Ask a concierge: Manila

Expert tips for business travellers to Manila.

At the Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Blue Lanza is the head concierge. The hotel, located at the heart of bustling Ortigas Center, has a myriad of dining, entertainment and shopping options. Blue guides business travelers to the best sights and activities in Manila.  

What should business travelers have on hand when heading to your city?
A foldable umbrella will always come in handy, as the weather in Manila changes throughout the day, regardless of the season. Also, bring your tablet or smartphone. And there’s no need to worry about high data-roaming bills, as many businesses in the city offer free Wi-Fi connections.

What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
When Marco Polo Ortigas Manila was conceptualized, it had the savvy business traveler in mind. For business lunch, the casual but chic ambiance of Café Pronto located at the ground floor of the hotel (Meralco Avenue and Sapphire Street Ortigas Center, Pasig City, 1600, Manila, Philippines; Ph: 632-720-7777) is the perfect venue for business meetings. For dinner, I highly recommend the authentic Cantonese restaurant on the top floor. Lung Hin offers the best in Chinese cuisine and a top-of-the-world experience with its views of the city.

What’s something that surprises guests about your city or hotel?
Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s contemporary design attracts the explorers of style. The hotel’s sculptures, wall art installations and paintings from local artists highlight the design aesthetics, making it a visual delight. It is also home to Philippine handmade accessories and award-wining artisan pieces by Ann Ong, who opened her flagship store selling a variety of world-class designer clutches, cuffs, home accessories and statement jewelry pieces.

Ortigas Center is shared by three bustling cities in the metro namely: Pasig City, Madaluyong City, and Quezon City. It’s the center for commerce, shopping, and entertainment.  It’s also near the EDSA Shrine (Ugong Norte, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines; Ph: 632-633-4359) where the renowned People Power Revolution of 1986 took place.

For the best vantage point in the city, the hotel’s VU’s Sky Bar and Lounge offers panoramic views of the cityscape to the west and the awe-inspiring Sierra Madre mountain range to the east.

If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see?
Discover the best of Manila with a jeepney tour. Jeepneys are a unique mode of transportation that can only be found in the Philippines. They were originally made from U.S. military jeeps that were left to the Filipinos after World War II. With Filipino ingenuity, locals decorated the jeeps with metal rods and vibrant colors. Today, the Jeepney is dubbed “King of the Road” and has become an enduring symbol of Philippine pop culture.

What’s the best option for outdoor exercise?
Ortigas Center has number of pocket parks. They’re a short distance from the hotel and great for a stroll.  For running enthusiasts, the PhilSports Complex (University of Life Street, Pasig, Metro Manila Philippines) has an oval track, the ideal training field for novice and expert runners.

Business know-how

Top tips for getting business right in Manila:

Tip 1: In scheduling appointments, allow at least 30 to 45 minutes lead time to get to your destination because of traffic.

Tip 2:  It’s best to set meetings near your area, preferably in a restaurant or coffee shop.

Tip 3: A warm smile and greeting will show respect and make colleagues and clients at ease and comfortable.  Break the ice by saying, “Mabuhay,”a Filipino greeting which means “to live.”


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