Expat Magazine

A Quick Run Down on Manila

By Harvie

I’ve been spending a little bit more time in Manila this year and my friends keep asking me why.

In this article I’m going to compare both cities and tell you why you need to visit Manila more, but to still live in Bangkok.

Cost of living breakdown

The cost of living in Manila is around 20-30% higher than Bangkok.

If you want to stay in a nice area you won’t find a semi-decent apartment for less than 20,000b per month, and for this you’ll get a studio, a one-bed room will cost around 25,000b upwards.

If you want to stay in an unsafe area then yeah you can do it cheaper, but run the risk of getting got.

You only want to stay in either BGC or Makati, I prefer Makati for the reasons talked about below.

I normally stay at Gramercy Apartments in Makati which is considered the best condo in Makati area, I pay 1,500b per day for a short-term stay using Airbnb. (Use my Airbnb link here to get $30 off your first stay).

Manila airbnb

As you can see the view was baller AF, you can get rooms for as little as 1,000b per day there if you book a week or more. It has a decent pool and gym to make gains.

You know what, I’m not even going to bore you with details about all other living costs other than Bangkok will be cheaper overall and Thai food is 10x better than local Filipino food.

If you want to know more about living costs go ask Google or visit my blog’s Nomadphilippines.com blog.

Instead I’m going to talk about why you should visit Manila.

The 3 reasons why I am going to start visiting Manila more

1. Girls

I personally think that Thai and Vietnamese girls are much hotter than Filipinos, but the Filipinos have an ace up their sleeve…. they can speak very good English.

English Pinoy girls good

Pretty much all girls speak near perfect English.

You can actually have good banter with Filipino girls, they will understand your jokes and while I’m scared to sound like a white knight, you can end up talking to them for hours and having fun. #JustGirlThings.

After spending 5 years in Thailand this is a refreshing break for me.

Going into a bar or club and saying hello to a girl is so easy, you can talk to them without having to fight through their broken English or them having to listen to my 12 words of Thai.

Meeting girls in Manila is much easier than Thailand, yes you read that right it’s EASIER.

They are also fun, they like to have a good time, dance and are more western.

The best place online is to use their number one dating site.

2. Cheap beers and good atmosphere

Over the last few years the Bangkok nightlife scene has gotten really pretentious.

Thais aren’t having a good time in clubs, they are just going out to take photos, drinking black label, wearing expensive looking clothes and being miserable kunts.


Manila’s nightlife isn’t going off 7 days a week, but from Wednesday to Saturday it’s quite lively.

This is kind of big but if you’re only coming to Manila for a few days make sure you’re here from Thursday to Sunday.

Monday-Wednesday is not that busy and because more girls are working they cannot meet you until the weekend.

Like my date line in the weekdays was empty, I couldn’t buy a date from eBay it was that bad.

But come Friday night all the girls I was talking to through the week are messaging me to meet up.

This happened every Friday.

As for the clubs they are all pretty decent.

Very few people are wearing fitted shirts or looking like they have a cucumber up their ass.

If you have yet to see people in fitted shirts or dresses walking like they have a cucumber up their ass, please visit Thong Lor after 9pm.

Manila has a laid back vibe, beers in clubs are as little as 70b and people are going out in jeans and t-shirts, keeping it real.

Areas to visit

Clubs I suggest checking out are Black Market (which is like RCA), Royal which is a little seedier with working girls and Gilly’s Island in Quezon City.

Oblvion QC

Gilly’s Island is a little out of town and people say the area is dangerous but I’ve been a few times and had zero problems.

There are 4 main areas to party, they are:

BGC – this is the hi-so part of town.

I walked into three of the clubs on a Friday night and the silly bitches at each venue told me it was 8,000 THB (uw0tm8) for a bottle but all their tables have been reserved (it was 10 pm).

If an entire club has no free tables because they were all booked in advance, it’s going to be a place full of people walking with cucumbers up their ass. No thanks Jeff.

I really don’t like this area, drinks are over priced and the place has a you need to be rich to party here vibe.

Makati – is the old part of town.

Here you can find a good mix of bars and clubs and P Burgos which is the red light district of Makati.

This is where I like to go out and get the night started, you can visit places like Z Hostel and some other bars nearby and get cheap beers and food western food for cheap… I mean real cheap.

Lots of locals drink here.

I would also advise staying in this area, the streets are really messy and everything stinks of piss, but location wise it’s pretty good.

Quezon City – is 30-45 minutes away from Makati and BGC. Each time I come here I see no white people, just locals.

This is by far the cheapest place to party, you can get a liter bottle of whiskey for around 1,400b. If you read online people may tell you this area is not safe, but it’s chill.

You don’t want to stay here (pick Makati or BGC) but you do want to party here. Head to Gilly’s Island on a weekend, it will take you an hour to get there in bad traffic, get there before 1am.

Malate – AKA hooker central. Dozens of clubs here full of freelancers, mostly Korean and Japanese people here. An okay place to party but you do not want to stay in this area.

3. Relaxed visas

You can get a retirement visa in Manila at 35 (I’m tempted).

If you don’t have a piece of shit passport (I’m looking at you eastern Europe, just messing but not rly) you can also stay there for 30 days and then extend almost indefinitely without having to leave the country.

I have a friend who has been there two years and just extends his visa every 3-6 months, no need to leave the country.

If you want to stay there for a few months no dramas, no hassle at immigration.

Manila is my #1 visa run spot

When I do a visa run I like to stay out of Thailand for a few weeks or even months now.

I’ve been here 5 years and I rarely do much other than focus on my online projects. I rarely drink or go out because I’m bored of this city.

Manila makes me feel like Bangkok did 5 years ago. Everything is new and fresh.

If you book tickets in advance you can get yourself a direct return flight for around 5,000-6,000b and makes a great change from Vietnam or Laos.

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