For many, the numerous islands scattering across the sea will come to mind when they think of the Philippines. But as someone born and bred in the capital of Manila, I can confidently say the city is just as fun as other destinations in Southeast Asia. I am Jennica and I will show you the glamour of Manila and its surrounding countryside.
馬尼拉灣的日落，被譽為世界八大美景之一。在這個越夜越美麗的都市，登上遊艇航行於海灣上，以絕佳的視野觀賞浪漫晚霞，絕對是最佳選擇。甫踏入馬尼拉遊艇會，已被漆上金色外表，長32米的豪華遊艇吸引目光，加上船上工作人員的親切友善，還未登船已讓人有“ 座上客” 的感覺，不期然期待起揚帆出海時的奢華時光。
Sunset on the Yacht
The sunset at Manila Bay is said to be one of the eight most beautiful views in the world. The city glows as night falls. One of the best ways to enjoy the scene is to board a yacht and get away from the crowd. The luxurious 32-m long yacht painted in gold caught my eyes as soon as I walked into Manila Yacht Club. The staff on board were friendly and helpful. I felt pampered even before it set off.
這艘刻有“SUNCITY”字眼的“ 太陽城號”，共設有5間客套房，全擁有獨立洗手間、DVD機和BOSE名貴音響設備，所有家俱及床俱均採用意大利豪華品牌FENDI CASA出品。而我最愛的則是位於甲板上的按摩浴池，一邊看著一望無際的汪洋大海，一邊按摩以消除旅程中的疲勞，輕鬆寫意。“ 太陽城號”經預約後可按您心中的時段出發及回港，時間上極為彈性，故船長會因應天氣停靠在擁有希臘景色的財富島上或無人島旁，讓您盡情體驗游泳、浮潛和懸崖跳水等水上冒險活動，盡享悠閒的度假時光。
The Suncity Yacht has its name etched on it. It has 5 suites, each equipped with a private bathroom, DVD player and luxurious BOSE sound system. All furniture is made by deluxe Italian label FENDI CASA. My favourite part, however, is the jacuzzi on the deck, where I can sit back and enjoy the water massage while looking across the boundless sea. The departure and arrival times of Suncity Yacht are flexible and can be tailored to your own schedule. The captain would also anchor the ship near Fortune Island or a desert island depending on the weather. You can enjoy the mesmerising scenery while exploring the adventures of sea swimming, snorkelling and cliff diving. All these activities would make an unforgettable holiday.
菲律賓四面環海，物資豐富，加上菲國人致力保育海洋生態，故這裡的海產不僅數量多、種類全，且品相好，由皮皮蝦，螃蟹等常見海鮮，到龍蝦，石斑魚等高檔食材，在菲國一一新鮮供應，若您是“ 海鮮迷”的話，定會吃得流連忘返。誠然，身為海鮮老饕的您，可能會覺得菲律賓或煎或炸的單一煮法略為乏味，若能配合“ 港式”的烹調技巧，那定能讓這裡的海產升華至另一層次。
位於馬尼拉新濠天地內的“老友記餐廳”， 所有廚師均來自香港，並有多年入廚經驗，其烹調手法極為正宗，就連香港著名菜餚“ 避風塘炒蟹”也可在這品嘗得到。這道菜的特色在於蒜酥，蒜酥搭配上蟹油的香氣，炸得恰到好處，其辣椒的香氣也完美融入蟹肉當中，一吃立刻上癮！而芝士焗龍蝦伊麵與冰鎮皮皮蝦等其他菜餚也讓人一吃難忘，餐廳內還提供燒味、火鍋、刺身與蛋撻等多款經典粵菜，更有馳名中外的絲襪奶茶，濃烈的茶香以及香醇幼滑的口感，喝一口已得知師傅有著不簡單的“ 撞茶”工藝！
Hong Kong Style Seafood
As an island country, Philippines’ policies have a strong focus on marine ecology. Not only does it have an abundant supply of seafood, the quality and diversity of them are also impressive. Fresh gourmet seafood such as mantis shrimps, lobsters, crabs and groupers can easily be found. However, the Philippine style of fried seafood may not suit everyone. Fortunately, there are also Hong Kong-style restaurants that can satisfy the pickiest palate.
All chefs at L.Y.K at City of Dreams Manila are from Hong Kong and have extensive experience in the kitchen. They offer authentic Hong Kong dishes, such as Typhoon Shelter Crabs. The dish features an abundance of garlic blended with the aroma of crab oil. The heat from the chilli perfectly compliments the texture of the crab. It is difficult to stop eating once you start! Other exquisite seafood dishes include Baked Lobster and Noodles with Cheese and Chilled Mantis Shrimps. The restaurant also offers barbecue pork, hot pot, sashimi, egg tarts and other traditional Cantonese dishes. Even the very typical Stockings Milk Tea can be found here. The strong aroma and smooth texture combines perfectly to create the best milk tea ever.
Fresh Air at Spider Mountain
If you enjoy the island scenery of the Philippines, then the mountains will further take you by surprise. Masungi Georeserve, which is a two-hour drive from Manila, is a conservation area of the karst topology. Apart from interesting limestone formations, there are also an ecological walkway, a suspension bridge and a giant metal spider web where visitors can admire at the mesmerising view mid-air. The spider web has also given the place its name of “spider mountain”.
There are several trails in the geopark. This time, I have chosen to walk the Discovery Trail that takes approximately 4 hours to complete. It leads walkers to popular hiking spot Sapot (Cobweb), where people can crawl on the suspended netting while enjoying the mountain views. It was quite scary to begin with but the fear quickly turned to excitement. According to the staff, illegal logging and quarrying was rampant in the area in the late 1990s. It was only after 20 years of conservation that the park has been transformed into a haven for a wide range of animals and plants. Sapot acts as a viewing platform in the sky, from where Laguna de Bay – Philippines’ largest lake – can be seen. It is also a great photo spot for many creative shots!
Oldest Stone Church
The Philippines used to be a Spanish colony. The history has deep influence on the country and traces can be found in many buildings. San Agustin Church in Intramuros is the oldest stone church in the Philippines and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an example of Baroque architecture.
The majestic arch at the gate, stone wall and delicate carving and sculptures are typical of Spanish architecture. The stone architecture continues onto the neighbouring museum, which is further decorated with charming drawings. It is like stepping into a medieval castle. The museum has a rich collection of paintings and antiques, depicting the history of the Catholic church in the country and Spanish rule. I am most impressed by the lovely drawings on the corridor that document the change of San Agustin Church throughout different periods. The amount of history the church contains is simply remarkable.
Accommodation forms a big part of a journey. I always put safety, cleanliness and convenience first. Hilton Manila at Resorts World Manila fits the bill. Resorts World Manila is a top leisure and entertainment destination in the city. It is equipped with a wide range of entertainment facilities. Hilton Manila is the perfect place to stay since it is directly connected to Resorts World Manila and is conveniently accessible via the “Runway Manila” foot bridge from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3. Transport to popular spots such as Manila Bay and Makati is also convenient. The hotel provides 357 guestrooms and suites decorated in modern style. The room keys are digital and can be activated on smart phones and tablets via the Hilton Honors mobile app, making the journey even easier.
希爾頓酒店除了在住宿上提供優質享受，其餐飲也不容忽視，當中以“華苑中餐廳”最受歡迎。餐廳大廚是一位地道上海人，加盟這餐廳前是在上海陸家嘴的上海國際會議中心專做“ 國宴”， 其菜餚只有國家元首級的達官貴人才可品嘗得到，自然實力非凡。
Authentic Shanghai Cuisine
Food in Manila is also top-notch. Hua Yuan Brasserie Chinoise is one of the most popular restaurants in the city. The sous chef is from Shanghai and was with Shanghai International Convention Center at Lujiazui before joining Hua Yuan. His specialty is in “national dinners” and his food was served to leaders of different countries.
A signature dish at Hua Yuan is Fragrant Tea Smoked Duck. Its aroma spreads across even before it was served on the table. The meat is tender and the smoked flavour compliments it well. It goes best with a pot of Anxi tea. This dish is even better than the ones I had in Shanghai. I was told the duck was marinated for over 30 hours in a sauce made with more than 30 ingredients. Just the preparation alone takes three to four days. Other recommended dishes include Yellow Croaker Fish with Pine Nuts, Steamed Assorted Xiao Long Bao, Braised Pork Belly and Braised Beef Short Ribs.
Whisky Tasting Art
Philippines place a lot of importance on entertainment. They love having a few drinks with friends, so bars in the city are abundant. They are even said to be the liveliest in Asia, with some locals joking that the real Manila only comes alive after dusk. People get more energetic as the night goes on. For a more refined experience, visit Still Tea and Whisky Lounge at Manila Marriott Hotel.
The lounge has a secluded and private setting. Its glamourous yet modern décor gives it a relaxing feel. The bar serves mainly whisky and has a large selection. Those who find it difficult to make up their mind may order a tasting menu that contains 6 different types of whisky of different aroma and texture. It helps you find your favourite whisky through the senses of sight, taste and smell. For those who do not drink, the bar offers a wide selection of tea leaves from around the world. There must be one that appeals to your palate.
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