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ManilaPhilippines

Manila is a chaotically colourful city, ripe with history and culture, from ancient ruins to lively nightlife.

Manila has a distinct vibrancy and energy that is the product of ongoing economic expansion and a continuously growing population. It is one of the biggest urban areas in the world – a fusion of 16 different towns – and a place where hustle and bustle energy are the order of the day.

Manila's history is one of instability, from being invaded by the British, Japanese and Spanish, to being partially destroyed by fires, earthquakes and wartime bombing. As a result, it has a unique character with residents full of charming survival instinct and fascinating local stories – as well as a mishmash of architectural styles.

Some of the most ancient sites can be seen in the city’s oldest quarter – Intramuros – where the defences built by the Spanish in the 16th century felt the force of the bombs of World War Two, and have now been rebuilt. Here you will find the Baluarte de San Diego, one of the oldest stone fortifications in the city, as well as the Baluarte de San Andres – built to protect the old Puerta Real.

Learn more about the history of Manila’s walled city at Spanish-built Fort Santiago, and admire the resilience of the Filipino people and their enduring faith in the rebuilt Manila Cathedral.

There are numerous attractions in the vicinity of Intramuros, including the ornamental gardens of Rizal Park and the National Museum of the Filipino People where visitors can learn more about this compelling country and its culture, including ancient discoveries, trading history and traditional burial rites. Casa Manila Museum is a reproduction of a Spanish colonial house full of period furniture and overflowing with history.

Manila is a city that has survived and thrived by its vicinity to the Pacific Ocean, s there are plenty of water-focused activities to enjoy – from taking a ferry ride along the Pasig River to exploring the buzzing bars and nightlife of Baywalk.

Manila is a busy city, and the light rail and metro are usually the best transport options. Travel by road tends to take a little longer but there are plenty of inexpensive, air-conditioned taxis, so if you do get stuck in a jam then take lesson from the locals and just sit back and relax.

Where to stay in Manila

Ermita featuring a hotel

Ermita

3.5/5Good!(107 area reviews)

Rizal Park and Manila Ocean Park are top sights in Ermita, and you should be sure to explore the popular shops. Hop aboard the metro at United Nations LRT Station or Pedro Gil LRT Station to see more sights in the area.

Ermita
Alabang which includes a park

Alabang

4/5Very Good!(20 area reviews)

Alabang is known for its abundant dining options, and you can plan a trip to Alabang Town Center and Starmall Alabang while you're in town.

Alabang
Ortigas Center featuring a garden and a city

Ortigas Center

4/5Very Good!(34 area reviews)

Travellers to Ortigas Center praise its popular shops. If you've got some more time to explore, be sure to stop by Asian Development Bank Headquarters and Ayala Malls The 30th.

Ortigas Center
Malate showing heritage architecture, a church or cathedral and religious aspects

Malate

3.5/5Good!(10 area reviews)

Travellers 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
Savoy Hotel Manila
Savoy Hotel Manila
4 out of 5
Andrews Avenue, Newport City, Pasay

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Fort Bonifacio, City of Dreams Manila and Venice Grand Canal Mall. SM Makati is 3.1 mi (5 km) ...

4.2/5Excellent! (854 reviews)

"Everything was good property clean me and my wife had a great time will stay again in the future"…"

Reviewed on 23 Mar. 2020

Savoy Hotel Manila
The Henry Hotel Manila
The Henry Hotel Manila
4 out of 5
2680 F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay, Manila

Located in Barangay 76, this boutique hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of World Trade Center Manila, SM Mall of Asia and Metropolitan Museum. Manila Bay and Rizal ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (321 reviews)

"This is our 2nd visit in the last year. We love this quaint hotel as it sits in its own small compound and is close to local shops, fresh bakeries and cantenes. The restaurant on site has great comfort foods. The staff is welcoming and always ready to serve your needs. The rooms are spacious and ..."…"

Reviewed on 9 Jan. 2020

The Henry Hotel Manila
The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati
The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati
3 out of 5
128 Dela Rosa St., Ayala South, Makati, NCR
The price is NZ$77 per night

Located in San Lorenzo, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Makati Medical Center and Greenbelt Shopping Mall. Glorietta Mall and SM Makati are also within ...

3.9/5Good! (709 reviews)

"The staff was extremely helpful, especially Cristinne."…"

Reviewed on 21 Apr. 2020

The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati

Popular places to visit in Manila

Manila Bay
Image for Manila Bay

Manila Bay

4/5(114 reviews)

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(65 reviews)

Spectacular atmosphere and impressive history come together in Manila’s sprawling city park.

Top activities in Manila

Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion
Image for Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion

Corregidor Island Full-Day Excursion

84% of travellers recommend
NZ$234
Per adult
Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure
Image for Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

Taal Volcano Full-Day Trekking Adventure

94% of travellers recommend
NZ$255
Per adult
Old & New City Half-Day Tour
Image for Old & New City Half-Day Tour

Old & New City Half-Day Tour

NZ$78
Per adult
Villa Escudero with Lunch at the Waterfalls
Image for Villa Escudero with Lunch at the Waterfalls

Villa Escudero with Lunch at the Waterfalls

82% of travellers recommend
NZ$312
Per adult
Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure
Image for Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure

Subic Bay & Zoobic Safari Adventure

86% of travellers recommend
NZ$223
Per adult
Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure
Image for Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure

Mount Pinatubo Full-Day Adventure

NZ$291
Per adult

Reviews of Manila

3.5

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
11
5 - Excellent 16.666666666666668%
4 - Good
25
4 - Good 37.878787878787875%
3 - Okay
22
3 - Okay 33.333333333333336%
2 - Disappointing
5
2 - Disappointing 7.575757575757576%
1 - Terrible
3
1 - Terrible 4.545454545454546%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

8 Mar. 2020

An eye opener for sure.. so much activity

4/5 - Good

Maria

28 Nov. 2019

Good for a short trip to visit the National Museum, Old Manila and even Jones Bridge as it6 Christmas lights were magnificent with Parisian undertones! Just need trusted car/ van or Grab taxi to go around for convenience.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

19 Nov. 2019

Manila is a hot tropical place, full of lots of traffic and people. Be prepared where every you go there, always smile and say hello to people.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

12 Nov. 2019

Not the safest place to go, especially in Makati. Keep your wallet and phone safe.

1/5 - Terrible

Sonny

10 Nov. 2019

Really terrible traffic congestion. If you plan to visit, go outside of Metro Manila but do your shopping in the metro.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

3 Nov. 2019

I am from Australia and my wife and I live in the Philippines. I love the Philippines.

Cities near Manila

Makati which includes street scenes and modern architecture

Makati

Mandaluyong showing a city and a skyscraper

Mandaluyong

Pasay which includes modern architecture

Pasay

Quezon City featuring a garden and a square or plaza

Quezon City

Other places like Manila