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Relax poolside at Seda Vertis North


Marvelous Manila

By Eliza Escaño



It may take patience and savvy to navigate this jampacked Asian metropolis, but travelers to the capital of the Philippines will discover enduring hospitality, world-class digs, endless shopping havens and a thriving gastronomic scene. Here, our top suggestions for a first visit.

Where to Stay
Design buffs will swoon over two properties by the Philippines’ own Seda Hotels. Seda Vertis North (Astra Corner Lux Drive, Vertis North, Quezon City, 63.2.739.8888) offers organic understated opulence with furnishings by notable artists Kenneth Cobonpue and Ann Pamintuan. Brunch at its resto, Misto, features an incredible fresh noodle station that must be tried. Chic sister property Seda BGC (11th Avenue, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila, 63.2.945.8888) boasts hip rooftop bar Straight Up and posh rooms with city views.

For the resort inclined, think big. First up: the stylish Nobu Hotel (Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque,
63.2.800.8080), one of the three hotel brands in the massive City of Dreams resort. And don’t miss Okada Manila (New Seaside Drive, Entertainment City, Parañaque, 63.2.888.0777), where guests are awestruck by luxurious villas and a grandiose fountain show that spans 50 Olympic-size pools.

Feast on crisp lechon kawali (pork belly) at Sarsá Kitchen + Bar

Where to Eat & Drink
At Sarsá Kitchen + Bar (The Forum, Seventh Avenue, Federacion Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, 63.917.526.0756, @sarsakitchen), chef JP Anglo beautifully translates the bold flavors of his native Negrense cuisine with dishes like the sizzling sisig kansi with kamias fruit and lemongrass.

New American cuisine­ is done well at Grind Bistro (Netpark Building, Fourth and Fifth avenues, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, 63.2.976.3870). Owners Cristina and Steven Carl actually worked with the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa before moving back to Cristina’s hometown, Manila, to launch this stylish gastropub. Hence, poke appears on the tempting menu.

Adventuresome drinkers will need to go through the storage room of an inconspicuous 7/11 to enter Bank Bar (RCBC Tower, 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, 63.917.857.0852). But the reward is worth it: deliciously nuanced cocktails, vibey house music and excellent eats.

The eight-ball inspired Yes Please! (38th Street, 11th Avenue, Uptown, Taguig, 63.917.140.7777) bar revels in all things ’90s. At this cozy hangout, sip on a Fro Yay—frozen rosé with housemade syrup of sampaguita (Philippine jasmine­)—while noshing on garlic fried rice with sunny-side-up eggs. 

Where to Shop
The Podium (18 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, 63.2.638.9781, @thepodiummall) offers posh brands and craveworthy eateries, like Wildflour Bakery and Cafe (63.2.571.8588, republiquela.‌com/wildflour-bakery), an international venture by culinary couple Margarita and Walter Manzke of the popular L.A. resto République.

And streetwear enthusiasts will appreciate the globally curated collection and indigenously inspired collaborations from Commonwealth (SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway, Taguig, 63.2.801.8345).