This brief guide to Pasay 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.
Pasay is one of the most popular cities in the Philippines. One of the busiest too as it is dotted with buildings of various heights and widths where businesses and residential spaces are housed. Majority of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s busiest airport, is also located in Pasay. The city is more likely the first city in the Philippines a foreigner will set foot into and is the jump-off point to many islands, provinces, and cities in the Philippines.
Apart from the airport, there are many other attractions to see in Pasay. One of the biggest malls in the country, museums, an amusement park, and other leisure spots are some what to see in the city.
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: This guide recommends that booking for Pasay 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!
This guide recommends traveling to Pasay 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.
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
There are many ways to get here depending on your starting point. This guide recommends using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while in Pasay City: Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The following are the major ports of entry for this destination.
The following are the modes of transportation available in Pasay City …
SEE & DO
The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while in Pasay City.
1 | Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex
The Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, also known as CCP Complex, along Roxas Boulevard is an 88-hectare property used to promote and preserve Filipino arts and culture. It houses several buildings including the Tanghalang Pambansa (National Theater) where three major performing arts venues are situated and the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas, a covered proscenium amphitheater with a seating capacity of more than 8,000.
Other buildings located in CCP Complex are the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila Film Center, Coconut Palace, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, and Manila Broadcasting Company.
2 | Resorts World Manila
Known to be the first integrated resort in the Philippines, Resorts World Manila is a one-stop destination for non-stop entertainment and leisure. It hosts a world-class casino, bars and other nightlife entertainment, cinemas, performing arts theater, over 50 restaurants, and of course a mall carrying several international luxury brands.
3 | SM Mall of Asia
SM Mall of Asia was the largest mall in the country when it opened in 2006 but was bumped to second spot after the renovation of SM North EDSA in 2008 and third spot after the expansion of SM Megamall. It reclaimed the top spot when IKEA opened in 2021.
Aside from shops carrying both local and foreign brands, SM MOA boasts of various features such as the two-storey entertainment complex, most of which is open-air facing Manila Bay and IMAX Theater, the first and largest IMAX theater in the Philippines. It houses the country’s first ever Olympic-sized skating rink and is surrounded by other facilities and attractions such as the Mall of Asia Arena (indoor arena with a seating capacity of 16,000), concert grounds that can accommodate a total of more than 100,000 guests, SMX Convention Center, esplanade, a Catholic church, and many other mixed-use areas.
A day is definitely never enough to explore all of this sprawling mall.
READ MORE: SM Supermalls in the Philippines
4 | Avellana Art Gallery
Owned by the Cheng family in Harrison, Avellana Art Gallery is set in a 1950’s house converted into a gallery showcasing antiques and artworks such as paintings and sculptures as well as works of new and contemporary artists. The ground floor of the two-storey house serves as the main exhibit area while the second floor has an office, a balcony, and more spaces for exhibits.
5 | Dessert Museum
Dessert Museum is actually not a museum but a candy-themed indoor playground and gallery where kids and kids at heart can enjoy eight rooms filled with sugar and everything nice. The first room is the Donut Room where you can either slide through the donut hole or walk down the steps. The other rooms are Marshmallow Room, Candy Cane Room, Ice Cream Room, Bubble Gum Room, Gummy Bear Room, Cotton Candy Room, and Cake Pop Room. Each room is unique from the other but all make a fun backdrop to your Instagram photos.
The entrance fee comes with six different kinds of desserts that include gummy bears, cotton candy, macarons, ice cream popsicles, and marshmallows.
6 | Galleria Duemila
Established in 1975 by an Italian who married a Filipino, Galleria Duemila is the oldest art gallery in the country. The almost 50 year old gallery showcases artworks such as paintings, sculptures, art installations, and works on paper by Filipino masters and artists such as Fernando Amorsolo, Vicente Manansala, Bencab, Malang, and many more.
7 | Lakbay Museo
Lakbay Museo (Travel Museum in English) makes it possible for visitors to see the Philippines in just a couple of hours or so. It showcases the 11 regions of the country through dioramas, installations, and exhibits therefore giving you the opportunity to learn about history and culture of each region without creating a dent on your bank account. While actually seeing those islands, cities, and provinces offers a different kind of adventure, exploring the museum will open your eyes to the diversity and beauty of the Philippines.
8 | Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum
Located in the vicinity of Villamor Airbase, showcases several artifacts such as miniatures, mock ups, commercial planes, helicopters, as well as World War II relics including weapons, uniforms, and other memorabilias for later generations to know more about aerospace science and the country’s aviation history. Its outdoor facility called the Aircraft Park displays almost 20 retired aircraft used by the Philippine Air Force.
9 | Upside Down Museum
Goof around and take fun photos at the Upside Down Museum where everything is turned upside down. It has 15 features providing illusions for that fun experience and amazing photos.
10 | Nearby Destinations
Not too far from CCP Complex is Manila Baywalk. It overlooks Manila Bay and is known as the location for the best sunset view in the Philippines. Baclaran Church and City of Dreams are less than a kilometer from the border of Pasay and Parañaque.
NOTE: The Aliwan Fiesta occurs annually in Pasay City either April or May…
EAT & DRINK
The following is your guide to the flavorful food to enjoy and restaurants to try while in Pasay City.
1 | Marriott Cafe
Marriott Cafe of Manila Marriott Hotel is a modern all-day restaurant providing diners with a wide selection of both local and international cuisines including American, Chinese, Japanese, and Western. Customers rave about their seafood buffet, steak, gelato, and salads. Along with the excellent service and great ambience, Marriott Cafe is definitely a great spot for that exciting dining experience.
2 | CRU Steakhouse
Also in Manila Marriott Hotel, CRU Steakhouse is an award-winning steakhouse known for its expertly-prepared hand-cut steaks seasoned to perfection. Add the fresh salads and delectable desserts for that gastronomic satisfaction. The restaurant has a modern and sophisticated interior and open kitchen that makes dining more interesting.
3 | Spiral
A flagship of Sofitel Hotel, Spiral is the best place to taste a variety of cuisines from all over the world. Spiral carries more than 350 international dishes and has 21 dining ateliers that makes you feel like you’re on a gastronomic tour but without leaving the country. The restaurant itself is an attraction, the food wonderful, and the service first-class. Don’t miss their foie gras, cold cuts, and of course, the fresh seafood.
4 | The Singing Cooks & Waiters
Looking for something unique and entertaining at the same time? Try The Singing Cooks & Waiters in Roxas Boulevard. The restaurant is unique for having cooks and waiters take turns singing, complete with musical instruments and traditional Filipino costume while cooking or serving. They serve Filipino and Asian dishes such as pinakbet, bulalo, pancit guisado, lumpia, and halo-halo.
5 | Rossini Ristorante Italiano
Rossini Ristorante Italiano is a fine dining restaurant situated in S Maison Mall. As the name implies, the restaurant serves Italian flavors with fusion of French cuisine. They have a signature dish called Filetto Rossini and their paper-thin pizza can be eaten in rolls instead of the typical slices. They take pride in their fresh and handmade pasta which guests describe as tasty.
6 | Ippudo
For your Japanese cravings, Ippudo, located on the second floor of the main building of SM Mall of Asia is the best place to be. Their ramen, particularly the Hakata-style ramen, is a must-try and so does their gyoza.
7 | Bistro Ravioli
What started out as a kiosk is now known as the best place to enjoy brick-oven pizza and freshly-made pasta with satisfying flavors. The restaurant has a homey vibe, service is efficient, and the prices are reasonable. Bistro Ravioli is located at the North Wing of SM Mall of Asia.
8 | Savoy Cafe
The cafe of Savoy Hotel is an all-day restaurant serving Filipino and International cuisine. The restaurant is highly recommended for their great food, excellent service, and lovely ambience. Don’t miss their pasta, bread, and pastries.
9 | China Blue by Jereme Leung
China Blue by Jereme Leung offers sophisticated yet welcoming dining experience with its traditional Chinese cuisine and lovely restaurant setup. Its high ceilings make the area more spacious and the floor-to-ceiling windows offer guests the wonderful views of Manila Bay. Their bestsellers include truffle mushroom, seafood fried rice, custard buns, and beef tenderloin.
10 | Parmigiano Ristorante Pizzeria
Satisfy your cravings for Italian comfort foods at Parmigiano Ristorante Pizzeria known for its authentic Italian cuisine. Situated in Resorts World Manila, the restaurant has an Italian vibe and attentive staff therefore making one’s dining experience more enjoyable. Don’t miss their risotto, steak, and truffle. They also offer a wide selection of wines and other drinks.
WHERE TO STAY
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 Pasay City.
1 | Stone House Hotel Pasay (Budget)
2 | Kabayan Hotel (Mid-Range)
3 | Belmont Hotel Manila (Luxury | Resort)
This guide recommends using the following sites to conduct research online of where to stay in Pasay 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: Belmont Hotel Manila is the best property to experience this destination.
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.
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.
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 ($40-70 USD). However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel. It’s only recommended if you have limited time.
Attractions & Activities
Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.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 Pasay 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
BEST NO-FEE INTERNATIONAL DEBIT & CREDIT CARDS
The following is some of our best advice on traveling to Pasay 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.
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.
Health & Safety
While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Pasay 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.
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:
- 6 Common Accidents to Avoid
- How to Beat the Heat in the Philippines
- Taxi Safety Tips: Dos and Don’ts
- Motorbike Safety Tips
- Beach & Ocean Safety Tips
- Sun Safety Tips
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
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.
- Grab (taxis/ride shares)
- Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
- WhatsApp (phone calls)
- Skyscanner (flights)
- Rome2Rio (transportation)
- Agoda (accomodations)
- Booking.com (accomodations)
- AirBnB (accomodations)
- Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
- 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.
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.
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.
Things to Remember
This guide recommends to take note of the following while traveling in Pasay 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.
Don’t Forget …
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