So not too long after ESL One Manila and here comes Manila Majors, which many may consider as a larger scale DOTA event compared to the previous one and, in many aspects, that’s probably true. With more teams involved and more days in the SM Mall of Asia Arena, you can expect that there’s a lot to catch in this event. So make sure you brush up a bit on all the specifics of the event and make the most out of it, a recommended source would be, of course, the Official Page, or an easier to digest version at Liquipedia.
If it’s your first visit to our country, read up so you don’t end up with a hole in your wallet and keep away from bad situations. We wouldn’t want you to feel like your visit was one to scam city. After all, the only time you should feel like that is if teams throw games repeatedly.
Before You Fly
First of all, make sure you plan your flight accordingly. Note that PH is in the GMT+8:00 timezone. So to the West, we actually live in the future, despite our lack of technological advancements. Next comes the room you’d like to stay in. The closest and more or less reasonably priced hotel would be Microtel near Mall of Asia, there are close-enough alternatives like Heritage Hotel and Copacabana as well. Eurotel is also common name that pops up though the nearest one is quite a distance from Mall of Asia. But for your own sanity, please don’t be tempted to book with Sogo (see, I won’t even link it to you). Let’s just say it’s not really good for group studies, as they claim in advertisements.
Now, with the booking out of the way we’re probably due for a PSA once you’re ready to fly for PH. To our shame, we have a bit of a security issue with the security staff themselves at the airport. So protect your baggage by having them wrapped or covered.
The Minute You Arrive
Okay, so you’re now ready to travel to the future without getting unwanted gifts during security inspection. Next, getting them smartphones working. Assuming you’re planning to have a short stay, we recommend getting a Traveller’s Sim from Globe. It’ll cost you at 500-1000 PHP and it’ll work; phone calls, texts, and mobile internet you’ll probably wish was a lot faster, you get them all at no hassle. Ask about it at the concierge.
As you leave the airport, you’ll probably get offers from uniformed helpers to assist you with your baggage, at a price of about 50 PHP per bag. Don’t bother, they’re not helpful unless about 30 meters of walking lighter is that big a deal to you. Also, if you don’t have prior arrangements for pickup, we discourage using the airport taxi. Actually, we would discourage using regular taxis altogether. They can be choosy with passengers, they’re usually irritable due to traffic or whatever’s wrong with their life and always tries to take as much money as they can. If you have to make sure they use the meter before they try to charge you an arm and a leg. Don’t worry, there’s more favorable ways of getting around.
The taxi apps, Grab and Uber are highly popular in Manila. Grab allows you to pay in cash while Uber makes use of credit card. We’re not entirely sure how it interacts with all international credit cards but VISA cards seem to work without a hitch. There might be an issue with using these services at the airport instead of official taxi services but, hey, you should be okay if you’re discreet about it.
Once out of the airport, other types of public transportation are available, buses as well as our cultural symbol, Jeepneys. We do have trains but I doubt you’re going to want to try them right now, let alone need to if we’re just looking at the Majors. Jeepneys can be an interesting and cheap experience, you’ll probably want to try it once. Just don’t bring anything that might be easy to steal because you’ll stick out as a tourist.
As our tourist in town, you’ll be relieved to hear that we have 7-Elevens pretty much every few blocks, Mini Stop would be its close competitor. Basic hygiene and food, both stores generally sell that. With the venue being at Mall of Asia, we doubt you’ll have a difficult time finding anything you might need. Just to be safe, we’ll have you know that Mercury Drug and Watson’s are the go-to’s for medical products. Having access to basic paracetamol and painkillers will be good for you because nobody will have fun travelling while they’re sick.
We actually have a lot of familiar fast foods here in PH – McDonald’s and Burger King should be immediately recognizable. just note that every country has a different version of McDonalds. For this category, the top contender would be Jollibee (literally read as ‘jolly bee’). Many restaurants you’ll visit in this country will offer fried chicken, and a lot of them try to imitate ‘Chicken Joy’, so we recommend that. The spaghetti will probably taste funny for you, just putting that out there.
But that’s fast food, do you really want to go an entire week on this stuff? Yeah, you’ll hate yourself for it. Luckily, there are better options. You can check out zomato’s listing for everything you can find at MoA.
If you want to get away from the mall (especially during the weekend as there are more people), the nearest block you can find good places to eat would be Clockwork, a sub-section of Blue Bay Walk.
Eating out here can be as cheap as PHP 150 or less for fast food, upto PHP 800 for finer restaurants and at least PHP 1500 for buffets.
So before I let you go, I think you should be acquainted with a few other things since you’ll probably encounter them during your stay.
Fan Affection – Man, do we love DOTA and the invited teams. Unfortunately, sometimes the hype may be a bit overwhelming. Ask for assistance or openly tell the people around you if you’re having a difficult time. Starstruck fans need to be told directly, the last thing they want to cause you is trouble. So we believe most people will understand once told.
Climate – We’re at the point where the seasons are changing between dry and wet. It’s also when the heat strikes the hardest, and the rain won’t let itself be outdone. Consider bringing a change of clothes all the time and try to keep an umbrella handy.
Particular with Politeness – Basic stuff like ‘hello,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘nice meeting you,’ will go a long way with people who help you. Chances are they’ll be even more helpful next time because they’ll think well of you.
220 Volts of Death – Seen this happen a couple of times. Plug-in the charger in and their beloved phone / laptop / hair dryer and seconds later it’s a paperweight. Multi-volt devices are common now, but do double-check device voltages in case you need an adapter. We run at 220v 60Hz and normally have 2 prongs on the plug, if needed you can buy an converter/adapter at Ace Hardware.
The Dreaded Balut Dare – You’ve seen this happen in ESL Manila if you watched it. Slacks, Capitalist, and a bunch of other guys took on the dare with hilarious results. It’s so eccentric (except to us) that it’s been featured in some show in the US called X-Factor. Just think of it as something like escargot from France, only more cholesterol. No, you don’t have to eat the entire thing, some of us skip eating the embryo and just take the yolk.
Someone’s also bound to ask what your favorite food is, so I would encourage trying anything new they might introduce to you.
Well that’s it, knowing that much should save you a lot of trouble. Hope we all see you have a great time here! From all of us, welcome to the Philippines and welcome to the Manila Majors!