Introducing: Old Manila


During the Instagram boom in the Philippines, photo walks were a huge thing. Instagrammers would visit different parts of Metro Manila and take cool snapshots of ourselves doing stunts with the cityscape in the background. It was usually a very casual activity; until one day, a few friends and I decided to conduct an official photo walk in old Manila. We wanted to show the area from a different perspective by taking people to lesser known spots. We named the event “Si Manila” (“si” is a usual way of introduction in Filipino). We occasionally still host insta-meets (Instagram meets) in old Manila, but for those who want to DIY (do-it-yourself) it, here’s a list of spots that we usually hit!

  • Take a Taxi
  • Famous
  • Local Experience
  • Heavy Walking
  • Solo Trip
  • Solo Travel
  • Small Groups
  • Date Ideas

Updated 4 years ago

Escolta Street

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Manila, Philippines • Recommendation • 

The starting point of SinoPinas’ Si Manila photo walk is Escolta Street. The alleys around here are good for photo enthusiasts—they're super photogenic, and there are streets that have art displays. It’s actually now being developed into one of the premier art districts in the Philippines!

  • Escolta Street, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Hub: Make Lab

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Manila, Philippines • Recommendation • 

HUB: Make Lab is a bazaar within the First United Building in Escolta Street. It’s an experimental space where Manila’s artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs can sell their crafts. Point your cameras towards the random variety of goods including contemporary furniture, desk plants, and locally-made artisan perfumes.

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The Den

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Manila, Philippines • Recommendation • 

Within HUB: Make Lab in the First United Building (Escolta Street), The Den serves java from local brand Kalsada Coffee. The photo-worthy industrial-style nook is a quiet spot to rewind after perusing through the knick-knacks at the bazaar. Notice the cool furniture—it was made just for the cafe by Fabbrica Manila!

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Folk 1006

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Manila, Philippines • Recommendation • 

Also in Escolta Street’s First United Building, Folk 1006 is a barber shop that caters to the gentlemen of Manila. The space takes on a classic look, which translates to the clean cuts that are promised to every customer. Take home some of their oil-based pomades to continue looking dapper on your own!

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Ying Ying Tea House

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Manila, Philippines • Recommendation • 

After touring Escolta Street, queue for a table at Ying Ying Tea House, one of Binondo’s (the local Chinatown) best Chinese restaurants! Owned by Josephine L. Shiu (whose family operated the now-closed giant President Grand Palace Restaurant), the establishment dishes out Cantonese dishes, made with ingredients sourced all the way from Hong Kong. It’s very budget-friendly, so go ahead and order more of their specialty Pork Shrimp Siomai and Hakao for the table. You’re stomach (and your photo roll will) will be thanking you later!

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Manila, Philippines • Recommendation • 

When you’re done exploring the Binondo area, the next stop is Divisoria, a giant shopping complex known for its bargain wholesalers. You’ll find practically everything here: apparel, toys, decorations, plants, kitchenware—you name it! The shops even overflow into the streets, so take out your camera and snap a few shots.

  • Claro M. Recto Avenue, Divisoria, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

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About Philippines

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