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5 Healthy Days in Manila




Fountain at a Rizal park, Malate, Metro ManilaWe’re headed to Manila on our five healthy days tour around the world. This city in the Philippines is rapidly developing and offers up rich history and experiences to travelers. Manila is a colorful, multicultural city filled with museums, shops, parks, churches and a booming nightlife.

Without further adieu, here is your itinerary for five healthy days in Manila:

Day 1

Breakfast: Kick off your day at the Early Bird Breakfast Club for a dish of “Feeling Fruity” – seasonal fresh fruits with Greek yogurt and Palawan honey.

Workout: Drop in to one of the regular yoga classes offered at the Mandarin Oriental Spa.

Lunch: The Corner Tree Café claims to be the home of vegetarian comfort food in Manila. You should try their Kare-Kareng Gulay – a traditional Filipino stew with fresh veggies.

Mind/Body Balance: Feel the history of Manila at the Ninoy Aquino Monument, which depicts the national hero right before he was shot.

Must See Attraction: The Ayala Museum is a modern museum featuring ethnographic and archaeological exhibits on Filipino culture, art and history.

Dinner: La Tienda is touted as one of the best Spanish restaurants in the city. Try their paella negra – people rave about it!

Day 2

Breakfast: Start your day off at Barbara’s with some fresh fruit and eggs cooked however you want.

Workout: Walk or jog through Manila’s Rizal Park, which boasts open lawns, ornamental gardens, paved walks and wooded areas, and monuments of Filipino heroes. At dawn, groups gather to practice tai chi.

Lunch: Head to Ilustrado for traditional Spanish-Filipino fare, including the house specialty salmon head sinigang sa miso.

Mind/Body Balance: The San Agustin Church is the oldest church in the Philippines. Its massive façade and ornate interior has weathered seven major earthquakes, as well as the Battle of Manila.

Must See Attraction: The National Gallery of Art, housed within the former Congress building, holds many of the Philippines’ signature works of art, including the painting of Juan Luna titled “Spolarium.”

Dinner: At the Seafood Market, you get to pick out what you want from the ice counter and then watch a chef cook it in a flaming wok.

Day 3

Breakfast: Have a little piece of home for breakfast with a coffee and egg white breakfast sandwich from Starbucks.

Workout: Sweat and feel revitalized at Bikram Yoga Manila-Makati.

Lunch: Take a sightseeing break mid-day at Raffaele Woodfired Pizza and enjoy a prosciutto con zucca pizza with the panzanella salad.

Mind/Body Balance: The Quiapo Church is one of Manila’s best-known landmarks since it is the home of the “Black Nazarene,” a 17th-century life-sized wooden statue of Jesus Christ.

Must See Attraction: The National Museum of the Filipino People houses a vast collection of Filipino painting and sculpture in addition to the skullcap of the Philippines’ earliest known inhabitant, Tabon Man.

Dinner: End your day at 9Spoons, where you can dine on Norwegian salmon while listening to live music.

Day 4

Breakfast: Stacy’s serves breakfast all day long. When you stop in, try their famous Stacy Jones, which is tender strips of yakiniku cut U.S. Beef tapa served with eggs.

Workout: Stop in at Manila’s Fitness First location to take a cycling or “body pump” class.

Lunch: Try some Korean food at Shin Dang Dong Korean Restaurant, especially the spicy teokbokki – a noodle dish with veggies.

Mind/Body Balance: The current Manila Cathedral is the eighth incarnation on this location since the church’s founding in 1581. Take in its gilded altar, a 4500-pipe organ, and rosette windows with beautiful stained glass.

Must See Attraction: The American Cemetery and Memorial occupies 152 acres and contains the largest number of military graves from World War II.

Dinner: Grab a table at Romulo Café and dine on baked lemongrass chicken.

Day 5

Breakfast: Fuel up for the day with eggs benedict (it’s okay, you’ve been exercising hard) with smoked salmon at Apartment 1B.

Workout: Try a Pilates barre or group reformer class at Vivian Zapanta Pilates Studio.

Lunch: Sala Bistro is one of the most raved about eateries – check out their steak tartar or frittata for a light, healthy lunch.

Mind/Body Balance: Relax and recuperate at the Ace Water Spa, which features hot herbal pools and a rainfall acupuncture massage.

Must See Attraction: The Nielson Tower is the home to the Filipinas Heritage Library. Head to this attraction for programs that will enlighten you on the history of the Philippines in addition to checking out the building, which used to be used as an airport.

Dinner: The Blackbird Grill, by chef Colin MacKay, just opened in Nielson Tower this year. You should try his salad of pickled beetroot, goat cheese, lentils, and pomegranate molasses.

If you have any suggestions for traveling well in Manila, please share them with us!


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Linda Barbara

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