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Manila

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

Ermita showing a hotel

Ermita

4/5Very Good!(348 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 park

Alabang

4/5Very Good!(72 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 park and a city

Ortigas Center

4/5Very Good!(102 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 featuring a statue or sculpture, heritage architecture and religious aspects

Malate

3.5/5Good!(29 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
Conrad Manila
Conrad Manila
5 out of 5
The price is P6,699 per night

Located in Barangay 76, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Arena and SM Mall of Asia. World Trade Center Manila ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (999 reviews)

"Staff are friendly and professional. The hotel design is extra ordinary."…"

Reviewed on Mar 14, 2020

Conrad Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
5 out of 5
Arnaiz Ave, Ayala Center, Makati, Manila
The price is P5,500 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! (1,319 reviews)
Excellent hotel..... but avoid the bacon :(

"Hotel, staff and facilities were very good. Breakfast choice was good but avoid the bacon. For this standard of hotel they should really be able to serve bacon that doesn't resemble cardboard. It was inedible. Apart from this it was very good."…"

Reviewed on Mar 20, 2020

Dusit Thani Manila
Hilton Manila
Hilton Manila
4.5 out of 5
The price is P5,500 per night

Situated near the airport, this luxury hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Fort Bonifacio, City of Dreams Manila and Venice Grand Canal Mall. Mall of Asia Arena ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (341 reviews)

"We stayed during the lockdown the night before our flight back to Australia. They took care of us as if we were their family. Courtesy private transport to the airport, extended checkout time to 5pm as they understood our dilemma with having to wait with 2 small kids at the airport for 7 hours, and ..."…"

Reviewed on Mar 25, 2020

Hilton Manila

Popular places to visit in Manila

Manila Bay
Image for Manila Bay

Manila Bay

4/5(1 review)

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(1 review)

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

Top things to do in Manila

Old & New City Half-Day Tour
Image for Old & New City Half-Day Tour

Old & New City Half-Day Tour

P2,410
Per adult
Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure
Image for Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

P7,932
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Hidden Valley Springs Excursion with Lunch
Image for Hidden Valley Springs Excursion with Lunch

Hidden Valley Springs Excursion with Lunch

P10,191
Per adult
84% of travellers recommend
Full-Day City & Museum Tour
Image for Full-Day City & Museum Tour

Full-Day City & Museum Tour

P7,866
Per adult
84% of travellers recommend
Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure
Image for Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure

Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure

P9,036
Per adult
Skip the Line: Art In Island Museum Admission Ticket
Image for Skip the Line: Art In Island Museum Admission Ticket

Skip the Line: Art In Island Museum Admission Ticket

P495
Per adult

Reviews of Manila

3.8

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
66
5 - Excellent 21.85430463576159%
4 - Good
143
4 - Good 47.35099337748344%
3 - Okay
71
3 - Okay 23.509933774834437%
2 - Disappointing
14
2 - Disappointing 4.635761589403973%
1 - Terrible
8
1 - Terrible 2.6490066225165565%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

24 Feb 2020

Our purposes in going to Manila were all achieved; US visa granted, attended an international conference, visited an imprisoned senator, went to Supreme Court, & toured Fort Santiago.

4/5 - Good

emeeny

21 Feb 2020

It's walking distance to Rizal Park which is a must to visit esp. during night time: fountain show, cool breeze to walk around the area, snacks are available. You may also dine in Harbor View for fresh seafood options. Go to Intramuros.

4/5 - Good

Krisha

19 Feb 2020

Manila is quite crowded and heavy traffic. However if you plan to visit manila you must choose a better hotel to stay that’s near to the place you want to visit for a hassle free and time saving trip. Manila has so much to offer and to showcase views

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

17 Feb 2020

hope that the reservation open's early on weekend as we check in we want to get tickets but it's close at 9am

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

12 Feb 2020

All

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

12 Feb 2020

Very friendly people.

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