Cities & Towns

Caloocan City Visitors Guide

Written by Patrick

This brief guide to Caloocan City will help you plan your trip. It contains information on what to do, eat, and drink as well as the must-see spots and the best hotels.


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Caloocan is one of the 16 highly urbanized cities comprising Metro Manila.  It is the fourth most populous city in the Philippines with more than 1.5 million population.

The city got its name from the Tagalog root word lo-ok or lo-ob (kalook-lookan or kaloob-looban) which means inside as the city is the innermost area.  It is bordered by Manila City, Quezon City, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela in the south while the northern part is bordered by Quezon City and Valenzuela, as well as the province of Bulacan, particularly the town of Marilao and the cities of Meycauayan and San Jose del Monte.

As a highly urbanized city with such big population, Caloocan has several financial institutions, shopping malls, stand-alone supermarkets, factories, restaurants, and hotels.  Its tourist attractions include heritage and culture sites, a watershed, and a zoo.


Caloocan City Location Map

Best Time to Visit

It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season.  Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April.  These are the summer months in this country.

Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.

The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.

TIP:  We recommend that booking for Caloocan City summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.

The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances.  Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well.  This happens frequently so beware!

We recommend traveling to Caloocan City in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.

Fast Facts

Destination Name:
Caloocan City
Local Time:
Best Time of Year to Visit:
December – May
Approximately 1,661,584
English, Tagalog
Philippine Peso (PHP)
Exchange Rate:
Approximately 1 USD = 50+ PHP click for exact exchange rate
Geographic Coordinates:
14°39′N 120°58′E
55.80 km2 (21.54 sq mi)
Neighboring Cities:
Quezon City | Meycauayan | San Jose del Monte | Valenzuela
Neighboring Islands:
Lightweight casuals
Catholicism (majority), Iglesia ni Cristo, Church of God
Best Known For:
Historical museum and landmarks
Major Industries:
Finance, retail, manufacturing
Standard voltage is 220V
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
International Phone Code:
Airport & Airport Code:
Bus Terminal(s):
Baliwag Transit Inc. | First North Luzon Transit, Inc. | Victory Liner Bus Terminal

Getting Here

There are many ways to get here depending on your starting point. We recommend using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while in Caloocan City:  Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The following are the major ports of entry for this destination.


Bus Terminal

Caloocan Bus Terminals




PH Bus

Getting Around

The following are the modes of transportation available in Caloocan City …





Car for Hire

Car for Hire

Car Rental

Car Rental















Rome to Rio


The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while in Caloocan City.

1 | Bonifacio Circle Monumento

The first encounter between the Spaniards and the Katipunan led by Andres Bonifacio took place in Caloocan.  The encounter started the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire.

The Bonifacio Monument, popularly referred to as Monumento, honors Andres Bonifacio.  The monument features a 13.7-meter obelisk with a winged-figure on top.  Below are 20 figures cast in bronze with the central figure holding a bolo (knife) in the right hand and a gun in the other.  At the back of the central figure is the Katipunan flag.  The sculptures are by Guillermo Tolentino, National Artist of the Philippines for Sculpture.  Monumento is acclaimed to be one of the best monuments in the world and the most symbolic in the country.

It is located at a roundabout crossing of four roads: EDSA.

2 | San Roque Cathedral

Founded in 1815, San Roque Cathedral Parish played a part in the history of the Philippines.  It was the meeting place of the Katipuneros during the Spanish era, refuge of Antonio Luna during the Philippine-American war, and was used as a field hospital by the Americans.  It was partially destroyed during the war and deteriorated over the years but was re-constructed and renovated to become what it is today.  It is of Baroque style and houses 3 relics of San Roque.

3 | University of Santo Tomas Museum

Founded in 1871, University of Santo Tomas Museum, also called UST Museum, is the oldest existing museum in the Philippines.  The museum houses natural specimens such as plants and animals, the most popular among visitors, especially the students.  Other items found in the museum are coins, memorabilias, medals, visual arts, and Philippine religious images.  UST Museum is also home to works of many Filipino artists including Fernando Amorsolo and his younger brother Pablo Amorsolo, Carlos Francisco, Vicente Manansala, and Galo Ocampo.

The museum is definitely a good place to visit if you want to know more about the Philippines and its past.

3 | La Mesa Watershed Reservation

While it is primarily located in Quezon City, part of La Mesa Watershed is within the jurisdiction of Caloocan.  La Mesa Watershed is a protected area that contains the last remaining rainforest of its size in Metro Manila surrounding the La Mesa Dam and Reservoir, Metro Manila’s main source of potable drinking water.  It is home to various species of local flora and fauna such as the Philippine coucal, Philippine nightjar, narra, bangkal, and many more.

As one of the popular attractions in Caloocan, the La Mesa Watershed welcomes around 300 thousand visitors annually.

4 | SM Center Sangandaan

Caloocan has several shopping malls, one of them is the SM Center Sangandaan, the first SM Mall in the city.  Other malls in Caloocan are Holiday Island Mall, Metroplaza Mall, Primark, and SM City Grand Mall while supermarkets include Puregold, Araneta Square, SM HYpermarket Monumento, and many others.

5 | Gubat sa Ciudad Resort

While it is an old resort, Gubat sa Ciudad remains one of the most popular spots in Caloocan.  It’s a great place for a day of fun and adventures as there are seven swimming pools of varying depths and with fountains and waterslides.  There are air conditioned rooms and pavilion spaces as well as more facilities including a basketball court, volleyball courts, and play area for children.

6 | Thai To Taoist Temple

The one in Cebu is probably the most popular Taoist Temple in the Philippines, but there is also one in Caloocan.  It is a three-storey structure that has been used for over 100 years as a place of worship for the Chinese and the Chinese-Filipino residents of Caloocan and nearby areas.  The huge temple has aged but people still come to this place to pray and reflect.

7 | Green Paddle

Looking for a facility to test your table tennis prowess?  Head over to Green Paddle where you can play with friends or have one-on-one training with a table tennis professional.  They also have an onsite store where you can score various table tennis gear and supplies.

8 | Luzviminda Resort

One more resort to visit in Caloocan is the Luzviminda Resort.  Its swimming pool has fountains, waterfalls, and waterslides.  The castle towers that light up at night will surely delight your princes and princesses.

NOTE: The Sto.Niño De Pajotan Festival occurs annually in Caloocan City Every 28th of January.



The following is your guide to the flavorful food to enjoy and restaurants to try while in Caloocan City.

1 | The Hideout Tea and Coffee House

Now going by the name The Hideout Bar and Restaurant, the restaurant is open from 3:00 PM until midnight.  It has a nice ambience and exceptionally good and affordably-priced food.  The standup comedy show every night is free so the restaurant is always packed with people hoping to unwind and have fun.

2 | Samgyeopsal House by 25th Turning Point

Craving for Korean food?  The best place to satisfy it is at Samgyeopsal House by 25th Turning Point in Sangandaan.  The restaurant offers unlimited Korean bbq, said to be the best in the city.  It also offers party packages, perfect for people who want to celebrate with their loved ones.

3 | Max’s Restaurant

Established in 1945, Max’s is a Filipino restaurant known for its chicken.  It has several branches all over the country and remains a favorite among Filipinos craving for good Filipino food.  Other dishes include pancit, lumpia, halo-halo, sinigang, and many others.

4 | Le Sizzle

The restaurant has an industrial look and while its menu is pretty basic, the food quality is superb.  They serve chicken and pork bbq, porkchop, breaded chicken, lumpia, fish filet, boneless bangus, and sizzling dishes.

5 | Orient Pearl Seafood & Restaurant

Orient Pearl Restaurant has been serving authentic Chinese cuisine in Caloocan for over 30 years.  The price is not cheap but it is definitely worth it.  Some of their best dishes are fried salad, buchi, and pata tim.  The restaurant can also host receptions for weddings, birthdays, christening, and others.

6 | Angel’s Town Cafe

Found in the southern part of Caloocan, Angels Town Cafe has a simple ambience yet offers flavorful foods that will not hurt your pocket.  Their menu consists of Filipino dishes and American favorites such as buffalo wings, baked macaroni, and roast beef.  Their desserts are equally great making it a favorite among the younger population.

7 | Cafe Mary Grace

Cafe Mary Grace has various branches all over the country but there is only one in Caloocan and it is in SM Grand Central.  The cafe is known for its mouthwatering cakes and pastries but it also serves flavorful foods like pasta, soup, sandwiches, and pizza.

8 | Angel’s Pizza

Founded in 2009, Angel’s Pizza is fast-becoming many Filipinos favorite pizza.  It is known for its iconic Creamy Spinach Dip Pizza but you should also try their Creamy Garlic and 5 Cheese, Angels on Fire, Angel’s Aloha, Garlic Shrimp, and Toppings so Bongga.  Apart from pizza, Angel’s also serves pasta, fries, fried chicken, tacos, and more.


There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following is your guide to our top choices for each range in Caloocan City.

1 | Hotel 999 Monumento (Budget)

2 | Hannayumi Staycation (Mid-Range)

3 | Lodging (Luxury | Resort)

We recommend using the following sites to conduct research online of where to stay in Caloocan City or for a specific destination:

Book your room with these trusted online booking sites.  Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive.  We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:

TIP: Hotel Monumento is the best property to experience this destination.


Suggested Budget

Use the chart below to get an idea of how much to budget daily.  Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.

Accommodation: $12
Food: $8
Transportation: $5
Attractions: $25
Average Daily Cost: $50
Accommodation: $35
Food: $15
Transportation: $10
Attractions: $30
Average Daily Cost: $90
Accommodation: $145
Food: $35
Transportation: $20
Attractions: $40
Average Daily Cost: $240

Travel Costs


A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD).  For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).

Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast.  For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.  AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night.  For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.

Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD).  However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.

We use and recommend booking online to save money using, and AirBnB


Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD).  For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD).  For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD).  Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food.  Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.

Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD).  A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).

A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person.  However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!


There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly. 

Public Transportation is cheap.  Bus services on the islands are inexpensive.  Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).

On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips. 

Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap.  Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.  

To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly.  There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option. 

Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD).  However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel.  It’s only recommended if you have limited time. 

We recommend booking online to save money using:

Attractions & Activities

Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter. 

Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less.  You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!  

Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).

The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.

Always book your tours and activities when you arrive.  Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will.  Booking tours online is almost always more expensive. 

Typical Costs in Caloocan City in 2023:

  • Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
  • Budget Hotel:  700 PHP ($14 USD) night
  • Mid-Range Hotel:  1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
  • Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
  • Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
  • Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
  • 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
  • Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
  • Tricycle Ride:  20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
  • Taxi: 75-500 PHP ($1.50-10 USD) ride – use GrabTaxi app
  • Long-Distance Bus Ride: 400-500 PHP ($8–10 USD) ride
  • Domestic Flight: 2,000-3,500 PHP ($40–70 USD) flight

DOWNLOAD: Budget Planner Template













The following is some of our best advice on traveling to Caloocan City.  Learn what you need to know BEFORE you go!

Tips & Hacks

he following are our Top 10 Tips when visiting this destination in the Philippines:

  • Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
  • Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
  • Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
  • Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
  • Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
  • Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
  • It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
  • Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
  • Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
  • Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.

For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.

VIEW & DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Travel Tips & Hacks Guide for the Philippines

Money Matters

The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on the island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.

READ MORE: Money in the Philippines: Everything You Need to Know

Health & Safety


While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Caloocan City, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.

Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.

READ MORE: How to Avoid Scams & Thieves in the Philippines


There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:

TIP: The best way to avoid problems and stay safe is to travel with a local resident.


Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines. 

The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to. 

The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:

  • Maintain a Balanced Diet
  • Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
  • Get Plenty of Rest
  • Allow Your Body Time to Adjust 
  • Keep Active
  • Sanitize Often 
  • Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
  • Take Your Vitamins
  • Practice Safe Sex
  • Be Prepared Should You Get Sick

READ MORE: Stay Healthy in the Philippines: How to Avoid Getting Sick

Staying Connected

You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.

While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province.  So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.

Recommended Travel Apps

Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling.  Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.

The following are our Top 10 most useful travel apps on our smartphones when traveling in the Philippines:

  1. Grab (taxis/ride shares)
  2. Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
  3. WhatsApp (phone calls)
  4. Skyscanner (flights)
  5. Rome2Rio (transportation)
  6. Agoda (accomodations)
  7. (accomodations)
  8. AirBnB (accomodations)
  9. Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
  10. Klook (attractions & activities )

Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.

For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below.  Download a FREE copy for yourself as a PDF.

READ MORE: The Ultimate List of Travel Apps for the Philippines


Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options. 

We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip.  Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.

VIEW: Caloocan City 7-Day Travel Itinerary

Packing Checklist

The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list.  This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing.   To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list.  Click the link below to download it for FREE now. 

Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.

VIEW & DOWNLOAD: Our Ultimate Packing Guide & Checklist

Things to Remember

We recommend taking note of the following while traveling in Caloocan City or in the Philippines in general.


There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas.  Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.


The minimum legal drinking age is 18.  Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores.  The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold.  Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit.  Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.


Drugs are illegal in the Philippines.  Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana.  It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children.  The penalties are severe … up to and including death.


Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated.  Most locals consider it offensive.  There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.

Foreigners & Expats

If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly.  Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.

READ MORE: Practical Information about the Philippines



I always carry a Camelbak Hydration Pack with me when traveling. Not only does it allow me to pack all my daily gear and snacks, but it also has a 3-liter water bladder which holds enough water to get me through the entire day.

Bluetooth Speaker

Compact yet mighty, a bluetooth speaker setup is a breeze, and the sound quality it delivers for its size is nothing short of impressive. Beyond its audio prowess, it boasts exceptional durability, making it an ideal companion for outdoor adventures.

UV Shirt

UV Shirt is an essential when travelling in a tropical country. Providing reliable protection during long hours in the water, not only comfortable but also ensures a secure shield against the elements.

Snorkel Gear

For my island-hopping escapades, a snorkel gear set has become indispensable. Designed to enhance the joy of snorkeling and free diving, each piece ensures comfort and functionality. Together, they create an immersive and enjoyable underwater experience.

Adventure Camera

As a long-time enthusiast of GoPro cameras, I can attest to their user-friendly nature, excellent image stabilization, and impressive footage quality. Waterproof and rugged, the GoPro is my reliable companion for capturing adventures in any environment.

Aqua Shoes

When it comes to beach footwear, aqua shoes offer exceptional support, breathability, and overall comfort. Well-crafted and sturdy, it provides effective protection against rocky terrain, quick drying for added convenience, and easy maintenance. A must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.


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About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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