Manila for women

Manila hosted the 2006 Miss Earth contest

Manila hosted the 2006 Miss Earth contest

Manila is a cosmopolitan city that has a lot to offer every kind of traveller. For women visiting the Philippine capital, a variety of attractions and leisure options are available to make their stay comfortable, fun, and worthwhile. It is part of the Filipino tradition to be respectful to women – especially mothers – so you don’t have to worry about sexism here. The modern Filipina woman is as cosmopolitan as can be; she prioritises health and beauty, so you can find plenty of salons and spas in the city. More on Manila spas.

Women also enjoy the plethora of shopping options and family-friendly places to visit while in the city, ranging from amusement centres to cultural venues. And of course, there’s the Filipino cuisine, which takes inspiration from home cooked meals and a few influences from the Chinese, Spanish, and regional flavours. More on shopping and food.

Culture and etiquette in Manila for women

Filipinos are very friendly to foreigners, so if you speak English, you will not have a hard time communicating with the locals. Most of them may be shy to approach you but as long as you are nice to them, they will be willing to help you and assist you. While Filipinos are generally sincere and honest, you should still trust your instincts; some locals have been reported to scam foreigners.

Women in Manila are more independent nowadays, capable of working on their own to earn for their family or themselves. While Filipino women are traditionally brought up to be respectful, humble, and modest, they are able to adapt to the modern demands of society and the world so they are capable of making their own decisions. As you roam around in Manila, you can find various types of women. The majority are working girls – educated, fluent in English, and well travelled. Of course, like in any country, there are also less salubrious girls engaged in the sex trade in seedy parts of the city.

One of the major drawbacks for women visiting Manila is the weather, which tends to be hot and humid throughout the year even in the rainy season. This may prompt you to wear vest tops, short skirts or very skimpy shorts, and other revealing clothes to get by. But in Manila, dressing in an extremely sexy manner is deemed uncouth and disrespectful. A majority of the Filipinas in Manila do wear vest tops and shorts, but they are careful to choose the appropriate length (usually mid-thigh and not higher) and never show their bras under their  blouse. Dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention from seedy men.

Women with children

International Women's Day is a big deal here

International Women's Day is a big deal here

Planning to bring your children to Manila? The good news is that you can find plenty activities to do with them here. Filipinos in Manila are generally patient and caring towards children because it is already in their culture to be kind to younger people.

If you are thinking of settling  with your children in Manila, you won’t have a hard time picking a reputable school with a safe environment where they can get good education, because there are several exclusive and international schools in the city. Other than that, paediatric care is readily available in healthcare centres within shopping centres and hospitals. There are also hospitals catering exclusively to children.

Getting pampered in Manila

When Manila’s bustling atmosphere takes its toll on you, it is time to give yourself the pampering and relaxation you deserve. Around the city, you can find a plethora of spas and beauty salons with services that range from cheap to expensive, depending on the prestige and location. Still, pampering services in Manila is much cheaper than the ones offered in North America or Europe, so make the most of it.

Massage: Massages are offered in both salons and actual spas. There are also home services offered for as little as Php 300. Brand-name spas often offer massages for higher rates, while others can give you one for under Php 500.

Manicures/pedicures: The cheapest manicure or pedicure service in Manila would cost about Php50 but it can be as expensive as Php150 and above. Again, the price would depend on the salon, but generally it is advisable to go to a reputable salon with sanitary surroundings and clean tools. The quality of the manicure and pedicure is also good. There are also establishments offering nail art done with modern equipment.

Shampoo and blow-dry: This is one of the cheapest ways to get pampered at a salon. The cheapest one is available for about Php40 but it can also be as high as Php150-300 and above.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Spas: There are plenty of day spas in Manila’s malls and hotels, and you can check into them for a few hours or have the entire establishment cater to you and your companions for a fee. Many local Filipinas celebrate special occasions like their birthdays by renting an entire salon for a few hours so that they and their friends can have a private 'spa party'.

Go go girls

Manila, much like Bangkok, has a dark side where the sex trade is rampant. It is unavoidable for some women living in poverty to go into this business because for them, it is the only way they can make a living for themselves or for their families. If you are uncomfortable with prostitution, stay away from areas such as Malate and the bay area where unfortunate girls are likely to be around and scouting or waiting for clients.

Avoid visiting very dark bars near the slums. If you are brave enough, you may find it interesting to talk with those women working in the sex trade to find out about their lives. You can find that some of them speak good English and are very open to talking to other women like you as long as they are not busy with their clients.

Staying in more cosmopolitan areas such as Makati, Ortigas, and Quezon City will generally isolate you from Manila’s seedy scene. There are hardly any sex workers in the upscale districts because they are apprehended by police.

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