Whether you need a breath of fresh air, reminisce the past, or dance into the nightlife, Manila is your destination. Manila, also called Metro Manila, is often the starting point when foreigners come into the Philippines. Don’t be fooled by the numerous shopping centers and towering skyscrapers because Manila is more than meets the eye.
Teeming with a rich culture and progressing infrastructures, Manila offers the best of both worlds. It has 16 cities and 897 barangays, and any wanderer will not run out of things to do and have a firsthand experience of authentic Filo culture.
Here are among the best things you can do when in Manila:
Go back to the past and walk past Intramuros.
The Spanish colonized the Philippines for 333 years, and Intramuros is the bittersweet proof of the country’s chains. Intramuros is a Walled City built 400 years ago by the Spaniards, which acted as a military base to guard the area against invaders. The walls of Intramuros have cannons and javelins installed that is still intact up to this day.
You can spend hours walking in Intramuros and pass by the oldest churches in the Philippines. These churches are called the “seven great churches,” namely: San Agustin Church, Santo Domingo Church, San Ignacio Church, San Francisco Church, San Nicolas Tolentino Church, and Lourdes Church. The Walled City stretches three miles, and you can tour the place by walking, riding a kalesa, or renting a bicycle.
Level up food crawling in Binondo.
What will make your food crawl special in Binondo is that it is the oldest Chinatown in the world, built in the 1500s. Binondo is a hyperactive area in the busy streets of Manila swarming with street vendors and Filipino-Chinese restaurants. Since its construction, it consistently occupies the destination list not only of foreigners but also the locals.
If you are looking for the rich taste of Asian food, you can pave the streets of Binondo and try varieties of dishes like chicken feet, lumpia, dumplings, and even frog legs! If you feel like being extra, Binondo has an exotic corner to challenge your taste buds.
Binondo’s visuals are also to watch for. The combination of colors and lively ambiance makes it an excellent spot for photo walks. Other than cooked food, you can also explore stalls selling lucky charms and fresh produce.
Tire your feet but treat your eyes in Luneta.
You are missing out if you won’t visit Luneta Park, aka Rizal Park. This public park is named in commemoration of the Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal. It is a 58-hectare park where the National Museum also dwells.
You’ll be welcomed by the 3D and gigantic Relief Map of the Philippines boasting the 7 107 islands of the country. There is also an enormous dancing fountain surrounded by head sculptures of significant people in Philippine History.
As you reach the heart of the park, you will also see a 40-foot statue of the Muslim hero, Lapu-Lapu. It mirrors the most notable monument of the country’s national hero – Jose Rizal. Philippines’ kilometer 0 also starts right in front of Rizal’s bronze statue.
Many tourists are wandering in Rizal Park, from those who would like to chill with nature after long walks to those interested in the country’s history. You can also see many artworks and artifacts when you visit the National Museum, not to mention that admission is free.
Stop by Manila Ocean Park.
Manila Ocean Park is another attraction you have to see in Manila. It is a marine theme park with a 25-meters glass observation tunnel. For as low as $18 per person, you can see around 277 species of sea creatures in Southeast Asia.
Manila Ocean Park has 13,000 sea creatures and offers other attractions like sealion and bird shows, a fish spa, and a mermaid swim experience.
Enjoy the nightlife in the South.
After wandering along with the historical sites of Manila, you can shift around the South and explore Manila’s urban life. Several of the best spots are in Taguig and Makati, 24/7 ready for wanderers who are up for a night out.
You can find an array of pubs and restaurants in Makati, which is considered the red-light district of Manila. Drinks are relatively cheap, and the view of the city lights is stunning. Filipinos also love music, and there’s no scarcity of karaoke bars for added fun.
Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig is the best spot if you are just up for a chill night’s walk. BGC has a fair share of corporate buildings, posh restaurants, and linear parks where you can go for a relaxing stroll. Tourists can also find Italy’s Venice Grand Canal replica in BGC, offering boat rides for as low as $5 per person.