At the side of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, bordering the Manila Yacht Club, is a walkway and restaurant row lined with coconut trees, swept by the sea breeze, and providing a picturesque view of the sunset and the yachts moored at Manila Bay. This enclave is called Harbor Square, considered by some as the new Luneta Park since it provides diners, bikers, strollers, and camera whores with a piece of beachside experience at the heart of urban Manila.

Harbor Square at night (Photo from Google images)


Harbor Square may have its share of Manila Bay’s gloomy, polluted waters and stench, but its postcard-worthy location, as well as its restaurants, live bands, and occasional night bazaar, make it a convenient hangout for friends and family, especially after seeing a show at CCP. Even if you are not there to dine, the square could still be an idyllic escape for watching people, seagulls, and sometimes, even the Manila dragon boat racers paddling their ornate canoes in synchrony.

At the end of the square is a terminal for Manila sunset cruises as well as ferries going to Orion in Bataan and to the WWII battlefields of Corregidor Island.

Seaside dining

The restaurants in Harbor Square include the Oriental-themed Charlee’s Tepanyaki, Song Tsu, Soowoo Restaurant, Tajima Japanese Yakinuku Restaurant, Mini Shabu-Shabu, Teriyaki Boy, and Rai Rai Ken. For booze and pipe-in or live music, there are the bars and grills of Coalz, Night Kebab Persian Restaurant, Grappa’s, Mang Inasal, Shrimps Ahoy Seafood Bar and Grill, and Dencio’s. For snacks and food-to-go, there are Pancake House, Jollibee, Icebergs, and Mocha Blends, which have al fresco tents for those who want to take advantage of Harbor Square’s seaside ambience.

(Photo from Google images)

How to get there

Harbor Square is along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City, in front CCP. The easiest way to get there is through a taxi from anywhere in Manila (flag down rate: P30). You may also ride the LRT Line-1, get off in Vito Cruz Station (P15), ask where the terminal of orange jeepneys is, and ride one going to CCP. Ask the driver to drop you off in front Harbor Square. The fare is only P7.

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