A Fashion Lover’s Guide to Manila, Philippines

Manila shopping mall
Manila shopping mall | © Frederik Wissink
Esther de la Cruz

Manila is one of the best cities for shopping in the region, with fun, creative buys to suit all budgets. The capital is the perfect destination to take a quick break, enjoy some retail therapy, and soak up a bit of culture. Make the most of your time in Manila with these inside tips for fashion lovers.

Best Places to Shop

Cubao Expo

A hotspot for cool brands, vintage collectibles, and Filipino-made threads, Cubao Expo sprang up in what was once the site of a shoe factory in Quezon City. Now it’s one of the coolest addresses in the city, with an authentic artsy vibe. Filipino surf apparel brand Coast Thru Life is reason enough to hail a taxi to Cubao. Don’t be put off by the surroundings. Cubao X, as its affectionately called, comes alive after 5 in the afternoon, and you’ll be rewarded with heaps of unique treasures to take home.

Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
A post shared by Madkahuna Surf Shop (@mad_kahuna) on Feb 11, 2017 at 4:32pm PST

Bonifacio High Street

The Philippines’ answer to LA, Bonifacio High Street is an open-air shopping and entertainment complex in Bonifacio Global City. Tree-lined throughfares will take you past the most up-and-coming local and international brands. There’s plenty to check out here, and if you need a breather, High Street’s green spaces and chic coffee shops are the perfect place to take a break and do some people-watching. Lower Ground Southeast Building, Bonifacio High Street Central, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines

A post shared by Bonifacio High Street (@bonifaciohighstreet) on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:24pm PDT

Legazpi Sunday Market

Every weekend this community market brings entrepreneurs, home-cooks, farmers, and artisans together in the posh district of Makati. Although there’s a big focus on food, the Legazpi Sunday Market is also a showcase for crafts and innovation. You can expect to see varied items such as handmade bags and jewelry, eco-friendly toiletries, handwoven textiles, and ukeleles.

Herrera st. cor Legazpi and Salcedo V.A. Rufino St, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
A post shared by Legazpi Sunday Market (@legazpisundaymarket) on Apr 12, 2015 at 3:08pm PDT

Best Place to Eat

Locavore Something of a new kid on the block, in the short time Locavore has been around its established itself as many a chef’s venue of choice when in Manila. Chef Mikel Zaguirre applies French recipes to produce that’s been grown and sourced locally. The menu stars updated Filipino comfort food, and the vibe is young and hip (Locavore transforms into a drinking venue at night.) Try the kinilaw sampler, the five-hour braised boneless lechon, and locally brewed beers for a primer on Filipino flavours. 10 Brixton St, Pasig, 1603 Metro Manila, Philippines
A post shared by Locavore Kitchen & Drinks (@locavore.ph) on Feb 20, 2017 at 4:20am PST

Best place to go out

M Cafe

No matter how many cool venues open in Manila, there’s something about the location and setting of M Cafe that can’t be beat. Some of Manila’s most recognized celebrites list M Cafe as their chillout spot of choice. M Cafe has indoor and outdoor seating nestled among the bright lights of Makati, on a leafy corner of Greenbelt 5. The Asian fusion menu is worth a nibble and their creative cocktails go down a treat on Manila’s balmy nights. Expect live music or DJ sets on weekends.

Dela Rosa Street, Makati, Kalakhang Maynila, Philippines
A post shared by 🇧🇷 ROMÉO CAVALCANTE (@romeocavalcante) on Feb 5, 2016 at 7:34am PST

What to See

Ayala Museum Whatever facet of culture it is you love, chances are some aspect of it will be represented in the fantastic Ayala Museum in Makati. A private museum sponsored by one of the Philippines’ elite families, the Ayala Museum takes visitors through Philippine history through a series of perfectly portrayed dioramas. On other floors, exhibits focus on Filipino textiles, the country’s maritime tradition, the lives and works of prominent Filipino artists, and lots more. Avenue corner De La Rosa Street, Greenbelt Park, Makati, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

A post shared by Ayala Museum (@ayalamuseum) on Feb 20, 2017 at 10:06pm PST

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