Best of the Philippines Part 1: Food and Services

Around ManilaForeign Service LifePhilippinesRecommendations
March 28, 2011

It’s hard to believe, but it’s T-minus 3 months until I leave Manila for good.  As one of my parting gifts to you, my loyal blog readers, I’d like to bestow upon you a list of my Manila faves.  You never know when you’ll be moving to or visiting the Philippines!  I hope you find it helpful.  Be sure to leave any follow-up questions in the comments so that I can answer them…

PS – stay tuned for Part 2 which will include my favorite travel opportunities and experiences in the Philippines!


Best Overall/Best Thai/Best Ambiance = People’s Palace

Best American Breakfast = Apartment 1B

Best Sunday Buffet = Spiral at Sofitel (12 to 2 PM on Sundays, around P2500 per person, includes champagne)

Best Unique Buffet = Sunday Crossover Brunch at the Dusit Thani (11:30 to 3 PM on Sundays, around P1500 per person, includes champagne)

M Cafe in Greenbelt 4

Best Place to enjoy a Glass of Wine Outside = M Café

Best Special Occasion Place = Nuvo

Best Gelato = Gelatissimo

Best Indian Cuisine = Queens at Bollywood

Best Mediterranean Cuisine = Cyma

Best Mexican = Ristras (They serve a Chipotle-like Burrito that’s quite good)

Best Casual American Cuisine = Chelsea

High Tea at the Makati Shangri-La

Best High Tea = Shangri-la Makati (High Tea everyday from 2-5 PM)

Best Pizza = Yellow Cab

Best Latte = Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Best Vegetarian = Corner Tree Cafe


Ron at Henri Calayag

Best Hair Cut = Ron Galvez at Henri Calayag Salon Makati

Address: G/F The Residences at Greenbelt (TRAG), Esperanza Street, Ayala Center, Makati City.  Contact: 799-1495/491-4596; (0920) 918-1880;  Operating Hours: Daily from 10AM to 8PM (except holidays).  Women’s cut and blowdry starts at P700, Men’s at P600; color starts at P2,000++

Best Eyebrow Threading = Grace at the Greenbelt 5 Browhaus

Best Massage Therapists = Neo Spa (Favorite Massages, in order: 1. Lymphatic Drainage, 2. Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, 3. Seashell Massage)

Best Spa Ambiance = The Spa in Greenbelt 1 (Favorite Massages, in order: 1. Twin Massage, 2. Hilot Massage, 3. Shiatsu Massage)

Best Facial = Coras Derm Centre

Address: 111 Paseo de Roxas, Legaspi Village, Makati City.  Contact: 02 893 6786 or Mobile: 0917 544 4561

I recommend: A package that includes a Facial, Diamond-Hydra Peel and Lasering to remove redness.  Price: Around P1,500.

My Shirt was created by Carmen for the AWCP Hoedown

Best Tailor/Dressmaker for alterations and Everyday Clothing = Carmen Buniel

Contact: 0918 934 4540.  Email:

Best Ball Gown Designer = Frankie

Contact: 0917 399 9828


Mita’s Slipcovers

Best Slipcover Maker = Mita

Contact: 0918 911 9090

Best Newcomer Services = InTouch Community Services

Address: #48 McKinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati City.  Contact: 02 893 1893 or 02 810 6233.

Best Airline = Cebu Pacific

Carlos Celdran’s Intramuros Tour

Best Tour = Carlos Celdran’s Intramuros Tour

Best OBGYN = Dr. Henson

Dr. Henson sees patients at Makati Med and St. Luke’s Monday-Saturday.  Office visit is P800.  Contact: 02 818 1125

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  1. M says:

    Where are you off to next?

  2. Sarah Novak says:

    DC for language training, then Lima Peru!

  3. THANK YOU for this! Now, can you take me around to a couple of these places when we arrive? Can you believe we’ll be there in a little over 3 weeks. ACK.

    (I’m not ready!!!)

  4. Sara Roy says:

    This is great! What an amazing resource for me! How close will I be to all of this if we live in the villages (which is what we want to do).

  5. Daniela says:

    Oh, this is such a good idea. Wouldn’t it be great if we all did it for each post? I know there are the post reports but those are a pain to access. This is so much more personal. I wonder if we can somehow add a best of…. to Colbi’s map of FS bloggers. What do you think?

  6. Sara says:

    fun list Sarah! I really prefer high tea at the Penn. Have you tried that one? Yum! And you know my feelings about Azu Thai. Love that place. Love People’s palace too though.

    Crazy how close everyone’s departure dates are. It’s moving fast!

  7. Sarah Novak says:

    Oh, we most definitely will! Do you have a sponsor yet? Looks like we won’t be replacing our Bhutan vacation, so we could probably do it now!

  8. Sarah Novak says:

    You’d be very close! How many kids do you have again? There’s not much village housing, it mostly goes to families with 3+ kids or high-level officers. My guess is that you’ll be in a condo in Fort Bonifacio (which is excellent housing). And still close to everything… Seafront is a ways from this stuff though, as most I’ve recommended is in Makati or the Fort.

  9. Sarah Novak says:

    I totally love it! Will you suggest it to her? It would be very helpful to be able to access something like that…

  10. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks Sara. Yeah, I’ve tried the Penn. Good food definitely, but I like the proximity to the orchestra at the Shangri-la! I didn’t tell you but we finally tried Azu Thai this weekend. Very, very good but People’s Palace still has my heart! When are you out of here again? Would love to see you soon…

  11. Sara Roy says:

    We’ll have three kids! I’ve heard the condos are nice, but I think we’d prefer the villages – but we’re both on the housing board here, so we know how much it all depends on.

  12. Sarah Novak says:

    You might have a chance then! Keep your fingers crossed… :)

  13. naomi says:

    you rock it Sarah … plain and simple you rock it!

    the high tea? looks AMAZING!

  14. Sarah Novak says:

    Daniela of Tukytam was saying that she thinks each of us should do this for our post and then we can all have a “best of” link on Colby’s blog. I totally love that idea! You in?

  15. Cindy says:

    Okay- I think I need to print this, bookmark it and all around use this as a “go-to” list for when I arrive! After my visit to Manila, I have to admit that I came back to Bangalore and started to realize all that I would be missing here!!! Le sigh…

  16. Sarah Novak says:

    I’m sure you’ll come across more treasures to add to the list, but this is what I was able to discover during my short time! Enjoy the rest of Bangalore – Manila will be here waiting for you!

  17. Daniela says:

    I suggested it to Colby last night and she likes the idea. I need to look at the Round-up calendar, get a date and just do it.

  18. Sarah Novak says:

    Sweet! Keep me posted…

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