WHEN TO GO
- Although we will be forced to spend some day, Metro Manila is not at all a tourist attraction itself. Tourists arrive in transit to another place and there is therefore no high season to visit this already congested and hyperpopulated city. In any case, the best time to visit would be Easter, since many Filipinos take it on vacation and go to the paradisiacal beaches all-over the country.
- In terms of climatology, the months of December to February are the least warm, and July and August the rainiest.
DANGERS AND PROBLEMS
Despite the fact that a large part of the countries that comprise it are in the process of development and its inhabitants suffer from many shortcomings, and although the risk of traffic accidents or diseases related to the intake of contaminated food and water are a reality, Southeast Asia is a region characterized by safety and kindness of its people.
There are few exceptions, and Manila is one of them; let’s not get confused, it is a dangerous city if we do not exercise common sense, but only if we take into account the crime rates compared to those in this part of the world and especially to the rest of the Philippines (not talking about the southern islands, where there are even terrorism and kidnappings). While eminently touristy places like Palawan or Bohol are safe, Manila is not that much, but its crime rates are similar to those of well-known cities such as Philadelphia or Houston in the United States or New Delhi in India.
- Tondo district, close to the North Port in Manila City (we do not refer to all Metro Manila) is certainly dangerous and the possibility of being a victim of a violent crime or witnessing it is high even during the day. It has absolutely nothing of interest, so that those that go to the port can do it by taxi and save a problem. The rest of the neighborhoods in Manila City are safe during the day, apart from thefts of wallets or mobile phones, although we will be exposed to many vendors and charlatans. This includes the most touristic neighborhoods: Ermita and especially Intramuros, where we will find the National Museum, multiple churches and other historic buildings, or Binondo (which is near Tondo) with the oldest Chinatown outside China that exists (founded in 1571). There is also nightlife in Malate, which is becoming the bohemian neighborhood.
- As for Makati and Bonifacio Global City, examples of almost complete modernity, Bonifacio is the safest, while Makati is also as long as we stay in the main avenues, although you have to avoid the secondary streets at night. Even in the red light district in Makati, on Burgos Street, it is safe at night; not in vain is a party area and a red-light district would not make sense during day time; if we exercise common sense and do not overdo alcohol or mix with drugs and prostitution issues we sould not have problems at all. In case of drinking too much, tourists are victims of robberies frequently.
- Apart from Makati, Bonifacio Global City and the districts of Ermita, Intramuros and Binondo in Manila City, the rest of Metro Manila has hardly any tourist interest. Better said, the mentioned districts hardly have any tourist interest, so the others would not have any appeal at all. They are not dangerous during the day but there is no reason to wander through them, except for Sampaloc in Manila City, where most bus companies have their terminals (check the post GETTING AROUND IN MANILA). In addition, some neighborhoods can be complex to walk on unpaved sidewalks, street cuts, etc, and we could get lost or worse, end up in a dangerous neighborhood without realizing it.
- Metro (LTR and MTR) is, as in any big city, pickpocket territory.
- Traffic can be a danger, although in Manila in particular it is more an annoyance, since traffic jams are the norm. It is a consequence of the massification of the capital, and a major contributor to noise and pollution, two other important problems.
- Regarding the most frequent scams:
- You always have to be suspicious of strangers who approach us in a friendly way, it is prudent to assume that 100% are scammers; There have even been cases of tourists who friendly locals have put drugs or medication on their drinks to make them sleep and have been ransacked.
- Check the change in the exchange offices and count the bank notes one by one.
- Taxi drivers are generally more honest than we might expect, but there are exceptions. We should never take a taxi from an insistent taxi driver, especially at the airport or near the bus terminals; You always have to go to the lines. Taxis are cheap, a 15-minute drive should cost about 150 PHP, if the meter shows double, it is tricked. Better to use Uber.