Manila is among the most famous tourist destinations for people in southeast Asia. The city hosts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year and is known for its rich history and unique culture. The city was the center of government for the Spanish colonists from the 16th century onwards and is full of buildings that represent Spanish architecture and represent the colonial heritage of the country.
From the Intramous to the Manila Ocean Park, the city is full of places you can visit throughout your stay and not get tired of. To go to Manila with ease and avoid any hassle, it is recommended to book your tickets through Cathay Pacific.
Below, we have detailed a week’s travel itinerary for Manila and how you can make the most out of your trip.
1. Visit The Intramuros
The Intramuros was all there was of Manila before the city expanded to its current border. Also known as the walled city, the Intramuros was the seat of the government during the rule of the Spaniards.
The Intramuros features a uniquely designed grid system that features old buildings, including forts, churches, and government buildings that were used for administrative purposes.
When you visit the old city, you get a European feeling, which reflects the colonial heritage of the city. Because of its cultural value and exclusiveness, the whole of Intramuros has been preserved.
It offers a different feeling in comparison to the rest of the city, which is a lot more modern and newly designed.
Within the Intramuros, there are several historic buildings and tourist attractions that might take more than a week to visit. Some of the must-see places within the old city include the Ayuntamiento building, Plaza de Roma, Casa Manila, and Fort Santiago among other places.
2. San Agustin Church
A baroque-style church, the San Agustin Church is located within the old city. It is the oldest stone church in the Philippines and features a mesmerizing interior that takes you all the way back to the 16th century. It also has a unique collection of ornaments, including a 14th-century cross that was brought all the way from the West.
Along with this, right by the church, there is a museum known as the San Agustin Museum. It was built after the Second World War in place of the church’s monastery that was destroyed during the war. The museum has been designed to showcase the history of the monastery and the church and is worth a visit, along with the church.
3. Fort Santiago
Another memorable building found inside the Intramuros, Fort Santiago was also built during the 16th century. A combination of Italian and Spanish architecture, the fort is made of solid stone and is a landmark of Filipino history. Located within the fort is the Plaza de Armas, which is another one-of-a-kind place that makes Fort Santiago special.
The fort was also used to hold Jose Rizal, a Filipino independence movement leader, captive and has a museum dedicated to his memory. Overall, Fort Santiago is one of the best places to visit if you find yourself in the Intramuros.
4. Rizal Park
Located towards the southern end of the Intramuros, Rizal Park marks the place where the independence of the modern-day Philippines was announced in 1946. It is the same place where Jose Rizal was executed. A monument dedicated to the memory of Rizal can also be found in the park.
The monument also holds the remains of Rizal and is one of the most esteemed places in Manila. Apart from the history, the park also allows you to connect with nature and is a great place for anyone looking for an escape from the busy street-life.
5. National Museum of Fine Arts
The museum can be found inside Rizal Park; it is located towards the east of the park. Featuring portraits from some of the most famous national artists, the National Museum of Fine Arts allows you to explore the local art.
It is worth a visit if you want to revisit the Filipino independence movement through the eyes of artists like Juan Luna, Felix Hidalgo, and Fernando Zobel, among others.
6. Manila Ocean Park
Manila is a lot more than the Intramuros; if you ever get tired of the historic buildings of the old city, there are still many other unique places that you can visit. The Manila Ocean Park is located on Independence Road; if you want to look at some of the most exotic and unique sea creatures, this is the place for you.
Along with dolphins and your usual marine creatures, the park is also home to some of the most unique species of fish and is a great place for people of all ages. If you have any kids with you, this is the spot to visit. Right by the park is Manila Bay, where you can find great hotels and restaurants as well.
Binondo is the name given to Manila’s Chinatown. It is one of the most visited places in the city and is full of attractions for tourists. From churches and temples to restaurants and shopping places, there are countless things to do here.
If you are not a fan of walking through the neighborhood, you have the option of renting a calesa, which is a carriage drawn by horses that takes you wherever you want to go within Binondo.
One of the most popular places in Binondo is the Divisoria Market, where you can get everything from traditional clothes to handicrafts and souvenirs at the best possible price.
8. Pasay Seafood Market
Your visit to Manila is incomplete if you do not try the local seafood; the Pasay Seafood Market is the place for just that. In the market, you have endless choices; from shrimps to langoustine and countless different types of fish, you can get everything here. The best part about the market is that you can pick whatever you like and then take it to the restaurants close by to get it cooked however you want it.
9. Try The Local Food
Manila is a great place to fulfill your gastronomic desires. There are several local specialties that are definitely worth trying if you find yourself in the city. From food carts to local restaurants, you can find all types of vendors that offer a diversity of local cuisines that will bring your tastebuds to life. Halo-Halo, balut, and the ensaymada are some of the many unique dishes that are a must-try for anyone looking to taste exotic foods.