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Top Tourist Destinations in Manila

Displaying both old and contemporary beauties, Manila is indeed the best city to explore in the Philippines. 

Dubbed as the “Rome of the East,” Manila is a burgeoning Asian Metropolis carrying centuries-old legacy and was ruled by many countries, including America, Japan, and Spain, that contributed to the city’s rich culture.  

If it’s your first time in Manila, it would be best to plan your itinerary before visiting the city, as the city might seem overwhelming to explore. But if you know where to go, and what to do, you will indeed enjoy every moment you’ll spend there. 

Almost all types of recreation and tourist spots are in Manila. Read on to find out the best things to do and places to see in the bustling capital of the Philippines.

INTRAMUROS

Photo: General Luna Street, Intramuros/Wikipedia

Intramuros, Latin for “within the walls,” is Manila’s oldest district and historic core. The iconic walled landmark was also considered a religious and educational center of the Spanish East Indies. It became the seat of government and political power under Spanish rule. 

Intramuros is the only district in Manila where tourists can see complete architectural remnants of the Spanish Era. A day trip in Intramuros is enough for you to go sightseeing in this well-preserved historical attraction.

Intramuros tours are a must-try for history buffs. Wander along paved roads and visit historical monuments and sculptures through a unique experience with a bambike tour (bamboo bike) or by a kalesa or horse-drawn carriage experience. 

FORT SANTIAGO

Fort Santiago was a stone castle built-in 1593. It was a defense fortress located in Intramuros. In 1951, it became a national historical monument and a well-kept destination frequently visited by travelers. 

The stone walls including structures like the famous Rizal Shrine. Besides the rich historical significance of the fort, it is one of the best tourist places in Manila because of its ancient architecture excellent for photography spots.

RIZAL PARK

Located in the heart of Manila, this one of the largest parks in the country is very significant to Filipinos as it’s where Dr. Jose Rizal, the national hero, was executed. 

The Park features many recreational areas like playgrounds, food kiosks, observatories, open-air concert hall, monuments, squares and gardens, large stadiums, sound and light theaters, shops, and many fountains.

NATIONAL MUSEUM COMPLEX

If you are traveling with kids when visiting Manila, the National Museum Complex is a must-visit destination. There is no entrance fee collected as the government wants every visitor to explore the history of the Philippines in this fantastic spot!

The complex has several sections, including the National Museum trips: Art, Anthropology, Natural History, and Planetarium.

OCEAN PARK

After the historical spots in Manila, also don’t miss seeing the Manila Ocean Park. The Park, inaugurated in March 2008, features many attractions, including the Oceanarium.

The Oceanarium, one of the biggest aquariums globally, has more than 14,000 animals across 270 marine species.

The Park is ideal for children as it’s highly informative and instructional, especially for sightseeing activities. Exciting animal shows await you there. There’s the Seal Lion Show, Penguin Show, and the All the Bird Show, which will amaze you! Other exciting exhibits include the World of Creepy Crawlies, Birds of the Prey Kingdom, and the Sharks and Ray Encounter. A day in Ocean Park won’t be enough to enjoy all the activities.

ROXAS BOULEVARD

This is a famous, stunning bay walk in Manila. The boulevard extends along Manila Bay’s coasts, has become a trademark of Philippine tourism. It’s famous for its restaurants, eateries, country club, commercial properties, parks, and gardens.

Additionally, you can find here the CCP Complex, Baywalk, Star City, and a famous museum attraction, the BSP Money Museum.  What makes its ambience relaxing is the beautiful landscape and the

ART IN ISLAND

Photo: Art In Island Facebook Page

For art lovers, Art in Island is a perfect destination in Manila. It’s one of the world’s largest animated 3D art museums, enables visitors to take beautiful photos with wall-to-floor sculptures. The employees can take your image as you give your best poses in each of the 12 areas.

MANILA CATHEDRAL

For those looking for religious sites in Manila, there are many churches you can visit, including the Manila Cathedral. This is the religious center of the Archdiocese of Manila. You can visit this tourist spot any time of day.

SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH

The San Agustin Church is one of the most important tourist spots in Manila. It is a National Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it’s the oldest church in the Philippines.

The church, initially built in 1586, has striking Baroque architecture. It already had undergone many renovations, including the latest one in 2013. The church is still in use, and if lucky, visitors may catch a glimpse of a traditional mass or wedding in progress! It is indeed one of the most visited tourist spots in Manila

READ: When is the Best Time To Visit Manila

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