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What to Do in Manila

Manila Attractions

What to do in Manila is a question that has what seems to be a great number of possible answers. Manila's architectural attractions have taken a battering over the years; the city was second only to Warsaw in terms of bombing destruction in WW II. Nevertheless, there remain some insightful reminders of the country's economic, political, religious and social history lined along Manila Bay, an attraction in itself.

Manila was once Asia’s star attraction and it continues to shine with its east-meets-west colonial architecture. Prior to the war the city was known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, and was rich in culture and natural resources, none better manifested than in its architecture.

Manila's attractions are not exclusively man made; natural beauty is abundant around the city with various parks and the famous ‘Manila sunset’. The star attraction of the city is undoubtedly the people, so get out and about, amongst them. See below Manila attractions...

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  • 10 Best Things to Do in Manila

    10 Best Things to Do in Manila

    Our list of the 10 best things to do in Manila are, in keeping with the image of this outstanding metropolis, a mix of Read More»

  • Manila Intramuros

    Manila Intramuros

    Intramuros, or the ‘Walled City’, was built by the Spaniards, more specifically by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, in 1571, is Read More»

  • Fort Santiago

    Fort Santiago

    This solid stone structure has an Italian-Spanish architectural style and was built in the 16th century. Miguel Lopez de Read More»

  • Manila Cathedral

    Manila Cathedral

    The present Manila cathedral was constructed from 1954 to 1958 under the supervision of Filipino architect Fernando H. Read More»

  • Binondo - Manila Chinatown

    Binondo - Manila Chinatown

    Most countries have their own Chinese communities, though it is in the Philippines that you will find the oldest Read More»

  • Manila Baywalk

    Manila Baywalk

    Manila Baywalk is a popular leisure centre for city dwellers. Just along Roxas Boulevard, past Manila Yacht Club and Read More»

All Attractions in Manila

Ayala Museum

Located in the heart of Makati, Manilla’s Central Business District, Ayala Museum offer you a pleasant journey through the history of arts in the Philippines and, on a wider scale, in Southeast Asia. You’ll discover some beautiful pieces from the past that boast the great craftsmanship of the Filipinos, as well as contemporary arts exhibitions. Ayala Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00, closed on Mondays
  • Location: Makati Avenue corner De la Rosa Street
  • Tel: +63 2 757 7117
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Binondo - Manila Chinatown

Most countries have their own Chinese communities, though it is in the Philippines that you will find the oldest Chinatown in the world. Manila’s Chinatown is called Binondo –derived from the Tagalog word ‘binondoc’ which means ‘mountainous’ as it is set on a hilly landscape. Founded by the Spanish Governor Luis Perez Dasmarinas in 1594, the Read More...

  • Location: Located across the Pasig River from Intramuros, Third District of Metro Manila.
  • How to get there: From NAIA 1-2-3 loop, take a train from the terminal near McDonalds, walk to the MRT Edsa Station and get off at the LRT-Carriedo Station.
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City Marikina Shoe Museum

This museum is the first of its kind in the Philippines and one of only a handful around the world. Housed in an artistically restored former rice mill (built circa 1860), the museum traces the history of the shoe industry in Marikina, the Philippines' shoe-making capital. Among the shoe exhibits is the infamous collection of 1,500 pairs that once belonged to Imelda Marcos. Other displays of historical value and human interest are shoes of former Philippine presidents and their first ladies. Enjoy a trip to the past on foot at this museum!

  • Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 10:00 - 19:00
  • Address: J. P. Rizal Street, Marikina
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Fort Santiago

This solid stone structure has an Italian-Spanish architectural style and was built in the 16th century. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi built this citadel for the newly established Manila City and named after Spain's patron saint St. James the Great. It is also known as Fuerza de Santiago in Spanish or Moog ng Santiago in Tagalog.

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  • Opening Hours: Daily from 08:00 to 18:00
  • Location: Santa Clara Street, Intramuros, Manila
  • How to get there: From Intramuros, take the LRT and then get off at the United Nations Station or take a jeepney (always inform the driver that you are going to Fort Bonifacio)
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Intramuros

Intramuros, or the ‘Walled City’, was built by the Spaniards, more specifically by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, in 1571, is situated on the southern bank of river Pasig, and is one of Manila’s oldest districts. It is bound on all sides by moats and thick high walls, with some over six metres high, hence the name. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 - 17:00
  • Location: If you are coming to Intramuros by LRT, get off at the United Nations Station. From here it is only a 20- to a 25-minute stroll to the gates.
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Manila Baywalk

Manila Baywalk is a popular leisure centre for city dwellers. Just along Roxas Boulevard, past Manila Yacht Club and bordered by the US Embassy and Cultural Center of the Philippines, this two-kilometre stretch is a favourite sunset-watching location.

This sidewalk is famous for its golden skies, calm bay waters, palm trees and ornamental plants that sway Read More...

  • Location: Along Roxas Boulevard, Metro Manila, Philippines
  • How to get there: From NAIA 3 Airport Pasay City, take the Skyway then exit Magallanes until merges onto SLEX, turn left Pres. Quirino Avenue, then turn right onto Roxas Blouevard, make a U-turn at Pedro Gil and about 80 metres further on you will have a first-hand experience of the famous Manila Bay sunset.
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Manila Cathedral

On January 24, 1571, the City of Manila was established after native settlers Rajah Sulayman and Rajah Matanda lost their defense of Maynilad to Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.

To celebrate the new Spanish settlement and to endow spiritual administration in the Philippines under secular Juan de Vivero, the Church of Manila was established. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 07:30 – 21:00
  • Location: Cabildo cor. Beaterio St., Intramuros
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Manila Ocean Park

Featuring an Oceanarium which houses thousands of sea creatures from over 250 species, a sharks and rays encounter area, the chance to learn how to swim like a mermaid, a trail to Antarctica and a jellies exhibit, just to name a few of the attractions at hand, Manila Ocean Park is really worth a visit. Great Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 on weekdays and 09:00 on weekends. Closes at 21:00
  • Location: Just a short walk from Rizal Park. There are two points of entry: One at the intersection of the Manila Hotel and the other at the intersection where the Museo Pambata is found.
  • MRT: EDSA-Taft Station, then LRT to United Nations (U.N.) Avenue Station
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Manila Zoo

Opened in 1959, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Park is one of the oldest zoos in Asia. Home to more than 800 animals, one of the main attractions is Mali, a 24-year old Asian elephant who arrived at the zoo as an orphaned calf. Other animals include Bengal tigers and local crocodiles. The zoo attracts thousands of visitors each week and promises a fun and educational day for the family.

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 - 17:00
  • Address: Quirino Avenue, two blocks from Roxas Boulevard, an area well known to taxi drivers.
  • Price Range: P40 (less than one dollar)
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Rizal Park

Originally called Luneta Park due to its moon-like shape it was later named Rizal Park in honour of the country's national hero, Dr Jose Rizal. Situated in the heart of Manila at the northern end of Roxas Boulevard, overlooking Manila Bay, it’s conveniently situated close to other attractions. The site of some of the most significant Read More...

  • Address: Northern end of Roxas Boulevard
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San Agustin Church Manila

San Agustin Church in Manila should be on the itinerary of anyone with an interest in history or architecture. Located inside the historic Walled City of Intramuros, this Roman Catholic Baroque-style church is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built by the Spaniards in the 16th century, the church has survived a major earthquake in 1863 Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 18:00
  • Location: Gen Luna St. inside Intramuros
  • Tel: +63 (0)2 527 2746
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