Believe me when I say that for almost 20 years of living in the city, I have never been in Manila area that much. Not until covid19 hit the Tropic Pines last year that has placed NCR on a lockdown and for crying out loud, another two weeks this late. 

Businesses were 'bleeding' since. Staff mostly on rotation basis or work from home scheme. That said, I am working on a 5 day/week instead of 6 days except for 'necessary' works that should be done right away. To make the long story short, I am mostly free on weekends. Period.

Closest to me knew that I am not a homebody.  So what better way to spent the weekends is to explore Manila by foot. Charot! 

Jokingly aside, Manila has a lot of historical points to explore and being a foodie myself, I have to say, is to check out authentic Chinese restaurant as well. Since Yorme Isko Moreno has taken the 'seat', Manila these days is the central hub for tourists. It transformed to a different level. Shall I say, at par to other countries and cleaner too.

Two, proximity from my place is favorable. I can take the LRT-Buendia station which is a stone's throwaway from my apartment going to Carriedo.   

Planning ahead of time is important. In between my work, my mind is already brimming with ideas of what and where to explore next. There's so much places to check out but here are my rundown of, I guess, the popular ones I've been to.

 Cathedral Cafe in Intramuros

A Romantic-European vibe cafe, with Manila Cathedral as backdrop. Gaining fame this late because of its IG-worthy vibe. Selections of food is not that many, just the regular stuff  and prices, OK.  We checked out the place late afternoon, so we just ordered sandwich and coffee. 

The place has a 'dramatic vibe' at night time. What with all the lighted bulbs hanging on above each table in spiral fashion all over the dining area. Traffic was good when we visited the place on a weekend judging from the packed dining area and a handful of diners in the waiting area downstairs. The management is encouraging for a reservation ahead of time.

                  Address: 398 Cabildo St. Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila

                                          Contacts: (02) 8701 7833

We've wasted no time in checking out Kapetolyo when it re-opened to the public sometime in December of last year. The place has large windows and wooden exterior vibe from outside and simple yet cozy interiors, well, except for the hanging lights above on the 2nd-loft- type-floor. They offer local coffee pegged at Php120 to Php150. Good thing this February, they offered a variety of dishes in their menu contrary to the coffee and cookies offerings last year.   

Address: 350, 1000 Antonio Villegas St. Ermita Manila. 
Contacts: 0915 241 4285

We also managed to check out Barbaras Heritage Restaurant for our dinner after checking out Kapetolyo earlier that day. Barbaras has a charm of its own. Food is commendable. Pricey but worth it. Service is good too. Too bad, it was raining during our visit, so we don't have much time exploring the rest of the place. Memorable just the same.

Address: Plaza San Luis, General Luna St. Intramuros.


The oldest districts of Manila, and administered by the Intramuros Administration with the help of the city government of Manila. The place is favorite to tourists and locals alike, because of its grandeur and Spanish vibe houses, where Manila's wealthy and influential citizens during the Spanish colonial period had lived.

Why its called the walled city? It refers to the fortified city founded at the mouth of the Pasig River shortly after 1571 by the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Intramuros is also home to the ornate and infamous Manila Cathedral, no less.  That's a piece of history there, folks!

Truly, you would not missed out this place once you're in Manila. Dubbed as hub to anything Chinese delicacies and home to authentic Chinese food.

Businesses were mostly run by Filipino-Chinese thrive. Its the oldest Chinatown in the whole world, no less. 

Pasalubong stores has a lot to choose from. Populars among visiting tourists and locals alike are Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant along E.T. Yuchengco (formerly Nueva), Quick Snack in Carvajal, Dong Bei Dumplings, Salazar Bakery in Ongpin St. Ho-Land Hopia & Bakery, Eng Bee Tin, of course along Ongpin St. Lord Stow's Bakery and New Po-Heng Lumpia House in Quintin Paredes St. 

   Shanghai Fried Siopao is the best in the area. You would not trade for anything of their fried siopao. Its just so good and pegged only at Php25. 

Lucky charms for your homes are everywhere too.

From Chinatown, Lucky China Town Mall is nearby for some shopping spree and movie time. But the biggest shopping haul of them all is Divisoria 168 Mall right smack in the area as well. Your Php1000 has a long way to go. Not to mention your haggling skills. LOL. The food court in 168 is our fave waiting area. There are numerous stall owners which sells Chinese food at reasonable prices. 

This European style bridge has gotten its taste of fame lately. Not only it is picturesque during the day, its more dramatic at night time. People flock in usually in late afternoon to have their selfies. These days, it is normal to see pre-nup shoots amidst the bustling road of cars and tartanillas. The grand and elaborate lamp posts add charm to the equally long stretch of European arches.  One of Manila's historical landmarks, this was rehabilitated last year courtesy of the City Government of Manila. 

The not-so-lush pocket  'Garden' is still on process of landscape. Hence the soft opening during our visit. It boast too of a (pocket) coffee shop akin to Kapetolyo. The vast area of the place has some potentials with maybe a playground in the offing.  Just a thought. In time, the place would be majestic, when everything is 'in bloom' by then. Carry on! Charot!

There are still good places to check out but that would take me forever. LOL. I have blogged here by the way, 1919 Cafe, National Museum, and so many other interesting places of Manila. Check them out. Thank you. 

In the meantime, enjoy.

Light and love.


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