THE BEST WAY TO MANILA
From LAX, Philippine Airlines offers direct service to Manila, and Asiana, JAL, All Nippon Airways, Delta, Air China, Hawaiian, China Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, EVA Airways, Singapore, Korean and Qantas offer connecting service (change of plane). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $1,164 to $1,264, including taxes and fees.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 63 (country code for the Philippines ) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
Manila Marriott, 10 Newport Blvd., Newport City Complex, Manila; 2-988-9999, http://www.lat.ms/ZENkNR. Glittery property about 4 miles from the airport and part of the Resorts World complex, which includes a casino. Doubles from about $195.
Intercontinental Manila, 1 Ayala Ave., Manila; 2-793-7000, http://www.lat.ms/ZELdd5. In upscale Makati near lots of shopping. Doubles from about $144.
Manila Hotel, 1 Rizal Park, Manila; 2-527-0111, http://www.manila-hotel.com.ph. The grande dame of hotels in the city. Just turned 100, doesn't look it. Doubles from $205.
WHERE TO EAT
Gerry's Grill, Level 3 Greenbelt 3 Ayala Center, Makati; 2-903-0713, http://www.gerrysgrill.com/ph. Part of a chain but with tasty local favorites and a sports bar atmosphere with inexpensive prices. Appetizers such as lumpiang Shanghai (spring rolls) for $4 or entrees such as beef kalderata ($5.70) can fill you up inexpensively. Most items $3-$9.
Jeepney, in the Intercontinenal (see above). Amazing breakfast buffet but good dinner entrees too from around the world. I liked the curried chicken. Entrees $12-$24.
Hap Chan, various locations. Yes, it's a chain of Chinese restaurants but it's reliably good. We ate at the one in Mariveles on the Bataan Peninsula (http://www.newhapchan.com, 922-805-2245); beef with asparagus was good. Main dishes $5-$43 (roast duck).
Blue Horizons Travel, 23rd Floor, Pacific Star Building, Makati Avenue, Makati; 2-988-5000, http://www.bluehorizons.travel. Drivers (almost mandatory — traffic is wild), guides and excursions and can arrange hotels and flights.
Sun Cruises, 2-527-5555, http://www.corregidorphilippines.com. Tours to Corregidor leave about 7:45 a.m. and return about 4 p.m. Package for the day, including lunch at the Corregidor Inn, start at about $54 a person. You can stay overnight at the inn for an additional $49 for two.
TO LEARN MORE
Philippine Tourism, http://www.tourism.gov.phCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times