The 10 Best Things to Do in Manila, Philippines

October 28, 2017 Franklyn Hardiman

Metropolitan Manila encompasses six cities and 12 towns. Located on Manila Bay in the South China Sea, and bisected by the Pasig River, the capital of the Philippines is historic and modern, rich and poor. A popular sight is the walled area called Intramuros. The capital during Spanish colonization, Intramuros has retained old dungeons and gunpowder rooms but added art galleries and theaters. The city is filled with museums, shops, parks and churches, plus enough nightlife to last until dawn.
Restaurants in Manila

1. San Agustin Museum

Calle Real del Palacio | Intramuros, Manila, Luzon 1002, Philippines 63 2 527 4061
Excellent
51%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 319 reviews

San Agustin Museum

Reviewed By Joan0452013 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

For a small fee we gained access to a wealth of information on the role of the Augustinians in bringing Catholicism to the Philippines and to Manila in particular.
The exhibits are housed in rooms off the cloisters surrounding a large, peaceful courtyard. The former Sacristy, for example, where priests used to dress for Mass houses enormous and beautifully carved chests of drawers that were one used to store vestments; the former refectory where the priests shared communal meals has a long table set for a meal as well as other related exhibits.
The walls of the cloisters contain murals and paintings. Temperature-controlled galleries house precious religious exhibits such as statues and richly embroidered vestments all of which are carefully documented or labelled.
Information boards tell the story of the monastery through fires, earthquakes, pilfering by the British and the destruction incurred at the hands of the Japanese and the United States during World War11.
One could spend hours here.

2. San Agustin Church

Gen Luna & Real Sts | Intramuros, Manila, Luzon 1002, Philippines 63 2 524 7141
Excellent
45%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

San Agustin Church

This museum and courtyard Gardens is one of the oldest stone churches in the country, having survived 2 fires and 7 earthquakes.

Reviewed By sabi0james - Manila, Philippines

Located inside the historic Intramuros, this church was only 1 of 4 churches built during the Spanish era designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO. One cannot help but admire the beautiful interior of the church especially the ceiling. The baroque architecture can be evidenced by the church's exterior.

3. University of Santo Tomas

Espana St | Sampaloc, Manila, Luzon 1008, Philippines (632)406-1611
Excellent
56%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 249 reviews

University of Santo Tomas

This is the oldest university in Asia, founded in 1611, and is one of the world’s largest Roman Catholic universities based on enrollment.

Reviewed By danerobb - Alberta, Canada

Of course most universities in the Philippines look and feel impoverished and rundown looking, but UST is one of the better universities in the country, although behind the likes of Atenao, UP and La Salle.
But it is one spot to come to get out of the traffic fumes of Espana Street, where the filth and bustle slows down to a crawl.
As with so many places in the National Capitol Region, it could form part of your experience of the ways of pinoy and the way that they structure their lives to meet expectations of family and society.

4. Manila Cathedral

Cabildo cor Beaterio | Intramuros, Manila, Luzon 1002, Philippines 632 5273093
Excellent
35%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 886 reviews

Manila Cathedral

Former Philippine archbishops are buried in a crypt under the altar of this majestic Cathedral, whose 1951 completion commemorated the the five versions that came before it.

Reviewed By sabi0james - Manila, Philippines

Visited the Cathedral recently and still in awe of this imposing architecture. Being the major church in the Manila diocese, this Cathedral has a special place to catholics. This Cathedral has always been a favorite church for weddings. Although, the ceiling seems bare in comparison to other churches, the huge interior is imposing enough.

5. National Museum

Rizal Park at Padre Burgos St., Manila, Luzon 2004, Philippines 632 527 12 15
Excellent
34%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 486 reviews

National Museum

This grand exhibit house features the country's most historic works of culture and national heritage, including the paintings of heralded Philippine artist Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo.

Reviewed By millerlaw1

Can only strongly recommend the National Museum. Try to get a guide to explain you all the interesting paintings. Probably the most interesting art piece is a 30m long painting showing the entire history of the country. Don't forget to check out the room with WWII paintings. The architecture of the building itself it great as well.

6. Robinsons Place Mall

Pedro Gil Corner Adriatico Street, Manila, Luzon, Philippines +63 2 310 3333
Excellent
34%
Good
48%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 788 reviews

Robinsons Place Mall

Reviewed By Victorianlad - Melbourne, Australia

I love this mall as it is built largely 'up' not 'out' as is the case with Mall of Asia.
Robinsons Place has almost everything one needs. Its supermarket is fantastic - even selling take away fruit salad and warm nuts.
The department store is very well stocked while there's a large range of restaurants, some of which like Super Bowl of China are great.
I enjoy visiting Wendy's fast food that has relocated to the 4th floor.
The new Midtown wing has further enhanced the experience. Jumble stalls have moved and in their place is a French patisserie and some welcome open space.
There is a staffed lift in the middle of the complex plus escalators, and good security.
Shops are clean and lighting good. Toilets tend to be buried towards the back but are also clean.
Gifts for rellies and friends easily obtainable.
A must-see.

7. Casa Manila

General Luna St. | Intramuros, Manila, Luzon, Philippines +63 2 527 4084
Excellent
30%
Good
52%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 340 reviews

Casa Manila

This replica of a mid-19th century house showcases the opulence of the former Filipino aristocracy.

Reviewed By Joan0452013 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

While the house itself dates from 1980 when it was rebuilt to replicate the home of wealthy Spanish-Filipinos, the furniture and other artifacts are original and donated by old Manila families at the request of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Built around a courtyard, one pays a small entrance fee before going up a flight of stairs to the first and then the second floor where rooms are arranged according to their use: a simple bedroom for an unmarried relative, a guest room, sitting room, dining room, chapel, a grandly furnished master bedroom, all cordoned off to keep visitors at arms length. The beautiful wide hard-wood floorboards are protected by thick strips of carpet on which visitors must walk.
The kitchen, the humble servants quarters and bathroom are tiled.
Photography is allowed only in a small section of the second floor and in the kitchen. The kitchen implement that amused me was a coconut grater in the shape of a lizard, the metal grater being its tongue!
Security guards stood vigilant watch at every corner, their blue and white pin-striped uniforms modelled after those of the Spanish guards of Intramuros when Spain ruled the Philippines.
They were quick to warn those who stepped off the carpet but when approached were willing to share their knowledge of the house and its furnishings.
This house provides an insight into how the wealthy lived in days gone by.
On the day we visited, a wedding reception was being held in the lovely courtyard.
If you have mobility issues, you will have a problem accessing the exhibition floors. There are a few flights of stairs to climb and the steps down are very long and steep and there is nothing to hold on to but a bare wall. There are no lifts.

8. Intramuros

Bonifacio Dr & Padre Burgos St, Manila, Luzon 1002, Philippines 6325272961
Excellent
32%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 2 reviews

Intramuros

Intramuros, "The Walled City," is the oldest district in Manila. This is what remains of the fortified city, which was the seat of power during Spanish Colonial times (1521-1898).

Reviewed By Scott L

Overall Manila is not a nice city, one of the few things to see is intramuros, the place was dirty, boring, people constantly harassing you trying to rip you off, would never come back again

9. Fort Santiago

Gen Luna St | Intramuros, Manila, Luzon 1002, Philippines 63 2 527 1572
Excellent
30%
Good
47%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 1 reviews

Fort Santiago

This museum and public park was built as a stone fortress at the turn of the 17th century and marked the beginning of the walled city's riverside barricades.

Reviewed By Trebstacular - Manila, Philippines

as I had worked around the Intramuros area thru the Bureau of Immigration, I have had the pleasure of being asked by friends from abroad on several occasions to play the part of a tour guide. at the center-piece of every tour of course was Fort Santiago that never fails to impress due mainly to the nicely-preserved walls and rooms that had at some point either served as quarters, prison chambers, or even dungeons of torture depending on the phase of history being played out. what struck most of them and myself included was how this place just allows one to go back and re-live images from the past in our minds; providing us the perfect backdrop for gaining a better appreciation of our history as a people and a nation. I would never grow tired of visiting this place and taking friends with me.

10. Binondo Church

Paredes St. at Plaza Calderon de la Barca | Binondo, Manila, Luzon, Philippines +63 2 242 4041
Excellent
31%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 160 reviews

Binondo Church

The altar's replica of St. Peter's dome impresses visitors to this historic church.

Reviewed By Concierge3725 - Manila, Philippines

This church has recently been renovated and is a perfect spot for some nice pictures. Philippines is never short of churches and historical building but this church in the heart of Chinatown is pretty impressive. Remember to bring along your camera when you are here.

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