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Manila

Known for shopping, cathedral and church

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.

How do you get to Manila?

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!

Things to do in Manila

Discover the uplifting story of the Philippines’ national hero in this lovely park renamed in his honour.

Work out, chill out and dine out at Manila’s popular panoramic playground.

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

This important centre of worship has remained at the spiritual heart of Manila for over five centuries.

Tickets & Tours

Discover the spectacular Tagaytay Ridge on this full-day tour. Marvel at the views of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano from People's Park in the Sky, see the world's only bamboo organ, and visit a jeepney factory to watch how an iconic Philippine mode of transportation is made.

Tickets & Tours

Explore the stunning Mount Pinatubo and witness panoramic views from the summit on this full-day tour. Combine your trekking adventure with a guided hike and tour on a 4x4 vehicle through the striking volcanic landscape and marvel at the scenic natural surroundings.

Tickets & Tours

Your evening in Manila comes alive after dark thanks to colorful cultural music, folk dancing, and the rich flavors of Filipino cuisine. A private guide drives you through historic Intramuros on your way to a traditional restaurant for dinner and a vibrant dance performance.

Tickets & Tours

Spend half a day exploring Manila, the capital of the Philippines, on a comprehensive private tour of the city center and several of its districts. Begin in Makati, the financial district, and continue to Fort Santiago and finally to Quiapo, the heart of Manila, with a knowledgeable guide.

Tickets & Tours

Discover Subic Bay and the exotic Zoobic Safari on this full-day tour. Explore the once largest American naval facility in the Pacific region, marvel at the survival skills demonstration by the indigenous Aetas tribe, and get up close with tigers in Zoobic Safari.

Tickets & Tours

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.

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