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

Red Planet Manila Bay
Red Planet Manila Bay
3 out of 5
Arquiza St. cor Alhambra St., Ermita, Manila
The price is P1,735 per night from 28 Jan to 29 Jan
Located in Ermita, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Rizal Park, U.S. Embassy, and Manila Bay. Robinson's Place and Manila Ocean Park are also within ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (314 reviews)
"My wife stayed there quarentined. No complaints except being unable to go out of room."

Reviewed on Dec 7, 2021

Red Planet Manila Bay
Dusit Thani Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
5 out of 5
Arnaiz Ave, Ayala Center, Makati, Manila
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is P4,760 per night from 30 Jan to 31 Jan
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 ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (976 reviews)
"5 days quarantine, so was confined to the room, but hotel and staff are nice, food decent. Couldn't explore and enjoy the facilities or surrounding area though, so i don't know what they are like."

Reviewed on Jan 24, 2022

Dusit Thani Manila
Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City, an IHG Hotel
3 out of 5
1 Jasmine Drive, Pasay, Manila
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is P3,655 per night from 30 Jan to 31 Jan
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Resorts World Manila, Fort Bonifacio, and Venice Grand Canal Mall. Baclaran Church and SM Makati ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (995 reviews)
"Excellent!"

Reviewed on Jan 23, 2022

Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City, an IHG Hotel
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.
Ascott Makati
Ascott Makati
5 out of 5
Glorietta 4, Ayala Centre, Makati, Manila
The price is P7,400 per night from 31 Jan to 1 Feb
This family-friendly Makati aparthotel is located in the business district, just steps from Glorietta Mall and SM Makati. Makati Medical Center and St Luke's ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (715 reviews)
"The staff was very responsive and quick to assist on some minor problems."

Reviewed on Sep 30, 2021

Ascott 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
The price is P9,386 per night from 6 Feb to 7 Feb
Located in Bonifacio Global City, this aparthotel is within a 15-minute walk of The Mind Museum and Fort Bonifacio. St Luke's Medical Center Global City and ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (195 reviews)
"Excellent hotel Good location Staff always friendly and most helpful"

Reviewed on Mar 10, 2020

Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila
Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
3 out of 5
36th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Located in Bonifacio Global City, this condo building is within 2 mi (3 km) of Uptown Mall, St Luke's Medical Center Global City, and Fort Bonifacio. Venice ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (11 reviews)
"Overall our stay was satisfactory. Pros:-rooms and area where clean - condo was in vicinity of upscale mall, restaurants and grocery store. -"

Reviewed on Mar 1, 2020

Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
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