Manila, the capital and a part of the largest metropolitan area of the Philippines, is a densely populated city on the shores of Manila Bay on the island of Luzon. The city blends Spanish colonial architecture with towering, modern skyscrapers. Intramuros, a walled city and the administrative center during the colonial period, is the center of Old Manila.
It’s home to the San Agustin Church, which was completed in the 16th century in the baroque style. Fort Santiago can also be found inside the walls, a storied citadel, and military prison of the Spanish colonizers. No stranger to challenges, the city has survived every disaster both men and nature could throw at it. Yet today, the metropolis thrives as an authentic Asian megacity complete with skyscrapers, malls, and a lot of things to do. With outstanding attractions, visitors who put in enough effort will find its creative soul – from edgy galleries to a dynamic indie music scene. Add this with a penchant for speakeasy bars, artisan markets, and single-origin coffees, and it’s clear to see Manila’s not only one of Asia’s most underrated cities but one of the most interesting. There are a lot of things to see and do in this city, and, luckily, there are also several cost friendly accommodations to help you enjoy your stay here too.
Top 4 Hostels in Manila:
The 4 Best Party Hostels in Manila
Price: $13.52 to $21.22
Manila-Z-Hostel offers 124 beds plus a world-renowned Roof deck Bar that has a great view of the city and a 24-hour Cafe. The hostel is situated in the multi-cultural and hip street of Don Pedro in Barangay Población. The hostel is a hotspot for extraordinary events throughout the week as there are local and international artists performing each night. Also, the hostel has 30 rooms and 124 beds, the biggest and only luxury hostel in the Philippines. Numerous events are happening at this hostel, with a bar/cafe, game room, theater room, and two rooftops where guests can chill out. The staff is informative, fun, and very friendly to help give you a truly memorable trip to the Philippines. Z Hostel also has four dorm rooms available: 6-Bed female only, 4-Bed coed, 6-Bed coed, and 8-Bed coed. They also offer private rooms that can lodge two persons. Also, all rooms come with reading lights, spacious lockers w/ electrical outlet, end-suite bathrooms with both hot & cold showers, and air-conditioning. This hostel is situated in a prime spot in Makati City, and only a walking distance to famous restaurants, bars, malls, and nightclubs. Makati is also famous for its exceptionally multi-cultural lifestyle and its reputation as a major entertainment center. Tours can be arranged in house from the hostel to nearby attractions as well as assist in booking your trips within the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. Linens are included with your stay, but towels must be either rented or brought from home. Read more..
- Great location
- Superb amenities
- Friendly staff
Lions Den Backpackers Manila
Price: $6.89 to $17.29
Their goal is not only to give tourists a place to stay. But they also want to make each guest feel at home. Also, the hostel is only 2 kilometers away from the airport, and it is only 4 kilometers away from the city center (the hostel itself is located inside a residential/gated community). The hostel is also housed in a unique, Filipino-designed house that has a large communal area, swimming pool, beer pong tables, card games, and dartboards. Aside from that, they also have Netflix, Xbox, karaoke, bike for rent, skateboarding, table tennis, and tattoo artist on call. Apart from that, it also has air-conditioned rooms with fans and comfy beds, and so much more. Also, linens are included at no charge, and towels are available for hire.
- Convenient location
- Great amenities
Pink Manila Hostel
Price: $7.55 to $16.77
Pink Manila is found at the ‘penthouse’ floors of a house in the heart of Manila that has a gym, pool, bar, billiards table, panoramic terrace view of the whole Metro in every room, hammocks on the rooftop, extremely accommodating staff and a lot more. Opening its doors in December 2012, it is one of the biggest backpacker secrets in the country. It is a great place for backpackers who are looking for a fun place with an amazing view of the city, unlimited cold beer and mixed drinks available, and a great vibe. The hostel can accommodate 32 people between three different dorm types (8-bed AC coed, eight-bed AC female only, and 16-bed fan-only coed), and a small number of private rooms with varying bed sizes. Also, all dorm rooms, unless otherwise noted, come with direct balcony access, panoramic views of Metro Manila, closet lockers, ceiling fans, and en-suite bathrooms. Deluxe rooms are also equipped with air-conditioning.
The Pink Manila is situated in an energetic college neighborhood down the Malate backpacker alley and is very close to Makati City. The hostel is also a 5 minutes’ walk away from Vito Cruz LRT Station, while jeepney buses and taxis are abundant throughout the day. Cheap, local dishes are also within close range as are laundromats, travel agencies, and banks.
- Unique concept
- Lots of room options
- Great amenities
The Good Shepherd Hostel
Price: $8.85 to $18.77
The Good Shepherd Hostel is the youngest sibling in a hostel family and has been twice recognized as the Best Hostel in the Philippines. The hostel site is a few steps away from the red-light strip. It is not a luxury hostel or a boutique hostel, but it is designed to make you feel at home in Manila. It is enriched with elements that make for meaningful backpacking experience: 24/7 staff to attend to your needs, spacious rooms with A/C, comfy pillows, hotel-grade mattresses, and hot-and-cold showers. They have dedicated housekeepers who keep the place spic-and-span. The dorms feature double-stacked, custom-built single bunk beds, secure locker (bring your padlock), and reading light. Ladies may opt for an all-female end-suite dorm. Linens and Parking are included in your stay, and towels are available for hire.
- Homey vibe
- Great amenities
- Lots of room options
How is Manila’s Nightlife?
You’re rarely a few blocks away from a chance to party in Manila. University kids and backpackers favor Malate. Aside from that, along with The Fort (BGC), is the center of Manila’s LGBT nightlife. Makati is the area where the expats usually hang out, along with more and more travelers. Also, music lovers focus their sights onto Quezon City.
Malate & Ermita
You’ll find the college crowd drinking cheap beer on the curbside just west of Remedios Circle in Malate – also known as the ‘Monoblock Republic’ because of the sheer number of brittle plastic chairs. Malate is also filled with live music venues, both indoor and outdoor, featuring exuberant cover bands. These are a fun way to absorb local color; you just be on the lookout for hidden ‘entertainment’ charges. Karaoke bars are everywhere; some of them are less than wholesome.
Población – also known as the P Burgos area after its central street – is where most people go out in Makati these days. P Burgos St itself remains a red-light district, but the surrounding streets now brim with white-collar Filipinos and expats enjoying a burgeoning dining and drinking scene. Elsewhere, speakeasies are a local specialty, and you’ll find expensive rooftop bars and grungy music venues as well.
The Fort (BGC)
BGC (aka The Fort) is Manila’s upscale party zone. The big super clubs are here, and you’ll also find plenty of fancy cocktail bars and craft beer places, none of them cheap. The area south of Burgos Circle (Forbestown Rd) is an active drinking zone, with many bars and cafes offering outdoor seating for people-watching.
The Best Clubs and Bars in Manila
1. The Filling Station
This bar and café’s decor are inspired by the interiors and atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s American diners. The Filling Station has everything from old movie posters, gas station memorabilia, jukeboxes playing old tunes, and servers in vintage diner uniforms. The menu offers both Filipino and American dishes and is a little pricier than other venues, but their servings are enormous. Treat yourself to a glass of cocktail or explore the massive list of both international and local and beers. So, expect a lively and social place, which is excellent if you want to feel like you’ve stepped back in time for some retro vibes.
2. House Manila
If you are near the Manila International Airport and need a bit of party time, head to House Manila in Newport, right in front of Terminal 3. Open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 9 pm onward. This club is right on the classier end of the scale, vying for partygoers against other upscale clubs in the Philippines. So, expect a posh crowd and EDM beats. Also, the bar’s prices reflect the luxurious experience, but it’s worth it.
3. The Island
The club is considered as the first pool and day club in the country/ The Island resembles Ibiza’s Ushuaia, and it has daybeds, cabanas, and a stunning swimming pool. But the best part is there is no entrance fee! This indoor tropical club is where your tiki shirts with floral prints belong. A lot of famous local and international DJs have even played here. If you have a limited budget but want to enjoy taking a dip in the pool, or you want to relax in the cabanas while sipping on your favorite cocktail, then this club is for you!
What started as a small bar in Malate, has evolved into a modern and spacious club in Ortigas. O-Bar is regarded as the pioneer of LGBTQ+ dance clubs in the Philippines, and it is open to all. The drag show is an entertaining spectacle, and you have the opportunity to meet the dancers after they perform on stage. This club is both stunning and inviting! O-Bar promotes freedom of yourself and your mind, so there’s no dress code.
Makati City is a club and bar haven, and Royal nightclub is one of the most popular. You can’t go to Royal without trying the “Flaming Lamborghini.” What’s that? It’s the club’s specialty shot, where some glasses are stacked on top of each other to resemble a tower. After that, the alcohol is poured and then set ablaze and drink the blazing shot through a straw. You can also join locals and bop to popular tracks, mixed by the greatest DJs in town.
Located at the Fort Strip in BGC (Bonifacio Global City), this new nightclub caters to the LGBTQ+ community and, of course, to all allies as well. Nectar has a fantastic roster of talented male dancers and drag queens showing off their skills on the bar. International and local DJs gather to mix pop and electronic music here.
Metro Manila (Filipino: Kalakhang Maynila), on the island of Luzon, is the national administrative region of the Philippines (officially the National Capital Region). With a population of hovering around 24 million, although it is the smallest region of the country, it is the most populous. It contributes no less than 37% of the country’s GDP. Metro Manila is also the country’s center of administration, business, education, diplomacy, and entertainment, a massive metropolis with massive social contrasts that may even exceed those in Latin America and are reflected in the contradictions of the urban environment.
With massive traffic jams and a sense of insecurity relative to other Southeast Asian cities, Metro Manila is often considered to be a challenging city to explore. Still, in reality, the contrasts make the city a great destination to both the most spoiled and the most adventurous travelers.
As in the rest of the country, expect local customs and behaviors to be different from your own. But locals have more sophisticated behaviors that are less odd over those in the countryside, yet expect many of the jarring practices you find anywhere in the country. Besides Manila, if you want to explore some more, you can also visit Bali or Bangkok.
Traveler & Blogger
Hi, I’m Lizzy! In the past 10 years I’ve travelled 60 countries and I’m still counting. While I was backpacking I could not find a website that provides valuable information about hostels. After months of thinking, doubting and brainstorming, hostelstobook.com was born.
I hope to make your trip easier, so you’d only stay in the best hostels around the globe. Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to send me a message.
Although there are some conflicts, it’s a vast country, and most of it is perfectly safe. That being said, no place in the world is secure anymore, and the Philippines is not excluded. Some areas in the country are notorious for hosting terrorist groups and criminals, but it’s in the most remote parts of the countryside, and the major cities are generally safe.
How much it costs to travel to The Philippines depends on your travel style and where you go. Manila (especially) and Boracay are significantly more expensive than other parts of The Philippines. Once you are out of the tourist hotspots, it’s relatively easy to thrive on a budget of $35 a day.
Thailand is more expensive than the Philippines for a variety of reasons, even though both countries offer similar experiences: beautiful beaches, tropical rain forests filled with wildlife, and big cities full of culture and atmosphere.
You should visit the Philippines during the dry season, which lasts from November to April. At this time, the country can be fully explored, including a lot of its beautiful islands and more remote areas. Temperatures are high during March and April, so it’s best to travel during the colder months of December to February.
Popular dishes include lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelet), adobo (chicken or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), dinuguan (pork blood stew), kaldereta (meat stewed in tomato sauce), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce).