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ManilaPhilippines

The capital of the Philippines is a fast-paced and hectic city filled with cultural and historic gems, from old ruins to national museums and lively promenades.

Manila is continually expanding outwards and upwards. Scores of skyscrapers and business centers are rising up across the city and Filipinos from rural areas pour into the capital everyday looking for opportunities. This is one of the largest cities on the planet.

Manila can be overwhelming at first glance. The sprawling metropolis is a collection of 16 towns with no discernible center. The streets are busy, crowded and loud, but it’s this energy and chaos that gives the city its charm.

To really get to know Manila you need to understand its past. The city has been bombed, devastated by fires and earthquakes and occupied by the Spanish, British, Japanese and Americans.

Start your trip in Intramuros, the oldest part of Manila. It’s surrounded by fortifications and moats that were built by the Spanish in the 16th century. Most of the fortifications were destroyed by bombs during World War II. What was left has been rebuilt and restored. Walk around and on the walls and visit some of its key defensive structures such as the Baluarte de San Diego and the Baluarte de San Andres.

Go to the defensive centerpiece the Fort of Santiago, a large citadel and park, then visit Manila Cathedral. The present structure dates from the mid-20th century. Close to Intramuros is Rizal Park, a green expanse with ornamental gardens, lawns and monuments.

Pay a visit to the National Museum of the Filipino People to learn about the history and culture of the Philippines, and visit Casa Manila Museum, a reproduction of a Spanish colonial house.

Manila captivates with some of its modern charms. Take a ferry along the Pasig River and enjoy the nightlife of the Baywalk, a seaside promenade.

Like many Asian cities traffic is a huge problem. Fortunately, taxis are plentiful, cheap and air-conditioned. A good way to get around is on the light rail and metro. The main forms of public transport are the jeepneys, small brightly colored buses. If you travel by road it may take you longer to get to your destination than you planned. Allow plenty of time and do as the Filipinos do, just go with the flow.

Where to stay in Manila

Ermita featuring 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 showing a park

Alabang

4.5/5Wonderful!(7 area reviews)

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

Alabang
Ortigas Center which includes a city and a park

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 showing a statue or sculpture, religious aspects and a church or cathedral

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
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, National Capital Region, Philippines

Bonifacio Global City

5/5Exceptional!(7 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in Bonifacio Global City, Fort Bonifacio and Bonifacio High Street are top sights worth seeing.

Bonifacio Global City
Santa Cruz, Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines

Santa Cruz

3/5(5 area reviews)

Noted for its shopping and restaurants, there's plenty to explore in Santa Cruz. Top attractions like 168 Mall and Manila North Cemetery are major draws, and you can hop on the metro at Tayuman LRT Station or Blumentritt LRT Station to see more of the city.

Santa Cruz

Top hotels in Manila

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Savoy Hotel Manila
Savoy Hotel Manila
4 out of 5
Andrews Avenue, Newport City, Pasay

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Fort Bonifacio, City of Dreams Manila and Venice Grand Canal Mall. SM Makati is 3.1 mi (5 km) ...

4.2/5Excellent! (855 reviews)

"Everything was good property clean me and my wife had a great time will stay again in the future"…"

Reviewed on 23 Mar 2020

Savoy Hotel Manila
The Henry Hotel Manila
The Henry Hotel Manila
4 out of 5
2680 F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay, Manila

Located in Barangay 76, this boutique hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of World Trade Center Manila, SM Mall of Asia and Metropolitan Museum. Manila Bay and Rizal ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (321 reviews)

"This is our 2nd visit in the last year. We love this quaint hotel as it sits in its own small compound and is close to local shops, fresh bakeries and cantenes. The restaurant on site has great comfort foods. The staff is welcoming and always ready to serve your needs. The rooms are spacious and ..."…"

Reviewed on 9 Jan 2020

The Henry Hotel Manila
The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati
The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati
3 out of 5
128 Dela Rosa St., Ayala South, Makati, NCR
The price is ฿1,241 per night

Located in San Lorenzo, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Makati Medical Center and Greenbelt Shopping Mall. Glorietta Mall and SM Makati are also within ...

3.9/5Good! (709 reviews)

"The staff was extremely helpful, especially Cristinne."…"

Reviewed on 21 Apr 2020

The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati

Popular places to visit in Manila

SM Mall of Asia
Image for SM Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia

4.5/5(72 reviews)

You can search for that perfect souvenir when you visit SM Mall of Asia, a popular shopping spot in Pasay. Visit the churches and top-notch restaurants in this culturally rich area.

Manila Ocean Park
Image for Manila Ocean Park

Manila Ocean Park

4/5(31 reviews)

Make time to visit the sea creatures you'll find at Manila Ocean Park, and learn why this is a favourite attraction in Manila. Visit the churches and shops in this culturally rich area.

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.

Fort Bonifacio
Image for Fort Bonifacio

Fort Bonifacio

4/5(29 reviews)

Fort Bonifacio is just one of the places to see in Taguig, so why not enjoy the other things to explore during your travels? Make time to visit the area's shops or simply enjoy its top-notch restaurants.

SM North EDSA
Image for SM North EDSA

SM North EDSA

4/5(20 reviews)

You can search for that perfect souvenir with a trip to SM North EDSA, a favourite shopping spot in Quezon City. Discover the great live music and stunning cathedral in this vibrant area.

Venice Grand Canal Mall
Image for Venice Grand Canal Mall

Venice Grand Canal Mall

4/5(27 reviews)

You can browse for souvenirs when you visit Venice Grand Canal Mall, a favourite shopping spot in Taguig. Visit the churches and top-notch restaurants in this vibrant area.

Top things to do in Manila

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

Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion

84% of travellers recommend
฿4,649
Per adult
Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure
Image for Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure

Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure

฿5,771
Per adult
Filipino Cultural Dance Show & Dinner
Image for Filipino Cultural Dance Show & Dinner

Filipino Cultural Dance Show & Dinner

88% of travellers recommend
฿2,725
Per adult
Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure
Image for Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure

Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure

86% of travellers recommend
฿4,424
Per adult
Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure
Image for Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

94% of travellers recommend
฿5,065
Per adult
Old & New City Half-Day Tour
Image for Old & New City Half-Day Tour

Old & New City Half-Day Tour

฿1,539
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

Cities near Manila

Makati featuring street scenes and modern architecture

Makati

Mandaluyong featuring a high-rise building and a city

Mandaluyong

Pasay featuring modern architecture

Pasay

Quezon City featuring a park and a square or plaza

Quezon City

Other places like Manila