Tourist Attractions in Manila, the Philippines’ capital, offer a unique blend of Asian, European, and American influences. The city is bustling and energetic, but never dull. The sounds of karaoke and traffic fill the air, alongside elements of sophistication, spirituality, and both vice and commerce. Explore the diverse and vibrant culture of Manila with these must-see attractions.
Metro Manila is challenging to categorize. The capital of the Philippines, which stretches for kilometers alongside Manila Bay and is connected by a confusing web of train, bus, and jeepney routes, is actually a confederation of 17 different cities and municipalities.
|Manila Ocean Park||A top-notch marine park offering a variety of fun activities such as feeding penguins, taking mermaid swimming lessons, and a fish spa.|
|Intramuros||The decaying 16th-century walls of Intramuros offer a glimpse into Manila’s rich history, with the spirits of Spanish settlers, Japanese conquerors, and American generals.|
|Makati’s Air-Conditioned Malls||A shopper’s paradise, offering the best deals and luxury brands in Manila.|
|Seafood Establishments and Chinatown’s Dim Sum Heaven||Foodies will appreciate Manila’s diverse culinary scene, with seafood establishments and Chinatown’s dim sum heaven.|
|Nightlife and Karaoke||Manila’s nightlife is vibrant, with pubs and nightclubs offering big-name DJs and Filipino bands, as well as endless karaoke options.|
|Jeepney Rides||A unique cultural experience, taking a ride on one of Manila’s wildly adorned jeepneys is a must-do attraction.|
The craziness of this city can be intimidating at first. Concrete flyovers loom over traffic, loud music that blares from doors and windows, suffocating heat, choking smog, and excessive luxury contrasted with abject poverty.
Give Manila some time, though, and you’ll come to appreciate its joie de vivre. The city features some of the best nightlife and shopping in Asia, as well as some impressive museums that offer an interesting overview of Manila’s melting pot of cultures, despite the absence of obvious historic landmarks.
In the decaying 16th-century walls of Intramuros, history buffs can stroll with the spirits of Spanish settlers, Japanese conquerors, and American generals. Makati’s air-conditioned malls are a shoppers’ dream, and foodies will appreciate Manila’s seafood establishments and Chinatown’s dim sum heaven.
Manila picks things up after dusk. The sex industry, although visible, is simple to avoid at Makati, Quezon City, Malate, and Ermita’s pubs and nightclubs, which pulse through the night to big-name DJs, shockingly brilliant Filipino bands, and endless karaoke.
The Filipinos, who make this Asia’s friendliest capital, are what really binds everything together. Their willingness to carry on in the face of adversity, together with their openness and love of dialogue, is contagious.
A trip on one of Manila’s wildly adorned jeepneys is a stand-alone tourist attraction, despite the city’s notoriously congested roads, which make it difficult to explore. And if it all becomes too much, Manila is connected to every part of the Philippines by buses, aircraft, and ferries.
Tourist Attractions in Manila
Things to Do in Manila
Manila is a bustling metropolis with a lot to offer, more than simply a stopover on the way to the stunning beaches of the Philippines. In terms of attractions in Manila, you can anticipate stunning historical sites, breathtaking sunset vistas, great deals on retail therapy, and delectable dining options.
I’ve put up a list of entertaining things to do in Manila after hosting numerous foreign friends and balikbayan (Filipinos returning to Manila after living abroad) tourists. Keep reading whether this is your first visit or the nth time around. I’m confident Manila will astound you as well!
Manila Ocean Park is One Of The Top Tourist Attractions in Manila
You must not have known that the Philippines has a separate Ocean Park! The oceanarium is the first top-notch marine park in the nation, a charming place for a date, and a popular destination for field trips for schools. The amusement park in Manila offers a variety of fun activities for both kids and adults to enjoy, making it more than just a destination for tourists to see sea creatures behind glass.
Feeding the penguins and taking mermaid swimming lessons are two of their most intriguing attractions. The fish spa, though, has to be my particular favorite. Doesn’t it sound exciting that little fish will chew on the dead skin on your foot throughout the procedure? Even staying at Hotel H2O, the marine-themed hotel at Manila Ocean Park, will complete your experience!
All that was left of Manila before the 20th century is located in the oldest area of the city.
It is surrounded by strong walls from the 16th and 17th centuries and is a compact grid system in stark contrast to the surrounding high-rise cityscape.
From the sixteenth century to 1898, this location served as the Spanish East Indies’ capital, and it features the proper churches, courtyard mansions, and administrative structures with lovely colonial architecture.
The King Carlos IV statue on Plaza de Roma, the recently rebuilt Ayuntamiento building, and the Puerta de Isabel II entrance with a statue of the Queen are among the Intramuros sights that you should keep an eye out for.
A stroll through the Neon Museum is a photographer’s dream and a definite way to spark a few memories. It is best explored at night when everything is lighted up, and tours are offered 7 days a week.
San Agustin Museum
The church’s associated monastery, which was destroyed during World War II but reconstructed in the 1970s, currently houses a museum in its former refectory, sacristy, crypt, halls, and library.
This information provides background on the colonial era in Manila and the development of the Catholic religion in the Philippines.
There is a sizable collection of religious artwork gathered from churches across the nation, including paintings, wooden statues, crucifixes, furniture, vintage vestments, and altars.
The history of the city, from the advent of the Spanish in the 1500s to Manila’s partial devastation in 1945, will also be covered in great depth.
Chinatown in Manila
At first look, Manila’s Chinatown doesn’t appear to be a popular tourist destination; it is busy, boisterous, and a little run-down.
But it’s important to keep in mind that there have been Chinese traders in the area since the 800s, and during the Spanish colonial era, this neighborhood, Binondo, developed as a neighboring town for the persecuted Hokkien Chinese immigrants and their descendants.
The best vantage point is from a calesa or jeepney.
The Buddhist temples of Kuang Kong and Seng Guan, as well as the herb shops and street vendors on Ongpin and Carvajal Streets, are worth your attention.
There is no finer spot in Manila to eat dim sum if you are hungry.
When the sun is setting, the Manila Bay waterfront promenade is very beautiful.
The United States Navy and Spain fought in the Battle of Manila Bay there in 1898, which resulted in a resounding American victory and put an end to the more than 300 years of Spanish sovereignty.
The Baywalk is two kilometers long, stretching from the American Embassy to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and is protected from busy Roxas Boulevard by a row of palm trees.
National Museum of Fine Arts
Paintings and sculptures by renowned Filipino painters are on display at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila, Philippines. It was established in 1998 and was formerly known as the National Art Gallery. The National Museum of the Philippines owns and runs it. On Padre Burgos Avenue, it is situated next to the National Museum of Anthropology. Works by painters including Juan Luna, Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, and Guillermo Tolentino are among the pieces in its collection.
Ralph Harrington Doane, an American consultant architect for the Bureau of Public Works, and his associate Antonio Toledo originally planned the structure as a public library. Despite starting in 1918, construction was often put on hold due to a lack of funding. On July 16, 1926, the structure was officially opened after costing four million pesos. The structure was a component of Daniel Burnham’s master plan for the growth of Manila. The Senate and House of Representatives took up residence on the building’s second, third, and fourth floors, while the National Library was housed on the first floor.
A house museum in the Barrio San Luis neighborhood of Intramuros sheds insight into Manila’s Spanish colonial era.
Although it was constructed in the 1980s, the house is a realistic recreation of a mid-19th-century home on Calle Jaboneros, thus it is not as old as it appears.
It features a stone foundation and an upper level made of painted wood that leads to a courtyard with palm trees and a fountain.
You can navigate the interior by passing through ornately adorned lounges, bedrooms, and the kitchen and bathroom.
There are real artifacts in every room, including the bathroom’s unusual wooden twin toilet.
Attractions for Kids
There are many possibilities for days out away from the chaotic streets and seedier areas of the city if you are traveling with children.
These are typically located near malls, like the Kidzania location in Bonifacio Global City.
The Ocean Park, which showcases the marine life of the western Pacific and the South China Sea, is located where Rizal Park and Manila Bay converge.
The Museo Pambata is an interactive museum that takes a kid-friendly approach to science and world affairs, and it is located right next door to the old Elks Club facilities.
The municipal zoo is only one street away from the baywalk, albeit the conditions there might be a little upsetting.
The Star City theme park is also nearby, right past the yacht club.
Frequently asked questions:
What is Manila like to visit?
It’s a gorgeous city with lots of surprises and incredible things to do! First-time visitors to Manila could find the city difficult to navigate. But if you have a well-thought-out travel schedule, it’s actually fairly manageable. If you prefer to go at your own pace while in Manila, you may also reserve a rental car.
Why do people visit Manila?
Manila is a fantastic center for learning about Philippine history, culture, and nightlife. You’ll be welcomed by energetic streets packed with automobiles, structures, and people, but you’ll never run out of fun things to do.
What kind of city is Manila?
The Philippines’ capital and largest city is Manila. The city serves as the hub of the nation’s social, political, economic, and cultural life. It is situated on the island of Luzon and extends along the Pasig River’s mouth on the eastern side of Manila Bay.
Is it worth visiting Manila?
It’s true that not everyone would enjoy their time in Manila. It could be difficult to convince you to move to a huge metropolis if you favor beaches and jungles. Manila is the ideal location to learn about the culture, history, and food of the Philippines, though.
What is a fun fact about Manila?
The world’s oldest Chinatown is located in Manila. Filipino-Chinese families constructed it in 1954 as a hub for Chinese trade and other businesses. The finest spot to go for Chinese food and other things is Chinatown, which is situated in the Binondo area.
Is Manila a famous city?
Manila is well-known and renowned for fusing an exciting modern city’s pace with a fascinating colonial past. Intramuros, Binondo, Luneta Park, and a sunset vista by the harbor are a few of the city’s well-known sights. You can even have an unforgettable experience in Manila’s infamously congested traffic!
Is Manila the best city in the world?
Is Manila Philippines safe to visit?
Due to crime, terrorism, civil upheaval, and kidnapping, the Philippines should be approached with heightened caution. The risk is higher in some places. Read the Travel Advice in its entirety.
What is the best time to visit Manila?
The greatest time to visit Manila is from January to April, even though the dry season lasts from December to May. The average temperature throughout these four months is 27°C, with minimum and highest values of 22°C and 34°C, respectively.
What is the best area to stay in Manila?
The City of Makati may be the greatest neighborhood in Manila for first-time tourists because it provides a wide range of lodging alternatives, from cheap to luxurious, and makes stores, nightlife, and tourist attractions fairly accessible.
How long should I spend in Manila?
There is no need to remain too long in Manila since it is frequently used as a stopover by tourists. Three days ought to be sufficient if you only intend to travel within Manila on short-day trips. Depending on how many day trips you choose to take, you can prolong your stay.
Is Manila a good place for a honeymoon?
Couples seeking a quick and simple honeymoon can consider spending their honeymoon in Manila. The experiences the couples have here range from opulent to private to daring.
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