Hope you made it! If your luggage doesn't, the one thing about Manila is that there are probably the most per capita shopping malls of any place in the world. One of the nicest ones is either right by or even connected to the Shangri La.
As a starting point, metro Manila is composed of 16 cities. Makati is the central business district and looks like NYC or something. There may be some decent places to run around there, but it was sort of far from where I lived so I would just go there for meetings. Wide sidewalks and some parks however. I lived out in Quezon City at the University of the Philippines Diliman. It wouldn't be close necessarily for you to get to--maybe 20-30 minutes by cab, but there is an academic oval there that a lot of people run around around 6 am when it is cool enough. I think you could run more broadly around the campus too--as a female alone I never did, but I always felt safe wherever I was walking. There are some nice neighborhoods with faculty housing. The academic oval is only 3/4-1 mile around, so it takes a lot of laps, to get anywhere but there are trees and shade which is somewhat of a rarity in Manila--you will pass everyone, but people seem really happy to be out in the early morning hours and it's a neat look at life in Manila--food vendors out, etc. UP Diliman is a good place to try street food if you want to try any--the university maintains the quality, though I won't vouch for it (never had a problem though).
In anticipation of going back, I've tried to do a bunch of reading on running clubs, etc in Manila in order to stay off the treadmill a bit more, and it looks like this store has a "fun run" on Thursdays. I have no idea what this means, but maybe you could at least get some more advice on better places to run:
There is also a Hash Harriers branch in Manila and there's some stuff on map my run. But I didn't find much more than this yet...
My advisor in grad school grew up in Manila, so when I first arrived to get data for our project, he recommended that I check out the Ayala museum at Greenbelt in Makati. Greenbelt is another mall--it's like 5 malls all combined into one or something, but the museum is about Philippines history and was a decent way to spend a Sunday afternoon when I first arrived--not super modern, but I honestly knew little about the Philippines other than the continued colonialization. My advisor recommended checking out the dioramas in the middle. There are some nice parks in the area around the Greenbelt mall--I think they are part of the mall. Note the Catholic churches in the center of most malls as well. They really are little cities.
A good place to get a first taste of Filipino food is at Centro in the Greenbelt Mall--not sure which number of the 5. My advisor described it as "an innovative take on Filipino food." Probably now is the time to say that Filipino food is not amazing--I've heard it described as the outcast of Asian cuisine. There are some great dishes, but a lot of it is pretty meat/carb heavy and greasy. I think you'll be able to find some really good places near you in EDSA, however. I'd recommend trying chicken adobo, sinigang, and Bicol express. Lots of really delicious whole grilled fish too. Banafee pie is an interesting Filipino dessert. Desserts are not lacking and are incredibly delicious. You should also go into both a McDonald's and Jollibee (the Filipino McDonald's) once, even if you don't eat. It is THE place for families to go on Sunday afternoons. Both primarily serve fried chicken and spaghetti, though there are other options.
Filipino food is not particularly heavy on vegetables, so I also would go to some of the US chains like California Pizza Kitchen and TGI Fridays (they are in all the malls), and order salads because I felt like the produce was safe. This will be true anywhere around where you were staying. Also lots of good Japanese food, middle eastern food (due to all the recruiters for migrant labor to Saudi, etc), and the Italian tends to be pretty good too. And the mangos--I still dream about them! Just slice them in half and eat them with a spoon. Any fruit is amazing, actually.
I don't know if you've been to China, where I'd say they eat the whole animal, but Filipinos take it to a whole new level. I'll spare you some of the details for your first week--and if you want to get adventurous, I can give you some more suggestions.
Intramuros is probably the main must-see historic sight--an old fort. For a longer excursion, it's right near green hills, a HUGE fake goods market. I think there are others in the Chinatown area, but this one is "established." You can get lots of fake shoes, clothes, etc, but there are also a number of Philippines handicrafts and tons and tons of CHEAP pearls.
If you want some handicrafts to bring home, check out Balikbayan Handicrafts on Pasay Rd in Makati sort of near Greenbelt. Lots of great wooden salad bowls, etc.
I'd also recommend trying to get out of Manila for a day or two if you can. It is a hot, big, dirty, developing city, and I honestly found it a little overwhelming, even compared to places like Hong Kong or Shanghi. It's harder to get out and go for a long walk and see stuff--or at least I never found great ways to do it. That said, the Philippines is one of the most beautiful and friendliest places I've ever been and it's incredibly easy to get around to other islands by cheap domestic flights. Boracay is the famous beach destination--one of the top 10 in the world I think. We went to Palawan instead, which is incredibly beautiful islands that you can take banka boats between and stay in little bamboo huts right on the beach with fresh grilled seafood brought right to your door. Bohol and Sagada were also places I wished I had gone. I also went to For a trip closer to Manila (a bus or rental car), Tagatay is supposed to be awesome. You can hike up the volcano and take a boat across a large lake. I think it's only a couple of hours from Manila and a common weekend escape.
By the way, I'm Tall Dave's daughter--just so you don't wonder who this random Philippines advice is from....sorry for the novel on here. Please let me know if you have any questions I can answer or need any other information.
Actually knew that... why I chuckled earlier to myself about an earlier reference you made about him not reading this thread or something.
What was I chasing again?
Home Away From Home
So Rob, been meaning to ask you, how was the trip. I know a bunch of filipinos here at work and love some of their food. Did you get to see anything exciting or get any good food while you where there?
"Anyone can do it in ideal conditions"- A quote from a true NE CN runner and friend.
Trip overall was great. Made a lot of friends over there. Unfortunately, didn't get to do much in the way of tourism. It was pretty much an eat / sleep / work / repeat experience. I also did next to no running while there.
The people were great though.
2012 Goals / Races / 2012 Year in Review
Goals were as follows
Goal#1: Stay Injury Free!!!! Grade: B-
Evaluation: Got lazy doing rehab and strength training at the end of the Sugarloaf training cycle and sprained my ankle twice. The first time I will give myself a pass on but the second one nearly cost me the Philly marathon running a treacherous trail race. I managed the injuries well and it didn’t prevent my end goals.
Goal#2: Complete First Full Marathon. Grade: A
Evaluation: I held off grading this after Sugarloaf as I didn’t want to count it after sitting under a tree at mile 21 for a spell. This race was failure in my book which I took fairly well for my personality. The Philadelphia marathons exercised those demons and achieved the time goal I had originally set for the year, so giving myself full credit.
Goal#3: 2000 Miles for the year. Grade: A
Evaluation: I will easily make 2500 for the year, so I shattered this. This was due to shifting training plans from Hal Higdon Advanced to one of the more aggressive Peter Pfitzinger plans for both Marathons.
Goal#4: Break 20:00 for 5K. Grade B+
Evaluation: I did run 19:35 at Acton Fair 5K. I felt the course was a little short, so am somewhat leery of giving myself full credit. If I can find time before year end, perhaps I will try one more.
A: Run for fun. Enjoy the experiences. Evaluation: Enjoyed my training.
B: Continue strength training routines. Evaluation: Need to do a better job here next year. Will be a focus over the winter.
Race 2011 2012 Goal Pace Date
1. Derry 16 Miler NA 2:11:00 8:11 January 22, 2012
2. Great Bay ½M 1:52:04 1:42:00 7:46 April 7, 2012
3. Sugarloaf Marathon NA 3:40:00 8:24 May 20, 2012
4. Sanford Trail Run 20:55 20:15 6:31 June 4, 2011
5. Bob’s 5K – Nasson 20:17 19:59 6:26 July 7, 2012
6. Yankee Homecoming 1:14:20 1:13:00 7:18 August 7. 2012
7. Philadelphia Marathon NA 3:35:00 8:13 November 18, 2012
1. Skipped due to concerns over icy conditions.
2. Set new PR by 10m. Actual was 1:37:30
3. Bombed this due to heat and poor race strategy. Was pretty disappointed all the way around, but trained well.
4-6. Skipped due to work and having to go to the Philippines. Broke 20m at Acton 5K and Ran in Mill City Relay for WCRC. (will update with that result.)
7. Philly went great. I might have been able to run faster as I finished strong but was happy with the result and made the original year end goal and beat it by almost 3 minutes getting a 3:32:01. I can work to break 3:30 from there next year.
See evil. Hear evil. Speak evil. The monkeys they never talk about.