Before Coming to Manila
Weather and Attire
The Philippines has a tropical climate that is usually hot and humid. The month of May is one of the hottest months in the country, with a temperature range of 24 to 35 degrees Celcius. However, there is always a chance of rain.
As such, it is advisable that you always bring an umbrella when traveling around Manila. Bringing a pair of sturdy, water-resistant shoes is also a must. Wear loose, comfortable, light clothing, but do bring a light jacket, cardigan, or shawl, especially when visiting in indoor establishments with air-conditioning.
Here is the weather forecast as of March 2018.
Arriving at Manila
Manila Airports – Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has 4 Terminals, some of which are known by multiple names.
Do check where your flight will be landing (usually Naia-1 or Naia-3).
Terminal 1 – This is the (Old) International Terminal and is known generally as NAIA-1, it services most international airlines, except Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the carriers listed for Naia-3 below.
Terminal 2 – This is known as Centennial Terminal. It is for the exclusive use of the Philippines National carrier, Philippines Airlines (PAL).
It caters to both Domestic and International PAL flights.
Terminal 3 – This is known as NAIA-3. It services the following internationl airlines: Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Emirates Airlines, AirAsia Phils; as well as the both Domestic and International flights of Cebu Pacific Airlines; and Domestic flights of PAL Express.
Terminal 4 – This is the (Old) Domestic Terminal. It services the local flights of the following airlines: Tigerair Philippines, Air Asia Zest, and Skyjet Airlines.
If you intend to travel around the country before or after the conference, it is essential that you know which airport to go to. Please keep in mind that there is heavy traffic in Manila (outside and even inside the airports!) so it is usually recommended to arrive at the check-in desks 3 hours before your flight. This means giving 4 or 5 hours lead time to get to the airport, especially if you are heading there during rush hours.
To and From the Airport
We strongly recommend that you take the white coupon airport taxi to the designated conference hotel (not to be confused with the regular taxi which is also white).
It is a little bit more expensive but it is safe and reliable. The airport taxi has a counter just outside the airport door. The yellow taxi is also good but there is always a long queue.
Alternatively, you may want to use Uber or Grab to get to your hotel. Payment can be made via credit card or cash (in Philippine Peso). We also recommend using Uber or Grab going to the airports, if your hotel does not provide a shuttle service.
Getting Around by Yourself
You can use GrabTaxi or Uber in Manila.
GrabCar also allows users to book a private car for a flat fee. This service can be accessed through the GrabTaxi app, but requires that the user has a credit card.
Note: Wi-fi is not easily available in most public spaces. If you are not on Mobile Data, make sure to book your rides before heading out the door.
Taxis or Cabs
Metered cabs can be an alternative should problems arise with Grab/Uber (especially during rush hours). You will have to hail them, as there are few designated taxi queues (usually only large malls provide queuing areas.)
For the more adventurous, jeepneys can be quite an experience. There are signboards that indicate a jeepney’s route.
They tend to have set boarding points, but you will have to hail the driver to get off.
We would not recommend taking buses within the city unless they are the Point-to-Point (or P2P) buses.
P2P buses are safe and reliable, though they only cater to select locations (usually malls) around the city.
The trains (Metro rail/Light Rail) in Manila are also for the adventurous. They do not run on any sort of timetable (sometimes they do not run at all).
Some Safety Reminders:
- Always keep an eye on your belongings, thieves have been known to grab bags and other loose belongings from jeepney passengers. Do not bring out your mobile phone.
- When taking the taxi, always make sure there is a meter running. Make sure that the doors are locked after you get in.
Shopping, Eating, and other Conveniences
The safest/surest places to change money would be the airport, in banks, supermarkets, and money changers located inside malls.
Reliable changers outside of malls include Western Union or M. Lhuillier. Smaller money changers do give better rates, but it is best to check the reputation of such changers in your area beforehand.
Regular banking hours in the Philippines are from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., although some banks located within shopping malls close much later.
Most ATMs now charge a fee (usually P200) on foreign issued ATM cards in addition to any other charges.
1) Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) within Ateneo de Manila University
There are ATMs located at Xavier Hall, Kostka Hall, and the JSEC area (near the School of Management Building).
2) Banks/Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) within UP Diliman
The UP Diliman branches of LandBank and the Philippine National Bank (PNB) are located along Apacible St., next to the UP Shopping Center and across from the University Infirmary. These banks have ATMs open for International transactions.
There are also a number of ATMs, some of them open for International transactions, at Vinzon’s Hall, the University’s Student Center located along Roxas Avenue, next to the Virata School of Business.
2) Banks/Automated Teller Machines within UP-Ayala Technohub
ChinaBank and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) have ATMs which can be used for International transactions.
3) Banks along Katipunan Avenue.
Numerous banks can be found along the stretch of Katipunan Avenue, including BPI, BDO, LandBank, Maybank, Metrobank, PNB, UCPB, etc. Most of these have ATM machines.
Nearby 24-Hour Convenience Stores
7/11 – Nearby 7/11 branches in front of Ateneo include one near Regis Center and another at One Burgundy Plaza.
Mini Stop – There are branches of Mini-Stop located along Katipunan Avenue: one near Shell Gas Station, the first floor of Prince David Condominium, and at SM Blue Residences.
Family Mart – There is also a branch of Family Mart located at the Northern end of the UP-Ayala Technohub.
UP Town Center
This mall is located along Katipunan Avenue and is the nearest mall from the designated conference hotels. UP Town Center can be accessible by cab or jeepney (UP Campus-Katipunan route). It offers an optimal mix of high-quality shops and restaurants. Operating Hours are: Sunday to Thursday 10 AM to 9 PM, Friday & Saturday 10 AM to 10 PM.
This mall is located on the corner of North Avenue and Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City. Accessible from the UP Campus by jeepney and taxi, Trinoma Mall boasts a variety of shops, restaurants and entertainment options, including a cineplex. The mall has open air dining areas on each level, some of which stay open past the malls operating hours.
SM City North EDSA
This mall is located on the corner of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) and North Avenue in Quezon City. Accessible from the UP Campus by taxis and a dedicated jeepney line that travels from there to the campus and back. SM North, as it is known locally, is the first commercial mall in the Philippines and has recently been refurbished. It has a Sky Garden with restaurants and some shops that stay open past the malls operating hours.
This mall is located in Eastwood City, a 17-hectare business and commercial area along C5 road. The mall stands in the middle of a vast commercial area that has retail outlets and restaurants, many of which remain open until the wee hours of the morning.
Places of Cultural Interest
Within Quezon City
Quezon City Memorial Circle. The Quezon Memorial Circle is a national park and a national shrine located near the UP campus.
The park, like the city, is named after Manuel L. Quezon, the second official President of the Philippines. The park’s main feature is the towering mausoleum containing the remains of President Quezon and his wife, First Lady Aurora Quezon. There are als o weekend markets, events such as botanical shows, and a selection of restaurants and street food eateries inside.
The park is bounded by the Elliptical Road, and is generally only accessible by private vehicles and taxi.
Maginhawa Street and Side Streets
Located near UP campus, Maginhawa Street is a residential street that in recent years has developed the reputation as “Eat Street.” Many local restaurants and eateries can be found along Maginhawa and some of its side streets, most notably Malingap Street. The area is very popular with students, so places here tend to be crowded and noisy. Most of the establishments here close by 10 p.m., as there is a liquor ban in effect along the street since it is a residential area.
Within walking distance of the conference venues, Katipunan Avenue is a busy street as it leads to three academic institutions, Miriam College, Ateneo de Manila University, and UP. There are restaurants and cafes along South-bound side Katipunan that cater to the students from the three institutions and residents in nearby subdivisions.
City of Manila
Intramuros is the oldest district of the City of Manila. Dubbed the “Walled City,” it is the historic core of the Philippine capital. It was the seat of government during the Spanish colonial period. The walls the circle the district was started in the late 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasions. Intramuros was heavily damaged during World War II, and the walls were reconstructed in 1951, after it was declared a National Historical Monument.Many of the buildings’ exteriors within the district have been kept as they are, but have been repurposed for businesses and government offices.
We recommend that you visit the San Agustin Church and the Manila Cathedral, both located within Intramuros, as well as Casa Manila, a museum that features life in Spanish-colonial Philippines.
Fort Santiago is located near the Manila Cathedral. It is a citadel built by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi when the City of Manila was established. José Rizal, the Philippine national hero, was imprisoned here before his execution in 1896.
Rizal Park or Luneta, is a historical urban park located along Roxas Boulevard, City of Manila. It is adjacent to Intramuros. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the City of Manila because it is an important site in Philippine history. Jose Rizal, the national hero, was executed here in 1896, which started the Philippine Revolution.