Manila is the capital and most populous city of the Philippines. It is located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay, on the western part of the island of Luzon. The city has a rich history dating back to the 16th century when it was established as a Spanish colony. During the Spanish colonial period, Manila became one of the most important trade centers in Asia and the Pacific.
In 1898, the Philippines was ceded to the United States by Spain and Manila became the capital of the Philippines under American rule. During World War II, Manila was occupied by Japanese forces and suffered heavy damage, but it was rebuilt after the war.
A fact about Manila is that it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with over 1.7 million people living in an area of just 38.55 square kilometers.
Do & See
Manila is a bustling metropolis with a rich history and culture, and there are many things to do and places to see in the city. Some must-see places in Manila include:
Intramuros: This is the historic walled city within Manila and it is home to several important historical sites such as the San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in the country, and the Manila Cathedral.
Rizal Park: This is a large urban park located in the heart of Manila and it is a popular spot for picnics, concerts, and other events. The park is also home to the Rizal Monument, which is a statue of the country's national hero, José Rizal.
National Museum: This is the country's national museum and it is a great place to learn about the Philippines' history, culture, and arts.
Chinatown: Known as Binondo, it is the oldest Chinatown in the world and it is a great place to experience the city's Chinese heritage and culture.
Makati: This is one of the city's business and financial districts and it is home to many of the country's top shopping centers, restaurants, and nightlife spots.
Taal volcano: A popular day trip, it is an active volcano located in the island of Luzon, it is a UNESCO Heritage site. You can take a boat ride to the volcano island and hike up to the crater.
Fort Santiago: This is a historic fortress built by Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi, in the 16th century. It is now a park and home to several museums and monuments that offer insight into Manila's rich history.
Ayala Museum: This is a private museum that showcases Philippines art and history, including gold jewelry, ceramics, and ethnographic material from various indigenous groups in the Philippines.
These are just a few of the many things to do and must-see places in Manila. The city has so much to offer and is a great destination for anyone interested in history, culture, and the arts.
Exploring Manila, Philippines can be a great experience, and there are many ways to do it. Here are a few suggestions:
Walking tours: One of the best ways to explore the city is by taking a walking tour. This will give you an opportunity to see the city's streets and neighborhoods up close, and learn about its history and culture from a local guide.
Public transportation: Manila has a complex network of buses, jeepneys, and trains that can take you around the city. This is a great way to see the city on a budget and get a sense of the local culture.
Bike tours: Some companies offer bike tours around the city, this is a great way to explore the city and get some exercise at the same time.
Food Tour: The Philippines is known for its delicious street food and seafood. Take a food tour to discover the best street food, discover popular local restaurants and taste traditional Filipino cuisine
Boat tours: Take a boat tour on the Pasig River, a historically important waterway that runs through Manila. You can see the city's skyline and learn about its history and culture.
Private tours: If you want a more personalized experience, you can hire a private guide or car service to take you around the city. This can be a great option if you want to see specific sights or neighborhoods.
Regardless of how you choose to explore Manila, be sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes, a water bottle, and a camera to capture the beautiful views. Also, be aware of the traffic and the heat specially during summer.
Dining in Manila, Philippines is an exciting experience, and the city has a wide variety of options to choose from. From street food to high-end restaurants, Manila has something for everyone. Here are a few must-try dining experiences and restaurants in Manila:
Street food: Manila is famous for its street food, and there are many places to find it. Some popular street food dishes include adobo, lechon, and sisig.
Seafood: The Philippines is an archipelago and seafood is a staple in the country's cuisine. Some must-try seafood dishes include kinilaw (raw fish marinated in vinegar and spices) and sinigang (sour soup).
Fine-dining: For a more upscale dining experience, there are many high-end restaurants in Manila that serve a variety of international and local dishes. Some popular fine dining restaurants include Blackbird, Gallery by Chele, and Toyo Eatery
Traditional Filipino: For a taste of traditional Filipino cuisine, try a restaurant that specializes in this type of food. Some must-try traditional Filipino restaurants include Kapitbahay, Lola Idang's, and Bistro Remedios
Food parks: Food parks are a great option for those who want to try a variety of different foods in one place. Some popular food parks in Manila include StrEAT Maginhawa Food Park, The Yard Underground, and Poblacion Food District
Desserts: Filipino desserts are not to be missed. Some must-try desserts include halo-halo (a mixture of shaved ice, sweet beans, and fruits), leche flan and biko (sticky rice cakes)
Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to make a reservation in advance, especially if you are planning to dine in popular restaurants.
Manila, Philippines has a vibrant café scene, and there are many great cafes to choose from throughout the city. Here are a few top cafes in Manila:
Coffee Project: This café is known for its specialty coffee and unique flavors. They have several branches across the city, and it's a great place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee.
Kuppa Roastery and Café: This café is known for its delicious coffee and cozy atmosphere. They also have a great selection of pastries and sandwiches.
The Curator: This café is known for its specialty coffee, artful latte, and cozy atmosphere. They also have a great selection of pastries and sandwiches.
Bo's Coffee: This café chain is known for its specialty coffee and unique flavors. They have several branches across the city, and it's a great place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee.
Art Circle Café: This café is a great place to grab a coffee and admire the artwork on display. They have a great selection of pastries, sandwiches, and cakes.
Tom's World Coffee: This café chain is known for its specialty coffee, great atmosphere, and a wide range of food options.
Le Petit Souffle: This café is known for its French pastries, waffles and pancakes. They also have a great selection of coffee and tea.
The Pink Panda: This café is known for its pink decor, and it is a great place to grab a coffee and relax. They also have a great selection of pastries and sandwiches.
These are just a few of the many great cafes in Manila. Whether you're looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or a bustling café with a great atmosphere, there is something for everyone in Manila.
Bars and Nightlife
Manila, Philippines has a vibrant nightlife scene, and there are many great bars and lounges to choose from throughout the city. Here are a few top bars and lounges in Manila that you should check out:
Bank Bar: This bar is located in the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) area and it is known for its unique cocktails and trendy atmosphere. It is one of the popular rooftop bars in Manila.
Valkyrie: This bar is also located in BGC area, known for its craft cocktails and great music.
Blackbird: This rooftop bar is located in the Ayala Triangle Gardens, it offers a great view of the city and it is known for its great drinks and sophisticated atmosphere.
Poblacion: This neighborhood is known for its nightlife and it is home to many bars and lounges, including ABV, Bank Bar, and Bar Ben.
Revel at the Palace: This bar is located in the Uptown Bonifacio area and it is known for its great drinks and live music.
The Distillery: This bar is located in the Poblacion area and it is known for its unique cocktails and cozy atmosphere.
XX XX: This speakeasy-style bar is known for its unique cocktails, great music, and intimate atmosphere.
The Belle and Dragon: This bar is located in the Poblacion area and it is known for its great drinks, cozy atmosphere and a wide selection of beer.
These are just a few of the many great bars and lounges in Manila. Whether you're looking for a trendy rooftop bar with a great view, a cozy speakeasy-style bar, or a lively neighborhood with a lot of options, Manila has something for everyone when it comes to nightlife.
Manila, Philippines offers a wide variety of shopping options, from high-end malls to street markets. Here are a few budget-friendly places to shop in Manila:
Divisoria: This is a popular shopping district known for its wholesale markets and street vendors. You can find a wide variety of goods at very low prices, including clothing, accessories, and household items.
Baclaran: This is a popular market for budget-friendly clothing, bags, and other accessories.
Greenhills Shopping Center: This mall is known for its bargain prices on clothing, electronics, and other goods.
Quiapo: This is a popular market for electronics, cameras, and other gadgets.
Recto: This market is known for its variety of fabrics and textiles, it is a popular spot for tailors and dressmakers
Tiangge markets: These are open-air markets that pop up in different locations around the city, offering a wide variety of goods at budget-friendly prices.
Tiendesitas: This is a shopping complex that offers a wide variety of goods at budget-friendly prices, including clothing, household items, and furniture.
999 Shopping Mall: This mall is known for its budget-friendly prices on clothing, accessories, and other goods.
When shopping in Manila, it's a good idea to keep in mind that haggling is expected, especially in the street markets, so don't be afraid to negotiate prices. Also, be aware of the quality of the products, make sure to check the items carefully before buying.