As folks who have been to SEA Brew before will no doubt tell you, the Southeast Asia Brewers Conference is not just about the technical presentations, workshops and discussion groups it’s also about taking the opportunity to break from your daily routine, share a glass of beer or two with your peers from around the region and immerse yourself in what the host city has to offer.
With that in mind, here’s a few ideas of what to do when you’re in Manila this June:
1. Visit Fort Santiago
Immerse yourself in Manila’s historical past with a visit to Fort Santiago. Completed in 1953 by Spanish conquistadores the fort forms part of the structure of the original walled city of Manila and is named after Saint James (Santiago in Spanish). It is located at the mouth of the Pasig River and served as the premier defence fortress of the Spanish Government during their rule of the country. The British, Americans and Japanese have all held the fort at some time during its history. The fort takes about 45mins to reach from the Ortigas area (depending on traffic, of course).
2. Bar Hop in Poblacion
The Poblacion area is without doubt the craft beer capital of Manila. This relatively sleepy district of Makati has recently seen an influx of craft beer taprooms and it’s own brewery (Joe’s Brew) liven up the night-time hours. On your list of ‘must visits’ are Alamat (2/F 5666 Don Pedro St) serving a wide selection of craft beers from throughout the Philippines, Polilya (5658 Jacobo Street) home of Engkanto Beer and House of Joe (5834 Matilde Street) offering beers fresh from their brewery on the 2nd floor. A note to the wise: watch out for the late night Balut cart that innocently plies the streets, its wares are only for those with the constitution of a hyena!
3. Take a Trip in a Jeepney
No trip to Manila is complete without a trip on a Jeepney – the local mode of transport around the city. Jeepneys are small busses adapted from the old 20th Century US jeeps and many are painted in outlandish colours and heavily decorated. Take this opportunity before the government clear them from the streets as new regulations to remove them for safer, more environmentally friendly modes of transport are planned to be introduced soon. Who knows where they come from and who know where they are going … hop on and hop off where you like and then find your way home!
4. Head out to Tagaytay
If you have a bit of time on your hands then you could do worse than take a trip out to Tagaytay for the spectacular view of the Taal Volcano Lake from the lip of the crater. It is the second most active volcano in the Philippines with 33 recorded historical eruptions, all of which are concentrated on Volcano Island near the middle of the lake. A round trip will take about 3 hours but is well worth the (often bumpy) ride. While there indulge in one of the local favourites – a fresh loaf of Raisin Bread and cup of piping hot coffee from Bag of Beans (West Lake, Twin Lakes Shopping Village) – while you soak in the breath-taking view.
5. A Late Night Beer on P Burgos Street
While the neon lights and loud music may not be everybody’s cup of tea P Burgos Street is unequivocally the beating heart of Manila’s nightlife. Located in Makati just a block or two from the craft bars of Poblacion this bar strip is open well into the wee hours of the morning. If all the noise and attention is not your scene then take a stroll down P Guanzon and discover the new slew of speakeasies and cocktail bars that are sprouting up in the area.
The Southeast Asia Brewers Conference (SEA Brew) runs in Manila from 21-22nd June 2018. The full Conference and Trade Fair programme can be viewed at: www.sea-brew.com