PHILIPPINES: SM Mall of Asia and Pagsanjan Falls

PHILIPPINES: SM Mall of Asia and Pagsanjan Falls We both live in the US right now but the Philippines is our home country. We visit the Philippines almost every year mainly to see our relatives. We do go out to tourist places to hang out with them at times but after a while, we ran out of places to go to =(

The two most common thing we do when we visit the Philippines is to EAT AND SHOP!


Manila Philippines SM Mall of Asia
Dark Star Adventure - The film they were
showing during our visit back in
September 2009
MNL/Ninoy Aquino International Airport has 3 terminals and they are all near SM Mall of Asia, one of the biggest mall in the world. But beware if you're planning to go on a layover because traffic in Manila is nuts! From the airport to Mall of Asia, it can either take you from 15 minutes up to even an hour and a half, even worse if there's some special event going on. We wouldn't recommend leaving the airport if your layover is less than 5 hours. If you do leave the airport to check out Mall of Asia, ask the locals of any events first that could cause heavy traffic that day and be sure to start traveling back to the airport at least an our and a half before your boarding time.

SM Mall of Asia is a must if you do visit the Philippines. There are literally hundreds of boutiques to shop from and restaurants and fast food to eat at. If you're a foodie, you're stomach will run out of space if you keep trying what looks good and smells great while walking around. Another attraction in this mall is it's SM Discovery Center. Think of it like the Liberty Science Center. For about 10usd, you get to watch a 30-minute informative/educational movie in a dome theater, and you get to see and play with the interactive exhibits. There's a motion sensing game machine where they actually scan your whole body and put you on the screen! We have been there twice so the pictures below are from two different visits.

Manila Philippines SM Mall of Asia
Scanned into a Beach Volleyball computer game...
Manila Philippines SM Mall of Asia
Apparently jeans behind a green screen +
low-quality scanner = "look ma, no legs!"
Manila Philippines SM Mall of Asia
Side of the Dome Theater

If you do have a day to spare while in Manila, then one of the most unique experience you can possibly have while in there is to go in a cave behind a waterfall. The Pagsanjan Falls is in the province of Laguna and is about 3 hours from Manila.

To get to the falls, you will ride on a small wooden boat with 2 boatmen. Watching them lift, push and pull the boat you're in through the rocky slopes on the way to the falls is an experience itself. When we went there, it started raining right about the moment we got on the boat which added to the experience and the adventure. The only problem is, it limited the photos we were able to take while we were there.
Laguna Philippines Pagsanjan Falls
Waterfall near the first stop of the tour

You will see a number of waterfalls on this trip but there are 2 main falls that will be featured. You will first stop in a small shack near the first main waterfall for a photo opportunity. You will also have a chance to buy food and drinks and use the bathroom in this stop. The next stop is to the second main waterfall and this is where you can actually go to the cave behind the waterfall. If you are up for it and want to go in the cave, you will be transferred to a raft. The raft can fit about 15 tourists plus the four men who will pull on a rope attached to the cave to bring the raft through the waterfall into the cave. Unfortunately, we were unable to take a picture of this waterfall =(

Book a guided tour to the Pagsanjan Falls including land transportation and lunch by clicking here.
Laguna Philippines Pagsanjan Falls
Boats you ride on with 2 boatmen, one at each end of the boat


Manila Ocean Park - Not as big as its Hong Kong counterpart but they do have a wild array of ocean wildlife and fascinating displays. Finish your day here watching the water show for a great finale.
Philippines Manila Ocean Park
Manila Ocean Park front facade

Greenhills Shopping Center - If you're good at haggling and using cash instead of credit card is not an issue, then this is the place to shop. From electronics to brand name imitation bags and apparel, there are tons of options here.

ACE Water Spa - Fun and relaxing way to spa. Wide variety of water jets and machines so you control the way you pamper yourself.

Walled City of Intramuros - A place for people who loves history. Old architecture, ruins, museums and relics of the Spaniard occupation of the Philippines are here.

Santa Rosa Laguna Philippines Enchanted Kingdom
Swan Lake - a water ride at the Enchanted Kingdom
Enchanted Kingdom - This is a theme park located in Laguna. They have river rafts, log flume, roller coasters, 4D short films and the other typical theme park rides. Nothing special but if you're into theme parks, like we are, then it's worth a visit.