Manila is more than just a stopover on the way to the Philippines’ beautiful beaches; it is a bustling metropolis with a lot to offer!
For first-time visitors, Manila may appear to be an overwhelming place to explore. However, with a well-planned travel itinerary, it is pretty manageable.
Find out the best places to visit, local delicacies to try, and the various modes of transportation and learn more about the best things to do in the Philippines’ bustling capital and its neighboring cities.
Visit Manila Ocean Park’s Aquatic Fantasies
The oceanarium is the Philippines’ first world-class marine park, a charming date spot, and a popular destination for school field trips.
The amusement park is more than just a place to stop and stare at sea creatures behind glass; it has various exciting activities for both children and adults to enjoy.
Feeding penguins and learning to swim with a mermaid tail are two of their most exciting attractions. They also have a fish spa; small fish nibble at the dead skin on your feet during the treatment, doesn’t that sound intriguing? You can even round out your experience by staying at Hotel H2O, the marine-themed hotel at Manila Ocean Park!
Address: Quirino Grandstand, 666 Behind, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Shop For Bargains at DIVISORIA’s 168 Shopping Mall
Those who enjoy a good deal should not pass this one up! Divisoria’s three-story 168 Shopping Mall is every Manileo’s go-to for finding anything and everything at the most affordable prices. Shoes, clothes, tools, party favors, school supplies, and souvenirs are all available at 168.
Arrive early and keep your wits with you at all times. Divisoria is exciting, but it’s also full of characters who are quick to spot newcomers.
Address: 918 Soler St, Binondo, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila
Venture On The Extraordinary Modes Of Transportation
There are different modes of transportation available for exploring Manila. Jeepneys and tricycles are two of the most common modes of transport used by locals.
The jeepneys or jeeps were originally made from surplus US military Jeeps from World War II. These are well-known for their bright ornaments that depict Pinoy architecture and pop culture.
The tricycles in Manila are constructed with a sidecar and an imported motorcycle. These public utility vehicles either follow a predetermined route or function similarly to taxis that can be rented. Tricycles can carry up to six or more passengers.
Inside the LRT in Manila, Philippines, commuters are served by a heavy railway line. Light rail commuters (LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3) from north to south, as far south as Quezon City and Pasay. The most interesting railway stations are located in Manila’s central business district, specifically along the LRT-1 route.
Visit RIZAL PARK
Rizal Park, one of Manila’s top attractions, is just a short walk from Intramuros. It is one of Asia’s largest urban parks and a popular weekend hangout for Manila residents. This place is more than just a bright, breezy place to hang out; it is a historical site with great significance for Filipinos.
Rizal was executed here by the firing squad, a life-size diorama depicting his final moments. There are also statues of many national heroes, two beautiful gardens (the Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden), and Manila’s National Museum.
Address: Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Take A Food Tour At Binondo
Prepare your stomachs because you’re about to embark on a culinary adventure! Binondo is Manila’s Chinatown, with quaint, inexpensive eateries on almost every corner.
Dim sum and roast duck are available, as well as Filipino-Chinese favorites such as lumpiang Shanghai (egg rolls with meat, fish, and vegetables), mami (noodle soup), and hopia (bean-filled pastry).
Address: Binondo, Manila, 1006 Metro Manila
Worship in QUIAPO Church
Quiapo Church is a significant religious and historic site in Manila. One of Manila’s most well-known monuments is the Black Nazarene, a miraculous image of Christ. The life-size ebony statue was first brought to Quiapo in 1767.
The Black Nazarene Procession, one of Manila’s most important religious celebrations, features thousands of devotees carrying a favorite image on their shoulders twice a year.
Address: Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Manila, 1001 Metro Manila
Stop, Stare, and Pose With The Street Art at BGC.
It’s difficult not to notice the sophisticated street art on every other corner in Bonifacio Global City. Interestingly, Bambike Ecotours offers a BGC Art Tour that includes stops at all of the eye-catching painted walls in the area.
On this hour-and-a-half tour, you’ll ride bamboo bikes around BGC and learn about the stories behind seventeen murals. If you want to learn the stories behind these beautiful murals or even take artsy Instagram photos, then you’re in!
Address: Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, 1630 Metro Manila
Enjoy The Makati Nightlife
Going on a bar crawl in Poblacion is one of Manila’s most popular things to do. On weekends and weeknights, this bustling neighborhood in downtown Makati is frequently visited by those looking for a good time. Its streets are lined with pubs, each as unique as another. Poblacion has it all:
- Local craft beer (Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli or Polilya)
- Shots of Korean Soju (The Odd Seoul)
- Reggae music (Pura Vida)
- Rooftop bar with stunning views (Z Hostel)
Pura Vida address: Don Pedro Street, 1210 Makati
Z Hostel address: 5660 Don Pedro, Makati, 1209 Metro Manila
Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli address: 2/F 5666 Don Pedro St., Barangay Poblacion, Makati, 1209 Metro Manila
Polilya address: 5658 Jacobo Street, Corner Don Pedro, Makati, 1210 Metro Manila
The Odd Seoul address: 2nd Fl Zentro Bldg, Kalayaan Ave, Makati, Metro Manila
Unleash Your Inner Artist Spirit
This is a fantastic way to unwind! Join a paint-and-sip session at Sip & Gogh, which has several locations throughout Manila. The studio is the first of its kind in the metro, offering painting lessons over wine, cheese, and cold cuts. Even if you have the most mediocre artistic skills in town, you will undoubtedly leave with a masterpiece of your own creation. Take a seat, unwind, and channel your inner Van Gogh!
Address: GF Eastwood Le Grand 3, 10 E-Commerce Road, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1800 Metro Manila
Have Fun with Modern Museums!
These modern museums allow curators to present their artworks in a new way while remaining true to tradition. They provide similar feelings and thrills as antique collections, but from a different perspective. Here are a few museum excursions you can take in Manila
Lakbay Museo is the Philippines’ first cultural interactive museum. It is recognized as the Philippines’ first cultural interactive museum, showcasing various cultures and tribes.
The Dessert Museum
This is an excellent location for viewing desserts, eating them, and taking artistic photographs. Purchasing an admission ticket to Dessert Museum is worthwhile because it is unique and distinct from other museums.
Art in Island
Visitors to Art in Island, one of the world’s largest animated 3D art museums, can take beautiful photos with wall-to-floor sculptures.
If you enjoy taking photographs in unusual ways, this museum will amaze you!
An all-day visit to The Mind Museum, the Philippines’ first world-class research zoo, will teach you how science is discovered every day.