Things to do in Manila

Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila

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Looking for things to do in Manila and Makati? In an area as large and diverse as the Manila NCR (National Capital Region) it is not too hard to make a large and interesting list of Manila Attractions.

manila-city-hall
Manila City hall aerial view

While Manila is known for unbearable traffic jams, and population-dense cities, that doesn’t seem to stop the tourists.

From the moment you leave the airport, it becomes obvious that Manila Attractions are everywhere.

Manila, the Philippines capital doesn’t always make the headlines for all the right reasons. Went visiting the Philippines for the first time, most tourists expect the typical third-world city.

If you are looking for a seriously underrated and underappreciated city, Manila is ready to challenge your opinions. You don’t have to look far to find things to do in Manila.

ALSO READ:   21 Philippines Tourist Spot That Looks Like Foreign Destinations

Manila is a favorite among thrill seekers like you. In fact, a good percentage of travelers can’t wait for their next holiday to this city to get a taste of local culture and participate in the best activities. The top things to do can earn the enthusiasm of even well-versed globetrotters and it’s not hard to see why. 

Let’s explore the best things to do in Manila:

Metro Manila Traffic Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila
Metro Manila Traffic

Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila

Star City

From its giant Ferris wheel to signature roller coaster ride, Star City Manila to many will remain as one of the most fun places to be.

Star City is a family-oriented amusement park. The rides and action rate in the mid-range… If you want a slower pace to try SM By The Bay or for more thrills spend a day at the Enchanted Kingdom. For something in Manila that still has plenty of action while remaining family orientated, Star City is a good choice. Read more…

CITY OF DREAMS MANILA

One of the new Manila Attractions, the City of Dreams Manila is the latest resort casino to open. The city of Dreams is located close to the airport and 5 minutes by taxi to SM Mall of Asia. There is also a free shuttle service to all the major Malls from the City of Dreams making it easy to find things to do in Manila. Read more…

FORT SANTIAGO

Another one of the great Manila attractions is the Fort of Santiago was built in 1571 and is located inside Intramuros.

Inside Fort Santiago, is Dambana ni Rizal, where DR. Jose Rizal was detained prisoner until his execution at Luneta on December 30, 1896. Inside visitors can see rare photos and artifacts of Rizal…

In January 2020, the Philippine government opened the Fort Santiago Dungeon to the public. See where so many innocent, and not so innocent, people spent the last days of their life. By touring the dungeon, you will experience actual places where significant and horrifying events occurred. 

At the baluarte, you will see a marble cross serving as a mass grave marker where the 600 people were buried. If you are not into history then just go for the atmosphere… In our opinion, one of the must-see things to do in Manila. Read more…

MANILA BAYWALK

This coconut-lined boardwalk along Roxas Boulevard is a destination for its sunsets and ocean views.

The Baywalk transformation has done so much for the city and added another must-see location to the list of Manila attractions. What was once an area to be avoided because of pickpockets and thieves has been transformed into a thriving, social meeting place. Be warned, Baywalk can get busy with crowds often exceeding 200,000 on weekend. Read more…

RIZAL PARK

Rizal Park, or Luneta Park as it is also called, is where the Filipino National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal was executed and then buried. Rizal Park is one of the largest urban parks in Asia making it one of the major Manila attractions. Follow the marked trail of Rizal’s last walk to his execution…

The Rizal Park water fountain and music are just amazing… Fun to watch and perfect for a couple or family. Read more…

RAVE Pasig Rainforest Park

The place is huge! The first thing you see as soon as you enter the park is the life-sized Brachiosaurus ( a dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period) and everyone’s favorite, T-Rex. We also saw a Pterodactyl and Triceratops along the way and I just had to stop for a few pics…

RAVE Pasig is one of the best places to go swimming as it houses the biggest, most beautiful, and modernized swimming pools around Metro Manila. Make sure to add this to your list of things to do in Manila even though it is technically in Pasig. Read more…

Ocean Park Manila tunnel

MANILA OCEAN PARK

Are you looking for a great place to bring your family and friends? Look no further! Manila Ocean Park (MOP) is a state-of-the-art facility showcasing 1000s of marine animals and offers a great educational experience for both children and adults. Watch sharks and other sea creatures swim overhead in the 25-meter acrylic underwater tunnel. 

A great day out for all the family. Add this to your list of things to do in Manila.

Mall of Asia Philippines

MALL OF ASIA – SM BY THE BAY

Sit back, have a drink, listen to the live band, and watch the sunset over Manila Bay. Or ride the rides, walk the walk or just soak in the atmosphere… It’s a great place to be day or night. Riding the MOA EYE (Skywheel) at sunset can be very romantic.

It’s a great place to just wander around and take in the free entertainment. There are also plenty of good restaurants for when you start feeling hungry…

Things to do in Manila - Cruise

Manila Bay Cruise

For an extraordinary date & dining experience. A dinner while cruising along the manila bay and being serenaded by an acoustic singer is not a usual experience and this Is what manila bay sun cruise has to offer. Be mesmerized by manila’s seaside establishments as they provide colors and lights as you cruise the Manila bay. The experience was extraordinary however, the food being served was average. Be warned though that as the boat nears the shallow part, a stench coming from the muddy part of the river might annoy you.

— Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila —

— Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila —

Mall of Asia skating rink

SM MALL OF ASIA (MOA)

The SM Mall of Asia is the third largest mall in the Philippines and tenth in the world in terms of gross area. Aside from shopping and dining establishments, SM MOA also features an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, an IMAX theatre, an indoor Arena (the MOA arena), a convention center (SMX convention center, and a 180 feet tall Ferris wheel (the MOA Eye).

Go for the shopping, the skating or just to look around, add this to your list of things to do in Manila.

intromuros

INTRAMUROS MANILA

Intramuros, Latin for “inside the walls”, is the oldest neighborhood and a must-visit on the list of Manila attractions. Priceless historical value with at least 28 points of interest. A good idea is to request a detailed brown map called ‘Walking Tour of Intramuros’. This can be found at the visitor center. You can also choose a more relaxing tricycle or “kalesa” horse-drawn carriage tour if too tired to walk… Read more…

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MANILA CATHEDRAL

The Manila Cathedral, also known as Cathedral-Basilica, is a Roman Catholic basilica dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Principal Patroness of the Philippines. The Manila Cathedral was originally a parish church located at Plaza de Roma in the Intramuros district. Even if you’re not religious, you should add this to your list of things to do in Manila.

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Baluarte de San Diego

BALUARTE DE SANTIAGO

One of the oldest forts inside the Intramuros, the Baluarte de San Diego was built in the late16th century. The fort was primarily designed to repel the invasion and over time it has survived wars, earthquakes, and the ravages of time. Before you start exploring, it is a good idea to read the information panel at the bottom of the staircase leading to the fort.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES

The National Museum of the Philippines is a government agency museum. The museum houses three buildings in Manila; the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Planetarium that are repositories of the natural and cultural history of Filipinos and our environment. Art lovers, add this to your list of things to do in Manila.

MALACANANG PALACE

MALACANANG PALACE

The Malacañang Palace is the official residence of the country’s President. Originally built in 1750 as a summer house, it has been used by 18 Spanish Governors-General, 14 American Governors, and the Presidents of the Philippines. After many renovations, it has become one of the top Manila Attractions.

THE COCONUT PALACE

THE COCONUT PALACE

Also known as Tahanang Pilipino, the Coconut Palace is a Philippine Government mansion found on the Cultural Center campus between the Sofitel Plaza and the Folk Arts Theatre. It has been the official residence of the Vice President of the Philippines since 2011. The Coconut Palace is built out of various kinds of Philippine hardwood, coconut shells.

— Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila —

SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH

SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH

Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción de María de San Agustín, or San Agustin Church, is a Roman Catholic Church located inside Intramuros in Manila. In 1993, San Agustin Church was chosen by UNESCO as a World Heritage Building. It has also been granted the title Baroque Churches of the Philippines and in 1876 was named a National Historic Landmark. Read more…

Chinatown Gate 2

Chinatown

At first, Chinatown doesn’t seem like much of a tourist destination; it is noisy, a bit run-down and the traffic is often in gridlock. It helps to remember there’s been a Chinese trading presence since the 800s, and this quarter, known as Bindondo, grew as a neighboring town for the oppressed Hokkien Chinese immigrants and their descendants. The best way to see it is from a jeepney or calesa.

— Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila —

Paco Park

Paco Park

Next on our list of things to do in Manila is Paco Park. It is here that, Filipino hero, José Rizal was first interred after his execution in 1896. This park has a circular format and was a cemetery throughout the 19th century. You can still make out these niches, filled in and cemented over, and there’s a balustraded walkway on top of the walls that contain them.

divisoria-street-manila-

Divisoria mall

Those who love a good bargain better not to skip this one! Divisoria’s three-storey 168 Shopping Mall is every Manileño’s go-to for anything and everything they might want to find at the most affordable (no, dirt cheap) prices. Shoes, clothes, tools, party favours, school supplies, souvenirs — 168 has it all, and you won’t find a better bargain anywhere else in the metropolis. (Seriously, you’ll wonder how you ever spent so much money on just a single item of clothing.)

Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila

That our go-to list of the top things to do in Manila. As Filipina living in Australia, I can’t wait to have a holiday in Manila and explore it again. My things to do in Manila don’t fully encapsulate everything that Manila has to offer, but it’s a pretty good way to jumpstart your adventure in Manila –  the center of the Philippines ‘ economic, political, social, and cultural activity.  See you soon!

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Why not book a Manila City Tour? Explore and discover things around Manila. Your tour kicks off from the financial district of Makati including Fort Bonifacio and the American Cemetery, then moves on to the country’s capital, Manila. There, you will first go for a brief picture stop at Rizal Park, in honor of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Then, you will go to the historic Walled City of Intramuros where you will travel through the cobbled streets of San Agustin Church, the country’s oldest stone church, to view its wide collection of ecclesiastical icons, vestments, and other religious articles.

Don’t forget your insurance! You never know when you’ll need it. We suggest getting travel insurance.  Which coverage includes medical, trip cancellation, your belongings from theft or damage, baggage,  car rental coverage, and much more.

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