ManilaPhilippines

Image for Quiapo Church showing night scenes, heritage architecture and a city

Visit Manila

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

Alabang which includes a garden

Alabang

4.5/5Wonderful!(161 area reviews)

One of the most modern corners of Metro Manila, this sleek region of Muntinlupa City is known for its vast malls and stylish skyscrapers.

Alabang
Ortigas Center showing a city and a garden

Ortigas Center

4/5Very Good!(255 area reviews)

Visit one of Metro Manila’s shining business districts to see the modern side of the Philippines. Join locals in its chic malls and entertainment venues.

Ortigas Center
Ermita showing a hotel

Ermita

4/5Very Good!(812 area reviews)

In the heart of Manila lies a compact district packed with museums, malls and parks, making it a sightseeing hub in the Filipino capital city.

Ermita
Malate featuring religious aspects, heritage architecture and a church or cathedral

Malate

3.5/5Good!(31 area reviews)

Explore one of the tourist centers of Manila in an oceanfront district lined with markets, museums and family-friendly attractions.

Malate
Went Mexican this time

Downtown

4/5Very Good!(416 area reviews)

Travelers come to Downtown for its abundant dining options, and you can see top attractions like A. Venue Mall and Century City while you're in town.

Downtown
The American Cemetery at Fort Bonifacio is the largest outside of the USA. This cemetery is incredibly well maintained, provides in-depth history and information about the World Wars, and honors the men and women who lost their lives from the USA as well as the Philippines. There are over 17,000 graves. We were overwhelmed and humbled by the impact of WWII in this region of the world and proud to have such a great memorial for our countrymen.

Bonifacio Global City

4.5/5Wonderful!(66 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

Top Hotels in Manila

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Makati Shangri-la Hotel, Manila
Makati Shangri-la Hotel, Manila
5 out of 5
Ayala Street and Makati Avenue, Makati, Manila
¥12,234
per night
Feb 9 - Feb 10

This family-friendly Makati hotel is located near the airport, within a 10-minute walk of Ayala Center, Greenbelt Shopping Mall, and Glorietta Mall. SM Makati ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,118 reviews)

"I frequently stay here when in town, a real home away from home with caring staff and great amenities."…"

Reviewed on Jan 22, 2020

Makati Shangri-la Hotel, Manila
Fairmont Makati, Manila
Fairmont Makati, Manila
5 out of 5
1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati, Manila
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
¥11,877
per night
Jan 31 - Feb 1

This family-friendly Makati hotel is located in the entertainment district, within a 10-minute walk of Ayala Center, Greenbelt Shopping Mall, and Glorietta Mall. ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (1,157 reviews)

"We love it. Cant wait to book there again. The facilities the staff so good. Close to everything. I feel safe and spoiled... love it..."…"

Reviewed on Jan 21, 2020

Fairmont Makati, Manila
Hotel Jen Manila by Shangri-La
Hotel Jen Manila by Shangri-La
4 out of 5
3001 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, Manila
¥6,108
per night
Feb 16 - Feb 17

Located in Brgy. 719, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila Yacht Club, and Star City. Harrison Plaza and Philippine ...

4.2/5Very Good! (1,016 reviews)

"We had 2 rooms. One room had excellent firm beds, the connecting room bed was broken."…"

Reviewed on Jan 22, 2020

Hotel Jen Manila by Shangri-La

Popular things to do in Manila

SM Mall of Asia
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SM Mall of Asia

4.5/5(1,550 reviews)

You can search for that perfect souvenir when you visit SM Mall of Asia, a favorite shopping spot in Pasay. Attend a sporting event or visit the stunning cathedral in this culturally-rich area.

Manila Ocean Park
Image for Manila Ocean Park

Manila Ocean Park

4/5(639 reviews)

Make time to visit the sea life at Manila Ocean Park and find out why this is a popular attraction in Manila. Check out the shops and top-notch restaurants in this vibrant area.

Manila Bay
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Manila Bay

4/5(770 reviews)

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

Fort Bonifacio
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Fort Bonifacio

4.5/5(373 reviews)

Find out about the history of Fort Bonifacio, a well-known monument in Taguig. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

SM North EDSA
Image for SM North EDSA

SM North EDSA

4/5(371 reviews)

You can enjoy some retail therapy when you visit SM North EDSA, a favorite shopping spot in Quezon City. Discover the great live music and churches in this vibrant area.

Venice Grand Canal Mall
Image for Venice Grand Canal Mall

Venice Grand Canal Mall

4.5/5(342 reviews)

You can find the perfect gifts to bring home when you visit Venice Grand Canal Mall, a favorite shopping spot in Taguig. Discover the top-notch restaurants and lively festivals in this culturally-rich area.

Top activities in Manila

Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure
Image for Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

¥17,404

Hike up one of the Philippines' second-most-active volcano on this full-day tour. Take a scenic boat ride on Taal Lake, ride on a horseback across spectacular black lava flows and look down on the stunning vista from the summit of Taal Volcano.

Old & New City Half-Day Tour
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Old & New City Half-Day Tour

¥5,286

Take a journey through Manila and explore its rich history, fascinating architecture and ancient buildings. Discover the Philippines' financial capital in bustling Makati City, the historic American Cemetery & Memorial, and the ancient walled-city of Intramuros—a remnant of Manila's colonial past.

Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion
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Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion

¥15,969

Escape to a historic World War II island fortress on this full-day tour to Corregidor Island. Explore major battle sites & barrack ruins, visit the Pacific War Memorial, discover Malinta Tunnel, and enjoy scenic views of Manila Bay from the island's historic lighthouse.

Tagaytay Ridge & Manila City Tour
Image for Tagaytay Ridge & Manila City Tour

Tagaytay Ridge & Manila City Tour

¥12,998

Begin the day with a drive to the picturesque city of Tagaytay. Located on a ridge 2,250 feet (686 m) above sea level, it offers a panoramic view of Taal Lake and Volcano. After lunch, return to Metro Manila, visit bustling Makati, and see San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Full-Day City & Museum Tour
Image for Full-Day City & Museum Tour

Full-Day City & Museum Tour

¥11,894

Discover Manila's rich history, cultural heritage and architectural grandeur on this full-day tour. Stroll through the ancient walled city of Intramuros, explore the Philippines' financial capital in Makati City, and visit ancient churches and historic museums.

Weekend Join-In Samal Island Hopping from Davao
Image for Weekend Join-In Samal Island Hopping from Davao

Weekend Join-In Samal Island Hopping from Davao

¥2,517

The Weekend Join-in Samal Island Hopping tour departs daily from any Davao City Hotel departure time of 7am and concludes upon return to a Davao City gulf port. The mode of transportation is by an medium to large-sized out-trigger boat.

Reviews of Manila

3.9

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
153
5 - Excellent 26.333907056798623%
4 - Good
260
4 - Good 44.75043029259897%
3 - Okay
142
3 - Okay 24.440619621342513%
2 - Disappointing
19
2 - Disappointing 3.270223752151463%
1 - Terrible
7
1 - Terrible 1.2048192771084338%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 20, 2020

Nice but traffic is a mess

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Jan 6, 2020

It's a very busy, crowded and dusty city w/ signs of poverty. We had great food in Pasig, Pasay and Greenhills.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 6, 2020

Manila is a wonderful city with much to offer Best viewed from the Manila Hilton

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Dec 21, 2019

Over crowded and congested streets due to traffic

5/5 - Excellent

Gloria

Dec 18, 2019

Beautiful

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Dec 16, 2019

Staff are so nice

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Manila

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