Manila - Post Report Question and Answers

Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Families 100%. - Apr 2024

I'm a single, and I there there is so much to do. It's easy to travel in the Philippines and travel in SE Asia is cheap and plentiful. The same is true for couples. Families may do the best here because the Philippines is very family-oriented and their are child-friendly activities everywhere. - Mar 2023

This was a good post for my small family, at least prior to the pandemic. As the situation improves I think it’ll again be good for people with young children, although there aren’t public parks (or much green space) to speak of. - Mar 2023

Good for everybody. Most of the expats here are single or married to local women. I have seen foreign couples out and about who seem happy. This can be a nice, quiet area for families as well. - May 2022

Right now, families are really struggling with little hope for the coming year. Our children are really struggling, as are we adults. - Apr 2021

It's phenomenal for single guys of any sexual orientation, but some our single women friends have complained about the social environment. I can't speak to that, but it's understandable. It's great for families with children. For couples with children, it can be good if you travel in-country to resorts, take part in cultural activities, and travel in the rest of the region. - Oct 2020

For much to offer for everyone. - Feb 2020

It's definitely good for families. Having kids is a good inroad to other families for socializing. I have heard it is not as good a city for expat singles but that is based on a small sample size. I think couples would find plenty to do. - May 2018

Singles (particularly men) would be fine here, as there are thousands of expats, a well-established club scene, and plenty of available dance partners. This is also a great city for families with younger kids, as so many things are kid-friendly, and there’s a fair amount for the 6-12 set to do. This can be a good city for couples and families with older kids, too, but location is important: if you live in a more isolated area, it can be hard for the non-working spouse and/or older kids to socialize. - Feb 2017

This city is great for everyone. As mentioned before singles and socialites probably want to avoid Seafront. - Jul 2016

I think it's best for families, maybe ok for couples if they don't live on the US embassy housing compound, and horrible for singles. The traffic makes it difficult to get motivation to go out, it can take so long to get to the final destination that it's not worth it. It would normally be faster to walk, but there aren't sidewalks in many places so, it's not really an option. It's even harder from the embassy compound since it's so far from the nice neighborhoods, but it's very dull and boring there, so it'd be best to have a family or someone you don't mind spending LOTS of time with. - Jan 2016

It is good for families and single men, decent for couples, and terrible for single women. - Jan 2016

We have two kids. On the hand, Manila can be great for kids because there are tons of places to take them, and every mall has some kind of entertainment/playground for kids. And there are several kid-friendly museums - Kidzania, Oceanarium, Museo Pambata (an interactive museum where my kids tried on national outfits, played inside a "filipino mansion" and did other fun stuff). Also: Dreamplay by Dreamworks, Mall of Asia with an Exploreum and an outdoor amusement park overlooking the bay, the Mind Museum (an interactive science museum), Art in Island, and Fun Farm at Santa Elena, villa Escudera, and StarCity in Tagaytay. I am sure there is something I forgot to mention. On the other hand, in Manila it can be difficult for kids since to get from point A to point B because of Manila's atrocious traffic. There are not many green spaces in the city, so riding bikes for fun might be a problem, especially for those living in condos. We live near several nice restaurants and bars, and we frequently go out. From what I understand, there is also a pretty active nightlife in the city. Overall, I'd say it's good for families, but I don't know much about how singles and couples see it here. - Jan 2016

Great city for all of the above. Filipinos are family oriented and very open to taking foreigners. - Sep 2015

Yes, good for all. - Aug 2015

Not if you like getting outdoors, hiking, clean air, stuff like that. But there are tasty restaurants, clean movie theatres, and malls to wander around in. - Aug 2015

Not if you enjoy the outdoors. - Sep 2014

Manila area is good for all segments of the population. - Jan 2014

Household help, affordable travel, acceptance and imitation of American culture make it easy to adjust and live for all family types. From my experience; however, it is very difficult for single women. There were very few single young professionals at the Embassy, and while the International School attracted many more young professionals (as teachers), they were less open to allowing "outsiders" into their group. Additionally, while there is some nightlife, it is very uoscale and superficial. There were virtually zero bars and due to the location of the Embassy, the Marine happy hours were poorly attended. Morale for singles was overall very low. - Dec 2013

Yes to all. - Nov 2013

I think it's a good city for everyone. Families like that help is affordable and dedicated to the family they work with, you can find green spaces around town if you look. Ayala Triangle Park, Rizal Park, Intermuros are all nice places to visit. Getting out of town is key for families, head to the beach, visit Taipei/Hong Kong etc while you can for cheap. Singles seem to like it here, there seems to be a decent night life. There is tons of shopping and lots of happy hours. - Aug 2013

It is great for singles, and I know a lot of families and couples that enjoy the Philippines. The key is to get out of Manila and explore the beautiful Islands. - Apr 2013

We're a couple without kids. It's not terrible, as there are international restaurants for dinner and shopping malls to walk around. But at the end of the day, I find Manila boring. Filipino food is not appealing. International food is available, and there are nice places to sit outside, but most restaurants are located in malls, so they're owned by large corporations and are a bit bland/generic. There are almost no green spaces in Manila, no interesting places to explore by foot or by bike, and all activity centers around shopping malls, which I don't find interesting. It seems like a good place for families with very young kids---help is very cheap, and the Seafront compound is a safe and easy place for young children. - Feb 2013

For families, couples and single men, yes for different reasons. For single women, maybe not as much, although it is not terrible or anything. - Sep 2012

Singles and couples enjoy travelling and self-indulgent pampering. Families have a harder time due to the air quality and security concerns. There are limited options for children besides a few parks in the villages and pay-to-play centers with questionable hygiene. Most families had a “doing time” attitude. - May 2012

Yes, for couples and families. Since you get household help for a very affordable price, and a driver as well, you can really relax and enjoy Manila. As for singles, men love it, as Filipinas love western men (which they associate with being "rich"), women are not as lucky. The expats here are interested in the Filipinas, and most single women are not interested in the local men (and I believe the local men also prefer the local women). The girls I know that are single are not too excited about their time here. - Mar 2012

Single men seem to have a really good time. Single women do too, they usually hang out at the Marine House for happy hour or go clubbing on the weekends. Hard for the single women to find a man, because the locals are all over the single men. Families it is pretty good so far. There are a lot of families with small children on Seafront. - Jan 2012

Families especially enjoy the cheap access to helpers - drivers, nannies, cooks, and more. Most families hire at least two helpers - a driver and nanny. Filipinos love children and are very accommodating. Around the city there are several children's activities. Families seemed generally happy. Couples find easy access to Western-style dining for nights out, romantic travel around the country in nice resorts and easy international escapes. Couples are just as likely to fall into a large group of friends made-up of other couples and singles. Straight single men seem to be in heaven. Most have a Filipino girlfriend and many more are waiting to take her place. (Many employees at the embassy have a Filipino wife from previous Manila tours.) The expat community is welcoming. It's not uncommon to walk into a bar by yourself, meet a few other expats and have plans to meet up again by the end of the night. Straight single women have a more difficult time. Most women have a difficult time dating but have lots of girlfriends to do things with. The female expat community is welcoming and there isn't a real feeling of cliques. - Jul 2011

This is a horrible post for single women -- don't even bother. Dating options are next to nil and the expat community is so disparate that you end up feeling very, very isolated. It seems to be a great place for the single men. - May 2011

Families: sort of. Domestic help is cheap and plentiful. There are things to do (little league, after-school activities), but it's not a fun city to be in. Couples: yes. Singles: I would say "yes", because the embassy is so big, and the expat community is so big, it is not hard to make friends. - May 2011

This is not the greatest city for families, as the pollution is high, green spaces few, and non-mall-related activities few and far between. Unfortunately, the red light district stretches over almost a quarter of the city, including the area surrounding Seafront and the Embassy. Couples will enjoy all the dining options and the easy day trips. Single women tend to have a hard time here. Single men fall into two groups: those who enjoy the red light district and those who have a difficult time dating because it is hard to tell when a Filipina is interested in the man or his passport. This is not a city for bad marriages - it tends to break them. - Feb 2010

Good city for anyone - Jan 2010

Singles, couples, and families all seem to do quite well in Manila; there is definitely something for everyone. - Jul 2009

It really depends on your attitude but I would say this is a great post for families. There is a lot of built in social networks for families. As for singles, if you are a single man up for dating local ladies, you will be in heaven. If you are a single woman it seems to be a bit more difficult. Pretty cool place for couples. Lots of things to do and places to see (those without kids who can travel and actually see things). - Apr 2009

Manila is a good city for families with young children, though I am not looking forward to the teenage years! Everything (alcohol, drugs, etc) is available for a price and drivers/househelpers seem incapable of saying 'no.' - Jun 2008

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