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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 showing a hotel

Ermita

3.5/5Good!(100 area reviews)

Ermita is highly notable for its popular shops, and you might want to visit top sights like Rizal Park and Manila Ocean Park. See more of Manila by jumping on the metro at United Nations LRT Station or Pedro Gil LRT Station.

Ermita
Alabang featuring a garden

Alabang

4/5Very Good!(20 area reviews)

Travelers come to Alabang for its abundant dining options, and you can see top attractions like Starmall Alabang and Alabang Town Center while you're in town.

Alabang
Ortigas Center which includes a city and a garden

Ortigas Center

4/5Very Good!(45 area reviews)

Ortigas Center is known for its popular shops, and with sights like Asian Development Bank Headquarters and Ayala Malls The 30th, you won't get bored spending a day wandering around this part of Pasig.

Ortigas Center
Malate showing religious aspects, a statue or sculpture and a church or cathedral

Malate

4.5/5Wonderful!(18 area reviews)

Travelers 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
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is CA $119 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 Jul. 24, 2020

Dusit Thani Manila
Copacabana Apartment Hotel
Copacabana Apartment Hotel
3 out of 5
264 EDSA Extension, Pasay City, Pasay, Manila
The price is CA $62 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 Mar. 8, 2020

Copacabana Apartment Hotel
Alicia Apartment
Alicia Apartment
2.5 out of 5
11 Begonia Street, Rivera Village, Brgy. 199 Zone, NAIA 1, Parañaque, NCR
The price is CA $44 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 Jan. 29, 2020

Alicia Apartment

Popular places to visit in Manila

Manila Bay
Image for Manila Bay

Manila Bay

4/5(129 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(81 reviews)

Relax in one of the largest urban parks in Asia, home to gardens, orchids, tropical plant species and a monument to a Filipino hero.

Top things to do in Manila

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

Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

CA $215
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Villa Escudero with Lunch at the Waterfalls
Image for Villa Escudero with Lunch at the Waterfalls

Villa Escudero with Lunch at the Waterfalls

CA $262
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure
Image for Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure

Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure

CA $187
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Private Full-Day Tour to Hidden Valley Springs
Image for Private Full-Day Tour to Hidden Valley Springs

Private Full-Day Tour to Hidden Valley Springs

CA $471
Per adult
Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure
Image for Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure

Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure

CA $244
Per adult
Villa Escudero Tour with Lunch From Manila
Image for Villa Escudero Tour with Lunch From Manila

Villa Escudero Tour with Lunch From Manila

CA $104
Per adult

Reviews of Manila

3.6

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
14
5 - Excellent 16.27906976744186%
4 - Good
40
4 - Good 46.51162790697674%
3 - Okay
22
3 - Okay 25.58139534883721%
2 - Disappointing
5
2 - Disappointing 5.813953488372093%
1 - Terrible
5
1 - Terrible 5.813953488372093%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Mar 15, 2020

Nice to go around

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

Mar 5, 2020

Broken sidewalks, stupid crazy traffic.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

Feb 26, 2020

Roads need improvement and traffic is horrible.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

Feb 9, 2020

As can be expected, very noisy and polluted big city. Parts in very bad repair

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jan 31, 2020

No

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Dec 1, 2019

Love this city. So much fun.

Cities near Manila

Makati featuring modern architecture and street scenes

Makati

Mandaluyong featuring a city and a high-rise building

Mandaluyong

Pasay featuring modern architecture

Pasay

Quezon City which includes a square or plaza and a park

Quezon City

Other places like Manila