Manila Hotels & Walking the Streets
Corporate Inn in Ermita
Copacabana Apartment-Hotel in Pasay City

I spent a great deal of time researching Manila Hotel and Philippine related sites and newsgroup postings before I left Phoenix. I like larger nice rooms, but wasn’t going to pay more than about $50/night. I didn’t want to be too far from the 3 main bargirl areas but since taxis are cheap and the Corporate Inn was highly recommended, location wasn’t the prime factor.

Ermita, Pasay City and Makati are cities adjoining Manila. They have many tourist bars for meeting bargirls for "take-out" back to your hotel for the evening, which I describe in much more detail in the Bargirl sections.

Corporate Inn in Ermita

Asia Travel had one of the better websites for hotels and has information on the Corporate Inn.

I paid P2400 (US$63)/night which was $50 plus 10% GST plus another tax for 3 nights. Total was P7200 ($US190).

The room was quite nice and there was no problem bringing in girls for the night. It is directly across the street from a larger Holiday Inn where I got my daily Manila paper, Asian Wall Street Journal and USA Today (Asian edition is smaller than U.S.) I also got my taxis here since they were lined up in front.

The room had a nice large TV but with no remote control which was a pain.

Safety of Streets around Hotel
The Corporate Hotel security guard was armed which was a bit disquieting. Even the McDonalds about half a block a way had armed security guards. I do like to walk the streets and view the local scene and I was told by both the security guard and front desk that it was relatively safe to walk, even at night. Even the bad guys, may rob you but don’t usually assault people since its against their culture. Robbery however is common, since culturally they also believe in sharing what they have with others (even if have to rob).

I had a fake wallet in my back pocket and my real wallet in front. Of course I kept my passport, extra credit cards, ATM card (never needed), return airline tickets and excess cash in the free hotel safe deposit box at the front desk. Despite the street being full of what appeared to be "unsavory characters" I never felt any threat in all my walking the streets either in the Ermita area or in Pasay City.

I was picked up at the hotel after three nights by the Vegas Hotel, Angeles City driver and after about a week in Angeles City returned to Manila to spend a few more days before returning to Phoenix from the Manila Airport.

Copacabana Apartment-Hotel, Pasay City
While taxis are cheap – P100 ($US2.60) to most anywhere except the airport with no tips expected beyond the negotiated fare, I decided to try the Copacabana which was closer to the airport and some of the bars I hadn’t visited when first in Manila.

The only report I had found on the Internet had said its location directly across from the EDSA Entertainment Complex of bars was "about the only good thing about the hotel" so I had avoided it. However I had stopped in the lobby when first in Manila and it didn’t look so bad and the rooms looked nice in their brochure.

I paid P1700/night ($US45) INCLUDING all taxes for 3 nights in a one-bedroom apartment unit. It was only about $US3 more than a studio and the bedroom part was much bigger than in a studio. The living area which was a large living/dining/kitchen area was simply too hot to use. It didn’t have any separate air conditioner and if I left the door to the bedroom open the one air unit didn’t even keep the bedroom cool enough. I dragged a chair in to the large bedroom. Even with the wasted living space it was much nicer (larger) than either the Corporate Inn or Vegas Hotel in Angeles and at a good price.

It was actually a larger, nicer room than the Corporate Inn. I was on the 9th floor with a wonderful view overlooking the city, the harbor, EDSA Boulevard and the EDSA Entertainment Complex.

It is next to the very expensive Heritage Hotel. I made a daily trek to the Heritage to get my Asian Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Manila paper!

However there was lots of road noise even 9 floors up. Rooms facing another direction might have been quieter, but I did enjoy the view and the nice balcony to watch the street action and see the city. It would have been really nice to watch some big thunderstorms like I experienced in Angeles City from this view, but no storms – just VERY hot and humid.

The worst thing about the room was the air conditioner was right by the bed blowing its cold draft on me all night. Also the TV was very tiny and set on the nice countertop but a long way from the bed. It did have a remote and many cable channels. I mostly kept up with the news and markets by watching CNN and a CBS news station. The water pressure was also quite low in the sink and shower.

At 6’2" I was longer than the bed, a standard double, I assume. Often I lay diagonally which wouldn’t have worked if I had a take–out bar girl. After Angeles and six nights of barfines, I was not that motivated for more take-outs. I visited bars, enjoyed some intimacy but didn’t barfine during my return visit to Manila.

Hotel security asks for your room number whenever you leave or return and records it in a log. I assume there is no problem bringing in a guest. The night guard got to know me well since I went out so much both to walk around, get food, or take a hotel assigned taxi. The ID card in the taxi actually said Copacabana and the hotel had their own assigned taxis for security of guests. The security guard saluted me when I came after he got to recognize me so well.

The walk for Food
There was no restaurant in the hotel, just room service food which I never used. About 4-6 blocks away are a bunch of American restaurants such as McDonalds (very busy), Shakeys Pizza (very slow service), Pizza Hut (very nice and fast), Wendy’s and a Kenny Roger’s Chicken place. I seldom have pizza at home since too much fat, but I splurged at bit with one main meal a day since I enjoyed it so much. I’m back on my better regular diet now. I missed the better food choices I enjoyed at Margarita Station (theville) in Angeles City.

Along the street there are mobs of food vendors of every kind. I wasn’t about to have local food with local bacteria and the smell almost made me not hungry.

There was very heavy Jeepney and auto traffic and many trikes. In Manila the trikes were human powered instead of motorcycle powered in Angles. I enjoy walking so I dodged all the traffic. Lots of potholes to trip on and I had to walk in the street most of the way dodging the slow going congested traffic.

There are street beggars all over, often very young children. Whenever I took the food walk at a certain corner one young kid always jumped up and ran after me begging for money. He probably does this to any "rich looking tourist". He keeps grapping my hand. Gee, I should be able to out stride this tike with my long legs but he is a fast little guy. You can only walk so fast in the mass of humanity on the streets.

I walked around a lot but I easily perspire with my hairy chest in the hot humid air. It seemed much more humid in Manila (next to ocean) then in Angeles. The girls like to play with my chest hair but I think it makes me hotter! I lived in Minneapolis most of my life, until 10 years ago, with its very cold winters. But when I moved to Phoenix I didn’t shed my extra fur!

Safety of Streets Around Clubs & Hotel in Pasay
I found the biggest danger of night walking between clubs and around the hotel was all the insistent cabbies yelling "Taxi?" Or coming up to you pretending they know you and offering to get you "a nice girl". I just ignored them or said "no".

I didn’t find any street hookers directly offering services. Near my hotel on the way back from my EDSA "problem" a women who seemed nice and attractive asked me where I was staying. She didn’t look like a sexworker. She wore more of a business suit. I answered her but quickly moved on. Reflecting on it afterwards she seemed to have very easy to understand English (unusual) and maybe I should have been willing to talk to her. But I’m programmed to avoid any street people and was still in shock from my EDSA experience, which I discuss in the Manila bargirl section.

Crime Against Tourists News Articles
Near the end of my stay I read in the local paper articles about the targeting of tourists in Pasay and the city trying to hire more police for protection of tourists! There was a police station on the road to the restaurants. Also a little one-man police "hut" near corner to hotel. Sometimes there was even a person in the hut! But to me, traffic, beggars, potholes and pollution (4th worst city in the world) seemed more a risk than assault or robbery.

But there was another news article "Australian Exec Robbed in Hotel" about a tourist who had almost P3 million of cash and belongings stolen from his Makati Inn Suites Hotel. But he was usually drunk when he brought in many women to his room who probably saw all the cash etc. The incident promoted an official to call for a shutdown of the hotel for failing to protect its patrons. The Shangri-La Hotel in Makati also has had robbery problems. The next day it was reported that the alleged robber, a member of a robbery syndicate was killed in a shootout with police. He was linked to a number of recent Makati hotel robberies.

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