Travel Guide: Manila

Categories Luzon, Travel Guide

In celebration of the Manila’s founding anniversary, Lakwatsero is featuring my beloved city.

“When Manila sneezes, the Philippines catches cold.” – Nick Joaquin

The Philippine capital Manila is a unique blend of east and west. It is home to more than a million and a half inhabitants and is dubbed as the center of government, culture and education of the country.

The rich history of the city is dated even before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, but it was during the Spanish era (1571) that Manila was proclaimed as the capital of the Philippines thus becoming a center of transpacific trade for more than three centuries. The premier city of the Philippines celebrates its day every 24th day of June.


Lonely Planet describes the capital as a teeming metropolis, with huge tower blocks crowding the few remaining traces of colonial architecture that survived the bombing of the city during World War II (Manila is the second most destructed city during WWII, next only to Warsaw).

Today, the city is constantly evolving and coping to the development but still maintains its unique charm. From contemporary shopping malls to high-class seaports, remnants of its history to modern structures, the city got it all, enough reasons to keep you coming back to Manila.

How to Get There:

Going to Manila is easy. Most airlines from Asia Pacific have direct or connecting flights to the city. Within the Philippines, Manila is accessible via air, sea and land travel.

Where to Stay:

Manila offers plenty of rooms for tourists with the presence of numerous hotels, inns and lodges ranging from budget type to five star hotels. Most of these hotels are situated in the stretch and surroundings of Roxas Boulevard fronting the baywalk in Ermita-Malate district, Manila’s tourist belt.

For Lakwatsero’s compilation of hotels, inns and lodges within the city click here.


Here is Lakwatsero’s list of activities you can do, places you must visit and see while in Manila.

  • Visit the shrine of our national heroes Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini and Jose Rizal
  • Walk to the walls of Intramuros, and see the remnants of this old Spanish City
  • Experience China in Binondo and Sta. Cruz’ Chinatown
  • Shop with the best bargains in Divisoria, Sta. Cruz and Quiapo
  • Experience the bohemian night life of Ermita and Malate
  • Revisit our history by seeing Fort Santiago, Rizal Park, Paco Park, Museo ng Maynila and National Museum
  • Watch the famous Manila Bay sunset from the Baywalk
  • See the Central Post Office Building, Manila City Hall, The National Museum and Department of Tourism Building – the remaining Greco-Roman structures that survived the World War II
  • See also MalacaƱang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines
  • Drop by to Manila Ocean Park, the first Philippine oceanarium
  • Visit the famous and old churches of Manila: Malate Church, San Sebastian, Quiapo Church, Sta. Cruz Church, Sto. Nino Church, San Agustin Church and Manila Cathedral
  • Witness also the remaining art-deco structures in the city: Metropolitan Theater, Quiapo Bridge and Rizal Memorial Sports Complex
  • Walk in Escolta, the old central business district of the Philippines
  • Take a Calesa ride
  • Tour the city by riding the LRT
  • Other notable places to visit: Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, National Library of the Philippines, Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Plaza Miranda, Liwasang Bonifacio, Rajah Sulayman Park, Remedios Circle, Mendiola, Manila North Cemetery, LaLoma Cemetery, Chinese Cemetery, University of Sto.Tomas, Supreme Court of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila Yatch Club, Bangko Sentral Complex, Metropolitan Museum, Modern Shopping Malls (Robinson’s Place Manila, SM City Manila, SM City San Lazaro, Robinson’s Place Otis, Tutuban Center among others)
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4 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Manila

  1. Yes poor planning seems to have been a huge factor. The population explosion that followed with economic development all but defeated any planned development in our cities in NCR. Nice posts I hope that you can show me more about the Philippines as I haven’t been around that much in our country. Mostly Iloilo and NCR.

  2. Its sad that we weren’t able to preserve the manila that was… Someone should have planned restoration better.

    Definitely agree Panda, one factor that attributed to the degradation of the city is the over population and poor planning. More than the new shopping malls and modern structures, the city needs restoration, renewal, strict implementation of its ordinances and better planning.

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