A Tourist’s View of Things To Do in Manila :) @MildaRatkelyte

(I’m interested to see how tourists see Manila so I asked Travel Blogger Milda of Asia Rooms to do a guest post in OAP about “A Tourist’s View of Things To Do in Manila” – Anton)

Manila Bay by night
(Photo by Ric_K)

Previously seen as nothing more than a sprawling “concrete jungle”, Manila was typically regarded as a layover stop for tourists before they moved on to other Philippine destinations. However, in recent years Manila has grown popularity as a destination in its own right.  Manila city, which is located in the metropolitan region of the same name, has bloomed into a colourful and vibrant holiday location, now attracting backpackers and holidaymakers from far and wide.  This is partly due to the city’s vast and unique districts, each with its own history, culture and cuisine. 

Whether you’ve just booked your first trip to Manila, or you’re researching fun and exotic Asian destinations for your next vacation, this guide will explain what there is to do during your stay in the Philippines’ capital city.  

Here are four fabulous things to do in Manila during your stay: 

1). Take a trip to Binondo – the “oldest Chinatown in the world.

The Binondo district in the City of Manila dates back to 1584, after being created by the Spanish Governor Luis Pérez Dasmariñas as a settlement for Chinese immigrants.  Today, it is regarded as one of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in the world.  

Binondo offers delicious food from authentic Chinese restaurants and bakeries, plus goods and trinkets for low prices in bargain basement stores.  It’s a fantastic, must-visit district.


2).  Have a wander around Intramuros – known as “The Walled City.”

Intramuros is the oldest part of the city, having been founded in 1571, making it a hive of rich culture and history.  This district is protected by an impressive 64-hectare stone citadel, which we guess could tell plenty of tales of wars, invasions and natural disasters if it could speak.  Sadly, most of the city was destroyed during the Second World War, but plenty of interesting ruins and monuments remain today.  There are still many impressive stone structures to visit and photograph too, including walls, gates and fortresses.  

Interesting tidbit: until 1898 Intramuros was Manila – the other districts sprung up after this time. 

Do take one of the coordinated tours of Intramuros to learn the history and significance of the area.  One tour starts at Fort Santiago and visits the Rizal Shrine, honouring the country’s National Hero Jose Rizal.  After the tour, stay in Intramuros to sample some of the local cuisine; this district is home to many fantastic restaurants. 


3). Take a trip to Makati City in Metro Manila

Put aside several days of your trip to spend in the nearby City of Makati, which is one of sixteen cities that forms Metropolitan Manila.  It’s right next to the Manila City, so is only a short taxi ride away.  Known as the financial centre of the Philippines, this fabulous city is full of upscale shopping malls full of designer brands and luxury dining opportunities.  Makati is a great destination for tourists too, as the primary language spoken in the area is English.  This makes communicating with the friendly locals a breeze! 

Do not miss:  After all that shopping and eating, make sure you visit Ayala and Yuchengco – two art, history and culture museums located a block away from one-another in Makati city.


4). Take a trip to Manila Bay

Manila bay is located to the west of the city, and is considered to be one of the best natural harbours in Southeast Asia.  It is also regarded as one of the finest harbours in the world. 

Although it’s not safe to swim in the harbour’s waters, do join the crowds who flock here at sunset and watch the sun go down.  It’s a must for travel bloggers and photographers! The place to be is The Baywalk, a two-kilometre stretch with a long promenade.  You’ll hear plenty of local musicians and see a range of street venders too, giving the evening a carnival-like atmosphere. 


Have you visited Manila?

If you’ve holidayed in Manila and you find yourself agreeing with our points, feel free to add your own below in the comments section – tell us why YOU loved holidaying in this glorious city, and give us a list of your favourite things to do!  We can’t wait to hear from you!

About the author:

MildaMilda is the Community Manager @ AsiaRooms.

Born in Lithuania (love it!), studied in the UK, travelled around Asia and USA, taught in Africa and now residing in Singapore where, equipped with a strong cup of coffee and surrounded by an amazing team.

I’m blogging about travels, cultures, events and hotels in Asia.

2 thoughts on “A Tourist’s View of Things To Do in Manila :) @MildaRatkelyte

  1. When wanting to see Manila Bay’s sunset, I suggest that you go to CCP Complex. Behind the Folk Arts Theater, where the Jumbo Restaurant once was, it was a better place to see the sunset. There’s less light there but the view was more spectacular! From there, you’ll get to see the lights of MoA too. 🙂

  2. Sadly, it soooo hard or inconvenient to move around Manila – especially if you’re commuting (taxi not included). Trains are so packed, jeepneys not convenient (and sometimes, not really safe), sidewalks are too narrow and dirty (and sometimes, not safe as well – it depends on the area), buses are fine but be prepared for the heavy traffic etc. And some areas are confusing because no street signs exist (ergo, maps are sometimes useless).
    Let’s just hope the mayors of the cities in Metropolitan Manila act together to make their cities well-connected, safe, clean and convenient for its citizens and for the tourists as well…
    (and hopefully, the newly-elect Mayor Estrada will do something to bring back the glory and beauty of Manila City).

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