Trip To Manila | Philippines Travel Guide

Trip To Manila | Philippines Travel Guide

Manila is the country’s most populous city, as it is the capital of the Republic of the Philippines and has a lively commercial port. When you first set foot in the city, high skyscrapers will catch your eye. Although it has some bad features such as air pollution, irregular urbanization and lack of infrastructure due to its crowd and intense trade, the struggle won after its rich cultural accumulation and difficult history is worth seeing. This city, which was under the rule of Muslims until 1571, was later captured by the Spanish.

The Spaniards, who owned the city for three centuries, left the city to the US administration in 1898. During the Second World War, the city suffered great damage as a result of the Japanese attack. The Philippines, which gained its independence after World War II, is now governed by the Republic. Pluralist democracy based on the Presidential system prevails in Manila. Manila, home to 13 million people, is located in the Philippines’ Luzon Island province.

Manila clearly reflects the historical past of the Philippines, which lived under colonial rule for many years. You can witness the history of this city closely with a tour in the Intramuros region. During this trip, you should be careful while walking around the side streets because the city is crowded and hosts people from two different ends. Especially the neighborhoods with slums are not very safe. As far as possible, one should not wander alone in the side streets.

Manila’s way of life is not uniform. The city is home to the very rich and the very poor. Going to see the slums caused by the irregular urbanization in this region, which makes a great contribution to the Philippine economy, and examining the lifestyles of the people living in that region provide interesting details about the sociology of the city. In fact, Manila is the struggle of people living in a huge financial gap to live together.

Where Is Manila?

It is located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines with a population of 13 million. The city, which has a coast on the Manila Bay, is not only the capital, but also a port city that contributes greatly to the economy of the country.

When To Go To Manila?

You should go and see Manila according to the weather conditions of the city. Since Manila contains historical ruins, it would be most logical to explore this city on foot throughout the day. Therefore, periods when weather conditions are suitable for hiking trips should be preferred. Considering the weather in Manila, precipitation is less likely throughout the year due to the steppe climate.

Therefore, the summer months are quite dry. It would be more appropriate to go to Manila between February-March-April, as frosts can be seen in addition to the harsh cold in winter.

Apart from that, Manila is also famous for its festivals. Metro Manila Film Festival takes place in December and January. This festival mostly features Filipino films. Aliwan Fiesta, which will be held in April, is considered superior to all festivals. This festival, which hosts different cultures, is crowded because it coincides with the most suitable weather conditions.

Also, the Black Nazarene Festival is celebrated in January in Manila. Thousands of Catholics attend this festival to see the Black Christ Statue. According to the Catholic belief, sick people believe that they will be healed when they touch this statue. If you want, you can go to Manila on these dates to see the city in a festival atmosphere and have different experiences.

Best Places To Visit In Manila

In the city of Manila, which stands out with its historical past, there are beautiful historical ruins. The first of these is the Intramuros region. It is possible to see the old city surrounded by walls here. Just across it is Rizal Park, which symbolizes the freedom struggle, and San Agustin Church, the oldest church in the Philippines, which has been turned into a museum.

You can also visit Manila Cathedral, where weddings still continue today, Santiago Castle, where torture and death took place, China Town, where you can eat Chinese food, and Quiapo Church, which is home to the famous Christ Statue.

In addition, after visiting the Manila American Cemetery and Monument, where the American soldiers who were martyred in World War II were buried, Malacanang Palace, where the President of the Philippines lived, Ayala Museum, where the ruins of the colonial period are located, we went to Manila Bay to watch the sunset and relieve the tiredness of the day. You can go and enjoy the beach.

Intramuros Region


The Intramuros region, also known as the old city, is a walled region. There are many historical buildings in the region from the old Spanish colonial times. This region, which has a very wide content, is the most important touristic area of the city. When you enter the Intramuros region for the first time, you will immediately notice that the architecture belongs to the Spaniards. This place contains many churches, cathedrals and museums, which we will talk about shortly. The first settlement in the city of Manila started here.

You can visit this area on foot in about 45 minutes, or you can also take a carriage ride. You can get help for a small fee if you wish, as they have a lot of information about the area from the local people at the entrance gate of this area.

The most important feature of this city, which is also called Ciudad Murada, in other words the Walled City in English, is that it consists of huge walls and stones that will surround the whole district. After the war by American, Filipino and Japanese forces in 1945, the area was heavily destroyed. The Intramuros region, which hosts new structures built on top of the ruined ruins as well as the preserved ruins, is the region that tells the history in the most striking way.

Rizal Park


After visiting the city wall, you may want to cross the street and rest in Rizal Park. Known as the heart of Manila, Rizal Park is located in the Ermita district. Named as one of the largest city parks in the Asian region, this park consists of 60 hectares of open greenery, ponds, woodlands and ornamental gardens. This park has a historical importance as well as its natural beauties.

Rizal Park is the center of the resistances against the colonial, the uprisings against the colonies and the struggle of the people defending freedom against the American rule. This park, formerly known as Luneta, is now named after Dr. From Jose Rizal. Jose Rizal, a well-educated Filipino doctor, was imprisoned for expressing his dissatisfaction with the Spanish colony after his education and for leading the people to revolt. Rizal, who continued to write during his time inside, took his poetry out through his sister.

The Spanish government, who thought that the people were affected by this poem and started an uprising, executed Jose Rizal. However, after that, the people started bigger riots and named this park, where they put their rebellion into action, as Jose Rizal.

San Agustin Church


This church built by the Spaniards can be thought of as an Asian adaptation of the European Baroque style. San Agustin is the first church established on the Island of Luzon after Manila was captured by the Spanish. This church is the only surviving structure in the Intramuros region after World War II. When you enter the Intramuros area, this place will immediately catch your eye as you walk through the walls.

San Agustin is both an important church and an important museum, as it is the oldest structure in the Philippines and the only one that was not bombed. If you want to visit this church yourself, you can visit this church independently, or you can visit this church with the help of people who want to guide you at the entrance of the Intramuros region. The interior of this church, which you will be impressed by while you are traveling around with the phaetons, consists of a very interesting architecture. You can also tour inside if you wish.

Manila Cathedral


Manila Cathedral is located right next to San Agustin and is the city’s most important Catholic place of worship. This cathedral was destroyed in World War II and has been rebuilt many times. The cathedral has a bronze door and the friezes on it symbolize the events that led to the destruction of the cathedral. Weddings are still held in this cathedral, where the archbishop of Manila continues to live.

When you go, there is a high probability that you will come across a wedding. If you come across a wedding while visiting the Intramuros region, you can both visit the historical structure of the city and see the culture of the local people of Manila. Although it is a bit dark inside, the Manila Cathedral, which is a quiet, beautiful and well-maintained building, should be considered closed at the time of visit, as renovations take place from time to time.



This neighborhood, also known as Binondo, was established in 1584 by a Spanish Governor for Chinese immigrants. The main purpose is to force the Chinese to become Catholic, the population currently living in this neighborhood consists of Catholic Chinese and local Filipinos and is called the largest Chinatown in the world. After leaving the Intramuros region, you can relax and taste delicious Chinese cuisine in this region, which has the title of the oldest Chinatown in the world, without going too far.

Here you can find various Chinese spices, handicrafts and herbs for use in alternative medicine. There are also small businesses in the neighborhood where you can buy souvenirs along all the streets. You can buy souvenirs unique to China by entering one of the small shops here.

Church Of Quiapo


It is an important basilica of Catholic value located in Quiapo County, Philippines. This basilica is a very famous house for the Black Nazarene. The Black Nazarene, a dark statue of Jesus Christ said to be miraculous, is located here.

Quiapo Church, which reflects the most beautiful example of Baroque architecture and is believed to be miraculous, attracts great attention especially by Catholics. This church, which hosts the Black Jesus Statue, which is believed to be sacred, can be visited calmly if you go outside of the festival time, but if you go during the Black Nazarene Festival, there will be a heavy stampede.

A large number of Catholics participate in the Black Nazarene Festival, which takes place in January every year. Also, just outside this church, the local people’s market opens. After visiting the church, you can visit the public market, observe the lifestyle of the local people, and taste the local products.

Manila American Cemetery And Memorial


The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial was created in 1948 and was built for American soldiers who were martyred in this area during World War II. Located a little outside of the city, this cemetery is located in Taugig City. In the Manila American Cemetery, where more than 17,000 crosses are erected, there are articles where you can get information about the history of the war. The names of not only American soldiers but also many soldiers whose bodies were not found are engraved on the monument.

This region, which also hosts many homeless people, is a cemetery frequently visited by those who want to learn about the war. This monument, which is the largest cemetery in the Pacific of American soldiers killed during World War II, is located on a high plateau 14 kilometers outside the city.

Malacanang Palace


Built in 1750 by Don Luis Rocha and used as a summer residence, this huge palace was home to Spanish aristocrats during the colonial period. Inside the palace, which is now the residence of the current President of the Philippines, there is a museum that tells how the country has gone through from past to present. Malacanang Palace is located north of the Pasig River.

It is the official residence and workplace of the President. Built in neo-classical style, this building is not always open to visitors as it is the residence of the President of the Philippines. You can visit the museum and the garden only on weekdays and at designated times. The days and hours the museum is open are not always the same. Therefore, if you want to visit the museum, we recommend that you visit the official site and check when it is open.

Transportation In Manila


In Manila, vehicles called taxis or jeepneys, which are described as public transportation vehicles, are used to get around the city. In addition, a motorcycle-like vehicle called tricycles or bicycles called rickshaws can also be used. Such vehicles are suitable for short distances. Tricycles have displays that look like taximeters, indicating fares.

The most convenient way to get from the airport to the city center will be by taxi. If you do not want to use a taxi, it is possible to reach the city center by train. This train has 3 main lines. Transportation to the city center is provided by LRT-1 (Yellow Line). The second line of the train is LRT-2 (Purple Line). The third line is MRT-3 (Blue Line). Transportation to the city center is done only with the first line, LRT-1 (Yellow Line).

Although it is possible to travel by bus, tourists do not prefer to use buses because they do not have specific lines. Local people move according to the route written on the buses. Therefore, it may not be appropriate to use the bus for someone who does not know the city.

Manila Cuisine


Since it is a very mixed cuisine, it is difficult to talk about a dish that can be tried exactly unique to the Philippines in Manila. The Philippines is a country that blends various tastes from Spanish, Asian and Chinese American cuisines with its own culture. The most popular cafes and restaurants are located in Malate, Makati and Ermita districts. Manila is famous for its seafood, as it is a seaside city. The most famous of the seafood restaurants you can find everywhere are in the Malate region.

Century Seafood Manila, located in this area, is famous for its broccoli, lobster and shrimp salads, but also serves delicious Chinese dishes. In this restaurant, which is not very expensive, you can easily eat fresh seafood at any time of the year. In addition, if you want to taste only Chinese food, then Suzhou Dimsum, which is located in the same region, should be preferred. You can also go to the aforementioned China Town for Chinese food.

If you go to restaurants in the Makati region, this region is more expensive in terms of taste, but more expensive in terms of price, as this region is more populated by the wealthy. If you prefer meat products, remember that pork is used here. Sage Bespoke Grill, I’m Angus, Mamou Too, La Cabrera are a few restaurants for the Makati region that are good at meat.

In addition, if you are bored of local flavors and want familiar tastes, you can easily find restaurant chains such as MC Donalds and KFC all over the city. Shopping centers are also suitable as places to eat in Manila. If you get bored with the hot and humid weather of the city, you can prefer cool shopping centers to eat.

We also recommend you to try tuba, the local drink of Manila, while you are here. This alcoholic beverage made from palm tree liqueur is also known as “kallu” and “toddy“. You can try this drink, which has a taste between whiskey and rum, in bars in Manila.

Shopping In Manila

Manila is a city suitable for shopping as well as its colorful nightlife. Although there are separate and large shopping stores in each area, there are also multiple small stores in the side streets. Robinsons Place Manila, one of the world’s largest shopping stores in Malate, Power Plant Mall in Makati and SM Asia Mall in Pasay are definitely worth seeing. It cannot be said that it is cheap in terms of price, but you can find everything you are looking for in these shopping centers with more than 1,000 stores. It is possible to find everything you are looking for in this city, which is a full shopping city with its small boutiques, local shops and world-famous shopping malls, from electronics to clothing, from jewelry to souvenirs.

If you do not want to visit the shops, there are also flea markets set up on the streets. In Divisoria, an open-air market, you can find all kinds of products from household goods to handcrafted products. It should be noted that you should definitely not approve the prices without bargaining with the sellers, especially for flea markets. In this city where bargaining is a culture, if you can bargain well, you can bring the items you buy very cheaply.

Silahis Arts & Artifacts, The Manila Collectible, Wellmanson, Dangwa Flower Market, Robinsons Magnolia are a few convenient stores for those who want to buy souvenirs. You can also find many handicrafts specific to the Philippines culture in the small shop called ‘Balıkbayan Handicrafts’ in the Makati region.

If you want to buy local products in street markets, Divisoria Market, Salcedo Saturday Market, Pistang Pilipino, Dapitan Arcade will be suitable. Especially for fresh fruits, San Andres Market in Malate region is highly preferred and you can find plenty of dried fruits here.

If you are into art, a few galleries where you can find interesting handmade woods from all over the world can be listed as Silahis Arts & Artifacts, Bahay Nakpil, 1335Mabini, Hiraya Gallery, Sining Kamalig.

Manila Nightlife

The people of Manila, who are overwhelmed by the extreme heat during the day, have fun all night long until the first light of the day. We can say that life in this city begins at night. First of all, if you want to have fun in places like casinos, we can say that you can find many casinos in this city. There are many casinos, especially in the Malate region. Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams Manila, Resorts World Manila and Okada Manila Resort & Casino are hotels that are famous for their accommodation, good food and casino.

If you have a night vision like dancing, having fun and drinking, Manila will meet that as well, because the most colorful nightlife of the Philippines is experienced in this city. In addition, the very warm and friendly attitudes of people will make you feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter what you wear to enter the clubs in this city. You can have fun in the club you want with the clothes you want. If we need to give an example from these clubs, we can start with the club named Valkyrie.

This is the most famous place in the city and therefore there is an entrance fee. Located in the Makati district, this club also has the city’s largest disco. Chaos Manila Nightclub is more affordable than Valkyrie. Entrance fees vary according to entertainment activities in this club. It would be more appropriate to look at the club’s website and go by activity. Exklusiv, which is also located in the Makati region, does not charge entrance fees. The peculiarity of this place is that it starts to get busy after 02:00 at night.

If you want to have fun late at night, you can try this place. L.A. The Cafe (24 hours) is open 24 hours a day and admission is free. In this two-floor cafe, the upper floor is reserved for the dining area. Here you can dine with live music in the evenings. The lower part of this cafe consists of two parts. While one section consists of a heavily crowded bar, the other section is a quieter part where activities such as billiards can be done. It is ideal for those who prefer a quieter place rather than a nightclub.

The Palace Pool Club, on the other hand, has a different style than the others. This club, which is also open during the day, also distinguishes itself from the others with its poolside entertainment. Popularly known as the gay club, the entrance to this club is much more expensive than the others, and however, the drinks are unlimited. You can also book a private room or a separate section in this club, which is famous for its outdoor beach, pool, DJs and multi-choice cocktails.

If you don’t smoke and are bothered by smoke, you can choose Finders Keepers, located in the Makati area, which sells only local drinks with its smoke-free and very cool environment.

Nightlife is also a good opportunity to try tuba, the local drink of Manila. The taste of this alcoholic beverage made from palm tree liqueur and reminiscent of wine is between whiskey and rum. You can find Tuba in all bars.

Manila Festivals

If you go to Manila during the festival periods, you can be sure that the city will be very lively. For visitors going to Manila in different months, we have listed below some of the festivals they can attend. We recommend that you check the dates of the festivals before you go, and we remind you that the hotels will be full during these periods. If you make your hotel reservations in advance, you will not have any trouble finding a place.

Metro Manila Film Festival: Only films approved by MMFF’s juries are shown in the cinemas in this festival, which takes place in December-January. It is forbidden to show other foreign films in this festival, which lasts for 1 week.

Black Nazarene Festival: Thousands of Catholics attend this festival in January to see the Black Jesus Statue. According to the Catholic belief, sick people believe that they will be healed when they touch this statue.

The University of Philippines Fair: In this festival held in Manila in February, local music continues until late at night. It is open to the public and paid.

Bamboo Organ Festival: Musical and cultural performances are featured in this festival in February.

Likhang Kamay: You can do a wide variety of shopping for 3 days in this festival where there are many different handicrafts and cultural products. Supporting local art and craftsmen, this exhibition opens between March and April.

Aliwan Fiesta: Dance shows, float contests and beauty contests are held in this festival held in April and in the city of Pasay.

La Loma’s Lechon Festival: In the Lechon Festival, which is held in May and means one thing, people walk around the streets wearing a uniform and express their opposition to showing off with beautiful clothes.

May Flowers Festival (Flores de Mayo): This festival, which lasts throughout the month of May, commemorates the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Santacruzan (Holy Cross) contest is held on the last day of the festival.

Philippine Heritage Festival (Filipino Heritage Festival): In this May festival, traditional activities are organized to preserve the Philippine culture.

The Independence Day Celebrations: On this day celebrated on June 12, Filipino families have picnics in the parks and fly the Philippine flag.

The Feast Day of San Juan: It would be more accurate to call this festival held on June 24 as a wild and crazy festival instead of fun. You should not go to that area on this date.

Bailes de Los Arcos: Celebrated in June, this festival in the Makati region offers unique cultural dance performances. In the dance performances held during the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the daughters of the dancers of the previous period dance. This festival is a kind of traditional dance transmission from mother to daughter.

La Naval: In this feast held in October, the Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is exhibited and miracles are told during the feast. Religious belief representations are not predominant like other Catholic holidays. This statue is made of ivory and is huge in size.

Manila Public Holidays

  • New Year’s Day: January 1
  • National Heroes’ Day: August 29
  • Bonifacio Day: 30 November
  • Rizal Day: December 30
  • Black Nazarene Day: late December to early January
  • Manila Day: June 24
  • Santo Nino: 3rd Sunday in January
  • Santa Ana: May 12
  • Ninoy Aquino Day: August 21
  • Easter: April 1
  • Hero’s Day: April 9
  • Labor Day: May 1

Useful Information For Manila

  • Fire Brigade: 166 or 117
  • Police: 166 or 117
  • Ambulance: 166 or 117

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