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Things to do in Manila

Breathe deep on a mountain biking trail

For some fresh air away from the city, take two-wheels off-road at La Mesa Nature Reserve. Demanding trails through forests and invigorating lakeland scenery is guaranteed to induce lactic acid in even the most hardened mountain bikers. Cycle hire and tours can be organised from Beyond Outdoors (tel: +63 9 1783 81624;

Find the floodlit fairways with a round of night golf

It's surprising to discover that an 18-hole golf course exists in the heart of historic Manila, but adjacent to the ancient Fort Santiago, down by the River Pasig, is a par-66, 4,326-yard course. Club Intramuros Golf Course (tel: +63 2 527 6613) is also floodlit, so golfers can shoot birdies long into the night.

Hike high into the volcanic peaks of Luzon Island

Whilst Lake Taal is an easy half-day walk, even experienced hikers will find Mount Makiling a lung-heaving challenge. The trail commences at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, passes through tropical forests and mud pools, before the summit. Provisions and a tent are needed for this serious two-day undertaking; ask Trail Adventours (tel: +63 2 802 3401;

Make a splash with a white-water raft ride

Shoot the rapids at Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna, approximately 90km (56 miles) south of Manila. This beautiful natural area possesses one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines, where bamboo rafts can take visitors into the falls. Adventurers should arrive via a white-water rafting trip. Book with an accredited tour operator from the tourist office inside Pagsanjan's Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church.

Skate through a shopping mall

Where does one find the largest international Olympic-sized ice-skating rink in South East Asia? Inside a Manila shopping mall, of course. The ice rink is located in the SM Mall of Asia ( in Pasay City, and open skating day passes are great value. Lessons available for novices.

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Featured Hotels


Sonya’s Garden

This divine slice of tranquillity is located two hours' drive from downtown Manila's hullabaloo. County vogue furnished cottages replete with lace curtains, iron bedsteads and polished wooden floors, all surrounded by herb gardens and sumptuous countryside. Sonya's organic farm ensures guests enjoy tasty and healthy food. The bread is baked on site while the garden spa offers a full range of holistic treatments.

The A.Venue Hotel Suites

Swish and trendy, this is affordable chic amid Makati's skyscrapers. Set in three towers, the suites have Asian-styled contemporary interiors and minimalist décor and feature kitchenettes and free Wi-Fi. Amenities include a gym, a spa, a swimming pool, a Mediterranean restaurant and a cafe.

Hostel 1632

Penny pinchers and night owls will find succour in this budget hostel. Its 106 air-conditioned, en-suite rooms are boxy and cramped and almost have a capsule feel. But Hostel 1632's position on M Adriatico Street is plum in the heart of Malate. There's a café in the lobby serving local and international food for those craving pasta or pizzas.

Pan Pacific Manila

This luxurious skyscraper hotel in Manila is justifiably popular because of its top-drawer location in Malate's tourist quarter. It's worth the extra splurge to access the top-floor, glass-surrounded Pacific Lounge – lovely in the evening for sipping cocktails and listening to the pianist. The Manila hotel also offers 24-hour butler service and Japanese, Chinese and international restaurants. Early-bird bookings on Pan Pacific's website push prices down into the moderate bracket.

ZEN Rooms Peñafrancia

Set in a quiet residential area, this small hotel offers light, simply furnished rooms in Japanese style at a good price. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Henry Hotel

Conveniently located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the Mall of Asia and close to the airport, this boutique hotel is a tranquil escape from the city and features landscaped gardens and a swimming pool. The hotel itself is comprised of a number of buildings and includes a small museum and art gallery. Rooms are chic and spacious. Breakfast is included, and there's also a cafe.