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Philippines for a first timer?

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Westport Ireland
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33 posts
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Philippines for a first timer?

Hello.

I'm thinking about trying the Philippines for the first time.

Myself and my wife, both in our late fifties. Reasonably healthy. Not on a particularly tight budget. Wouldn't be interested in nightclubs etc., although we do like to be somewhere reasonably lively, sit with a few drinks in the evening and 'people watch'. We enjoy strolling during the day, with no doubt a bit of shopping. We also enjoy a round of golf or two. Flying from the other side of the world, we would obviously fly into Manila.

I don't really know where to start looking.

If a couple of the experts out there could make a few suggestions as to where to start, I would be grateful

Roger

Guam, USA
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436 posts
14 reviews
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1. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

Hi Duckhook

Sounds like you would enjoy Greenbelt. Good night life (both indoor and out), patio dining (perfect for people watching), and easy to get around on foot. I would recommend staying across the street at the New World Renaissance Hotel (a Marriott hotel). Other nearby hotel options include Mandarin Oriental, Makati Shangri-La, Intercontinental, Dusit Nikko. There are less expensive, less reputable options as well. New World should set you back at around US$100++ per night.

Manila, Philiippines
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109 posts
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2. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

hi there... you can tour around Manila for some days then try island hopping to Cebu, Bohol (Region7) or Palawan (Region4) on the next few days. You can check some interesting sites from the Philippine Tourism Ministry website:

wowphilippines.com.ph/explore_phil/explore_m…

Recommendations:

1 good restaurants, al fresco dining- Greenbelt3, The Fort, Rockwell, Eastwood, Baywalk, Remedios Circle

2 shopping - Ayala Center, SM Megamall, Shangrila, Gateway Araneta

3 good hotel- Manila Peninsula, Makati or EDSA Shangrila, Dusit, Renaissance Marriot

4 Golf- Intramuros Golf Manila, Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park

5 Spa- Shanrila-Mactan Island, Hilton Cebu

6 Native Crafts- Balikbayan Handicrafts, Tesoro's near Dusit Hotel

7 History & Culture- National Museum, Ayala Museum, Fort Santiago, Ongpin

8 Beach & Adventure- Panglao, Bohol, Boracay,

The're so many things to do here... You may hire a good tour guide if you opt to stay a bit longer & ease things up...

Australia
Destination Expert
for Cebu City, Cebu Island
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8,611 posts
49 reviews
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3. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

Hello Roger

International flights land in Cebu too.

You could make Cebu City your base.

From there you could:

- Tour Cebu

http://cebu.islandsphilippines.com/

http://www.cebu-city.ph/

http://www.cebu.gov.ph/

- Relax on Malapascua Island. You can be in Maya in 3 to 4 hours by bus or taxi then take the bangka boat to the island

http://www.malapascua.de/

- Tour Bohol. It is only 90 minutes away by Oceanjet

http://www.oceanjet.net/

http://www.bohol.ph/

- Visit Dumaguete City. It is about 3 1/2 hours away by OceanJet

http://www.oceanjet.net/

elgu.ncc.gov.ph/ecommunity/dumaguete-city/

- Tour Manila. You can cruise there in about 24 hours by Superferry or Fly there in 1 hour

http://www.superferry.com.ph/

http://www.cebupacificair.com/

http://www.philippineairlines.com/

- Relax on Boracay, You can fly to Caticlan in an hour then take the bangka boat

http://www.asianspirit.com/

http://boracay.com/

http://boracayinfo.net/boracayinfo/index.htm

http://boracayisland.org/index.shtml

- Tour Biliran. You can cruise to Naval in about 9 hours on the Cagayan Princess

http://www.sulpiciolines.com/

http://www.biliranisland.com/

And much more

Regards; Jim Sibbick

Manila, Philippines
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641 posts
146 reviews
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4. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

In my opinion, Makati would be your best bet and, as Zerk said, the Greenbelt area would be a good base for you. A second option would be the Ortigas area (around 30 minutes by cab from Makati area). Both these areas has shopping, dining and entertainment, tourist friendly and has the best accommodations around. In Ortigas, you can stay at the Holiday Inn Galleria. It is connected to the Robinson's Galleria Mall and you never have to leave the building when you go shopping, dining or going to the cinema. For a more expensive option, there is the EDSA Shangrila Hotel which is beside the upscale Shangrila Plaza Mall where you can also find good dining, shopping and entertainment choices.

From here you can go to Manila to see the historic side of the city (around 1 hour by cab or about $3-5 one way) and where you enjoy golf.

From your base in Makati or Ortigas, you can do some day tours in the following depending on the number of days you're staying. You can rent a car with diver to maximize your time (around $40 for a minimum of 10 hours)

1. Tagaytay-where you can see the smallest volcano in the world, the Taal Volcano surrounded by a lake. Weather here is cooler than in Manila. You can shop for some food specialties along the way. (1-1.5 hours from the city)

2. Batangas-for some beach and water activities like scuba diving and snorkelling. (1.5-2 hours from the city)

Anothergood tourist destination is Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines. This is located in the mountains in the northern side of the city, about 5-6 hours travel time by bus. Weather is always nice all year round than in the city. Lots of sightseeing, shopping, dining and golf here since parks and greeneries are abundant.

If you are staying for at least a week, you should see the islands. Boracay is, by far, the place most tourists go for its pristine while sand beach, dining and entertainment. You can also shop for some beach wear and local handicrafts.

Other island destinations are Cebu, Palawan and Bohol but you need to stay there for at least 4 daysin each place to enjoy them.

Guam, USA
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436 posts
14 reviews
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5. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

gemini -

could you please tell us more about how to rent a car and driver, from where, acceptable price range, etiquette (i.e. to we feed him, do we tip, do we pay for gas, what does he do while we're sightseeing... etc)

thanks!

Westport Ireland
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33 posts
9 reviews
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6. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

Superb. Many thanks to you all.

Danville, CA
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35 posts
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7. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

Duckhook... safe to assume that is a golf termnology for your swing result?

Anyway, I travel to the Philippines twice a year with golfing buddies from California and have used Avalon Rent A Car in Manila. Very dependable and competirive rates. Their 10 hour rate for a car is P1,500 and for a van, it is P1,800. That is about $30 and $36 US respectively. The rate includes a driver and every hour after 10 is 10% of the day 10 hour rate. You are expected to provide the driver with money for a meal which is about P200 or US$4 for a good lunch or dinner. Tipping is also expected and we always go overboard with this because we have a regular driver (Ricky). A 10% gratuity will be fine. You will also need to replace the fuel or refuel the vehicle, depending on how it is when you are picked up.

I strongly recommend Avalon Rent A car and if you can, ask for Ricky. This is their web site. http://www.avalonrentacar.com. Ricky has a good command of the English language and very trustworthy. He knows the city very well, safe, and reliable.

You have had quite a few tips on where to go and what to do so I will not add to it. The Greenbelt suggestion would be best.

Manila, Philippines
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641 posts
146 reviews
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8. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

Zerk,

You can ask recommendations from your hotel desk or call reputable car rental agencies. Avalon Car Rental which is being recommended by Mr.Paul is one of the many reputable companies and has a very reasonable rate. The car rental company we sometimes use also charge the same but I think Avalon would have better and newer car models. Drivers are left to themselves when you are sightseeing. You needn't worry about them. They are used to waiting for people thay are driving. As long as you give them food allowance they know what todo with themselves. You can get their cellphone no. so you can call them if you are ready to go. Fuel, parking and toll fees are also charged to you.

Westport Ireland
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33 posts
9 reviews
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9. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

Thanks again for all your wonderful help.

MR. PAUL 722. You are quite right re the name. It actualy describes the shot off the forth tee of my local course, that arrives in my garden with great regularity.

Best Wishes to all

california
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82 posts
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10. Re: Philippines for a first timer?

You should not leave the country without eating balut. This dish is very close to your name.