Manila

Travel Guide
Baywalk featuring a city, boating and a high rise building
From the hectic pace of its high-rise business district to the tranquillity of its flower-filled parks, Manila is a city of strong contrasts.

Vast and sprawling, Manila at first sight can be daunting. One of the largest cities in the world and still growing, this metropolis of sixteen towns seems impossible to navigate. With no obvious centre, the new visitor can find themselves bewildered by the crowded streets, dense traffic and frantic pace. But spend a little time among its friendly people, learn a little of its fascinating but volatile history, and its charms will soon get under your skin.

Manila has been under occupation by the Spanish, British, Japanese and Americans, and has been destroyed many times by natural disasters including fires and earthquakes. More recently, the tragic devastation wrought by bombing raids during the Second World War brought the city to its knees. Now, thanks to an ambitious programme of reconstruction, many of the city’s historic buildings have been preserved for posterity.

Intramuros is the oldest area and one of the main focuses for tourism. This ancient walled city is surrounded by sturdy fortifications built by the Spanish in the 16th century to repel hostile invaders. Most of the walls were left in ruins by wartime bombing, but the remaining parts have been sympathetically restored. Follow the walkways to the Baluarte de San Andres and the Baluarte de San Diego to appreciate their strategic position overlooking Manila Bay and the Pasig river. Nearby Fort Santiago houses the Rizal Shrine, dedicated to national hero Dr José Rizal, who lost his life in the struggle for independence. See the place of his execution in Rizal Park, one of the largest recreational spaces in Asia.

Learn about the fascinating archaeology and anthropology of the region in the National Museum of the Filipino People, or visit Casa Manila Museum for a close-up view of the domestic life of an affluent Filipino family during the colonial era. Believers and non-believers alike can’t fail to be moved by the sight of faithful pilgrims flocking to Quiapo Church to pray to the Black Nazarene, one of the most important icons in the country. Take time to visit Manila Cathedral, still proudly serving the Catholic community despite being destroyed many times.

Getting around on foot is hard in this huge metropolis, but taxis are cheap and plentiful and the light rail links most of the main sites. For the authentic Manila experience, hop on a colourful jeepney and hold on tight!

Where to stay in Manila

The Heritage Hotel Manila
The Heritage Hotel Manila
4 out of 5
Roxas Boulevard, Corner Of Edsa, Pasay, Manila, 1300
The price is P2,295 per night from 17 Jul to 18 Jul
Stay at this 4-star family-friendly hotel in Pasay. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the spacious rooms ...
3.9/5 Good! (952 reviews)
"Wonderful people and wonderful location it cannot get any better"

Reviewed on Jun 25, 2022

The Heritage Hotel Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
5 out of 5
Arnaiz Ave, Ayala Center, Makati, Manila, 1223
The price is P4,622 per night from 17 Jul to 18 Jul
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Makati. Enjoy free WiFi, 3 restaurants, and 3 bars/lounges. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (955 reviews)
"Just a wonderful hotel and a comfortable bed I never wanted to get out of."

Reviewed on Jun 25, 2022

Dusit Thani Manila
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
5 out of 5
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, Manila, 1300
The price is P5,472 per night from 1 Aug to 2 Aug
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Pasay. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and a full-service spa. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (953 reviews)
"Arrived at the hitel 5pm and one if the room is not yet ready so we have to wait fir 30 more minutes"

Reviewed on Jun 26, 2022

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Seda Residences Makati
Seda Residences Makati
4 out of 5
Ayala Ave corner Amorsolo and Salcedo St, Legazpi Village, Makati, 1229
The price is P5,272 per night from 28 Jul to 29 Jul
Stay at this 4-star aparthotel in Makati. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the pool in our reviews. Popular ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (43 reviews)
"Awesome in every way"

Reviewed on Jun 26, 2022

Seda Residences Makati
Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila
Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila
4 out of 5
28th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Manila, 1634
The price is P9,180 per night from 1 Aug to 2 Aug
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly aparthotel in Taguig. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the comfy beds ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (210 reviews)
"The staff and the cleanliness of the hotel.. the team there truly goes above and beyond customer service. I have already booked our next trip there."

Reviewed on Jun 27, 2022

Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila
Ascott Makati
Ascott Makati
5 out of 5
Glorietta 4, Ayala Centre, Makati, Manila, 1224
The price is P7,700 per night from 2 Jul to 3 Jul
Stay at this 5-star luxury aparthotel in Makati. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the pool and the comfy beds in our reviews. ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (728 reviews)
"Excellent accommodation. Shout out to Ms. Aldey for a very warm accommodation. Great job ! Kudos team Ascott Makati. We’ll definitely go back.."

Reviewed on Jun 28, 2022

Ascott Makati
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Manila

Top things to do in Manila