My name is Marine Broux and I live in Manila, Philippines with my two boys, ages five and two. Since living here, I founded Un Tout Petit Monde, a travel-themed educational subscription service for French-speaking families. Come join us for a typical weekend day to see what life is like in Manila!
6:30 AM: Time to Wake Up!
Indeed, the sun is already up and bright. It’s quite hot here all year round with temperatures averaging 30° C (86F) at least…Not surprisingly, everyone wakes up early! We enjoy breakfast in our small “lanai,” our house’s covered terrace.
Our house is located in a residential village called Dasmarinas in the city of Makati in Metro Manila. We are very lucky to live in this part of Manila with neighboring private houses surrounded by nature, trees, and squirrels. We’re thankful to be away from the rest of the city which is very crowded, polluted, and jammed with traffic.
We love strolling around our neighborhood while our five-year-old Hadrien follows us with his bike.
8 AM: A Visit to the Old Town
We actually don’t do this every weekend, but visiting Intramuros, Manila’s historic 16th century Spanish walled district, is a must if you are here. Depending on the traffic, it is about an hour’s drive from Makati to get there. Metro Manila is huge and the traffic makes driving around very challenging unless you do some careful planning in advance. The best time to go is in the morning when it’s cooler!
With small children, one of the best ways of touring Intramuros is in a traditional kalesa or horse-drawn carriage. If your kids are big enough, you can opt for an eco-friendly tour on bikes made with durable bamboo called bambikes.
The San Agustin church, dating back to 1604 and its adjacent monastery are a UNESCO World Heritage site that are also well worth visiting while here.
12 PM: Lunchtime
Manila would not exist without its malls and stores! It’s a mini-America in terms of product availability with all its international brands and food chains.
With kids we like going to Din Tai Fung, a Taiwanese dim-sum chain. This is a great place to go with kids; the food is delicious and the service is great. This particular branch is situated in BGC, Fort Bonifacio on High Street. If you’re not a Chinese food fan, there are plenty of other restaurants on the same street where you will surely find something to please the whole family. We also enjoy taking a stroll and checking out the stores in the neighborhood.
3 PM: Snack Time
Here in the Philippines, they call it merienda. You will always find a restaurant to suit your taste that’s open when it’s merienda time!
We always like grabbing an ice cream. But you can also try the traditional Filipino cold dessert, Halo-halo in any mall! And for a nice fresh drink, the best to have is mango juice or calamansi juice, which is made with a tiny local lime. If you want to avoid a sugar high, be sure to ask for the sugar-free version of these drinks!
4 PM: A Splash in the Pool
Whether you are living in Manila or just visiting, you might really love the idea of jumping into a pool after a long hot day. Bring goggles and enjoy Manila’s outdoor pools which are open year round. Also, don’t forget sunblock and UV t-shirts as the sun can be very strong here in the Philippines!
6 PM: Time to Go Home or to a Restaurant
As the sun sets on the early side around 6.30PM, it’s nice to be back home by then.
The kids enjoy playing and doing some artwork while we get dinner ready, a French quiche or sometimes a local dish prepared by our household help, such as chicken adobo or pancit noodles.
For us parents, it’s also nice to go out to a restaurant like Nikkei (a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant) in the Rockwell or BGC neighborhoods. A Spanish tapas bar such as Rambla in Makati is great as well! Due to Spanish colonization of the Philippines lasting until the late 19th century and concurrent with Mexican immigration, Hispanic culture is very strong here.
Another great option is to enjoy a nice rooftop view and fresh air while sipping some good wine at Dr. Wine in Poblacion, Manila’s hipster “hood.”
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