Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 12:11 am
Perhaps, you have heard a lot about Philippines before. Maybe it’s because of its people, food, or culture. But not only those things are something to be proud about Philippines. There are also thousands of good places to visit in this country, even in their capital, Manila! In this blog post, we’ll reveal our favorite Manila tourist spots that you should visit on your next city trip in the Philippines.
Although Rachel is from Angeles City in Pampanga, which is a 2-hour bus ride away from Manila, she had a lot of experiences in the city. We also travel in Manila together whenever we got the chance or there’s something important to do there. We have visited a lot of Manila Tourist Spots before and we loved our experiences!
Read here where to stay in Manila!
Read here affordables places to visit near Manila!
Read here best hostels in Manila!
Best time to visit Manila
Philippines has only 2 seasons- wet and dry season. You should be prepared with the weather in Manila because it is hot and humid during the months of March to May, and can extend up to June!
The wet season starts from June to November and rainy season can start as early as May.
We recommend that you visit Manila during the month of January, as the weather is expected to be the coldest of the year plus you won’t compete with the locals during December’s holiday rush.
Click here for updates on accurate weather in Manila.
Manila Tourist Spots
1. Visit Rizal Park
Rizal Park, or Luneta, is at the heart of City of Manila. It’s a very historic place and it is where the statue of Dr. Jose Rizal (Philippine National Hero) is located. Tourists come and visit Rizal Park to take pictures and learn more about the history of the country while locals go to Luneta to have a picnic with their loved ones and family or just relax and enjoy.
2. Walking around Intramuros
Take a glimpse back to the days of the colonized Philippines by visiting Fort Santiago, a part of a crumbling walled city of Intramuros. This place seriously givesIntramuros will give you the vibes of Spanish colonization era in Manila.
There are calesas available you can choose to roam the place with a friendly-horse-drawn-rig for around 20 USD. It is easily noticeable that the structures are heavily Spanish inspired- they’re beautiful. You should seriously visit Fort Santiago when visiting Manila.
3. Visit Star City
This amusement park in Pasay City in Metro Manila will surely wake your sleeping nerves up! For just 490 pesos or 10 USD, you can avail the ride-all-you-can ticket and enjoy their extreme rides- Star Frisbee, Ferris Wheel, Vikings, and many more!
There are also other attractions here like the Snow World, Lazer Blaster, Art Alive Museum, and many more. These attractions are not included in your ride-all-you-can ticket so you have to pay separately to enjoy these attractions.
4. Go to Mind Museum
Unleash your innermost curiosity and watch as how science comes alive. This interactive museum in Taguig City is reasonably one of the most entertaining museums near Manila. You feel like you’ve just awaken your sleeping Einstein after visiting this place. It is full of interactive exhibits from interests of atoms to cosmos and everything in between.
Rates here start at 625 pesos or 13 USD for a 3-hour pass and 750 pesos or 15 USD for an all-day pass.
5. Legazpi Sunday Market
I know that Sundays are rest days and that is the reason why we are recommending you to go here when visiting Manila! The Legazpi Sunday Market has lots of varieties. It’s hard to save even a penny from these country food favorites, medicines, crafts and more.
You’ll go stall hopping and buying all the way to the exit and wonder if you should buy a thing or two more before finally leaving. One thing to keep in mind is that the market opens at 7:30 am and closes at 2 pm, it’s better to go earlier.
Just don’t forget to bring your cash with you so that you’d enjoy visiting the market fully. Legazpi Sunday Market is in Makati City, a nearby city of Manila.
6. Going around Chinatown
If you love all things Chinese, then you should not miss going to Binondo when looking for places to visit in Manila!
It is the first Chinatown in the world and you will be surprised seeing old Chinese shops that sell different Chinese cuisine, herbal medicines, jewelries, and many more. You can stroll around the area through riding a jeepney or a calesa. Our first trip outside Angeles City was in Binondo and Intramuros.
7. Rooftop for sunset
In the rooftop, you will have an amazing view and especially during sunset. The bar Antidote at I’M Hotel will offer you the best cocktails and you’ll even see an amazing jellyfish aquarium with lights. It’s the only bar in the Philippines where you can see this!
8. Museo Pambata
Photos Via Keith Kelly | Flickr
Museo Pambata is in Ermita, Manila, just near Rizal Park. It’s a favorite destination by families and school trips because of the interactive exhibits that cater to children. Even parents and those who are kids-at-heart will enjoy while learning. There are exhibits about the environment, history, career options, human body, and other relevant fields children will surely love!
This museum is open from 8AM to 5PM every Tuesday to Saturday and 1PM to 5PM on Sundays. Entrance fee starts at PHP 250 per head!
9. Visit National Museum of the Philippines
The National Museum of the Philippines is actually composed of 3 separate museums- Fine Arts, Natural History, and Anthropology. Each building is just a few minutes walking distance away from each other and are located in Ermita, Manila. National Museum of Fine Arts showcases exhibits from the best Filipino painters, sculptors, and artists. There are thousands of artworks in this museum and it houses Spolarium, a famous painting by Juan Luna.
The second one, National Museum of National History, in Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park, is a newly renovated museum which showcases biological diversity in flora and fauna of the Philippines. It houses Lolong’s preserved remains. Lolong was the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity. Aside from it, there are various Amazing things you’ll see here. It’s truly a must-see!
The last component of this museum is the National Museum of Anthropology, formerly called the Museum of the Filipino People. It houses the anthropology and archaeology divisions and a must-see if you would love to know more about Filipinos through ancient artifacts, and zoology divisions. Aside from these, you will witness here the wreck of the San Diego.
Aside from the amazing stuff you’ll find and learn about in these three components of the National Museum of the Philippines, one thing you’ll also love about this is it’s free! You don’t have to pay to enter. Spend an hour or two exploring these three and you will not regret it. National Museum is open from 10AM to 5PM everyday except Mondays.
10. Visit Manila Ocean Park
If you can’t get enough of Manila, go to the Manila Ocean Park! It has an oceanarium inside and it’s famous because of the dome-like aquarium where you can go in to see the marine animals. Aside from this, there are other attractions here such as the Fish Spa, World of Creepy Crawlies, Sea Lion Show, Toy Museum, Trails to Antartica, Jellies Exhibit, and many more! Entrance fee starts at PHP 650. It depends on the number of attractions you want to go to. The more, the better, but also more expensive ha!
11. Sunset at Manila Bay
Aaah! We really love sunsets and you cannot miss the sunset at Manila Bay. It’s a precious experience that you would want to witness either alone or with someone. It’s a good thing that Manila Bay is also being rehabilitated so you’ll enjoy the experience more!
12. Shopping at Mall of Asia
Hungry? Or just want more of Manila? There’s another place you can go to! It’s the Mall of Asia (or MOA) in Pasay City. They say that a whole day is not enough for you to go to every spot in MOA. There are many things to do here such as eating different cuisines from local and international restaurants, shopping (of course!), bowling, ice skating, watching movies, riding The Eye (MOA’s ferris wheel) and other rides, playing arcade games, and many more! You’ll surely need a lot of time, money, and energy to explore MOA. But just walking around is fun, too! 🙂
13. Walking around Paco Park
The Paco Park is a recreational garden and park located at the Padre Faura Street in Paco, Manila. Before, it was a municipal cemetery for the rich people during the Spanish era, built by the Dominicans. It’s a great place to walk around, sit and relax.
Entrance fee is only PHP 10. It closes at exactly 5PM.
Going around churches in Manila
If you love going to churches, there are also some churches you can visit to in Manila! Here are some of them:
14. Manila Cathedral
Via Gene | Flickr
This is one of the famous churches in the Philippines, located in Sto. Tomas, Intramuros in Manila. Manila Cathedral has been the venue for papal masses in the country.
15. San Agustin Church
Another church in the walled city of Intramuros, Manila is San Agustin Church. This is known to be the oldest church in the Philippines, built in 1607.
16. Malate Church
This Baroque-style church is located at M. H. Del Pilar St, Malate, Manila. It was built in 1588 and the statue of Our Lady of Remedies from Spain stands tall in this church.
17. Quiapo Church
Quiapo Church is known for its Wednesday masses and the Black Nazarene, a 17th century Jesus statue. Just outside Quiapo, there are a lot of vendors selling various items for affordable prices.
More Manila Tourist Spots
18. Bonifacio Global City
Bonifacio Global City, or BGC, is not an actual city but only a business district in Taguig. It is highly commercialized and there are a lot of shopping places here such as boutiques and malls, as well as restaurants and cafes where you can eat and drink tea or coffee.
It is full of tall buildings, with clean and busy streets. It is one of our Manila tourist spots because it’s great to walk around BGC to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
19. Venice Grand Canal Mall
One of the malls in Bonifacio Global City, specifically in McKinley Hill is Venice Grand Canal Mall. Known for its Venice-inspired theme and interior, Venice Grand Canal Mall is a crowd favorite. It has a long canal (but actually a pool) inside where mall goers can rent a gondola and enjoy a ride for PHP 300 each. Families and lovers enjoy this because of the unique experience it brings.
You can also find here a lot of mime artists and people that pretend like statues that move whenever you drop a coin to their pouches/boxes. Aside from these, you can hear a background song of a man singing an opera. It really gives that Venice vibes you’ll definitely love!
And when you get tired of all the walking, Italian restaurants are everywhere inside, but there are also many other places where you can eat other countries’ cuisines like Filipino, American, French, Japanese, Chinese, and many more.
20. Visit Makati Area
Being one of the richest and urbanized cities in Metro Manila, Makati is one of the cities you should not miss visiting! It’s easily accessible plus there are a lot of things to do here. Even just walking around the streets is bearable because it is known to be safer than its nearby cities, but food and accommodation can be a little bit more expensive too.
Some places you should visit in Makati City are its malls like the 4 malls in Ayala Area which are Greenbelt, Landmark, Glorietta, and SM. These 4 malls are connected with each other, meaning you can go easily to the next mall from the other. This also means you should bring a lot of money if you love shopping, like Rachel! 🙂 Various restaurants and coffee shops are here, as well as cinemas if you prefer watching movies.
And every late November to early January, there’s a Dancing Lights Show every night at the Ayala Triangle, which is just a few minutes walking distance away from Greenbelt mall. The show plays at around 6PM to 10PM and it plays with a 30-minute interval per show. Locals and people from other places visit Makati, specifically Ayala Triangle for this wonderful lights and sound show! And guess what, it’s absolutely free!
21. Go to Ayala Museum
Just a few minutes of walking from the 4 malls stated above is the Ayala Museum. This is also a famous tourist spot in Manila and Makati because it houses different artifacts, ethnographic, archaeological exhibits on Filipino history, culture, and arts. It is a 6-level museum and it’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, every 9AM to 6PM.
Entrance fee starts at PHP 300 or 6 USD For a local and PHP 425 or 8.5 USD for a nonresident visitor.
22. Casa Manila
Casa Manila is a museum that looks like a typical upper class house in the 1800s, but it’s actually built in 1980s. This 2-level house museum has the typical parts of a Hispanic house such as sala, despacho, comedor, cuartos, cocina, baño. Vistors cannot touch the displays and take photos except in the bathroom, kitchen, and toilet.
Entrance fee is PHP 75. It is closed during Mondays and open for the rest of the week from 9AM to 6PM.
23. Bahay Tsinoy
Bahay Tsinoy is an old building in Intramuros, Manila where you can find the Kaisa-Angelo King Heritage Center. It’s a museum where you’ll see documents that show the lives, history, and contributions of the ethnic Chinese in the Philippine history and lives of the Filipinos.
It is open everyday from 1PM to 5PM except Mondays. Entrance fee is PHP 100 or 2 USD.
24. Dampa Seaside Market
If you would die for seafood, then pay a visit to the Dampa Seaside Market! It’s near Mall of Asia and you can buy different types of fresh seafood here- from shrimp, fish, mussels, clams, oysters, crabs, etc. You’ll love it here because there are restaurants that offer cooking the seafood you bought from the market! You will choose what they will do to your seafood, pay for an affordable price, and enjoy their cooking. It’s a must-visit Manila tourist spot!
25. Divisoria Market
And the last but not the least, something that will complete your Manila trip is shopping at the Divisoria Market! It is known as the number one source of everything in Manila and other nearby provinces. You can buy everything here for very cheap prices– from clothes, food, shoes, bags, toys, fruits and vegetables, accessories, everything! Prices here are commonly for wholesale or bulk shopping but they also sell for retail prices.
Tips: don’t be afraid to haggle and watch out for pickpockets!
Do you love these places in Manila? Which one would you love to go to next? Share this blog post with your friends and plan your trip to Manila tourists spots together!
Read here if you are heading to Boracay Island to see the reopening!
Happy travels! 🙂