Not to state the obvious, but… life is back to normal. Malls, restaurants, and the roads are all abuzz with people and traffic. It’s almost like the pandemic wasn’t just… well, 12 months ago. It feels like a decade since. But despite the lamentable transportation situation, the small win is now that restrictions are virtually nonexistent at this point, we’ve become freer to travel to and explore both old and new spots within and beyond our cities.
Restaurants, bars, cafes
One city we’ve unexpectedly found ourselves drawn to again and again this year is Quezon City. As one of the biggest and most populated cities in Metro Manila, there’s a wealth of establishments to visit and try, from cozy coffee shops to funky speakeasies.
We’ve also revisited one of our favorite nearby heritage destinations, Intramuros, and found a slowly growing food scene. Plus, of course, everyone’s go-to nightlife hotspot, Poblacion.
- Where to eat in Quezon City, 2022 edition
- 3 unique bar concepts for your night out in QC
- 3 Intramuros cafes for your mid-tour breaks
- LIST: Poblacion bars that serve cocktails for P300 or less
- These oyster bars in the city do oysters right
- Craving Chinese food? These restaurants are the real deal
Walking through history and heritage
History walks have become popular this year, with slots for tours exploring various heritage districts and buildings always quickly filling up. Aside from the revival of the beloved Escolta, we’ve also rediscovered a few of the culturally significant areas of Manila where a handful of heritage structures remain (albeit some under threat of demolition).
We’ve also revisited the ever-popular Walled City, and discovered several new favorite spots, from restaurants to museums (that even give out shots at the end of the tour).
While most of these tours already have full slots or haven’t announced their upcoming schedules for 2023 yet, we can take a look back at the various routes they’ve tread to get ready for the next ones.
- Local heritage tourism is back in full swing with these Manila walking tours
- Explore Escolta’s First United Building with an exclusive tour by its owners, the Syliantengs
- Take a historical and gastronomical tour of Binondo this month
- Are there ghosts in Intramuros? Find out for yourself at this night walking tour
Coffee and cycling
The pandemic turned out many new bikers (this author is a pandemic bike learner, in all honesty), and with it came the popularity of roadside shops. There’s nothing quite as energizing, especially for coffee lovers, as sipping a good cup of joe after a morning ride.
Traveling beyond Manila
With most travel restrictions eased, we’ve also been able to enjoy food and sights from local destinations and even around our Asian neighbors. We’ve had beachside bites in Boracay, snapped the cutest food shots in Thailand, went sightseeing through Tokyo and Kyoto, and ate our way through Bacolod and more.
All of it, of course, is well documented on our TikTok. (Give us a follow if you haven’t yet, to see more of the places we’ve traveled to!)
@nolisoli.ph support art + food in a treehouse 🌲 #foodtokph #artph #nolisolieats #nolisoliph ♬ Chill Vibes – Tollan Kim
- They went to Thailand in 2021 then returned this year. Somehow everything still felt new
- In Pattaya, Thailand’s disparate tourist bubble, the beach is only the starting point
- Revisiting Japan’s ‘Golden Route’ with my senior parents was surprisingly fun
- From Tokyo to Kyoto with senior parents in tow sans baggage
- A view of Mexico City beyond the beauty of Barragán buildings
- She missed Harry Styles’ concert. Thank god there are tons to do in New York
- Revisiting Bali, Indonesia through the eyes of photojournalist Geela Garcia