BAKERIES, COFFEE, ICE CREAM, JUICE & TEA
●Travel Café – Greenbelt 5, 2nd Floor (Mall of Asia); 011-63-2-729-3366; travelcafephilippines.com; try alamid coffee, beans having passed through civet cat’s digestive tract.
●Figaro Cafe – P. Ocampo Sr. Street (Coconut Palace); 011-63-2-833-7595; figarocoffee.com; chain; barako coffee, grown only in Philippines; beans are also sold in take-home packs.
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Hobbit House – 1212 Arquiza Trade Center, Marcelo H. del Pilar; 011-63-2-521-7604; proudly run by “world’s smallest waiters”; more than 150 kinds of beer and cider; Manila institution.
●Capone’s Bar – Valero Street, (Ponte Salcedo); “indie” music bar locale.
●Museum Cafe – Makati Avenue, Greenbelt 4 (corner de la Rosa Street, at Ayala Museum); 011-63-2-757-3000; ayalamuseum.org; sleek bar that looks on to Greenbelt complex’ lush gardens (until 3 am on weekends).
●SaGuijo Café & Bar – 7612 Guijo Street (San Antonio Village); 011-63-2-897-8629; saguijo.com; encourages indie and rock musicians.
●Salong de Ning – Makati Avenue (corner Ayala Avenue, at Peninsula Hotel); 011-63-2-887-2888; peninsula.com; Art Deco, 1930s Asian vibe.
●Library Comedy Bar & Restaurant – 1739 Maria Orosa Street; 011-63-2-522-2484; thelibrary.com.ph; mixes campy live music and karaoke.
●Sunset Bar – CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard (at Sofitel Philippine Plaza); 011-63-2-551-5555; sofitel.com; long, white lounges and beanbags on grass by ocean; pretty at sunset.
●Encore SuperClub & Suite Lounge – 26th Street (at 5th Avenue, Unit D, Fort Entertainment Center); 011-63-2 816-4195; Manila’s top spot; heats up from midnight; it’s jammed with celeb and expat clubbers, so dress up.
●Establishment – 26th Street (at 5th Avenue, Unit D, Fort Entertainment Center); 011-63-2-844-6364; gay-friendly, sleek bar with fabulous service, generous cocktails, and patrons who love to dance.
●Makati Shangri-La – Ayala Avenue (corner Makati Avenue); 011-63-2-813-8888; shangri-la.com; 699-room giant, all lush chandeliers and 6 pm checkouts.
●Mandarin Oriental – Makati Avenue; 011-63-2-887-2888; mandarinoriental.com/manila; Tin Hau Chinese restaurant and spa that specializes in indigenous treatments dating from 5th Century.
●New World Hotel – Esperanza Street (Ayala Center, opposite Greenbelt shopping complex); 011-63-2-811-6888; manila.newworldhotels.com; 598 rooms.
●Peninsula – Makati Avenue (corner Ayala Avenue); 011-63-2-887-2888; peninsula.com; all-day-dining restaurant has pool views.
●Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences – 119 L. P. Leviste Street (Salcedo Village); 011-63-2-828-4774; picassomakati.com; each room different color, with artworks throughout this Cubist-inspired hotel.
●Panciteria Lido – 593 T. Alonso Street; 011-63-2-733-5260; among Manila’s oldest restaurants (dating back to 1930s); Chinese-Filipino fusion; has old world charm and affordable prices; great dumplings, noodles, steamed prawns, and iced coffee.
●Le Bistro Vert – Valero Street (Fraser Place, Salcedo Village); 011-63-2-403-1841; lebistro.ph; order tamarind iced tea and Palawan cashew and herb-crusted sole fillet; gorgeous, sustainable food.
●Tin Hau – Makati Avenue (at Mandarin Oriental); 011-63-2-887-2888; mandarinoriental.com/manila; dim sum hot spot.
●Tivoli – Makati Avenue (at Mandarin Oriental); 011-63-2-887-2888; mandarinoriental.com/manila; grand French restaurant; chef trained under Paul Bocuse.
●Bistro Remedios – 1911 M. Adriatico Street (Remedios Circle); 011-63-2-523-9153; for Pinoy home cooking and small band to serenade you; try tiny, crispy, deep-fried crabs.
●La Cocina de Tita Moning – 315 San Rafael Street; 011-63-2-734-2146; lacocinadetitamoning.com; set in gorgeously restored house, serves heirloom recipes such as whole baked lapu-lapu (local fish) or slow-roasted pork (lechon) with candied camote (sweet potato).
●Café Juanita – United Street (Kapitolyo); 011-63-2-632-0357; it’s riotous, with twinkling fairy lights, multicolored lanterns, and billowing, gaudy drapes; home-cooked Filipino classics; try pork adobo and/or pasta with crab fat.
●Goose Station – W Tower, 1117 39th Street; 011-63-2-556-9608; thegoosestation.ph; sounds like “degustation,” giving hint as to what chef duo Robert and Sunshine Pengson serve; take time for deeply involved set menu.
●Bale Dutung – Paul Street (corner Francis Street, Villa Gloria Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga); 011-63-45-888-5163 or 011-63-2-668-4038; claudetaya.net; accomplished artist, chef (by reservation only, for parties of 10 or more), and writer (about Filipino food); lives 2 hours from Manila.
●IvanHenares.Com – email@example.com; ivanhenares.com; best travel blog around re Manila; contact him for personal assistance; he is Trustee of Heritage Conservation Society and very knowledgable about both Filipino food and history.
●Old Manila Walks – 011-63-2-711-3823; oldmanilawalks.com; ask for Ivan Man Dy.
●Legazpi Sunday Market – Legazpi Car Park, Legazpi Street (corner Herrera Street); where vendors prepare traditional Pinoy food and desserts, from cuttlefish lollipops to caribou milk ice-cream and handmade cheeses (7 am-2 pm on Sundays).
●Salcedo Community Market – Salcedo Street; lush foodie place ideal for adventurous snackers; 7 am-2 pm Saturdays.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Museum of Filipino People – P. Burgos Drive (Rizal Park); 011-63-2-527-1209; nationalmuseum.gov.ph; city’s largest museum.
●Fort Santiago – General Luna Street; 011-63-2-527-1572; 400 year-old reminder of Manila heritage; guarding Pasig River, former Spanish military power seat; designated Shrine of Freedom in 1950, today it is Dr. José Rizal memorial (imprisoned here before execution in 1896 for inciting revolution against Spanish colonials) as well as memorial to all Filipinos who have fought or died for freedom.
●San Agustin Church – General Luna Church; 011-63-2-527-2746; sanagustinchurch.org; UNESCO-listed; built in 1587; last building standing in Intramuros when US troops liberated Philippines from Japanese in 1945.
●Ayala Museum – Makati Avenue, Greenbelt 4 (corner de la Rosa Street, at Ayala Museum); 011-63-2-757-7117; ayalamuseum.org; must-visit for its display of pre-colonial (16th Century) gold, from funereal masks to diadems; closed on Mondays.
●Makati Coliseum – 31 Mascardo Street (La Paz); 011-63-2-895-6482; cockfighting, upon occasion.
●Baclaran Street – open-air street, with outdoor stalls selling bags, clothes, and sunglasses; Wednesdays are maniacal, owing to nearby popular church.
●Coconut Palace – CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard; 011-63-2-832-0223; 80% made of coconut wood; culturalcenter.gov.ph; built in 1978 by then-president Ferdinand Marcos; built in traditional salakot style (closed Mondays).
●Quiapo Bridge – Taft Avenue leads into bridge; area under bridge is packed with mad apothecary stalls selling amulets and bizarre oils; also, rattan baskets and cool light fittings, as well as seriously cheap souvenirs, such as shell lamps.
●Quiapo Church – Plaza Miranda (at Quezon Boulevard); 011-63-2-733-4945; quiapochurch.com; life-sized and revered Black Nazarene (400 year-old Jesus carving) housed here (paraded through jammed streets on feast day, January 9, and Good Friday).