lot of money but I don’t! I just know how to travel cheap and smart! Fellow travelers like yourself help me along the way when it comes to new destinations.

  4. The Phlippines is blessed with such a beautiful land and amazingly warm people. I always love coming back to the Philippines every year.

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