Monday, February 14, 2011

Manila After Dark

(The following article was published on TouristAttitude on the 13th February, click here to check it out)

It would be hard to say that Manila ever truly goes to sleep. After all, this is a city comprised of sixteen separate cities, with a greater urban area of over twenty million people. That's bigger than London or New York City. It's also a town that's very difficult to pigeon hole. If you're partying it up in Malate or Makati, you might just feel like you've popped out west again. A trip to Intramuros will make you feel like you've gone back in time to the 16th century, while a trishaw ride at breakneck speeds through the streets of Pasay will firmly plant you back in Asia.

Shopping is serious business in town, with the SM - Mall of Asia currently reigning supreme as the biggest in all of Asia. Here you can find absolutely anything you'd possibly need, as well as many items you'd never need, even if you lived to be a hundred years old. For instance, there's an entire shop devoted to Buffalo bone carvings, talk about a niche market!

Makati is a part of the city that feels very westernized, with designer shopping, fast food chains and trendy hangout spots galore. The streets and buildings are meticulously clean and kept in tip top condition by an army of street sweepers. As such, the area is frequented by westerners on vacation, as well as expats seeking a break from the encompassing madness. This is in direct contrast to areas like Pasay, a part of town where spotting white folk could almost be considered a sport!

Malate is the premier district in town for nightlife, with bars, restaurants and a staggering amount of nightclubs. Electro music is the staple sound for the Manileno youth, and expect it to be played loud and until all hours of the night. Even on weekdays. Black Dragon Pub & Disco is a nightclub that stands out for me, with friendly staff, a wide selection of drinks and the kind of sound system that will make your ears hum for days on end. It can be found in Remedios Circle, and is open late seven days a week.

Manila has a reputation for having the best nightlife in all of Asia, but don't fret if techno is not your thing - you're not alone (you're also sane). There are many live music venues in this part of town, playing a wide range of genres from western covers to Filipino folk music.

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