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Dec
23

cheap flights to manila-everything you need for the new year

What better way to start of the new year with a bang than a little botox and diving?

yep, it can be yours! Well, maybe not like this but...

yep, it can be yours! Well, maybe not like this but...

I mean seriously. Manila and the Philippines are totally underrated because people for some reason get locked on issues like pollution and miss out on the big picture. Flights to Manila are basically free when you consider just how inexpensive it is to vacation here, to get a little work done, become a master diver, take a bride, you name, cheap flights to Manila are well worth their weight in gold.

Philippines Boracay Beach

Philippines Boracay Beach

Manila is very Western and wants nothing more than to become even more so. Americans and Europeans book cheap tickets to Manila regularly for procedures like butt lifts (ouch!) boob jobs and botox. Some come for even more intense operations and are surprised to see the level of professionalism, cleanliness and education of the staff here. They are a predominantly Christian nation, they speak English and they make damn fine doctors and nurses. Even the American Embassy considers many of its hospitals like the gleaming St. Lukes to be a top-rated hospital.

st.lukes

st.lukes

They are a nation of hard workers, hard students and hard partiers.

To see Manila in its modern glory, head east to the skyscrapers of Makati City. It is home to upscale hotels like the Shangri-La, Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental. This is also where you’ll find the city’s beautiful people, shopping at bustling Greenbelt Square or dining outdoors to electro-lounge music.

Makati City

Makati City

Fusion restaurants like Nuvo with its clean, modern décor and dim violet backlighting, exemplify this stylish trend. Local favorites include scallop tempura with asparagus risotto and saffron champagne sauce for 475 pesos, like $10!

Later, head for the city’s youth-obsessed nightclubs, which pulsate with both Filipino and American hip-hop. The scene du jour is at the Fort Bonifacio area, an ultrasleek development northeast of Makati on the site of a former United States military base. At the Embassy nightclub, whose co-owner is the local television celebrity Tim Yap, one can rub elbows — and other body parts — on the dance floor with the city’s stylish professionals and trendsetters, but Manila parties late, so don’t arrive before midnight, and don’t plan on returning home until dawn.

embassy nightclub

embassy nightclub

For something a little grittier, go to the central neighborhood of Malate. Stroll down to Roxas Boulevard, where there is a nightly carnival of live music, karaoke and street food. Several bars are clustered nearby, including Bedrock which has live hip-hop and pop-rock acts, and Round Eyeglass Kape, a ramshackle performance-art and music space. Malate is also the center of gay night life. Clubs like Bed (Maria Orosa and Julio Nakpil Streets, draw huge crowds for the rave-style dancing.

letting it loose

letting it loose

But you know why I’m looking into Manila flights?  Besides, the tummy tuck, butt lift, boob job and overall facelift?  I want to swim in the oceans, see the reefs, rent boats and equipment for nothing. Feel like a castaway, where no one cares who you are or what you have . Just island hop sipping beer.

Manila is also a gateway to  some of the best and the cheapest diving sites in the world, like Apo Island, Dumaguete

apo island

apo island

This small volcanic island, 7km off the southeastern tip of Negros Island is one of the worlds best known community-organized marine sanctuary. People come from all over the world to take part in dives.  Here it’s cheap and very well-organized.

Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, Sulu Sea

They call this the “Mother of all the Dive sites” in the Philippines. The thousands hectares of reefs is a Unesco World Heritage Site. it is also home to big fish,killer currents,manta’s,white tip reef sharks,hammerhead,whale sharks and the list goes on and on. Getting into the reefs is not that easy you need a “visitor’s permit” to be able to dive in.  Though this is a poor country, they protect their natural bounty and for that I am thrilled. This is not for the beginner so if you are you need a few more dives before launching into this.

rich protected reefs

rich protected reefs

Puerto Galera, Mindoro

Puerto Galera was also designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO in 1973 and it has the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia. There are two famous beaches in Puerto Galera, Sabang and White beach. Sabang mostly caters to foreigners and divers while White beach is the choice of local tourists for its cheaper accommodations and fine sands.

mpuerto galera

puerto galera

Sure Manila is no Paris, but people are missing the point, it’s not trying to be. The beaches here, the people and the services in certain industries make it a unique and extremely gratifying travel destination. So go Cheap flights Manila!

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