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 P3,200 per night from 10 Dec to 11 Dec
P3,200
per night
10 Dec - 11 Dec
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 ...
4/5 Very Good! (1,004 reviews)
"For the price it’s good value"

Reviewed on Nov 21, 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 P5,318 per night from 8 Dec to 9 Dec
P5,318
per night
8 Dec - 9 Dec
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Makati. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 3 restaurants. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (1,007 reviews)
"Hotel was easily accessible to shopping ( 4 big malls around the area) lots of options for dining, near airport ( consider traffic when travelling ) staff very welcoming / pleasant clean"

Reviewed on Nov 22, 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 P6,600 per night from 27 Nov to 28 Nov
P6,600
per night
27 Nov - 28 Nov
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! (1,001 reviews)
"There is still the usual welcome amenities."

Reviewed on Nov 20, 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.
Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel Makati
Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel Makati
4 out of 5
152 Valero Street, Salcedo Villlage, Makati, 1227
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly aparthotel in Makati. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and room service. Our guests praise the WiFi and the helpful staff in ...
3.7/5 Good! (78 reviews)
"Smart TV’s are only available for 3 bedrooms. Can’t use the Tv for entertainment like my karaoke. Very sad"

Reviewed on Nov 14, 2022

Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel Makati
Seda Residences Makati
Seda Residences Makati
4 out of 5
Ayala Ave corner Amorsolo and Salcedo St, Legazpi Village, Makati, 1229
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! (68 reviews)
"Good and Convenient."

Reviewed on Nov 23, 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
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! (245 reviews)
"feels like home."

Reviewed on Nov 12, 2022

Ascott Bonifacio Global City 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.

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