You may not realize that Manila has what’s considered to be the country's oldest Chinatown, established in 1594. Four centuries later, it shows no signs of slowing down—and though it’s often bypassed by visitors for its showier neighbor Intramuros, Chinatown is well worth a wander. Its narrow lanes and alleyways are lined with Art Deco buildings and stalls bursting with fresh fruit, dried herbs, and traditional Chinese candies. Get an up-close-and-personal look at the neighborhood with the excellent guide Ivan Man Dy, co-founder of Old Manila Walks, who’ll lead you on an engrossing, three-hour, architecture-and-food-themed stroll. Ivan knows the way to fantastic hole-in-wall eateries with zero signage—this is where you’ll find burst-in-your-mouth pork-and-chive dumplings and luscious, juicy, Chinese-style fried chicken. You absolutely must try fresh lumpia, a thin crepe filled with minced chicken and vegetables and a sweet peanut sauce, with a garlicky vinaigrette for dipping. There’s no finer way to explore the delights and delicacies of Tsinoy (Chinese-Filipino) culture.
From the Conrad it’s a 20-minute drive (twice that in traffic) via Roxas Boulevard to the heart of Chinatown. Old Manila Walks also has tours in other historic quarters of Manila such as Intramuros, San Miguel-Malacanang Palace and the Chinese Cemetery.