Places to see in Manila, Philippines
Manila is one of the only major cities in Asia that, whilst being in Asia, has an almost zero Southeast Asian quotient. No elephants or tigers here, no spice bazaars, no distinct Asian heritage sites or royalty: Manila is significantly Western in all ways! However, this should not deter you from visiting Manila!
In close proximity to some of the loveliest beaches and extraordinary diving spots in the world, Manila is a popular tourist destination for divers, both professional and amateur, as well as tourists looking to relax and get a golden tan!
Another reason to visit Manila is the shopping! Home to three of the ten biggest malls in the entire world, Manila is famous for being one of the shopping meccas of the world. So if you’re looking for some retail therapy, come with your empty bags!
One more reason to visit Manila: it’s a city of contrasts. Gleaming monochrome malls fight for space with ancient historic churches, making Manila one of the few cities with different facets everywhere you look!
What to see in Manila
This sprawling metropolis has something to offer everybody: art lovers, music aficionados, food connoisseurs, history buffs, religious fanatics and more! Check out some of the best things to see in Manila:
- Church Tour: Manila is famous for its churches. During the Spanish colonization, many churches were built, and now offer a good starting point for exploring Manila. Opt for the bus tour or the walking tour! Some churches to see include the Manila cathedral, San Augustin Church, San Sebastian Church and Santuario de San Antonio.
- Manila Ocean Park: This marine theme park is an ideal way to bond with your kids! Have fun checking out the sea lion exhibit, the different types of jellyfish and the eclectic and colorful range of different fish species!
- Intramuros, Manila: This is the old walled city of Manila. A definite place to visit, especially if you’re into history.
- Manila American Cemetery and Memorial: This place is serene and tranquil, and beautifully kept. Check out the relics of World War II here.
- Corregidor Island: The Corregidor Island tour is one of the best tours in Southeast Asia. It showcases WWII in its entirety, since a part of it was fought here.
- Manila Rizal Park: One of the major tourist attractions in Manila. This historical urban park is located in the heart of the city, and is a favorite place for unwinding, family picnics, and socializing.
Manila Rizal Park in Philippines
- Kaleidoscopic sunset on Manila Bay.
- Other interesting sightseeing spots include the National Museum, Villa Escuredo, Fort Santiago, Greenbelt Park and Malacanang Palace and Museum.
Where to Eat
Whether you’re looking for cheap but quality food or gourmet meals, Manila offers you a taste of some of the best you’ll ever eat! Try restaurants like The Aristocrat with its reasonable but filling meals, the Harbor View Filipino Seafood Restaurant located on the bay so you can enjoy the sunset as you eat and the Sala Restaurant where the service is as excellent as the food. Other restaurants to check out are Café Juanita, Blue Dragon Gate, Pantalan Maynila, Italianni’s Restaurant and Chowking.
Where to Shop
‘Malling’ is a very important activity in the lives of all Filipinos! If you’re in Manila, you simply can’t leave without filling your bags. Here are a few favorite places to spend your cash: SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, Greenbelt, Trinoma, Robinsons, Glorietta, Divisoria and 168!
Where to Stay
Manila has a thriving tourist industry, and caters for this by boasting a vast range of high-end and low-budget accommodation services! Here are a few hotels in Manila you might want to check in at!
- Best Western Hotel La Corona – This beautiful boutique hotel is a fusion of the East and West. Check it out!
- Makati Shangri-La Hotel – True Shangri-La at the Makati Shangri-La! If you’re looking to relax, soothe yourself and live like a king, Shangri-La is where you want to be!
- Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Hotel – This centrally-located hotel has everything one needs when on a trip to an exotic city!
- Integrated transport network. You can use either the trains or the buses to get around safely.
- Cheap but quality products, making Manila a paradise for shopaholics!
- Be prepared, especially at the airports and with the taxi drivers. Don’t get extorted.
- Manila, once a thriving economical and beautiful city, fell to the woes of World War II, and was never able to rise to what it once used to be. Expect some shanties.