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ManilaPhilippines

From the hectic pace of its high-rise business district to the tranquillity of its flower-filled parks, Manila is a city of strong contrasts.

Vast and sprawling, Manila at first sight can be daunting. One of the largest cities in the world and still growing, this metropolis of sixteen towns seems impossible to navigate. With no obvious centre, the new visitor can find themselves bewildered by the crowded streets, dense traffic and frantic pace. But spend a little time among its friendly people, learn a little of its fascinating but volatile history, and its charms will soon get under your skin.

Manila has been under occupation by the Spanish, British, Japanese and Americans, and has been destroyed many times by natural disasters including fires and earthquakes. More recently, the tragic devastation wrought by bombing raids during the Second World War brought the city to its knees. Now, thanks to an ambitious programme of reconstruction, many of the city’s historic buildings have been preserved for posterity.

Intramuros is the oldest area and one of the main focuses for tourism. This ancient walled city is surrounded by sturdy fortifications built by the Spanish in the 16th century to repel hostile invaders. Most of the walls were left in ruins by wartime bombing, but the remaining parts have been sympathetically restored. Follow the walkways to the Baluarte de San Andres and the Baluarte de San Diego to appreciate their strategic position overlooking Manila Bay and the Pasig river. Nearby Fort Santiago houses the Rizal Shrine, dedicated to national hero Dr José Rizal, who lost his life in the struggle for independence. See the place of his execution in Rizal Park, one of the largest recreational spaces in Asia.

Learn about the fascinating archaeology and anthropology of the region in the National Museum of the Filipino People, or visit Casa Manila Museum for a close-up view of the domestic life of an affluent Filipino family during the colonial era. Believers and non-believers alike can’t fail to be moved by the sight of faithful pilgrims flocking to Quiapo Church to pray to the Black Nazarene, one of the most important icons in the country. Take time to visit Manila Cathedral, still proudly serving the Catholic community despite being destroyed many times.

Getting around on foot is hard in this huge metropolis, but taxis are cheap and plentiful and the light rail links most of the main sites. For the authentic Manila experience, hop on a colourful jeepney and hold on tight!

Where to stay in Manila

Ermita which includes a hotel

Ermita

4/5Very Good!(56 area reviews)

Rizal Park and Manila Ocean Park are top sights in Ermita, and you should be sure to explore the popular shops. Hop aboard the metro at United Nations LRT Station or Pedro Gil LRT Station to see more sights in the area.

Ermita
Alabang featuring a park

Alabang

4.5/5Wonderful!(7 area reviews)

Alabang is known for its abundant dining options, and you can plan a trip to Starmall Alabang and Alabang Town Center while you're in town.

Alabang
Ortigas Center featuring a garden and a city

Ortigas Center

4.5/5Wonderful!(13 area reviews)

Travellers to Ortigas Center praise its popular shops. If you've got some more time to explore, be sure to stop by Asian Development Bank Headquarters and Ayala Malls The 30th.

Ortigas Center
Malate featuring religious elements, a statue or sculpture and heritage architecture

Malate

2.5/5(3 area reviews)

Travellers choose Malate for its abundant dining options. Hop aboard the metro at Quirino Avenue LRT Station or Vito Cruz LRT Station and check out top sights like Manila Bay.

Malate

Top hotels in Manila

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Dusit Thani Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
5 out of 5
Arnaiz Ave, Ayala Center, Makati, Manila
The price is RM378 per night

This family-friendly Makati hotel is located near the airport, within a 5-minute walk of SM Makati and Glorietta Mall. Ayala Center and Ayala Museum are also ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,296 reviews)

"Nice hotel, good amenities and friendly staff. Good location close to mall, bars and restaurants"…"

Reviewed on 24 Jul 2020

Dusit Thani Manila
Copacabana Apartment Hotel
Copacabana Apartment Hotel
3 out of 5
The price is RM203 per night

Located in Barangay 76, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Baclaran Church, SM Mall of Asia and City of Dreams Manila. Cuneta Astrodome and Mall of Asia Arena ...

3.8/5Good! (997 reviews)

"The best and the most comportable stay we had. Big place very clean"…"

Reviewed on 8 Mar 2020

Copacabana Apartment Hotel
Alicia Apartment
Alicia Apartment
2.5 out of 5
The price is RM140 per night

Located in the heart of Parañaque, this aparthotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Manila Bay, City of Dreams Manila and Mall of Asia Arena. Baclaran Church is 2.2 ...

3.9/5Good! (136 reviews)

"Decent place near the airport. Located in a tight street"…"

Reviewed on 29 Jan 2020

Alicia Apartment

Popular places to visit in Manila

Manila Bay
Image for Manila Bay

Manila Bay

4/5(51 reviews)

Drift around the tranquil waters of a sheltered bay and watch a colorful sunset from the shores of Manila city.

Rizal Park
Image for Rizal Park

Rizal Park

4/5(35 reviews)

Discover the uplifting story of the Philippines’ national hero in this lovely park renamed in his honour.

Manila Cathedral
Image for Manila Cathedral

Manila Cathedral

4/5(21 reviews)

This important centre of worship has remained at the spiritual heart of Manila for over five centuries.

Top things to do in Manila

Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion
Image for Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion

Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion

RM615
Per adult
84% of travellers recommend
Old & New City Half-Day Tour
Image for Old & New City Half-Day Tour

Old & New City Half-Day Tour

RM201
Per adult
Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure
Image for Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

RM662
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Tagaytay Ridge & Manila City Tour
Image for Tagaytay Ridge & Manila City Tour

Tagaytay Ridge & Manila City Tour

RM746
Per adult
88% of travellers recommend
Private Half-Day Manila City Tour via Jeepney
Image for Private Half-Day Manila City Tour via Jeepney

Private Half-Day Manila City Tour via Jeepney

RM1,484
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Villa Escudero Tour with Lunch From Manila
Image for Villa Escudero Tour with Lunch From Manila

Villa Escudero Tour with Lunch From Manila

RM313
Per adult

Reviews of Manila

3.9

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
8
5 - Excellent 18.6046511627907%
4 - Good
25
4 - Good 58.13953488372093%
3 - Okay
7
3 - Okay 16.27906976744186%
2 - Disappointing
3
2 - Disappointing 6.976744186046512%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveller

2 Feb 2020

Overrated. Get your money's worth elsewhere. Staff need retraining with customer service for sure esp at secuity.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

27 Nov 2019

Manila is a really busy city so takes a few days to adjust. Once you start to get used to it you start to uncover the quirky and interesting places to visit.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

6 Nov 2019

Love the Old Manila. Barbara restaurant is a must to visit

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

14 Jul 2019

All taxi drivers believe that you must feed their families for the whole year. They decide how much tip must be given to them! Always have change and "forget" to tip them in order to teach them that the tip is not a requirement!!!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

6 Jul 2019

Hectic.

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveller

27 Jun 2019

very dirty city, over crowded, very very conguested, beggers and homless sleeping on the streets. terrible city

Makati showing modern architecture and street scenes

Makati

Mandaluyong showing a city and a skyscraper

Mandaluyong

Pasay featuring modern architecture

Pasay

Quezon City featuring a garden and a square or plaza

Quezon City

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