The sunset at the Philippine Sofitel Manila Sunset bar is just as dramatic as the sunsets of Santorini but without the hordes of tourists.

Probably one of the best places in the world to sip a drink while witnessing the sun slowly descend over the horizon is at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza’s poolside bar.

It won’t be crowded with tourists trying to record the moment on their smartphones and you can enjoy the calm and peaceful experience while enjoying a cocktail and some tasty apples like grilled shrimp aioli or a seafood platter.

Checking into the hotel for the weekend to enjoy its various amenities is as close to paradise as you can get without having to endure the snarling traffic en route to the beautiful beaches outside the city.

Not only is the Sofitel hotel close to the airport, but it’s also located in one of the city’s most picturesque spots which will make for a delightful experience.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE ONLY GOT ONE DAY IN MANILA BEFORE HITTING THE SPECTACULAR BEACHES IN PALAWAN OR BORACAY:

Go see Intramuros, Luneta (or Rizal) Park and nearby attractions

If you’ve checked into the Sofitel or any of the hotels facing Manila bay, you can spend an entire day exploring the nearby sights.

Make sure to visit Intramuros (the historic walled city) where you can find interesting attractions like Fort Santiago (pictured above), Casa Manila (a replica of an 1850s house which depicts life during the Spanish occupation), San Agustin Church and Museum (a UNESCO heritage site and the country’s oldest stone church), and the Silahis Arts Centre (an ethnic crafts store), before capping it off with lunch at the Ilustrado restaurant.

Burn off those calories that you just consumed by taking a leisurely stroll at Rizal (or Luneta) Park.

If you find it too hot outside you can take shelter from the humid weather at two museums nearby:

  1. the National Museum of Anthropology and
  2. the National Museum of Fine Arts features the massive 13 ft x 24 ft “Spoliarium” painting pictured below.

Created by noted Filipino painter Juan Luna, he spent eight months working on it before submitting it as an entry to the 1884 Madrid Fine Arts Exposition and winning a gold medal for his efforts.

The painting, which depicts several dying gladiators being dragged away, symbolizes the despair and death suffered by Filipinos at the hands of their Spanish masters, who ruled the country for more than 300 years.

Cap off your day of discovery with cocktails and an early dinner at the Harbor View restaurant

A great place to rest your tired feet after several hours of visiting historical attractions is the delightful Harbour View restaurant, which is another calm and relaxing place to review the day’s events.

You can also watch the beautiful sunset slowly go down the horizon while enjoying their tasty grilled fish, sizzling pork ‘sisig’, squid al ajillo, and shrimp fried rice.

Try to come before 6:30 pm on a weekday to avoid the nightly crowds that pack this place, especially during weekends.

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