The Cruise Port of Manila Philippines
Manila is the capital of the Philippines, an island country in Southeast Asia and is a major city having a population of 1.7 million. It has been the country’s largest city for almost 400 years. It sits on Manila Bay, on the island of Luzon. The Pasig River flows through the middle of the city.
Where Your Ship Docks
Cruise ships usually dock at the industrial port and this can be at a number of piers. Most of the docks are along a half-mile stretch of waterfront only four to eight blocks away from Rizal Park in the center of old Manila. The is no terminal or public facilities but usually you will be allowed to walk out. Be sure and carry an official photo ID.
Taxis are readily available at the gate and fares are reasonable but you need to be very clear about where you are going and that the driver knows where it is. Often when you have a complete address of where you’re going the taxi driver has no idea where it is. Also be sure and negotiate a fare before starting out. We had a full address for a restaurant in Pasay, which was less than two miles from where we started and the driver could not locate it.
The Manila Metro Rail Transit System also known as the MRT is the rapid transit system for Metropolitan Manila. Running on just 2 lines and serving 31 stations in total, the 20 mile long network uses a single destination system (averaging 12 pesos per trip) or a loaded MRT card. The main line runs in a circular north to south route following the alignment of the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). During rush hours the system is usually packed ful of peoplel.
Manila is also famous for there unique vehicles. Jeepneys, sometimes called simply jeeps, they are the most popular public transportation in the Philippines. The vehicles were originally created from abandoned WW II Army Jeeps but are now manufactured new in Philipine factories. They are known for their crowded seating and fantastic decorations, which have become a symbol of Philippine culture and art. We have never figured out any route system regarding the Jeepneys, so our recommendation is to use taxis whenever possible. If you need to return to the ship allow plenty of time as Manila rush-hour traffic can get gridlocked..
The Philippine peso is the local money with ten pesos equal to about 1 US Dollar. Non-Philippine currency is not usually accepted. We would highly recommend carrying some pesos when you go ashore. There are a large number of small independent exchange operations in Manila and the rate and fees vary widely. Most restaurants and stores will accept most major credit cards but taxis often cannot.
On one trip we were short on pesos and our taxi driver would not accept any credit cards so he took us to an currency exchange shop to convert dollars for his fare.
A Cautionary Note – While we have no firsthand information about crime or how safe this city is, there were a number of indicators that made us question if we should have been walking were we did. A large number of security people with shotguns protecting businesses both large and small was one of those sign.
World War II remains a persistent memory in the Philippines and especially Manila. The La Madre Filipina, one of the numerous monuments at Manila’s Rizal Park, depicts the Philippines as a caring mother, comforting a young girl while consoling a crying boy. The white statue has a darker history as La Madre Filipina sat silently through the month-long Battle of Manila, as the Allies liberated the Philippine capital during World War II from the Japanese occupiers. The statue still stands as a testament to the experiences common to most people of Manila during that time.
located only a few blocks from the port entrance and in the direction of downtown Manila, Rizal Park (Filipino: Liwasang Rizal, Spanish: Parque Rizal), also known as Luneta Park or simply Luneta, is a historic urban park in the Philippines. Located along Roxas Boulevard, adjacent to the old walled city of Intramuros, it is one of the largest urban parks in Asia. It has been a favorite leisure spot in the city that includes a botanical garden and orchid garden.
Intramuros – Put this high on your list of places to visit and it’s only a few blocks from the port entrance. This old historic walled city of Manila comprises a centuries-old historic district, entirely surrounded by fortifications, that was considered at the time of the Spanish Empire to be the entire City of Manila. Intramuros served as the seat of government of the Captaincy General of the Philippines of the Spanish Empire, and was home to the colony’s governor-general from its founding in 1571 until the Spanish-American War. Construction of the Spanish walled city began under the orders of the Spanish imperial government in the 16th century.
Fort Santiago (Spanish: Fuerte de Santiago; Filipino: Moóg ng Santiago) is a citadel first built by Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi for the new established city of Manila in the Philippines. The defense fortress is part of the structures of the walled city of Manila or Intramuros. The fort is one of the most important historical sites in Manila.
Manila Ocean Park is the country’s first world-class marine theme park and a premiere educational facility. An integrated urban resort with marine life attractions and an aqua-themed hotel, the park is geared towards an all-year, all-weather destination for locals and visitors alike.
Mall of Asia – SM Mall of Asia, also abbreviated as SM MoA or MoA, is a shopping mall in Bay City, Pasay, Philippines, near the SM Central Business Park, the Manila Bay, and the southern end of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. The mall has a gross floor area of over 3.5 million square feet and if you are into shopping you need to allocate several hours here. A taxi ride back to the cruise pier will cost about twenty dollars but watch the time as Manila traffic can take almost forty five minutes at busy periods.
Restaurants and A Popular Fast Food Outlet
Finding food in Manila isn’t hard. There are a number of upscale hotels with good restaurants. McDonalds takes a back seat behind a Philippine fast food chain called Jollibee which is a favorite fast foods chain that offers fast service and includes fried chicken, French fries, pies, spaghetti, burgers, and more with a Filipino twist. In Manila and throughout Asia it’s a good choice for a quick meal (it is now opening outlets in the U.S.). Our favorite restaurant in Manila is Singing Cooks and Waiters, not only is the food excellent but the staff, from greeters, to waiters and cooks break often to put on a show and sing-along. Find a review HERE.